Dead Men's Trousers

Dead Men's Trousers

by Irvine Welsh


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The International Bestseller from the author The New York Times called "blisteringly funny" — it's the wild and wooly crew from Trainspotting back for one last adventure

You don't need to have seen the blockbuster movie—nor read the earlier mega-bestselling books—to get what's going on in Dead Men's Trousers: Four no-longer-young men who constantly think back to their bawdy, drug-filled youth together on the streets of Edinburgh, decide they want to join forces for one last caper.

Careful what you wish for...

"Manages a sort of ragged glory, a life-affirming comic energy . . .
A whooping last hurrah for the Trainspotting gang."
—The Guardian

"Crackles with idiomatic energy and brio." —Publishers Weekly

Mark Renton is finally a success. He now makes significant money managing DJs, but the constant travel, airport lounges, soulless hotel rooms, and broken relationships have left him dissatisfied with life.

Then he runs into his old partner in crime, Frank Begbie, from whom he'd been hiding for years. But the psychotic Begbie appears to have reinvented himself as a celebrated artist in Los Angeles, and doesn't seem interested in revenge.

Meanwhile, back in Edinburgh, Sick Boy and Spud are intrigued to learn that their old friends are back in town, and concoct a new scheme for them all . . .

Which is when things start to go horribly wrong. The four men, driven by their personal histories and addictions, circle each other, confused, angry, and desperate. One of these four will not survive . . . Which one is wearing Dead Men's Trousers?
Fast and furious, scabrously funny, and weirdly moving, this is a spectacular return of the crew from Trainspotting.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781612197555
Publisher: Melville House Publishing
Publication date: 02/26/2019
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 270,631
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Irvine Welsh was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, the scene of his first book: the hugely successful Trainspotting. That book shot Welsh to fame, precipitated further by the release of the film version by Danny Boyle. Since then he has written eight other works of fiction, including Rave and The Blade Artist. He currently lives in the United States.

Read an Excerpt

Dead Men’s Trousers

A rash ay sweat beads are forming on Frank Begbie’s forehead. I am trying no tae stare. He’s just come intae the air-conditioned building fae the heat outside, and his system’s adjusting. Pits ays in mind ay when we first met. It was warm then n aw. Or maybe no. We start idealising shit as we get older. It actually wasn’t at primary school, as I had often recounted. That tale seemed tae have slid intae that weird overstuffed volume between fact and folklore, where a lot ay Begbie stories ended up. No, it was before that: at the ice-cream van outside the Fort, probably on a Sunday. He was cairrying a big blue Tupperware bowl.

I had no long started school, and recognised Begbie from there. He was the year above me then, but that would change. I stood behind him in the queue, a bright sun in our eyes, bursting oot fae gaps between the blackened tenements. He seems a good boy, I thought, watching him dutifully hand the bowl over to the ice-cream man. — It’s for eftir dinner, he said with a big smile, on noting me observing proceedings. I recall that this impressed me greatly at the time; ah’d never seen a kid entrusted to get a bowl filled in that way. My ma just gave us tinned Plumbrose cream with our sliced peaches or pears.

Then, when I got my cone, he had stalled and was waiting for me. We walked back doon the street thegither, talking about Hibs and our bikes. We were fleet-footed, especially him, speed-walking and bursting into a trot, mindful of the melting ice cream. (So it was a hot day.) I headed to the towering council flats at Fort House; he veered across the road to a sooty tenement. Auld Reekie was just that back then, before stone cleaning removed the industrial grime. — See ye, he waved at me.

I saluted back. Yes, he did seem a good boy. But later on, I would learn different. I always told a story of how ah was seated next to him at secondary school, as if this penance was imposed on me. But it wasn’t. We sat thegither because we were already friends.

