Friday, 21 February 2014

what's in a face

So I am sitting by a hospital bed with a cup of dark liquid feeling like something out of ‘Mash’ while some dark haired man who looks nothing like Alan Alder is explaining to me something about x-rays, clips, pins and the like. And when I heard the word reconstruction, I nearly fainted. As he picked up my cup from the floor he said with a trying to be helpful look.

‘Reconstruction at his age could be a positive thing’

I was desperately trying to understand what they were going to do to my Rodger; ‘will he ever be able to walk with a toga again?’ I finally muttered.

Not that there has been anything happening for awhile in that department. But still looking at his limp moustache just now I would have given anything to be able to feel the brush of it against my cheek.

I stared at my paper cup all crumpled and still dripping in my hand and wondered why the non Alan Alda didn’t just bugger off and stop poking about my other half in a manner that made me feel invisible.

Maybe it’s because the camouflage was missing; people never react positively to a woman the wrong side of 50 'something'; not without camouflage that is.

‘You need to sign here Mrs’ said the not Alan Alder nurse...’and hear and hear.’

‘What for?’


‘For what? What you going to doing to my Rodger?’

‘Permission to do whatever is necessary.’

Not really wanting to know what the ‘whatever’ was I looked the young man straight into the eye with an ‘I’m not so invisible now’ look.

‘What's my signature got to do with the whatever’s?’ I finally said, (I waited for him to crumble).

He handed me a pen and crossed his arms with a poor imitation of intimidation.

I signed Nefertiti- N. NEFERTITI in my usually large artistic swiggles and he looked at it.

'What the hell is that for a name?'

He obviously knew nothing about art or culture let alone the seductive nature of a belly dancing women. But then he wasn't from Glasgow or any part of Europe, he had the sort of accent that made Liverpool people sound like they are well educated.

‘Nefertiti is that a type of coffee?’ he finally said.

‘No it is MY name.’ I said.


‘Do you not get much education in Australia?’

‘New Zealand actually and you need to sign your proper name not something from a tattoo shop’.

I drew my 5 foot nothing frame up to an intimidating stance, i.e. stood up and crossed my arms. And threw the so called nurse my best steely glare...

‘That has been my proper name from the moment these precious thighs have been entertaining audiences; and well before you were old enough to pull a syringe. And let me tell you I have been entertaining the public with the same name and Rodger right by my side (pause for effect) well before you were munching on you milky bars. And do you know what?

(he let out a sigh.)

‘This here Rodger was switching CDs faster than you could pull a trolley down those corridors.’

He looked unimpressed.

‘And Nefertiti has been my name ever since.’

He looked at the paper, looked at his colleague, looked at his watch and mumbles something very ‘native’ probably requiring the accompaniment of a didgeridoo to do justice, and then walked off.

I fancied making some comment about charkas and rugby and decided not...Rodger was squeezing my hand. He had been lying motionless for a while but was now beginning to groan in pain.

He was laying on one of those stretchers with his face to the side twitching with a breath befitting a walrus ...which is what comes from playing with a shed early in the morning without a decent bacon roll in side you. And what becomes of a man obsessive and vegan and my Rodger is nothing if not obsessed.

Rodger has become obsessed about his shed and the locking of it, obsessed about what went inside his stomach and obsessed about me minding my own business.

His had begun to quiver and held my hand tighter. They had cut up his corduroy trousers which were now hanging limply down the side of the trolley liked a used tissue along with one of his legs. The other was twisted to the side looking uncomfortable with a swollen ankle.

The curtains swished opened and another nurse entered in sort of green pyjamas outfit with Sister Fewchuck written on his chest, and I wondered if there were any locals at all in the hospital. He was smaller than me and walked like a dancer who wore dresses a lot. If it wasn’t for the hair peeking out of his top I never would of know HIM to be a HIM.

'He all prepped and ready to rock and roll' said Sister Fewchuck. ’Now you have to let us do what we have to do'

'You not going anywhere near his ...' I motioned to the 'Jewel's' as he liked to call them.

