Saturday, August 1, 2009

Just bear with me while I shoot the cat

“Mar sin tha beatha.”

No. Having the characters speaking in Gaelic isn’t going to work. Let’s try it with a Scottish accent. “Ay yoo, Jimmy, och aye the noo? Wha hae wi' yoo?”

Worse. We’ve no choice, I’m afraid, we’ll have to stick with Standard English. It sounds a little strange in these Glaswegian streets where the walls weep from the rain, but fortunately the background noise of phlegmy coughing from the tenements drowns out most conversations.

Now, where was I? Ah, yes, planning to talk to the two wee ones on the footpath below. The best way to get through to laddies like them is to offer some friendly counsel. For instance: “Come near here again, you shites, and I’ll hang you both from the nearest lamp post.”
A few minutes before, I’d caught one of them writing in chalk on the wall of the house I was trying to sell. I wouldn’t have minded if he’d written: “Buy a lifestyle" or “Your private escape”. Instead the shorter of the two – the basin haircutted one who seemed to wearing somebody else’s ears – had written: ‘Condemned’.” In fact, he’d written “Kondemed.” But I’m a real estate agent not a school teacher, so the threat to lynch the pair if they came back was the limit of my advice.

No wonder I’m tense. It’s a high pressure job, this real estate selling in the Gorbals. My beat is the stretch along the south bank of the Clyde, up to the Broomielaw Bridge. There used to be a rather nice leper hospital on the Gorbals side of the bridge until leprosy became unfashionable. Now it’s a Pizza Express. I just hope they wiped down the benchtops before starting the new business. On the bright side, having a fast food joint in the area shows the Gorbals is moving upmarket.

A few years ago, getting soggy fish and chips and razor slash on your cheek was the locals’ idea of a great night out. Now you have a choice of such traditional Lowland dishes as chicken tikka masala or something European – perhaps scampi in a basket. With chips. The houses have changed too. When I first started in this business, only posh homes had a toilet. In other houses, you opened the upstairs window and peed into the street. The constant rain meant it was difficult to tell what was coming from Heaven and what was courtesy of the McNab family. Now, most residences have loos, many of which flush. In fact, the house I’m currently marketing has some outstanding features, including a working toilet (to be confirmed).

As I have your attention, you might be interested. Let me show you around. Step through this door. Now, don’t worry. I can see from your expression you think because the knob came off in my hand moments before the hinges gave way, there may be some quality issues. This house went up 200 years ago. You don’t get workmanship like this anymore. None of your nail guns, plastic and plasterboard used here, thank you. Each nail was hammered home by a craftsman. The wood is oak. Or it could be beech. Whatever. This great land’s fleets were created from this very timber. We sailed off to build an Empire on floor boards like these. What? All right, point taken, the English did the sailing and Empire building, but the Scots could well have been involved.

Duck your head! Now that’s what I call quaint. These low doorways just scream history. You want something to stop the bleeding? Just press a handkerchief to your forehead, we won’t be long now.

That noise? It could be the Scottish pipes. Turn on a tap and the plumbing plays “Bonnie Dundee”.

You’ll have to forgive me, we real estate agents are renowned for our sense of humour.
Yes, yes, I can hear it too. Hold on a moment, I see the problem. Could you turn your back? Just bear with me while I shoot the cat. Don’t go all RSPCA on me. It was a clean kill – AND you’ll notice the neighbours didn’t bang on the walls or call the poliss. True. Possibly they are used to the sound of gunfire.

Anyway, back to the cat. Lord knows how it got into the oven. Jings, is that the right time? You’ll have to excuse me. I have to go, I have another house to show. Please lock up when you leave. Guidbye.

# # #

© Greg Flynn 2009

No comments:

Post a Comment