Now I cannae quite believe I’m here in Santa Monica, California, living this kind of life. Especially when Franco Begbie is sitting across the table from me, with Melanie, in this nice restaurant on 3rd Street. We are both light years away from that ice-cream van in Leith. I’m with Vicky, who works in film sales, but hails originally from Salisbury, England. We met on a dating website. It’s our fourth outing and we huvnae fucked yet. After our third would probably have been the time. We’re not bairns. Now I sense we’ve let it slide too long and are a bit tentative in each other’s company, wondering: is this going anywhere? I thought I was being cool; truth is that she’s a lovely woman and I’m aching to be with her.

So it’s tough being roond Franco and Melanie; such a bright, bronzed and healthy couple. Franco, twenty years older than her, almost seems a match for this fit, tanned, blonde Californian. They are easy and languid in each other’s company; a touch ay hand on thigh here, a sneaky wee peck on cheek there, a meaningful glance and exchange of conspiratorial smiles everywhere.

Lovers are cunts. They rub your face in it without meaning to. And that’s what I’ve had from Frank Begbie since that fucking insane day on the plane last summer. We did stay in touch, and have met up a few times. But never just us: always with Melanie, and sometimes whatever company I bring along. Strangely, this is at Franco’s instigation. Whenever we arrange a get-together for just the two of us, so I can discuss paying him back, he always finds a reason to cancel. Now here we are in Santa Monica, with Christmas looming. He’ll be here for the festive period, in the sun, while I’ll be in Leith, with my old man. Ironically able to relax, now that the guy sitting opposite me, who I thought would never leave the old port, or only for a prison cell, is no longer a threat.

The food is good and the company is pleasant and chilled out. So I should be at peace. But I’m no. Vicky, Melanie and I split a bottle ay white wine. I crave a second but stay silent. Franco doesnae drink any more. I keep saying that tae myself in disbelief: Franco doesnae drink any more. And when it’s time tae leave and head tae the apartment in the Uber with Vicky, who lives close by in Venice, I’m again pondering the implications of his transformation, and where it’s left me. I’m far from a strict temperance guy, chance would be a fine thing, but I’ve done enough NA meetings over the years tae ken that no paying him back just isnae a valid psychological option for ays. When I do compensate him — and I realise that I must, not just for him but for me — it’ll be gone, that fucking huge burden. That need to run will be forever extinguished. I can see more of Alex, maybe rebuild some kind of a relationship with Katrin, my ex. I can perhaps make a proper go ay it with Vicky here, see where it takes us. And all I need to do is tae pey this cunt off. I know exactly how much I owe him at today’s money. Fifteen thousand four hundred and twenty quid: that’s how much three thousand two hundred pounds is worth now. And that’s small beer compared tae what I owe Sick Boy. But I’ve also been putting money aside for him and Second Prize. Franco, though, is more pressing.

In the back of the Uber, Vicky’s hand fastens around my own. She has big paws for a woman of around five-six; they’re almost the same size as mine. — What are you thinking about? Work?

— Got it, I lie glumly. — I’ve those gigs at Christmas and New Year in Europe. But at least I’ll get back home tae spend time with the old boy.

— Wish I was going home, she says. — Especially as my sister’s making it back from Africa. But it takes too much time out of my leave. So it’ll be Christmas with some expats…again, she groans in exasperation.

Now would be the time to say it: I wish I were spending Christmas here with you. It would be a simple, honest statement. However, meeting Franco has once again discombobulated me, and the moment passes. But there are other opportunities. As we reach my building I ask Vicky if she wants to come up for a nightcap. She smiles tightly. — Sure.

We get upstairs and into the apartment. The air is thick and stale and hot. I hit the air con and it creaks and whistles into action. I pour two glasses ay red wine and slump down on the small couch, suddenly tired after all my travelling. My DJ Emily says that everything happens for a reason. It’s her mantra. I never buy into all that cosmic forces shite. But now I’m thinking: What if she’s right? What if I was meant to run into Franco, in order to pay him back? Unburden myself? Move on? After all, that’s what he’s done, and I’m the one who’s fucking stuck.