'It's his ankle and his wrist Mrs' he looked at his clip board 'err Nefertiti... oh and his shoulder’s a bit wonky and I see oh dear the hip as well …..hmmm but no groin has been mentioned.' He flashed his white teeth at me and ‘swished’ the curtain apart to allow the porter to take my man away.

I watched as they wheeled him away like last night’s take away.

My Rodger who has never had a day’s illness; who is as flexible as rubber; whose hips roll with the ease of oil on greaseproof; who is so pliable he makes Mr Tantric 'Sting’ look like an aging stick insect was being wheeled away from me like a piece of meat on a supermarket trolley. I felt weak and looked about the emergency room full of strangers.

Where was Shifty when you need him?

Sunday, 19 January 2014

thank you

It was on Christmas Eve at The Argyll when I first saw her perform and it was something I will never forget. It was the old folk’s Christmas ‘Do’ a yearly tradition and this year they were all promised something special.

Shifty was pouring the drinks, Archie was on the accordion and Hector was playing the fiddle. Every year on the promise of free drink and turkey they played,and every year after said free drink and turkey they were asked to stop.

‘Hold on to your hats, and grab your glasses for this will be a bumpy ride Shouted Shifty ‘Tonight is a night of Eastern Promise And a night you will remember with pride.’

‘Not Jock on spoons again’ says old Ethel whose hearing aid was whistling louder than a microphone.

‘No’ shouted Shifty, ‘Jocks’ spoons are in the dishwasher. It’s an extra special surprise and you’ll never guess what... not in a million years. ‘Do you like surprises?’ he yelled. And waited for a response; when none came he poured another round and motioned for Archie to continue.

‘I said do you like to be surprised’ he yelled again.

‘Not before the Pudding’ muttered Ethel.

And then the music started as Rodger entered the bar. He was pulling a large plum pudding balanced preciously on a hospital trolley. It wheels squeaked and wobbled almost putting up a fight. Ethel silently stared. The music was nothing like anything I had heard before and hopefully I will never hear again. If you thought bag pipes where sore on the ears then think again, this music makes a cat’s howl sound like a harp, the howl of a baby like a lullaby and nail on a blackboard like the delight twinkle of a wind chimes.

Rodger positioned the plum pudding in the middle of the floor and then we watched, not quite sure what to say as he poured a bottle of brandy over it. A few coughed, the fumes where strong, some muttered at the wastage. But when Rodger lit the pudding there were gasps from us all and a few ‘oh for god sakes’ at the rear. There was a bit of scream and some feeble punching from inside, smoke filled the room and some yelled for a fire extinguisher but Ethel a woman who had fought in the war (Vietnam) knew what to do. And with a pot of brandy cream and jug of cider Ethyl surprised us all.

And then, there she was bursting, punching her way out of soggy paper pud while trying to hang onto her seven veils of gold and red. Nefertiti rose from the ashes spat out a few raisins and said...

‘I am Nefertiti’s get ready to watch me roar. I am a Goddess, and a woman, that you cannot ignore.’

She stood readjusted her headdress and waited for a response.

When none came she motioned for Rodger to light the candle on her headdress which sparked and spluttered before fizzling out, like the slow deflating of a tyre on a nail. Nefertiti the true professional that she was clung on to her veils and jumped into the splits, causing a few in the audience to winch. But before they could blink she was up stripping off her seven veils while handing out Turkish delights...from a variety of crevices.

Shifty’s dog who had never utter a noise for years had started howling from the music and then made a dive for one of the veils. Nefertiti armed with her sequinned padded bra and Boot’s spray on suntan had, in the past performed front of workmen, hen nights and even a punk band; whether they liked it or not. She had arrived at venues where they took one look at her and forgot the booking.

