Doon the Careers Office

“Monday, 10 o’ clock?” Alison raises her eyebrows at Gary. Gary does not react. “That’s fine, Mr MacLeod. Gary’ll see you then.” She hangs up.

Gary lowers his head. His brow creases.

“So there you go, Gary! Got an interview! By next week you might have a job.” “…” 
“Something up?”
“…”

“It’s the other direction. You’ll not have to cross that scheme where the boys jump you.”
“…”   
“It’s fixed hours, Gary!  There’s plenty folk out there never know the minute they’ll be called in.”

 “Goannae make it anither day?”

Alison groans. “Monday not suit?”
“…”
“Why d’you not say at the time?”
“…”
“Don’t want to have to phone him back through the switchboard and everything.”

“Cannae go Monday, but.”
”Why not?”
“…”

 “What you doing Monday morning that’s more important than going for a job?”
“Nuthin.”  Face like fizz, gazing at the desk.
“So what is it? 10 o’clock Monday morning too early for you?”
“…”
“Do you really want a job?”

Gary glances up. Is that a tear? “Aye.” …  and down again.

Alison folds her arms. “Doesn’t sound that way.”
“Monday’s Da’s signin day.”

Ah. “You don’t need your Dad to go with you.”
“…”
“You’re 16, Gary.  Grown up.”
“…”
“Trust me. Makes a better impression if you’re on your own.”
“…”

“Do you not know the street? Will I show you on the map?”
“Cannae go if Da’s doon the broo.”
“Why not?”

“…”  His face is crimson.
“I’m not a mind-reader! Speak!”

“His shot o the shoes.”

Alison slides her chair back and looks under the desk. Dingy frayed trainers. Two sizes too big.

Alison phones and changes the appointment to Tuesday.  
“One more wee thing: if you take Gary on, could you maybe advance him the price of a pair of shoes?”
 ———————————————-

Doon the Careers Office

Doon the Careers Office

 “Monday, 10 o’ clock?” Alison raises her eyebrows at Gary. Gary does not react. “That’s fine, Mr MacLeod. Gary’ll see you then.” She hangs up.

Gary lowers his head. His brow creases.

“So there you go, Gary! Got an interview! By next week you might have a job.” “…” 
“Something up?”
“…”

“It’s the other direction. You’ll not have to cross that scheme where the boys jump you.”
“…”   
“It’s fixed hours, Gary!  There’s plenty folk out there never know the minute they’ll be called in.”

 “Goannae make it anither day?”

Alison groans. “Monday not suit?”
“…”
“Why d’you not say at the time?”
“…”
“Don’t want to have to phone him back through the switchboard and everything.”

“Cannae go Monday, but.”
”Why not?”
“…”

 “What you doing Monday morning that’s more important than going for a job?”
“Nuthin.”  Face like fizz, gazing at the desk.
“So what is it? 10 o’clock Monday morning too early for you?”
“…”
“Do you really want a job?”

Gary glances up. Is that a tear? “Aye.” …  and down again.

Alison folds her arms. “Doesn’t sound that way.”
“Monday’s Da’s signin day.”

Ah. “You don’t need your Dad to go with you.”
“…”
“You’re 16, Gary.  Grown up.”
“…”
“Trust me. Makes a better impression if you’re on your own.”
“…”

“Do you not know the street? Will I show you on the map?”
“Cannae go if Da’s doon the broo.”
“Why not?”

“…”  His face is crimson.
“I’m not a mind-reader! Speak!”

“His shot o the shoes.”

Alison slides her chair back and looks under the desk. Dingy frayed trainers. Two sizes too big.

Alison phones and changes the appointment to Tuesday.  
“One more wee thing: if you take Gary on, could you maybe advance him the price of a pair of shoes?”
 ———————————————-

Liberty Line

Crocodile caravan coming our way

Barred before

Harried behind.

Stumbling, tumbling

Plunging, floating, sinking

Stinking boats, stalled trains, shanks’ pony

Shanks long, short, aged, infant

Powerfully pounding the tarmac

Painfully limping the dirt track

Rattling along the rail track

Tottering hopefully into the Hauptbahnhof.

The Airt o Declaration

Wabbit fae the bloody fecht, caul and weet fae weather

Liggin laigh fae peel tae peel,  joukin in the heather,

Seekin freens in whitna airts a puckle fowk can fin them:

Flanders, France, the Hanseatics, Danes, the Halie Feyther,

Pledgin tae nae earthly maister, laird, or thane or king

In fear he’ll strike ye doon, or in howp tae gain likin

But tae a thocht, an abstract dream, a hauf-misshapen greenin

Wintin a better nation.

 

Heartened fae the campaigns, caul and weet fae weather

Mairchin  toon tae toon, forty thoosan thegither

Seekin freens in whitna airts a stateless land can fin them:

Norway, Ireland, Catalonia, Iceland, the twinty-seevin

Pledgin tae nae politeecians, procurers o power or labour

In fear they’ll tak yer siller, or in howp they’ll gie ye favour

But tae a thocht, an abstract dream, a lang-estaiblished  greenin

Plannin a better nation.