Vicky has sat down on the couch beside me. She stretches out like a cat, then slips off her shoes and pulls her tanned legs up, smoothing down her skirt. I feel blood flowing from brain to baws. She’s thirty-seven and has had a proper life, from what I can gather. Been messed around by a couple of wankers, broken a few saps’ hearts. Now she has a fire in her eye and set tae her jaw that says: Time to get serious. Shit or get off the pot.

— You think it’s time we, eh, took this to the next level? I ask.

Her eyes are slitty and alert as she touches the sun-bleached brunette-blonde hair scrapped right back off her forehead. — Oh, I think so, she says in a voice that is meant to be sexy and is.

We’re both relieved tae get the first shag out the road. Already beyond excellent, it’ll only kick on from here. It always fascinates me how, when you fancy somebody, they often look even better with no clothes on than you imagine. But the next day, she leaves early for work, and I have to get on a plane tae Barcelona. It’s for a gig that isnae important in itself, but at a club night promoted by a guy who does the Sonar Festival there. Our participation in that was sealed by agreeing to do this Christmas show. Who knows when Victoria and I will hook up again. But I travel happy and with a bit to think about, and maybe something to come back for. And that’s been a long time in happening.

So here I am, flying east, the dreaded east. Business class is essential for this one. I should lie flat but the stewardess offers a nice French wine from their selection, and before I know it I’m shit-faced at altitude again. All I’m thinking about is getting some coke. I settle for an Ambien.

Yes, it has gotten obnoxiously trendy. Aye, money has ruined it. For sure, it’s been colonised by cosmopolitan fuckers high on solvency and low on personality, their mirthless laughter from the bars and cafes echoing down its narrow streets. But for all those caveats, the simple fact remains intact: if you don’t like Barcelona, you’re a cunt, and totally lost tae humanity.

I know I still have some kind of pulse, cause I love it. Even when I’m fighting tae keep my eyes open, and shutting them jaunts me back into the hell of the sweaty nightclub I’ve either just left or am heading to. I have a constant four-four beat pounding in my brain, despite the cab driver playing tinny Latin music. I stumble out the taxi, almost falling over with fatigue. I pull my roller-wheeled case out the back, and struggle intae my hotel. The check-in is swift but seems like an age. I feel myself letting the air out my lungs in a long sigh to hurry the clerk up. I’m shiteing it in case one ay my DJs or the promoter walks in right now and wants to talk. The plastic strip that gains me entry to my room is issued. Some notes about the Wi-Fi and breakfast. I get intae the lift. The blinking green light in the lock tells me the key works, thank fuck. I’m inside. On my bed.

For how long I’m out I don’t know. But the room phone wakes me with loud burps. My mind journeys with each one; the pause long enough to give me hope I’ve just heard the last of them. Then…it’s Conrad. My most high-maintenance client has arrived. I push my bones vertical.

I’m wishing I was in LA or Amsterdam, I don’t care, watching Pop Idol, Vicky perhaps tucked into my side, but I’m a shuddering mass of jet lag and ching in this Barcelona hotel, feeling my IQ almost satisfyingly slip away as my heartbeat pumps up. I’m in the bar with Carl, Conrad and Miguel, a promoter at Nitsa, the club we’re playing. Fortunately, he’s one of the good guys. Emily enters and refuses to join us, pointedly standing at the bar, playing with her phone. She’s making a statement, one that compels me to rise and go to her.

— You get those wankers in your little boys’ club sorted out, why not me?

No much in my job disturbs me. Certainly setting up a DJ with prostitutes doesn’t even twinge my moral compass these days. But when the DJ is a young woman, who is seeking the company of another young woman, it’s outside both my skill set and comfort zone. — Look, Emily —

— Call me DJ Night Vision!

