Would you like me to tell you a wee story?
– Well I’m going to tell you anyway.
The year was approximately 1989…
…and in 1989 my Mum was a barmaid.
When my Dad wasn’t working day shifts, he was working night shifts and so quite often, my folks were left with only 3 options:
1. Leave me home alone.
2. Pay some babysitter to be terrorised by me.
3. Take me to work with them.
So, more often than not, I’d get to go to the bar with my Mum to watch her work. It was brilliant!
I’d get to sit on a barstool which I had to jump up onto and drunks would pay me to draw pictures of them. They weren’t all drunks but they mostly were. Old guys with rambling stories and lived in faces. Deep lined faces. Interesting faces. Drawing-wise, it was a real school for me.
There was this particular guy. A horrible guy. An old miserable bastard of a man. Every day he would sit hunched over whatever the hell it was he used to drink pints of and mutter swear words away to himself until he was too drunk to talk.
I loved Elvis at the time (Still do!) and I remember this old git who we’ll call…Auld Norrie, telling me that…
(a) Elvis couldn’t play guitar.
(b) People who play the guitar are idiots.
(c) Elvis never wrote his own songs.
(d) People who wrote songs were poofs.
(e) Elvis dyed his blonde hair black.
(f) Elvis was a Mummy’s Boy.
(g) Elvis was probably a poof.
As you can imagine, Auld Norrie was a delight.
He used to steal loo roll from the bathroom, Auld Norrie. His pockets would be stuffed with it.
I never saw him ever talk to anyone in the bar. I never saw him with anyone. His skin was yellow and he was dirty and greasy. I remember thinking to myself that he probably had no one in his life. But I was wrong.
Because one day, the doors of the bar flew open and a woman marched in! A woman in her 50’s who was quite made-up, but you could tell that the make-up was having a tough time trying to conceal the obvious years of misery she’d put up with.
She was carrying something shiny and silver. She had bags with her…
She marched over to Auld Norrie and banged this silver thing down in front of him and said…“THAT’S THE LAST SUNDAY DINNER YOU’LL EVER GET OFF ME!” and then stormed out without looking back.
There was stone silence in the place and I was fixated on this old git. Everybody was.
He peeked under the silver foil and seeing that indeed, there was a full Sunday roast dinner on a plate, he took the foil off and I’ll never forget what he did next.
Very slowly, he opened his manky jacket and put his hand carefully in his inside pocket and pulled out…
A KNIFE AND FORK!
And then he wolfed the whole dinner down! Scranned the entire lot in about 2 minutes flat!
Then after that, he just went right back to being hunched over and drinking and muttering away to himself about “fucking bitches”.
I was about 8 or 9. It was amazing!
He’s dead now, Auld Norrie.
He lay dead for about 10 days at the bottom of his stairs before anybody noticed.
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