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In Julie’s Place

Story by S. A. Tranter (Read author interview) September 29, 2009

art by Robinson Accola

You can see the college from my tower block. I look out at the college and think, aye, maybe I could be there doing something. They’ve got access courses and I wasn’t really brainy at the school but I wasn’t a dafty either.

The lift isn’t working so I take the stairwell and it’s 12 stories straight down. And at the bottom I meet my sister Michelle with wee Megan in her arms, lovely wee Megan with golden flakes of snot fluttering in the breath at her baby nose. Michelle’s wanting me to baby sit. But I say, Nah, I can’t, I’ve got a bus to catch. And I look at Megan and it stings, stings, stings. But there’s other things besides kids, there’s jobs and getting out the tower and away from the scheme. Aye, better jobs, maybe the college and I never want to end up like my mum and Michelle though I pure love them both. Keep moving, just keep moving, aye, automatic pilot, I’ve got a bus to catch.

I cross the square and Petrol Drinking Shaun and the Funky Junky are on the bench and I feel pure sorry for them cos they’re alkies with nothing and that’s not a life, not a life for anybody, that’s why you got to keep moving. So I feel right sorry for them but then I’m thinking I’m really feeling sorry for myself, that I’m not that different from these two, maybe everybody here shares a scheme gene which means no escape and that freaks me out pure stressing me. They see me and wave me over and they’re smiling and they both start body popping. And it’s funny and makes me laugh, making me forget what I need to do. And they’re youtube celebs these days cos the YGT: Gibby’s wee brother, the Stanley twins, all they radges from the scheme got Petrol Drinking Shaun and the Funky Junky and made them dance for a tin. Taped it with their mobiles and posted it on youtube. Had the two steamers break dancing for a tin! And the auld radges are good at it; a pop sensation. And the YGT have followed suit and they’re all body popping together on youtube these days, god knows how many hits. And you can hear Shaun on youtube saying, right boys nae mair dancing shite where’s the purple tin?

Shaun shouts over, awright Julie how yi daein hen? No bad I says, and I walk over and crash them both a ciggy and I’m about to light one for myself but I stop short, it hits me and I just cant light that ciggy cos it stings and I can’t keep moving, can’t get on that bus and go to that place. Keep moving. It stings but you don’t think about it. Automatic pilot. I put the ciggy back in the pack and hand the pack to Shaun. And I’m thinking about the college and the better jobs, getting out the scheme and away from the tower. But I pure need to get on that bus, get the thing over and done with, better for my prospects and that.

But not today. Maybe tomorrow.

I turn and walk back to the tower. Shaun goes, any chance ay a tin, and I say, get to your bed ya auld radge. I enter the tower stairwell, twelve stories. Dark. No lift. I think about the college and getting out. But I keep seeing wee Megan, lovely wee Megan with golden flakes of snot fluttering in the breath at her baby nose. But I don’t want to be like my mum and my sister. And yet I’m suddenly aware of my hand gently rubbing the bump of my belly as I begin the long hard climb, the bus fare still in my pocket.

About the Author

S. A. Tranter Lives in Edinburgh and has had stories published in print magazines in the UK and US. He’s had too many jobs, all of which he hated, but the night shift taxi driver paid the most.

About the Artist

Robinson Accola creates artwork for SmokeLong Quarterly as needed.

This story appeared in Issue Twenty-Six of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Twenty-Six

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