How do you react when a young lassie with wavy dark hair, a beauty-spot mole on her chin and big swimming-pool eyes looks at you as if she indeed does have night vision? She once told me that her mother was of gypsy stock. That surprised me as I’ve met her dad, Mickey, who seems pure English Defence League. I can see why that one didn’t last. Her title has become a big thing with her, since she heard me calling Carl N-Sign and Conrad Technonerd. — Look, DJ Night Vision, you’re a beautiful woman. Any guy, I correct myself, — I mean girl, or person, in their right mind, would want tae sleep with you. But you shagging a lipsticked-and-stiletto-heeled hooker will depress the fuck out of me, as I crash in the next room alone with a good book. Then it’ll do the same tae you, as you’ll have tae lie tae Starr.

Emily’s girlfriend Starr is a tall, gorgeous, raven-haired medical student. Not the sort of lassie that gets cheated on, you’d think, but nobody is too beautiful to suffer that fate. Carl’s ex, Helena, is a stunner, but it didn’t stop this weird-looking albino cunt from Stenhoose banging anything that smiled at him. Emily sweeps her hair oot ay her eyes and rocks back on her heels, looking over at the boys. Carl is animated, gesticulating, arguing with Miguel: his voice high, fuelled by powder. I hope tae fuck the cunt isnae burning this gig down. Conrad watches in detached semi-amusement, cramming some complimentary nuts intae his face. Emily turns back to me, her voice harsh and low. — Do you care about me, Mark?

— Of course I do, babe, you’re like a daughter to me, I say, a little blithely.

— Yeah, one that makes you money instead of one you have to pay college fees for, right?

Emily Baker, Night Vision, doesn’t actually make me that much money. With a few notable exceptions, female DJs don’t do that well. Back when I had the club, I booked Lisa Loud, Connie Lush, Marina Van Rooy, Daisy, Princess Julia and Nancy Noise, but for every one of them there were scores who were still worth booking but who weren’t. Female DJs more often than not have great taste and play the cool, righteous house music I like. But they generally aren’t as obsessive-compulsive as male ones. In short, they have lives. Even those who don’t are still tough to break, as the industry is extremely sexist. If they ain’t lookers, they don’t get taken seriously, ignored by the promoters. If they are lookers, they don’t get taken seriously, cruised by the promoters.

I’m not going to mention the track or the studio though, that will set Emily off; it’s great but she lacks confidence in it and I cannae give anybody lessons in how tae live. I have more hassles with my DJs than I do with my own kid, the difference being that I try harder tae make a difference with them. When I tell people what I do for a living, the daft cunts actually see it as glamorous. Is it fuck! My name is Mark Renton and I’m a Scotsman who lives between Holland and America. Most ay ma life is spent in hotels, airports and on phones and email. I have around $24,000 in an account at Citibank in the USA, and €157,000 in the ABN AMRO in the Netherlands, and £328 in the Clydesdale Bank in Scotland. If I’m no in a hotel, my head rests on a pillow in a flat overlooking a canal in Amsterdam or a balcony-less condominium in Santa Monica, a good half-hour walk from the ocean. It’s better than being on the dole, stacking shelves in a supermarket, walking some rich cunt’s dug, or cleaning some slavering fucker’s arse, but that’s about it. It’s only in the last three years I’ve started making serious money, since Conrad has broken big.

We’ve caned it a little at the hotel and get taxied to the club. Conrad seldom does coke or E but smokes a ton of weed and eats like a beer-titted horse. He’s also narcoleptic and has fallen into his customary deep sleep in the anteroom off the green room, which is a busy space, full of DJs’ managers, journos and hangers-on. I head to the bar with Miguel to talk business, and when I go to check on my superstar DJ around forty minutes later, something isn’t quite right.

He’s still under, lying on his side, his arms folded, but…there’s something attached to his forehead.

It’s…it’s a fucking dildo!

I pull gently on it, but it seems stuck fast. Conrad’s lids dance but remain closed, as he gives out a low growl. I let go.

Fuck! Which cunt…?