She was a dancer who meant business and a dog was not going to put her off.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Shifty and the Roman Candle

My Rodger is talking about new beginnings starting with the closure of the ' Oyster Club' A shock for some. You see it is the sewage outlet that is the problem and it all came to a head at New Years Eve! Shifty the Barman decided to go skinny dipping in the loch at 12.00, he had a notion to rise to the occasion under a full moon and the Rotary fireworks display. And as he dashed madly into the water he was heard to cry, ‘It full of hormones and I for one am no complaining’ He surface, tossed an old condom to the sky, and went down again. A vision I haven’t seen for quite some time. . ‘It won’t be long before fish will be suffering gender issues,’ muttered Rodger as he absently stared at Shifty rear surfacing, yet again. He began to ramble on about premenstrual tension and large candles, and I realized that my Rodger was in creative mode, yet again. And the nearest I’d see to his ‘rising to the occasion’ is him peeing outside some bleeding view of the Loch, while leaving some wet Celtic scrawl in the sand. Never drink yellow snow he used to say; well beware of warm sand…that’s all I can say. . So having viewed Shifty’s rear more times than a dram could make bearable, I began to toy with the idea of a visit to the chippy. When a group of woman of a certain age (were good lighting really does matter; esp when on top) ran like a heard of hens down a hill with a cockerel spaniel at their beck and call. For months stories of double breasted halibut floating around Loch fyne has led to the belief that estrogen tainted sewage has raised a barren loch to a soup of hormones that make HRT look like a polo mint. And now under the influence of Shifty’s cocktail, Shifty and the hens where getting in touch with their feminine side. Brain Mac Tavish a keen fisherman, stood beside me in the dark, he mused the herd of hens playful tossing their bras against a backdrop of the finest ‘Roman Candle’ I’d ever seen. ‘There was a time when you could swing a cat on my erection,’ he muttered. ‘Not any more, my cod roe is as limp as a dunked flapjack.’ He titled his whiskery chin at the loch ‘And there is no way I’d put a toe in that water, there’s enough hormones in that Loch to shrink the balls of a whale. ’ But Shifty is a changed man since that fatefully night under the stars. He is the barman that coordinates. And the women; the heard of hens; they took over the Oyster Bar and has taken fish of the menu. The Oyster Bar has become the Steak & Steronie’s house where a man goes in and never comes out quite the same.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

To whip or batter that is the question

Now is the winter of my discounted- my Rodger’s creative juices flow for another; he is so busy with his Sheila and her whip that my flower of Scotland has wilted like a soufflĂ© and my chandelier hangs dormant – it now, only swings, to the rumble of the bin lorry.
So I decided to ‘get’ political – went to visit the Edinburgh Parliament with a gaggle of woman whose idea of intellectual stimulation was the price of fish.
‘To breadcrumb or batter’ says Mavis a women who uses cookery books to roll her roll ups on.
Well my fish comes from Waitrose and as long as it’s microwavable and moist (to quote the bin man) ‘I’m no carin’. Mind you, I never said that...The wine was free as was the women’s opinions; give a woman cheap Chablis and the idea of listening for her, is as foreign to as a foreskin in Palestine.
So I kept my council so to speak and pondered what was going on in my Rodgers forelocks.
‘Give a man a whip’ I shouted ‘and his any bodies. Give a woman a whip and she cleaning her corners.’
‘My corners are fine as they are’ came a voice from the bar.
I looked over and there was my Rodger standing with his tackle slung over his shoulder like a comatose albatross... he and Shifty had been fishing and had caught 2 roll mops and a herring enough to celebrate with a double; so they said.
Truth was he had completed another creation ... and wanted his little cup cake to share in the celebration another chapter of the dyslexic Scfi he shouted for your blogging mates...


