ProseProse and Poems

Tea Time in Stewarton

Tam O’Shanter by Alexander Goudie

My father sat there on ‘his chair’ next to the smouldering fire of ‘coal’ briquettes, his eyes fixed on the Saturday afternoon horse racing being transmitted from the box in the corner. A dinner plate rested on his lap with an old Daily Record acting as a serviette, protecting his grey flannels from the gravy dripping from the folded slice of white bread that he held in his left hand.

He wore a white Bri-Nylon shirt covered by a garish brown cardigan. The ashtray, carefully balanced on the right arm of his ‘throne’, contained a Captain’s Full Strength burning slowly, there was little smoke rising from the lit cigarette but the stench of tobacco filled the room. On his left-hand side, next to his tartan slipper covered feet, stood a green can of McEwan’s Pale Ale half poured into a Highball Glass, stolen from the local pub.

I popped my youthful head around the once white door, its colour now matched my father’s nicotine-stained fingers and moustache. I raised my voice, over the sound of the TV race commentator, and asked: ‘what’s for dinner?’

‘Shite and sugar!’ came the gruff response, quickly followed by a stainless steel knife which left his right-hand and flew towards me cutting its way through the yellow-tinted thin panelled door and piercing my right forearm. I stumbled backwards staring aghast at the blood trickling out of my pale white skin. I doubt if his gaze ever left the television as I lost consciousness and collapsed onto the linoleum covered hallway floor.

 

© Ian Goudie (2018)

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