All Tarted Up

Indie Writers’ Deathmatch Quarter-Finalist 2009

“Better hide those dog biscuits if you’re comin’ home pissed, ya fat cow,” said Carol, Shirley’s older, fatter sister. “You’ll never get one o’ they Frenchies in your bed if your breath smells like Gemma’s.”

“What’re you wearin’ tonight?,” asked Shirley, changing the subject before the whole Good Boy Choco Drop episode could be re-hashed.

“Ah think ah’m gonny wear ma new jeans wi’ ma red shiny blouse. What aboot you? Ah hope you’re no wearin’ they beige leggin’s – they make yer arse look massive.”

“Cheers.” Shirley was going to do her best to get off with one of the French rugby team, in their town in the Scottish borders for the weekend.

“Mum, ah’m home!” The front door slammed. “What’s for tea?”, yelled Jenny.

“Ah told you, you’re staying at your nanny Pride’s tonight. Go and pack your nightie,” Shirley shouted.

“Awwwwww mum. Ah’m no stayin’ there! Why do ah have to? She makes me go to bed at half-seven. And stupid John’s always drunk.”

“Come in an’ say hello to your auntie.”

“Hello auntie.” Jenny stomped into the room, thin arms folded.

“Ah don’t blame you,” Carol said. “That John’s a borin’ old bastard, always goin’ on about ‘is gouty knee and ‘is horse racin’.”

“See mum!”

“Jesus Carol, would you shut up! And you…,” Shirley turned to look at her daughter. “Just give it a rest. You’re goin’ to your nan’s and that’s that.”

“Ah’m not goin’! Ah hate sleepin’ in her bed. Her hairy legs touch me – ah canny sleep – it’s disgustin’!”

“Alright, you can get a video tomorrow night. Whatever one you want. You can invite Louise over too – just go and get your bloody stuff ready!”

“Fine, but ah’m gettin’ two videos!” Jenny climbed the stairs, muttering loudly enough to be heard, “you’re just tryin’ to get rid o’ me so you can have sex with some French guy in our house.”

“That’s it, you cheeky brat!” Shirley lunged for the stairway. Jenny shrieked and ran the rest of the way to her room, slamming the door and locking it behind her.

Carol sniggered. “You canny blame ‘er, Shirley. You wouldnae want to spend a whole evenin’ wi’ that pair.”

“That’s enough, Carol! Ah’m off to the shops. See you around 6:00. Bring a bottle.”

* * *

The doorbell rang as Shirley stood looking at her huge, sagging belly in the mirror. Soon the lounge was filled with smoke, shouting and clinking glass. She pulled her stomach up with both hands but as soon as she let go it flopped back down to hang over her red lacey knickers. She looked at the crumpled Mars bar wrapper in the bin, then covered it with a wad of pink tissue.

Should she wear her girdle? She’d look better if she did, so she’d have more of a chance of meeting one of the Frenchies. But if she brought him home, he’d see it. She decided to squeeze into it – better to go in with a chance and deal with the consequences later. Most likely he’d be too drunk to notice and by the next morning they’d have had such a laugh together that it wouldn’t matter.

“Get yer arse down here, ya tart!”

“Coming, coming.”

Shirley was surprised to hear Evelyn’s voice. Usually her husband Doug went out on a Friday night and she had to stay in with wee Jordan.

Doug was a bastard. Everyone knew he was shagging Cindy Mitchell. The gossip was he was also doing her daughter Mandy and neither of them knew about the other. Cindy was a rich bitch – bleached hair, perma tan, long pink nails – but she dressed like a bloody teenager. Her husband Ronny was dead cheesy as well. He strutted around in his Pringle jumpers and golf shoes with his orange tan, winking and pinching bums. Mandy was 21 and she had half the guys in town following her around like idiots. What the fuck the pair of them saw in Doug she couldn’t imagine. Served them right. He used to play rugby and had an ok body, but what a tosser.

“Come on or ah’ll drag yer fat arse down here masel’. You’re already 3 drinks behind!”

Christ, Evelyn was pissed already. Shirley squeezed her black trousers over her girdled bum, pulled on her low cut red t-shirt, freshened her frosty pink lipstick and squirted a final puff of Paloma Picasso into her cleavage.

* * *

Downstairs Carol, Evelyn and Lindsay were well into the drinks. Shirley had known the girls since they were kiddies, although they’d all thought they’d be married and far from Kilcrachan by this time.

Lindsay’s divorce from Neil had just come through. She’d had tons of boyfriends in high school ’cause she used to be gorgeous, but she’d gained loads of weight. She’d never’ve gone near Neil before she got fat, but by the time they got married folk said she was lucky to get him. She was always on these silly diets that allowed beefburger suppers and sweets. She fed the boys the same. Wee Brooklyn always had chocolate smeared on his face. Poor thing was 5 years old and totally obese.

“Awright girls?” Kerry came in with a cigarette in one hand, bag of bottles in the other. She looked gorgeous in tight black leggings and t-shirt (skinny bitch), red heels and teased hair.

“Hey Wacko, you’re late!”

Kerry was a nutter. Some folk were uncomfortable around her ’cause she was totally unpredictable. But that’s why Shirley liked her. She was always good for a laugh.

“How ye doin’, Wacko?”

“Ah’m exhausted. Fuckin’ Davey Thomas was at it again last night.”

“Wha’ happened?”

“He was out on a bender wi’ Spuddy n’ Rob. Sara hadnae seen ‘im in about 3 days. We were havin’ a coffee yesterday an’ ah told her to change the locks, so she did!”

“Oh ma god – ‘e’s gonna batter ‘er!”

“Well, ‘e tried to last night! The arsehole showed up about 2:30 and started poundin’ on the door an’ shoutin’.”

“Did she let ‘im in?”

“No – she called the fuckin’ coppers!”

“Jesus!”

“Oh my fuck!”

“Stuart showed up at around 4 and took ‘im in. ‘E’s probably still locked up.”

“Good. Ah hope she stays away from the shite!”

“That’s good news for you then Shirley, Davey’s single!”

“Fuck off.”

The door slammed again. Shirley’s brother Alex burst into the room.

“Oh ma god. Look at you pathetic fatties, all tarted up for the Frenchies. You look awright,” Alex nodded at Kerry, “but the rest o’ you….How fuckin’ embarassin’ – ma own sisters. Bunch o’ fat slags!” He turned to Carol. “And you! You’re supposed to be engaged. What’s Digger gonna say?”

“Digger’ll say nothin’ if ‘e doesn’t want ‘is teeth slapped!”

“What the fuck d’you want?” Shirley asked.

“Ah want the fuckin’ tenner you owe me.”

“Well take it and fuck off.”

“Thank-you. Oh, and sorry to disappoint youse but Mandy and her crowd’ve beat you to it. Ah saw them goin’ into the Rugby Club on ma way here.”

“Alex we don’t give a toss about the bloody team. We’re havin’ a girl’s night. Get oot and shut the door.”

* * *

“Shite, what the hell are those slags doin’ at the Rugby Club already? It’s only 8!”

“Dinny worry, youse’ll still have a chance wi’ the rejects. They’ll no take the spotty scrum half, or the old fat coach.”

“Cheers Carol. Pass that bottle.”

“Hey – ma nursin’ application came in the post today.”

“But Lindsay, you hate the sight o’ blood!”

“Well, ah don’t have to work in a hospital. Ah can specialize in old people or somethin’. Ah get on quite well wi’ pensioners.

“Right. So ye hate blood, but piss and shite and drool won’t be a problem for ye?”

“Och well, ah’ll wear rubber gloves.”

“And what about the men wi’ their mornin’ hardies? Ah heard you have te take care o’ them.”

“What? What d’ye mean?”

“You know. They wake up wi’ hard willies.”

“So?”

“So it’s painful for the poor buggers and if they canny take care o’ it theirselves then someone’s got te help them!”

“What d’ye mean?”

“Christ Lindsay, she means someone has to gie them a wank!”

“Aye, and you’ve had lots o’ practice.”

“Fuck off. Ah dinny believe you.”

“It’s true! You have to relieve the tension – think about it. You canny just let it all build up.”

“That is fuckin’ disgustin’! Ah’m no’ touchin’ some smelly, wrinkled old willy.”

“It won’t be wrinkled while you’re touchin’ it!”

“Just wear your rubber gloves – you might like it!”

“Right – speakin’ o’ willies, let’s go. Drink up everyone!”

* * *

Keyhole Kate was brushing off her front steps when Shirley walked past the next morning.

“What was your Lindsay up to last night? Little Bog’s van was parked outside ’till offy late.”

“Was it? Christ, ah canny mind how ah got hame masel’, never mind Lindsay. Probably too pissed to walk so ‘e gave ‘er a lift.”

“Oh aye,” said Kate with a wink. Well, you jist tell ‘er to be careful or she’s gonny get ‘erself a reputation. See ya later.”

“Mind your ane business, ya fuckin’ old cow,” Shirley muttered as she walked past. “You’ve got more tae worry aboot – your fuckin’ granddaughter’s the town bike.”

She hurried through Lindsay’s back door and gulped down two big glasses of water.

“Bonjour!………………..Lindsay?…………….. Get up ya lazy cow!” Shirley took off her coat and went into Lindsay’s dark bedroom.

“Oh christ, open the fuckin’ window. It’s mingin’ in here!” The room stunk of stale booze, smoke and farts. Lindsay lifted her matted head slowly, moaned, and lay back down.

“Go away.”

“Get up. Evelyn’s on ‘er way. What the….?” Shirley peeled a cold mushroom from the bottom of her foot. “What the hell’s this?”

She opened the curtains and Lindsay moaned again. The carpet was smeared with tomato sauce and bits of meat. “Oh ma god!” Shirley laughed. “Did ye manage te get any o’ the pizza down yer gob?”

“Wha?” Lindsay half-lifted her head and tried to focus. Her face was covered in dried sauce, and chunks of it had hardened in her hair.

“Jesus christ, did you fuckin’ fall in?”

Lindsay reached up and felt her hair. “Fuck. Ah canny remember gettin’ a pizza. Oh ma god, ah’m naked. Where the fuck are ma claes?” She looked around her.

Shirley picked up a skirt from the floor. The bum was stained with a large greasy circle.

“Oh christ. Ah remember. Ah fuckin’ sat in it in Little Bog’s!”

“Is that why he drove you hame?”

“Wha’? He didny drive me………..Oh god. Oh Jesus. Oh no. Oh no no no no no no no no no no!” She pulled the covers over her head in horror.

“Oh no! You fuckin’ didn’t! Not wi’ Bog! Oh god ah’m gonna piss masel’!”

He was called Little Bob (his father was Big) but he’d hired happy Andy, who couldn’t even spell his own name, to paint the sign over his chippy and pizza shop. He’d corrected it himself the next day but it was too late – folks’d already seen it and he’d been known as Bog for near on ten years now.

Shirley grabbed the phone and started to dial Carol’s number but Lindsay reached over and ripped the plug from the wall.

“So – did ‘e rub pizza all over you? Did you do it in here or in the shaggin’ wagon? Wha’ was it like? Was ‘e good? Oooooow, ah’m gonny be sick thinkin’ about it. Does ‘e have a big willy?”

“Oh god stop it stop it stop it stop it!” Lindsay writhed around on her bed, hands covering her ears, eyes squeezed shut.

“Did anyone see ye?”

Lindsay stopped writhing and looked at Shirley in a panic. “Fuck, ah don’t know! Probably – everyone’s in the chippy on a Friday night. Ah can never go out again. Ah’ll have te move te Aberdeen. Shit, fuck, damnit, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck! Ah’m never drinkin’ again! God why me? Why HIM?”

“Neil’s gonnie be bringin’ the kids hame. Put this on and let’s get some coffee goin.'” Shirley handed her her tatty housecoat. Lindsay half crawled to the kitchen where Shirley put the kettle on and they both lit cigarettes.

“Oh ma god, wha’ if Laura knows?”

“Och, dinny worry aboot that. He’d’ve been sober – he’s no’ gonnae run off wi’ you in front of ‘is wife. She probably saw you sittin’ sleepin’ on your pizza and told ‘im tae drive ye home.”

“Oooooooh god.”

“She wouldn’t even believe it if ‘e told ‘er. Who’d believe you’d shag a greasy old pig like him?”

“Stop it! And if you fuckin’ dare te tell anyone about this ah’ll tell Raymond it was you who put chicken curry through ‘is letterbox.”

“Don’t worry – ah don’t want anyone knowin’ ma best mate got off wi’ Bog!”

“What the hell’s wrong wi’ your phone?” Carol asked, coming through the kitchen door and collapsing heavily into a chair.

“She pulled it oot the wall cause she didnae want me tellin’ you she shagged Little Bog.”

“Right,” Carol said, then saw Lindsay’s expression. “Get te fuck! You didn’t! Oh ma god what the fuck were ye thinkin’? That’s fuckin’ disgustin’ – you must’ve been pissed oot yer heed!”

Lindsay covered her face with both hands and shook her head slowly, moaning.

“You fuckin’ slag! Wha’ happened? Ah left ye sleepin’ in the pizza shop around two. Ah telt Laura te wake ye when your pizza was ready.”

“Why the hell didja leave me?”

“Ah’m no your fuckin’ babysitter! Ah was half cut masel’. Ah got hame and fished Digger’s leftover Chinese oot the bin and ate it!”

“Pig.”

“Never mind me – how the fuck did ye end up wi’ Bog?”

The back door opened.

“It’s just me.” Evelyn stumbled into the kitchen with Jordan following.

“Christ, you look fuckin’ terrible. Oh, hiya handsome, sorry aboot the language.”

“It’s awright. Ma dad swears a’ the time.”

“Yeah but he’s a nasty old man. You’re just a wee laddie.”

“Feelin’ rough this mornin’ Evelyn?”

“Och, just a bit of a headache.”

“Mom was drunk last night!”

“Ah was not!”

“Yeah ye were. Ah heard you drop your keys aboot five times tryin’ to get them in the door!”

“You’re mom’s a drunk, Jordan. You should come and live wi’ your auntie Carol – ah’ll take good care o’ ye!”

“You’re no ma auntie. And you’re more of a drunk than she is.”

“Hoi!” Evelyn cuffed him over the ear. “Off ootside and play. But dinny go far, we’re no stayin.'” She took a seat at the table and lit a cigarette. “Ahm rough as fuck. Wish ah was deed.” She poured herself a coffee. “So, what’s the goss?”

Shirley and Carol both looked at Lindsay and grinned.

“Oooooooh – what’ve you been up te, ya tart?”

Lindsay’s head stayed buried in her arms on the table.

“Come on, who’d ye get off wi’? That Roger?”

“It’s Roe-jay” said Shirley.

“Whatever. Was it him?”

“Way worse,” said Carol.

“Come on – who was it then?!”

“Who was what?” asked Kerry, coming through the back door.

“You’re lookin’ well this mornin’ – are ye no ill?”

“No. Ah didnae get too drunk. Ah hud te take care o’ James. Dumb fuck was pissed oot ‘is heed. He’ll no be enjoyin’ ‘is breakfast this mornin’ though.”

“Why not?”

“Unless ‘e puts ‘is toast in the blender.” She pulled a set of false teeth from her handbag and put them on the table.

“Oh my fuck!”

“You never telt us James wears falsies!”

“Ah didnae ken! The bastard never telt me!”

“How did ye no’ notice? Did they no slip around when youse were snoggin’?”

“No – ‘e musta used some strong cement or somethin’.”

“Why’ve ye taken them?”

“He doesnay ken. Thinks ‘e lost ’em!”

“Kerry!!”

“Well, ah hud te teach the bastard a lesson.”

“Brilliant! Wha’ d’ye do?”

“Well, we were in the Rugby Club and the idiot was so pissed ‘e could hardly sit up. ‘E was talkin’ to wee Dodsy and ah saw this flash o’ white. Ah thought ‘what the fuck’s that?’ so ah kept watchin’ ‘is mooth an’ ah saw it again. So ah says ‘James, are you wearin’ false teeth?’ an’ ‘e says ‘no, course not’ but ‘e was so drunk ‘e couldnae control ’em and ah kept seein’ them movin’!”

“Ah can’t believe ye’ve never noticed before.”

“No wonder ‘e never eats toffee.”

“So you just ripped them oot ‘is mooth in the pub?”

“No. Ah waited ’till ah got ‘im hame to bed an’ ah pulled them oot when ‘e was sleepin’.”

“Did ‘e no’ want them back this mornin’?

“He doesnay ken ah’ve got ’em! He must no remember that ah noticed them last night. You should’ve seen ‘im this mornin’ tryin’ to talk withoot openin’ ‘is mooth! Ah caught ‘im in the livin’ room lookin’ under ma sofa cushions. Said ‘e was tryin’ to find ‘is keys! Then ‘e went oot ‘te get the paper’ – probably straight te the pub te see if they turned up in a pint glass or somethin’!”

“Are ye gonny give ’em back?”

“Aye, but no ’til after ‘e’s suffered. Maybe ah’ll bake them into ‘is meatloaf.”

“Brilliant! Can we come to dinner that night?”

“Right,” said Evelyn, looking at Lindsay. “So who was it?”

“Who was what?” asked Kerry.

“Who did she shag last night?”

“Oh ma god, did you get one o’ the Frenchies?”

Shirley rubbed her hands with glee. “Go on Lindsay, tell them!”

“Bog,” said Carol, when Lindsay put her head down on the table.

“WHAT?!!”

“You never did!!”

“Where?”

“How?”

“What were you thinkin’?”

“Did anyone see?”

“That’s fuckin’ pathetic. A whole French rugby team and you end up wi’ Bog? What about you, Shirl? Ah saw you talkin’ to that Roger.”

“It’s Roe-JAY,” said Shirley, trying to hide a smile.

Kirsten was raised in a small-ish Scottish town, moved to Toronto at the age of 9 and promptly lost her accent. She studied English and Health Sciences, worked as a software designer for 2 years, and then travelled and taught English in Asia for 3. She recently re-settled in Scotland and is working as a Speech and Language Pathologist while quietly writing about people she’s encountered over the years in the Scottish borders. She lives in a very old, very cold house with her dapper wee Scots gent.

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