Radio Scotland - Days Like This

Theme: Pain & Difficulties

Upset easy lip

Donal McLaughlin

upset easy lip by Donal McLaughlin

They were living at the top of the 59 Steps at the time, and outside their door the street veered away to the right, round to the shops wi' the CO-OP at one end and GALBRAITHS at the other, one was light-blue, Liam remembers, the other bright red: he could've done wi' an explanation for that at the time.

Anyway: one day he was playing at the gutter on the curve, diagonally opposite the house, wi' his brother, Sean, or some other young fella - he doesn't mind. He does know he was still at Primary at the time cos he was wearing the red, black and white tie, and him and the other youngfella were totally lost in the puddles and ice-pop sticks and stuff, watching rainbow colours forming patterns on the surface of the water.

It's possible the other youngfella deliberately sank some of their 'boats' and that Liam had to tell him to currit out, maybe even to currit, right? Or then again, maybe they were being best muckers. What is sure is that anyone passing would've realised the weeboys at the gutter - or Liam, at least - was Irish and Catholic.

And that's what happened: a guy from the secondary on the far side of the playing fields at the other end of the estate passed wi' his mate, both wearing the blue and gold ties of their school, and he'd actually gone past when he stopped and turned back and got hold of Liam's tie, and as he lifted him, he said something Liam didn't catch cos a knee made contact wi' his balls, not that he'd've known to call them that yet, or testicles either, sure they'd hardly descended, even, and knowing Liam and his upbringing, he wouldn't've known to expect them to.

What Liam does mind, apart from standing there, no' knowing what to do and no' knowing what to say, is sort-of panicking in his head, his brain jamming, thinking Didn't know about this - Nobody told me about this, while down-below - which seemed a long way away - was signalling he was maybe going to faint.

The two guys from the Secondary left it at that and walked away, assuring each other it was the right thing to do, no more than these Paddies deserved, Why don't they stay in their own effin country, that's what their dads said.

There wasn't a boo out of Sean, or whoever the other boy was, during all of this. He just looked sorry for Liam, or guilty, and returned to their 'boats'. When Liam finally got down on his hunkers but, and gradually started to play again, the other weeboy gave him the best 'boat' and said, 'Here - you take that!'

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