At half past three in the morning ‘She of the Iron Gusset’ arrived in Glasgow. With a small bump, she landed in a bus shelter two feet away from Woody, a midget peeing in the corner.
‘What the fuck,’ he said as he staggered, slipped and fell into the corner. He looked up at the vision and decided to lay off his mother’s anti depressants for a while. She was sleek, blond and dressed in a leather outfit which made even Cat Woman look like a dinner lady. She towered over him like a six foot gothic praying mantis.
‘Are you for real?’ Woody muttered, wiping some sort of dribble off his chin; he tried to stand but skidded on his pee and fell again.
She eyed him coldly; ‘Do you have nothing better to do than slip on your piss?’
He stared at her breasts cascading over the top of her bodice. She tutted, drew herself up to her full 6’.5’ height and waited for an answer. When none came, she pulled out a whip from her side belt, cracked it around his waist and hoisted him up.
‘Oh my god!’ he muttered not sure if the sensation was pleasant or not. The whip placed him gently on the ground, zipped up his fly and with a playful tap led him away from the pee.
‘On your way, good sir, and next time use a latrine like everyone else.’
Woody left stunned or stoned, he couldn’t work out which but as he wandered through the grey streets home, a sick feeling hit the pit of his stomach; he knew he’d see her again.
As instructed by Maxim, She of the Iron Gusset headed towards the West End. She had a B&B guide under her arm, a traveller’s backpack meticulously packed by her cleaner/assistant Pete on her shoulders and a list of orders a mile long and in triplicate.
‘Look for a reputable B&B,’ Maxim had said, ‘I hear the breakfasts are something else.’
She of the Iron Gusset had been summoned at six o’clock in the morning by the Council and handed one of Maxim’s ‘top secret’ envelopes along with the promise of up to date technology and a ‘there’s more in it for you’ speech. Once back at her upwardly mobile pad, she handed the envelope to Pete.
‘Tell me; your thoughts’ she said, while pulling out her spare leather apparatus.
Pete read the list of orders out loud, and then looked at his boss, ‘It’s simple, you just intercept those Paramours, find that Legless thingy, propose (whatever that means), then come back here where a promotion and that nice villa on the coast awaits.’
She of the Iron Gusset pulled the list from her assistant ‘It’s more complicated than that. Look, your Mission is top secret…’
‘My lips are sealed,’ said Pete.
‘You need to establish control over the Paramours, they must be kept illiterate at all costs and we want Rebel silenced?’
Pete sighed ‘I told you a piece of cake.’
‘And’ she pointed to the list ‘It says dispose not propose.’
Pete however had lost interested he was still smarting from the forgotten anniversary. Three years he had been with her good self and not even a card…He was a robot of the highest order and had worked his hydroponics Teflon not to mention nuts for her leathership and for what. He sniffed and pulled out a tub of ‘Betty’s best oil for leather’ and began to rub her spare suit with vigour.
‘I’m not ready for this Pete!’
‘I mean I was born to be leader and…’ she watched Pete polish her leather …. ‘Pete have you taken your lubrication today? You know how you get when…’
‘You don’t care who you hurt do you? Just as long as you get you leather oiled and you packing done. You know what they call you at the council.’
‘Yes I am aware and it not of the accurate variety.’

