Cas glared at his cousin Mel and held back a snarl. Oh, how he hated his name Joe, Joe- fucking- King what a load of shite. His mum and dad must be a right pair of cretins to land him with that.
“I’m gaun tae visit oor Auntie Mary,” he finally replied, “gie her and Uncle Josie a wee Christmas prezzie for the new wean. Y’comin?”
“How no, Bally’s gaun wi me?”
“That eejit, he’s no right, man.”
“C’mon, Mel. It’ll be awright we’ll get a wee swally Josie’s aye wrecked at this time o’ year.”
“Listen Cas, that auld git wanted me tae gie him ma stash last time. Ah know he’s a joiner an works wi’ ye an that but, no way it wis aw a hud.”
“Listen, he’s no that auld they’ve jist had that wean the other day. I’ll need tae get them a prezzie. Let’s go tae Aberjeeks see if we can nick sumthin.”
Mel relented, the thought of some free bevy obviously too endearing. He made a plan. “We’ll get Bally tae dae it. That imbecile never seems tae get caught.”
“Okay. Agreed,” said Cas, wondering what the fuck an imbecile was even though it was his wee brother. However, as the brains of the operation he speed-dialled Bally immediately.
“Hey Bally, ma man, Bro. How ye doin’?” Cas blasted into his brand new iP 4-C3 Combat 11 phone. The third new contract deal this month.
“Whit ye daen?” Bally’s voice roared out of the powerful little phone like Ian Paisley asking two deaf Tims to get to fuck out his front garden. “Ah cannae really talk at the meenit Cas, ah’m in the back of a polis caur. Ah’ve been done for pishin in the street, again.”
“Whit, it’s only nine o’clock, whit the fuck are ye on aboot?”
“Ye know me wi ma weak bladder. An ah only had six cans this morning. I must be gaun doon wi’ sumthin.”
“Will they let ye back oot the day?”
“They wull when ah pish oan their cell flair.” A rattling coarse laugh followed as Bally almost choked to death on his forty fag/ten spliffs a day cough.
“Phone me when ye get oot then ma man. Okay Bro?” Cas hung up content that his brother would pull it off and come through to help out with the day’s caper.
“Whit’s that wanker daen noo?” asked Mel, picking his nose and an unbeatable fifty pence Goalsmash coupon he got from the high street bookies – the biggest bunch of thieving bastards in the country – apart frae Rangers.
“Ye don’t want tae know,” snorted Cas. “He’s gaunae phone me in a wee while, but.”
The three amigos, minus one, went straight down to the local chapel and asked the priest, Father Neva Tuchtim if they could help with any good deeds, reading to the sick, helping the infirm, or just praying at the altar of the Blessed Virgin of Kilbirnie (ye fucking kidding Kilbirnie, virgin?) Nah, they went to the boozers played pool with just the cue ball and rattled the slot machines hoping they would drop some cash. Until then they were skint and had no chance of getting any booze. No change there then.
As promised Bally arrived and they went shopping to the local off-licence. Inside they met an old sparring partner, Spike. He was drunk as a skunk, (well, he’d just had his breakfast) and had his weekly shoplifting under his coat, two three-litre bottles of White Lightning, eight cans of Hampden, a bottle of wine – a cheeky wee Lanlic – and a packet of dog biscuits?
“How’s it hangin’, ma man, ma mate?” Cas acknowledged the man he fought with all the way through school.
“No bad pal,” Spike replied, frowning and stepping back as if to avoid a crack on the jaw. “How’s you?” he added, to deflect any possible undetected fist flying. You never know what might have happened when you were out of your box, unable to stand and might have put a brick through somebody’s window.
“Ah’m okay,” Cas replied. “We’re in a hurry but, ah’ll see ye aboot.” With a nod to the other two they abandoned Spike and left him to continue his shoplifting and before he started a discussion aboot ‘O’ levels, ‘Highers’ and Uni entrance exams and that… Aye right.
Anyway the three Musket…Muscotee…Masko…wankers ably made their way past Ladbrokes, William Hills and Corals to their aunties house to deliver their Christmas gifts. No they didn’t, they couldn’t do that if their lives depended on it. They went in to the first bookies open and made kid-on bets using dud slips as money like the trio of retarded miscreants they were.
Later as they made their way across town to Mary and Josie’s the three Kings had a conference. They had to come up with a plausible story on how and where they bought their gifts. Mary wouldn’t like it one little bit if she thought they were nicked so because of her concern the three galoots decided they’d have to buy them. Aye so, they did. No way. If they had mind you, it would be a chance in ten billion, like Celtic winning the Champions League or some other galactic freak.
“Whit did ye get, Bally?” asked Cas and nudged his brother.
With a flourish, Bally took from under his glued on, hadn’t been off his back for a fortnight, Killie strip and handed Cas a box of chocolates.
Cas sniffed, at first he looked disappointed. Then he smiled, “Naw that’s aw right they’ll dae. Terry’s All-Gold they’re good urent they?”
Bally smiled a toothless grin happy he wasn’t going to get a smack. “Here,” he said and handed Mel a box with a man type doll figure inside.
Mel grabbed it and snarled, “Whit the fucks this?” He clenched a fist.
Bally ducked instinctively and cowered away. “It’s like an Action Man thing. Frankenstin…Frankensent…”
“A Frankenstein monster doll, ya bawbag,” Cas interrupted. “Whit ye…?”
“It’s fur the wean,” Bally wailed.