Carl! He’s in the DJ booth. I head back to the green room, where Miguel is conversing with Emily, who is about to go on. — Who the fuck…In there, his heid, I point, as Miguel moves through to investigate while Emily shrugs blankly. — Carl…That cunt…

I charge out to the booth as Carl is finishing up for an unenthusiastic audience, on a quarter-full floor. Emily appears at my shoulder, ready to replace him.

— C’mere, ya cunt. I grab his wrist.

— What the fuck —

I’m pulling him out the booth, through the green room and into the anteroom, pointing at the still power-napping, dildo-heided Dutchman. — Did you do that?

Miguel is in attendance, looking at us with startled wide eyes. Carl laughs, and slaps the Catalan promoter on the back. Miguel chuckles nervously and raises his hands. — I saw nothing!

— Looks like one more complex management problem for you to resolve, bro, Carl grins. — I’m heading out onto the dance floor. There was a sultry wee honey I kept making eye contact with. She could be getting rode. So don’t wait up. He punches my airm, then shakes Conrad’s shoulder. — Wake up, ya dickheided Dutch dope!

Conrad doesn’t open his eyes. He just shifts onto his back, the cock pointing upwards. Carl departs, leaving me to sort this fucking mess out. I turn to Miguel. — How the fuck do you remove superglue?

— I do not know, he confesses.

This isn’t good. I always feel that I’m on the verge of losing Conrad. Big management agencies have been sniffing around. His head will be turned. It happened with Ivan, the Belgian DJ I broke big, and the cunt jumped ship as soon as the royalties started flowing in. I can’t afford Conrad to do the same, although I scent the inevitability.

Watching him slumber, I pull out my Apple Mac and batter through some emails. He’s still under when I check my watch; Emily is coming to the end of her set soon, so I shake him. — Buddy, time to rock.

He blinks awake. His eyes roll into his head as his peripheral vision sees something loom above them. He touches his forehead. Grabs at the dick. It hurts. — Ow…what is this?

— Some cunt…probably Ewart, fucking around, I tell him, trying to make light of it. Miguel is over. The sound engineer shouts that Conrad is due on.

— Tell Night Vision to hold the fort, I say, pulling on the dildo. It looks like it’s growing out his head.

Miguel looks on in mounting perturbation, his tones sepulchral. — He will have to go to the hospital to get it removed!

My touch isn’t that deft, as Conrad lets out a howl. — Stop! What the fuck are you doing?

— Sorry about this. After your set, bud, we go straight to casualty.

Conrad sits bolt upright, storms over to the wall mirror. — What…His fingers pull at the phallus and he yelps out in pain. — WHO DID THIS? WHERE IS EWART?

— Pussy hunt, mate, I advance timidly.

Conrad is gingerly probing and pulling at the cock with his doughy fingers. — This is not a joke! I cannot go on like this! They will laugh at me!

— You have to play, warns Miguel, — we have an arrangement. Sonar. It is in the contract.

— Conny, I beg him, — help us out here!

— I cannot! I need this off me! He tugs at it again and screams out, his face contorted in pain.

I stand behind him, my hands on his big shoulders. — Don’t, it’ll take your skin off…Please, bud, go out, I implore. — Own it. Make it your joke.

Conrad swivels round, breaking my grip, panting like a pressure cooker, looking at me in pure, earnest execration. But he’s off, led by the big cock, and he steps out behind the decks to cheers and the flashing of camera phones. Fair play to the fat lad, he rolls his head and lets the dick flop around, to feverish screams from the floor.

Emily stands back and giggles through her fingers. — It’s funny, Mark.

— It’s not fucking funny at all, I declare, but I’m laughing too. — I’ll never hear the end of this. He will make me pay with my blood, sweat and tears. I was relying on him to help me elevate you and Carl, but he’s no going to play nice now!

— Everything happens for a reason!

Like fuck it does. I have to hand it to Conrad though: he sidelines his petulance. On the chorus of his hit ‘Flying High’ with the refrain Sexy, sexy baby, he faux wanks the cock to great cheers, roaring into the mike, — I luff house muzik! It is the ultimate headfuck!