She of the Iron Gusset opened her B&B guide book at the top of Great Western Road and started walking. By the time she was standing on the Byers Road corner she was well and truly confused. Few places were open and those that were took one look at her and slammed the door. Maxim and his ideas she thought when would she ever learn?
A cab pulled up beside her. It was early Sunday morning and he was on his way home. The cabbie was a sympathetic man with a fondness for damsels in leather. He wound down his window and wondered if his luck was in.
‘You wanting a lift?’ he said.
She nodded.
‘Beryl’s?’ he said.
She of the Iron the Gusset went with her hunch and said yes. She jumped into the cab as the cabbie put his car into first gear. She staggered onto the seat and fumbled with her backpack.
‘Graveyard shift huh?’ he said ‘Not much on a Sunday morning and the rain don’t help.’
Graveyard? She thought, dumping her back pack on the floor. Shifting?
‘What’s your name, sweetheart?’
She looked at the cards attached to the back of the cabbie’s seat. Sheila’s Wheels was the first she noticed.
‘Australian huh? What you doing over here then Sheila? Doesn’t the rain piss you off?’
‘I have a job to do,’ said Sheila. ‘Once that’s done good sir, I’ll be off faster
than a cat with his tail on fire!’
The cabbie stared at the road ahead. He’d never met a working girl who talked like she read books before.
He pulled up by a shabby side street. On the corner was a rundown Church, beside that was a rubber clothes shop and beside that was Beryl’s Establishment. Within one inhale Sheila knew her instincts had been right. She could smell the remains of a Paramour’s night out anywhere; she had been trained and although she had no idea where Jimmy’s Arabic Tea Shop’s was, she reckoned, judging by the potency of the smell that the tea shop was just a few minutes jog away.
Sheila left the Cabbie with some money and just the smallest whiff of something unfamiliar yet sweet lingering in the car. The cabbie looked down at the fifty pound note ‘Your change?’ he yelled. Sheila dismissed him with a wave of her hand and walked down a side alley that led to the entrance to Beryl’s Establishment.
The cabbie watched the rain splatter off her leathers and then looked down at the fifty pound note again; ‘she must be something else,’ he muttered before pulling out a smoke, ‘aye, never met a working woman with a fifty before.’
Beryl’s Establishment was the sort of establishment where leather and whips didn’t look out of place. It was the sort of establishment, which was open all night and looked shut during the day. It was sort of establishment where someone looking like Sheila could earn a lot of money; if she knew what she was doing. But Sheila had no idea about that sort of thing. No one on Planet Hy-man had done ‘it’ for years and any name for ‘it’ had been erased from the dictionary years ago.
Sheila walked into the side entrance and past a glass cabinet with instruments not unlike those hanging from her belt.
A small woman in tight clothes appeared from nowhere and stood by the glass cabinet. She had a cleavage that almost stopped cars and enough pancake makeup to hide the soft down of hair underneath. In her time Beryl had been a catch and had earned a fortune, but thanks to a bad choice in men and a love of small dogs with a flatulence problem, she had lost most of it.
‘A room good woman,’ said Sheila ‘if you please’.
Beryl threw her a long hard look ‘Where you from, never seen you before?’
Sheila stared at the Tarsmarhal Carry out Menu on the wall and thought on her feet. Something she knew she was good at.
Beryl threw her another look ‘Fifty quid and I ask no questions.’
‘And breakfast?’
‘You takin the piss?’
‘I never take piss...I am hungry.’
Beryl pushed a key across the desk ‘Look Sheila from Bombay! You keep clean and I don’t ask no questions!’
‘And breakfast?’
Beryl let out a sighed.

Sheila sat on the bed. It was six in the morning and she was starving. She opened her back pack and pulled out her T/C (transporter/communicator). It was bleeping furiously; five messages from you know who.
Pete had made a complete balls up of the operation, at the last minute the Council had decided that Pete should operate the recording apparatus from earth and was ordered to accompany her with a ‘your capabilities exceeding your post’ letter.
Sheila had landed 5 miles from her destination a day early and was yet to discover where or when Pete would arrive. She unfolded her T/C
‘Is that coffee I see…’
‘Mam it’s what known as a Skinny lattĂ©.’
‘Where are you Pete we need to reconvene?’
‘I am at a superb coffee establishment shown to me by a nice young but small man by the name of Woody…he’s coming back to….’
A small tingly shot up Sheila’s spine; Woody; it rang to quote Maxim the ‘preverbal bell’?
She watched Pete face fade from view and cursed the Council’s save money at all cost policy; a higher quality T/C would never need recharging.
She pressed her T/C to charge, hung it on her belt and headed for the streets. She walked past the glass cabinet, Beryl peered from a door marked private.
‘You headin out?’ She said over the barking of a dog. Sheila stared at Beryl’s round face. ‘Cause I’ve made you a piece.’
‘A piece of what?’
‘Bacon, you wanting sauce?’ Beryl opened the door some more and a squirrel of a dog raced out to sniff Sheila.