Ah put the phone back in ma pocket wondering whit Indian Sammy meant by bit of a domestic. He didnae live wae a girlfriend or wife, although he did claim tae have two women who steyed elsewhere. Woman number one looked efter his finances and kept a tidy hoose for him tae get away fae the madness when it suited him. Number two wiz just fur satisfying needs on the rare occasions they arose. They both knew of each other’s existence and were apparently close friends. It sounded a well-organised set-up. Everybody knew their place according tae Sammy. He’d bounced intae ma life three weeks before when ma cousin Jake split a parcel between us and, having then spent several lost days and nights in his company, Ah got tae know him quite well. As is the norm when getting tae know new faces, many tales get telt, so Ah couldnae help but think most of the time he wiz lying through whit teeth he had left, because Ah knew for certain Ah wiz. Any brief thoughts Ah had of attempting tae separate Sammy’s facts fae the myths got lost in a cloud of pipe smoke and powdered mirrors. Still, he had something Ah needed.
Playing the friend in need, Ah phoned Johnboy, who, being bored enough tae want oot his maw’s for an hour, volunteered tae come up tae Sammy’s wae me. We’d been tied wae umbilical cords ever since being born in the Queen Mother, separated by a mere three hours and a 300 year old religious divide; facts he reminded me aboot often when talking aboot respecting elders or queen and country. His marriage had recently broke up because his missus turned oot tae be a psycho wae more big issues than the homeless. Being the silent type whenever it came to personal shite he refused tae divulge the nitty-gritty. Ah didnae press him for details, more out of apathy than respect. Anyway, it was obvious she wiz a typical alky looking tae blame somebody else for her mistakes. Some days his heid wiz like a plate of mince, but he never missed work. He needed the money and structured routine, as well as feeding his hunger tae be part of something that gave him a place in the world, even if that meant building things tae kill cunts. Having worked in the shipyards on the Clyde as a welder since leaving school, he took great pride in being one of the last apprentices in a local industry once heralded around the world in its heyday for craftsmanship and luxury, wae creations like the QE2 and Queen Mary. Unfortunately, he missed the glory days. Now he and the owners take great pride in making cheap frigates for the Royal Navy, or anybody else wae the money tae pay, showing the government-run arms industry iznae any different fae the drug industry when it comes tae bottom line profit.
Ah left the hoose tae pick up Johnboy just as George Osborne came on Newsnight spewing shite aboot us aw being in it th-gither. Part of me wanted tae stey and shout at the cunt but most of me didnae give a fuck. When Ah parked up at Johnboy’s his maw gave me a where on earth ur ye aff tae at this time, on a school night, kind of wave fae the door. Ah waved back, wearing ma best smile, the kind reserved for mothers, all eyes wide and angelic, like a first school photo. She’d watched me grow up; fae shit-stained nappies tae stealing peapods fae her gerden tae getting fitba dreams crushed when Ah fell under a 62 bus trying tae retrieve a wild pass fae Johnboy.
Squeezing past his maw, Johnboy wore a Daz-fresh white t-shirt, emphasizing the dark tone of his tan, while the No Fear logo boldly emblazoned across his chest masked the deep-rooted paranoia in his heid. Looking like a Palestinian in summer might’ve made a few people jealous doon the pub, but also had its downsides; a full body search at Heathrow when returning fae Turkey proved a set-back tae Johnboy’s fragile ego. “I’m a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant,” he tried tae explain, but Her Majesty’s Customs wurnae wearing it, even though he showed them his King Billy 1690 tattoo. He shaved his beard aff no long efter that, cursing Al Qaeda.
He climbed intae ma car, displaying a new set of teeth, installed and paid for that week. Certain pronunciations still caused problems, but even wae a slight whistle at the end of each sentence he still had a brighter future noo he wiz away fae the nutter. However, no matter how depressed he got sometimes, Ah refused tae agree that future wiz orange. Efter making himself comfortable he pulled oot his tin and had skins th-gither before we left the driveway. Sit him doon anywhere for a minute, he’d have a joint built quicker than you could say ‘Queen Elizabeth II pride of the Clyde’, or as Ah preferred tae put it tae him, ‘British Aerospace: warmongering wean-killers’. He usually laughed that aff by showing me his wage slip. Never really one tae build himself up, ‘skilled tradesman’ wiz his casual boast about his joint and ship building, but only tae friends in a humorous, self-effacing sort a way.
Ah couldnae be arsed cracking any horsey jokes but knew he’d suspect something wiz wrang if Ah didnae slag him at least once a night. “That’s a bright set of acrylics yiv got there. Can ye build joints in the dark noo?”
“Fuck sake, Danny. Is that the best ye can dae, youngster?” His smile while burning the dope warned me he had a comeback. “Where we aff tae th-night then?”
“Garthamlock,” Ah answered, keeping ma eyes on the road, because there wiz a bus coming in the opposite direction, and Ah felt his smirk burning ma face.
“Garthamlock? Again?” He held back the laugh but Ah knew it wiz close. “Whit fur this time?”
He knew fine well whit fur. “A message.”
“Another wan? Yiv no finished that lump already.”
“Aye, awright, let it go.”
He let his laugh oot. Cunt.
Ah knew he widnae push it further. He knew the score. A bit ay him wanted it tae or he widnae be coming. Ah’m no saying he had a problem. He just never refused when offered, which had been nearly every night for quite some time.
As Johnboy hudnae met Sammy yet Ah gave him the Arthur Montford highlights: “Ye’ll like Sammy. He’s a character, good story-teller, looks like he’s been in a stramash or two, good friend of Jake.”
Thought it best no tae mention whit Sammy said on the phone aboot the domestic. If he sensed something wiznae right he widnae come, and Ah didnae really want tae go alone at that time of night. Also decided no tae tell him the hoose wiz like a schemey Aladdin’s cave. Every room but the bathroom stuffed wae aw sorts of shite, like a run doon branch of Argos where punters brought a variety of goods, as well as cash, in exchange for a ticket. Judging by how many times the doorbell rang, the customers were brand loyal, if not desperate, for Sammy’s tickets. Ah also didnae mention the living room where swords and martial art weaponry hung fae walls like family pictures.
“Sammy’s got books ye might like.”
“Whit kind a books?”
“Whit the fuck dae Ah care aboot Indians?”
“Ye look like …”
“Fuck off, ya wee tattie muncher.”
That didnae go as well as Ah’d hoped. Sammy took great pride informing me he’d read his books more than once, and that he’d paid for them; still had receipts so the polis couldnae claim they were stolen. He’d been intae Indians since he wiz a wean, always cheering for the underdog against the cavalry, cultivating a distrust of the law and figures of authority that would be harvested in later years. That wiznae the only reason Indian Sammy got his name. Jake told me he wiz a savage in school fights, no afraid tae use whitever weapons he could find, and once attempted tae scalp a boy in the playground wae a pencil sharpener efter he couldnae get his eye oot wae a soup spoon. That marked him oot as somebody tae be avoided. Even the so-called best fighters in the school gave him a wide berth efter that, even though he wiz only a first year. Ah thought it best no tae mention that tae Johnboy either.
“Ah’ll just sit in the car when we get there,” he said, passing the joint like it wiz the Olympic torch and reclining his seat.
“Don’t be daft. Anywey, Sammy asked me tae bring up milk for a quick brew. We’ll sit for wan cuppa tea and then head straight hame. Ah’m tellin’ ye, it’ll be sound.”