It’s a monster gig, but when it’s over Conrad’s understandably back in the strop big time. We get him to the hospital where they apply a solution to loosen and remove the dildo quite easily. He still isn’t happy, as a nurse sponges the excess glue off his forehead. — Your friend Ewart, trying to build his comeback on my reputation. There is no way! I am laughing stock! It is all over social media! He shows me Twitter on his phone. The hashtag #dickhead has been well used.

The next morning sees the familiar shaky rise for another flight, this time to Edinburgh. A favourable article I find while netsurfing lifts my spirits. It’s by an influential dance-music journalist who was at the gig. I show Conrad, who reads, his eyes bulging and a wheezy purr insinuating from deep within.

A lot of the modern DJs are humourless bores, dull tech-heads with zero personality. You certainly can’t slot Technonerd into that box. Not only did he play a blistering set in Barcelona’s Nitsa, shining in comparison to the stodgy veteran N-Sign who preceded him, he also displayed great levity, hitting the box sporting a dangling penis, swinging from his forehead!

— See? You fuckin owned that shit, I say with a passion only partly contrived, — and you owned that fuckin crowd. It was a flawless display of dance-music entertainment, the humour and wit matching the tunes and —

— I did. Conrad punches his big tits and turns across the aisle to Carl. — And I owned his tired old has-been ass!

Carl turns his head into the window, doghouse hung-over, and lets out a groan.

Conrad leans into me, and says earnestly, — You say flawless performance…this was the word you used, flawless. But this implies, does it not, that it was purely technical? It was contrived, and it lacked soul. This is what you mean, yes?

Fuck sake, what kind ay a life is this tae lead…? — No, mate, it had soul brimming out of every pore. And it wasn’t contrived, it was the polar fucking opposite. How could it be contrived, I point over at the now slumbering Ewart, — when this cunt did that to you? It forced you to dig deep, I slap his chest, — and you fucking came up with the goods. Proud as fuck of you, bud, I say, watching his face for a reaction.

A satisfied nod tells me things are okay. — In Edinburgh, the Scottish pussy is good, yes?

— The city boasts the most stunningly beautiful women in the world, I tell him. — There’s a place called Standard Life; mate, you do not want to know.

His brow arches in intrigue. — The Standard Life. This is a club?

— More a state of mind.

When we land, I scrutinise the emails, the texts, fire off some in return, round up the DJs, check into another hotel like a zombie. Get the DJs to bed, get some sleep myself, then stroll down Leith Walk in the murky cold, biting after the Californian sun, and even the Catalan one. But bold in my strides for the first time in decades, not caring about bumping into Begbie any more.

Perversely, some stretches of the old boulevard of broken dreams are not too dissimilar from parts of the Barcelona I just left: old pubs tarted up, students everywhere, rip-off flats like cheap false teeth in the gap sites between tenements, cool cafes, eateries of every type and cusine. Those sit comfortingly alongside pockets of the familiar: a vaguely recognised tab-puffing bam outside the Alhambra strangely reassuring as he gives me the snidey eye.

Down to Dad’s gaff by the river. I stayed here for a couple of years after we moved from the Fort, but it never felt like home. You know you’ve turned intae a cunt with nae life, whose fetid arsehole is owned by late capitalism, when times like this feel an imposition and you cannae stop checking your phone for emails and texts. I’m with my dad, my sister-in-law Sharon, and my niece Marina and her infant twin boys Earl and Wyatt, who look indentical but have different personalities. Sharon has packed on the beef. Everybody in Scotland seems fatter now. As she fingers an earring, she expresses guilt about them staying in the spare rooms, while I’m in a hotel. I tell her it’s no hardship for me, as my dodgy back demands a specialist mattress. I explain that the hotel room is a business expense; my DJs have gigs in the city. Working-class people seldom get that the wealthy generally eat, sleep and travel well at their expense again, through tax deductables. I’m not exactly rich, but I’ve blagged my way into the system, onto the steerage class of the gravy train that bulldozes the poor. I pay more tax registered in Holland than I would in the USA, but better gieing it to the Dutch to build dams than the Yanks to build bombs.