“Ye’ll frighten the wee fucker tae death, ya nob,” Mel shouted.
“Frankenstein, it looks mair like ma history teacher,” Cas went on.
“He’s a dead ringer for ma maw’s new boyfriend, he is,” Mel muttered.
“Mair like your fucken maw,” disagreed Cas. “Anyway whit did ye get?”
“Tarrra,” Bally roared.
Mel and Cas looked at each other, “Whit!”
Once again, Bally took from under his XXXL football top another package, this time gift-wrapped. “Look what ah’ve goat,” he simpered, “a fucken belter.” He showed the other two a rather large fancy shaped bottle filled with some exotic smelly stuff or something. The label was half ripped off and only showed three letters of the liquids name.
Cas grabbed it and peered at the silver coloured writing on it. “M-I-R. Mir somethin’.”
“Whit the fucks Mir? It looks Mir like a bottle of cheap after-shave. Get it,” he nudged his brother violently. “Get it, Mir it’s like mair. Oh, never fucken mind,” he sunk his chin onto his chest in submission when only blank looks from his two compatriots bounced back at him.
Mel took the bottle and inspected it probably looking to see if you could get something back on the empty. He pointed to the tiny writing on the back. “Says it’s Miracle; the new after shave for men guaranteed tae get ye a sh…”
Cas interrupted. “Here’s a bus coming,” and pointed at the blue and white double decker that rocked and swayed down the main street.
“Will we get three halves,” asked Bally wiping his nose on his sleeve.
“Aye we’ll try it oanyway,” Mel agreed.
Cas shook his head. “For fucks sake,” he wailed, “am thirty wan.” He pointed at Mel then Bally. “You’re thirty-fucken-four and you ya eejit are twenty eight. Mind ye, you’ve got the mental age of week old cabbage.” He sighed. “Okay, let’s gie it a go.”
Bus drivers may have left school when they were nine but Cas and co weren’t going to get past this one he must have stayed on well into the first week of big school. No flies on him. He spotted right away that Cas; six foot three, Mel; six foot four and Bally, so ugly and fat that he couldn’t still be at school or he would’ve be done in by now, weren’t getting three halves.
Unperturbed Cas handed the retard a Portuguese five-pound note for the fares and even got fifty pence change back. Result.
Nine stops later they got off the bus but had to stop the driver driving away until Bally retrieved his bottle of MIR which he sold to a jakey who thought he was getting a half bottle of brandy.
It started to snow heavily which made Cas think that at least Bally’s Killie shirt would get a wash. His own Celtic strip and Mel’s Rangers strip were certainly clean enough, but suitable for minus four degrees C in a snowstorm, no chance. The poor bastards were frozen stiff within minutes and trudged through the blinding darkness shivering and chittering like mad.
His trainers squelching like fuck Cas turned to the other two. “W-Who…w-whose fucken stupid idea was this?” he asked as he lead the way across the Arctic circle.
“Yours. Ye dick,” Mel offered.
“Aye, yours bawbag.”
Cas went in the huff and stayed quiet. They trudged on.
“Where do they stay?” Mel asked desperately cuddling Bally’s wee, fat, smelly body for warmth.
“In a stable,” Bally volunteered and looked at his bro.
Cas wiped snow from his head and groaned. “How many mair times dae ah have tae tell ye it’s the Gable, ye Muppet, no a stable.”
“Over there then,” Mel suddenly shouted.
Cas braced his eyeballs against the blinding snow and saw over a door a light flicker like a star through the dark. “That’s it,” he shouted, “let’s go,” and stumbled towards the tiny star-shaped beacon. The other two tried to keep up and followed desperately as best they could.
When the three Kings reached the door they knocked loud and long and at the same time bounced up and down on the step to keep warm. When the door eventually creaked open a bearded friendly looking man stood in the hallway. He obviously had been drinking, celebrating. He peered at his unannounced guests and frowned, not sure.
“Josie it’s Cas for fucks sake let us in its freezing oot here.”
“Aye,” chittered the other two, “gaunae.”
“Who is it at this time of night, Joseph?” a woman’s voice called out.
“It’s the Kings,” he replied, “ah’ll let them in.” Josie swung the door back and stepped aside. “C’mon in.”
The boys hurried past him into the other room and made for the coal fire. It was huge blazing away like mad and gave out such a welcoming feeling it made the trio feel just a wee bit better. As they began to thaw out the boys asked about the new baby was it a boy a girl, or what. They asked what its name was and all the other crappy nonsense you blabber. Stuff they didn’t even understand themselves.
Mary got the trio to take some oxtail soup and eat the leftover lamb she and Josie had earlier. She told them to take off their trainers and their football strips and dry them at the fire and gave them each one of Josie’s old fleeces to wear.
After they had dried out and warmed up the boys handed out, their prezzies then helped Josie demolish his quite substantial New Years carry out.
Mary sat under the Christmas tree and opened the gifts, she new what the boys were like but it was the thought that counted. Terry’s All-Gold, Frankenstein and Mir… something or other.
“Thanks boys,” she sniffed and blew her nose. “Listen,” she added. “You’ll have to stay here the night you can’t go home in that snowstorm. We’ll find you somewhere to sleep don’t worry.”
The night wore on, crap was talked, songs were sung, tears were shed and everyone had a great time. When at last the fire burnt down to a dull but still warm glow and the lights extinguished the boys lay in their makeshift beds and started to doze off one by one.
“What was the wean called again?” asked Mel.
“Jesus, ah don’t know.”