poodles… they fuckin’ bite tae!

(c) Kat McDonald Photography

40 minutes to kill

Glenrothes. this town slips beneath the dark cloak of night early this time of year. shadows seep into each other under the sodium light. it is from beneath this cloak of darkness that the creeps and freaks emerge. the air is cold, and bristling.

the bus station is central to the town centre. Glenrothes Town Centre. Glenrothes is an ugly town. its centre was born inside out. winning the Carbuncle for being Scotland’s shame seems easy for Glenrothes, having won this culturally prestigious award for being an architectural eye-sore twice.  visitors to the town, arriving at the centre, are greeted by the backsides of brown unsightly shop units.

welcome to Glenrothes…

outside of the, marginally warmer, fluorescent-lit interior of the bus station waiting room, i stand and watch the freak show. the people shuffle around, avoiding eye-contact with each other, avoiding perceived hostility and expected confrontation. the people stand, heads bowed in submission. submission of their pitiful existence; submission into accepting their lot. these people are sad. i feel their sadness. the people continue to shuffle beneath the artificial light. they group, re-group and break away to board their chosen bus. their chosen bus to take them somewhere better. somewhere there is hope.

anywhere is better than here.

yet they stand, heads bowed, staring at the ground or staring at the back-lit screen of their smart phone or other TETRAwave-omitting handheld device where they can escape their self-abasing shame to the clutches of social media where they can escape and pretend.

my chosen bus will not arrive for another forty minutes. i wait. i watch.

i watch as the freakshow begins. my ticket cost £1.75 for a front row seat. no usherettes with cigarettes and popcorn, however.

i watch as the entertainment begins.

the moon is new – a crescent-shaped sliver of silver slung low in the sky. i watch it rise, with each exhalation that hangs like a faint smog in the bracing night air. i watch the moon rise, slowly, above the Club 3000 Bingo Hall.

a mullet-haired man laughs maniacally, reeling in his muscle dog ‘Rizla’, as two cops jog past wearing fluorescent flak jackets, chasing down a group of ‘loitering’ teenagers. jesus. these boisterous teenagers are long-gone. what a waste of time. and for what crime? being teenagers?

i stand outside Stance 5, waiting. watching the freaks.

a toothless, hapless drunk staggers up to me. his breath reeks of stale ale and cheap tobacco.

“any spare change?” he grunts.
“no, i’m sorry…” i reply

he dips down beneath the norms of common civility by muttering “fucking cunt!” beneath his breath. i hear him, but i do not retaliate. i don’t bite back. i merely breathe in deep and let it go…

buses arrive from the cities. smiling people alight these buses with their little cases with extendable handles and small plastic wheels that click across the pavement as they stride out towards the taxi rank.

“yeah…” i think. “keep moving”.

these people are now unsmiling. it is best that they keep moving. if they stop their smiles may never return.

the ‘loitering’ teenagers return and the toothless drunk begins to dance. falling about laughing, the teenagers mock the drunk. they dance with him, they laugh at him.

a pony-tailed bleach blonde girl called Laura, with eyebrows penciled in with unnerving severity and precision, films this moment on her diamante-encrusted iPhone 3G. this WILL be on Facebook or YouTube, of that, i am sure.

the mullet man with muscle dog sparks up a dooby.  i can smell it.  and, once again, he laughs maniacally to himself, looking at the palm of his left hand.

the teens sit on the seat next to where i stand. four pony-tailed girls in sweat pants and two plooky-faced boys, with breaking voices and more testosterone than the National Sperm Bank. They continue to mock the hapless drunk, encouraging him to dance. encouraging him to perform, like a circus sea lion.

and this is a circus.

the teenagers’ conversation turns to sex and how a ’69’ is ‘the best ice-cream cone ever!’.  one of the puberty boys claims he’s ‘got a boner’, and tries to dry-hump the drunk. the drunk tries to hump him back. he looks like a chimp on fire.  but they have an audience. again, Blondie films it.

“poor bastard” i think to myself.

the drunk then throws a philosophical question out into the ether:

“fuck knows!” he bawls. “whut’s tha’ aw aboot?”

the teens laugh.

“ah mean. who the fuck is fuck?” he asks, with genuine concern
“‘n’ whut duz he ken, ken?” he asks, with staggering sobriety.

the teens laugh. again.

the two plooky-faced boys peacock and parade for the pony-tailed girls. they vie for their attention by splashing each other in the puddles.

“it’s better tae take a big fuckin’ piss ‘n’ then splash the cunts!” shouts the drunk to his pony-tailed audience.

the girls laugh. the boys cease their splashing and listen. they engage with the drunk, quizzing him on his apparent wealth of wisdom in ways of wooing the women.

another plooky-faced boy arrives, eating a ’69’ ice-cream cone. he is with a pretty brunette with pierced eyebrows.  he introduces her to the group as ‘Karen’.

suddenly, more and more teens arrive, as does my chosen bus.

i’m out of here.

i board the bus and sit at the front.

i watch as the maniacal mullet man with the muscle dog and funny left hand boards the bus and joins a group of three other mullet-headed men, sat at the rear. he swaggers along the aisle, allowing his dog to sniff its way along. a well-dressed woman frowns in discomfort and disgust as the dog hungrily sniffs her crotch.

“RIZLA!” he yells, as he yanks the chain.

the dog obeys his master and jumps on his knee.

the bus driver yells “can ye keep yer dug on the flair, please!”.

the mullet-man duly shoves the dog off his lap to the floor.   poor mutt.

the bus is quiet. i sit and listen to the mullet men’s conversation. a conversation about the controversy of ‘Devil dogs’ being in the hands of ‘wrang wans’:

“is she a pure bred Staffy, aye?”
“aye.”
“a bet she’d be worth a load ay money tae some junkie cunt, eh?”
“aye.”
“ah bet her jaws lock tight as fuck eh?”
“aye.”

silence.

4 minutes of uncomfortable silence is then broken by:

“POODLES!” one of the mullets roars, excitedly.  “aye… fuckin’ poodles… they fuckin’ bite tae, but you never hear o’ tha’ eh!?”
“ken.”

the mullet man alights four stops into the journey. i jump, as his mates bang on the window and yell “cheerio, Rizla!”.

Rizla, in complete oblivion, pisses on the pavement outside.

i sit and gaze out of the window into the night. the moon is following me. it looks comfortably reclined in the sky, enviably oblivious to the madness downstairs.

i will soon be home, where i can close the door to the madness of this town.

(c) Kat McDonald 2014

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