After the meal prepared by Sharon and Marina, we’re kicking back in the cosy cramp of this small room, and the drinks slip down nicely. My old boy still has a decent posture to him, broad-shouldered, if a little bent over, not too much muscle wastage in evidence. He’s at the time of life where nothing at all surprises. His politics have drifted towards the right, in a moany auld cunt nostalgia way, rather than intrinsically hardcore reactionary, but still a sad state of affairs for an old union man, and indicative of bigger existential distress. That leakage of hope, of vision and passion for a better world, and its replacement by a hollow rage, is a sure sign that you’re slowly dying. But at least he lived: it would be the worst thing on earth to have those politics at an early age, to be born with that essential part of you already dead. A sad gleam in his eye indicates he’s holding on to a melancholy thought. — I mind of your dad, he says to Marina, referencing my brother Billy, the father she never saw.

— He’s off, Marina laughs, but she likes to hear about Billy. Even I do. Over the years I’ve learned tae recast him as a loyal, steadfast big brother, rather than the violent, bullying squaddie that for a good while dominated ma perception ay him. It was only later that I realised that both were complementary states ay being. However, death often serves to bring somebody’s good qualities to the fore.

— I mind after he was killed, Dad says, his voice breaking as he turns tae me, — your ma looked oot the windae. He’d just been hame on leave and had gone back that weekend. His clathes were still hingin oot tae dry; everything except his jeans, his Levi’s. Somebody, some scabby bastard, he half laughs, half scowls, still hurting after all those years, — had swiped them off the line.

— Those were his favourite jeans. I feel a tight grin stretch my face, looking at Sharon. — He fancied himself a bit in them, like that model ponce in the advert who took them off in the launderette and put them in the washer dryer. Became famous.

— Nick Kamen! Sharon squeals with delight.

— Who’s that? Marina asks.

— You’ll no ken, before your time.

Dad looks at us, perhaps a bit miffed at our frivolous intrusion. — It fair set Cathy off that even his favourite jeans had gone. She ran upstairs tae his room, and laid aw his clathes oot oan his bed. Wouldnae let them go for months. I took them tae the charity shop one day, and she broke down when she found out they were gone. He starts bubbling and Marina grabs his hand. — She never quite forgave me for that.

— Enough, ya auld Weedgie radge, I say to him, — of course she forgave ye!

He forces a smile. As the convo moves on to Billy’s funeral, Sharon and I share a guilty glance. It’s bizarre tae think that I was shagging her in the toilet after that grim event, while Marina, sitting comforting ma faither with her own kids, was unborn inside her. I would now have to class that one as bad behaviour.

Dad turns tae me, tones heavy with accusation. — It would have been nice tae have seen the wee man.

— Alex, well, that just wisnae gaunny happen, I muse out loud.

— How is Alex, Mark? Marina asks.

She’s never got to know her wee cousin so well. Again, that’s my fault.

— He should be here, he’s as much a part ay this family as any ay us, my dad growls in contention, his square-go-then-ya-cunt expression on. But he cannae add tae ma considerable hurt on this issue.

— Dad, Sharon gently reprimands. She calls him that more than I do, even though she’s the daughter-in-law, and with more justification.

— So how’s the jet-setting life, Mark? Marina changes the subject. — You seeing anybody?

— Mind you ain business, nosy! Sharon says.

— I never kiss and tell, I say, feeling wonderfully schoolboy bashful as I think ay Vicky, and switch the tone myself, nodding at my old man. — Did I tell you that I’m pally with Frank Begbie again?

— Heard he did awright wi this art stuff, Dad says. — Ower in California now, they say. Wise move. There’s nothing here for him but enemies.

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Dead Men's Trousers 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous 3 months ago
can not get past the first paragraph as the language is gratously abhorant. be sure to read sample before purchasing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago