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Thi Cat
a wee Glesga christmas story
by Joe Murray

IT WIS CHRISTMAS EVE n thi sleet wis comin doon steady. It wis exaclie four thurtysivin when Jack Reagan, haudin thi boax tae ees chist wi baith hauns like it hid some weight tae it, came walkin alang thi dock through thi stoory darkness. Ih wis juist eezsel oan thi cobbled road leadin tae thi gatehoos. As iwis, thi sudden rush iv dockers through thi gate tae thi pubs alang thi road hid emptied thi place in a flash. As ih approached thi gate Jack felt thi boax move a wee bit in ees hauns. Thi two security men eyed'm - sumbdy leavin thi dock cairyin a boax juist hid tae be shady, aye? Thi wee'er guy iv thi two took thi key frae thi gate, leavin it loaked.
Jack smiled it thi furst security guy, a scrawney fella whose thin mouser made ees face look even mehrr gaunt.
Jack noddit it im, "how ye doin, Parkie?" - it wis a nickname ih hid frae ees furst day oan thi dock cos aw thi guys knew him frae ees days iv chasin weans aff thi trees in thi public park when ih wurkt fuhr thi cooncil.
"Aye, Reagan, whit's in thi boax?" asked Parkie, "n thi name's Mr Cowan tae you."
"Is it? Ah thoat it wis Park uhr somethin, naw? Anywi, Ah've got that auld mad cat in thi boax, it's been hivin a go it some iv thi boays in thi shed. Ah'm takin it tae thi vets tae get it pit doon."
"Aye, right," Wee Smiddy, thi other security guy, piped up, "A container iv whisky gets drapped oan thi dock crackin open thi doors and you've juist got a cat in thi boax? Puhl thi ithir wan, Reagan."
Jack tried tae look hurt, "whit dae ye mean? Ah'm deain mah civic jooty here n youse waant tae cast aspersions oan mah good intentions? If Ah tell ye it's that mad cat, it's a cat, awright? It took me ages tae catch it an Ah'm no letting it go!
Wee Smiddy took a step taewards him.
"Naw," ih said, "it isnae awright! Open thi boax." Thuhr wis a wee speck ih spit oan ees boatum lip.
Jack stood ihs grun, "Naw, Ah wulnae!"
"Open it Reagan, or ye'll be fuhr it!" said Parkie.

Jack stared it baithie thum, "Perra basturts, so yeez uhr, yeez trust naebdae, neer yeez dae!"
Jack raised thi boax in front of him, wan end jammed tae ees chist thi ithir end pintit it thi fizzers iv thi two guards. In wan swift go, Jack raised thi lid iv thi boax.
Both guards let oot a yelp as thi cat sprang frae thi boax wi an angry hissin snarl; claws splayed. It crashed oantae Wee Smiddy's shooder, its back claws skelpin ees lug as it leaped ahint him an ran yowling back alang thi dock.

Baithie thum turnt thi colour iv biylt shite it thi sudden display of feline anger. Blood dripped from Wee Smiddy's lug ontae ees white shirt coallar.
"Fuck!" said Parkie.
"Perra basturts, so yeez uhr!" repeated Jack. "Ah hufftie go and catch that fuckin cat again noo!" Ih turned and trudged back alang thi dock efter thi cat. Efter a few steps ih turnt back, "Uhr yeez no gaunae gie me a haun?" ih askt
"Nup!" said baithie thum in unison.

It wis exaclie five twintywan n thi sleet hid turnt tae big snawflakes when Jack came trudging back tae thi gatehoos.
Parkie wis staunin it the door ih the gatehoos. "Awrite, Reagan, did ye get it?" asked Parkie.
Jack stoapt n kid feel thi heat frae the paraffin fire inside. Ih wis cauld noo n aw ih waantit wis tae get ooti there. "Aye, Ah goat it … nae thanks tae you two," ih said.
Wee Smiddy, staunin it the gate, squinted it Reagan wi a pained look. "Wiv cloaked ye oot so ye cannae say yeed worked overtime," ih hissed an pointit, "oot thi wee door, you."
"Ye know, wee man," said Jack, "ye sound juist like that mad cat, n yer wee puckert face looks like thi last view Ah goatie it is it ran alang thi dock!"
"Fuck off!" said Wee Smiddy turning thi key in the loak. Thi wee wicket door opent oot ontae the street.
Jack smirked is ih stept through. "See yeez," ih said whioot turnin roon.
"Merry Christmas tae ye, Reagan," Parkie shouted efter im.
Wee Smiddy dabbed ees ear wi a hankie n said nuthin.

Is Jack walked intae thi heavy blur iv snaw ih heard thi dull thud iv thi wee door shut ahint ihm. Is ih began tae trudge through thi thicknin snaw oan the pavement taeward Betty's Bar ih felt thi quiet clink iv thi four boatles in thi boax thit ih held tight tae ees chist. "Merry Christmas right annuf," ih thoat tae eezsel, "ya perra daft basturts!"

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