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> Home Made Tales, The journey
peter.howden
post 3rd Jun 2018, 07:06pm
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My Chronicles 03/06/2018

There was a realization of the inevitable closeness to a sadness, which Rebecca desperately wished would not happen… but mainly for Aunt Becky. Because Becky had been diagnosed having Dementia some time ago, its true complications had yet not quite become obvious how it would affect us both. When doctors or experts explained, as best they could, how certain triggers, common to the mind disease, would display themselves… however only certain parts of the account sunk in while other details seemed to be far away from the moment of instructions.


The sorrow is each step causes heart wrenching thoughts and fears, exhausting built up defences and personal tenacity, sometimes unware of the accurate picture. Aunt Becky was now lost in her own wee world, unable to really communicate in ours, yet appears quite comfortable, even in a state of grace, at the same time within a shell of the original wee woman. Our main consolation is Becky is a dedicated team in a specialized home, taking care of her needs which, she is oblivious of…but most important…she is safe.

I plan to carry on taking her hurls, across the enchanting Kilpatrick hills, but regrettably will have to shorten the route…as she fell asleep half way along the last time. She cannot communicate she is tired,

Last week I took a trip to Paris, unfortunately, ‘She who must be obeyed’ felt unable to the challenge of Metro stairways and corridors. This meant I could make my usual mistakes, jump on the wrong bus or land up in the wrong place, even arrondissement, with impunity…just turn around and redirect.

As a true Scotsman, I purchased a multipurpose transport ticket, for the duration of my unplanned expeditions, probing into the far corners of this exceptional city, where sightseers and tourist seldom see. Similar with major cities in the world, there is the glitter/glamour/historical world for tourism, then places where the average Parisian frequent…add the areas and practices, hidden from any outside vacationer’s eyes…but telling a tale all the same.

One vital importance is just simple communication, for as far as my personal experience has taken me, if you can clearly say, ‘Please/Thank you’ in the language of the country, most people will go out of their way to help. Many times, after sputtering out longish correct French sentence, or so I thought, only to be greeted with either puzzlement or laughter…or both, but given assistance to whatever needed, either in directions or purchase. The word ‘Magic’ seems to work for me…also an agreeable disposition plays a good hand.

Watching from the advantage of my hotel window across from the magnificent entrance to the 154-year-old ‘Gare de Nord’ was a hullabaloo union demonstration, old fashioned bicycle horns, loud bangers, and red distress flares, in protest against the railway bosses, and boy what a rally. For half an hour or so, they were chanting, louder and louder against State reforms, sounding comparable between the all blacks Moira “HAKA” rugby chants, and Welsh Miner Choirs singing the same verse over and over again. For this resolve alone…they deserve a hearing.

As far as my limited experience, in Rolls Royce, Caterpillar Tractors, private business, warehouses, and the grand Glasgow City Council has taken me, when some workers have a genuine right to complain about conditions, and incomes, there are sincere people on both side, unfortunately… both Unions and industrial leaders, of any kind, abuse the rules of employment, by proceeding with their own agendas with little regard to the actual issues.

Next Chronicles will explain
… family pick-pockets…. lady chancers…Japanese travellers with a big difference…open air cottage industry

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peter.howden
post 6th Jun 2018, 07:36pm
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My Chronicles 07/06/2018

I may have mentioned it before, Paris railway stations are bursting with life of their own, (particularly Gare de Nord the busiest in Europe according to the human traffic passing through the train service and the metro). In Glasgow stations, your either coming or going, or waiting for a train or person. Within Paris Gare’s, it is a living throbbing stage, continuously fluctuating script, and performers…giving professional actors a lesson in tangible drama, comedy, and despair. Travellers pimps and tramps, desperate peoples from all nationalities massing into a human soup.

In Paris itself, the renowned old public cast-iron roundish street urinals, almost artistic of the 1880s to late1960s, are all gone, but just at the left side of Gare de Nord, as an endless flow of buses leave the station, at the side of a wall, similar to Aries Amphitheatre built 90 A.D two open- visual stainless-steel urinals, proudly displayed and constantly used. Giving the free for all cottage industry alfresco whiff of air.

Taking the Metro to the famous ‘Abbesses’ station, with an Art Nouveau entrance, but more important, the centre of the delicious intrigue, fact and fiction of ‘Montmartre’ to reach the enchanting ‘Basilique du Sacré-C½ur’ superb at all angles. Amazingly watched a Japanese’s couple walking up the white stairs while they were reading a …. Another Japanese lady, holding up an umbrella and her face almost covered by a smog tie on mask…It was neither sunshine of rain.
For film exhilaration is the very Rue Drevet/Rue des 3 Freres, and stairway, open film sequel of ‘Ronin’

But the biggest treasure is on the other side of the Montmartre hill, where seldom a tourist steps…just sauntering around, Rue and Avenue, soaking up the historical sites of old building, giving a good impression of a slum, but perhaps the culture of the lives of the renowned artists, from the past and present, mingling with the poor and destitute of today.

On a hoachin Metro, on two separate days, observed Father and son dipping team. The 9-year-old boy attempted palmed the wallet, or something, but failed while under frustration, he squinted to the older man, quickly followed by looking out the window, pretending not know each other, until the next stop. Next day, two chancers, extremely well developed young ladies worked a dodge by bumping into an unexpected traveller, with her assets, as the train came to a stop. As the doors opened, kicked up a rumpus of indignity while her china dipped the target…very slickly done.

I spent some time in the footsteps of yesteryear strolling slowly around highlight places where ‘She who must be obeyed’ and I visited many moons ago. Auguste Rodin’s out of this world Museum, exhibiting The Thinker, the huge ‘Burghers of Calais’, and of course…’The Kiss’… based on illicit love couple, Paolo & Francesca, in the second circle of Dante’s hell, where the carnal sinners are penalised. Years ago, I read a book called ‘Naked I came’ about Rodin’s life, but before doing so, I thought ‘The Kiss’ was just a great snog…

Sitting of an evening outside of the café facing the great Gare de Nord, just people watching, and with luck sometimes being joined by passer byes, just put the icing on the cake especially one Irish guy, who carried his own oxygen about, for his sins of 60 years of heavy smoking. He appeared well known and ordered a special lager which was not on the menu.

We sat until well after midnight on my last evening…pure magic…but Peewee did not appear?
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peter.howden
post 11th Jun 2018, 08:30am
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Confessions and Tales from a tailor Shop;

Selling, or making a sale, is not rocket science, however, most personnel, who are lumbered with such employment, forget one of the fundamental practices, listening attentively while also observing people’s mannerisms as soon as possible. The craft is in construction of a brief relationship where the customer reveals their wants and desires without the sales individual asking any direct question dealing with size, style, or price …always acting on character needed.

Within my time working in the lower end of the tailoring market, there were two main types of shoppers, three if you count the timewasters, or peoples who just come out of the rain for shelter. The two main types are cash customers and Provident, Caledonian, and good old Bristol check carriers. The cash consumer was looking for style and quality, for a price reduction on cut price rags, the check carrying patrons slavered these occasions as special in their calendar … and must be treated so.

The ultimate sin, for any sales-person, was sell size 38/40 suits and Jackets, or coats which were most sought after by the youths who frequented ‘City Cash Tailors’. Inside every tailor shop, working in such close conditions, plus the particular intimate assessing inside legs, and the like, or operating the full bespoke (made to measure suit) created a sense of intimacy. This allows grace when using the woes of their tired attire, and of your own, to conquer the transaction.

One day a cagy customer appeared at the entrance of the establishment, who proved to be an ungenerous ‘know it all’, by the way he fingered material, tut-tutted more than once. Some eccentric procurers were not averse to threatening the salesman with the ‘Trades description act’, so verbal agility in what you informed…did vary on these occasions. This chap stated he knew all about cloth and he would not be deceived by any lackey.

After bringing a jacket, affirming it to be ‘Thornproof, he’ asked me to prove such a statement because real cloth was expensive, and you could drive a nail into the material which afterwards you could not see where it went in. Rather shocked when I proceeded to do exactly this, and afterwards searched and examined the sleeve of the jacket but could not discover the hole. It was a ‘sleight of hand’ deception…but paid up, leaving with one sleeve …bearing a hole in it.

Another such chap trying on a well-fitting sky colour lightweight suit, priced at £19.95 pence. He had convinced himself it was Cashmere, asking how it was possible to be so cheap.

I answered quite coyly how I did not have to mention to him, as he knew Cashmere came from the soft fine undercoat hair on the stomach of ‘Kashmir’ goats who roamed the Gobi Desert…. I added the reason for such a phenomenal price was…this particular company held the sole rights to the inside hair of these goat’s abdomens …he was chuffed leaving the store
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peter.howden
post 12th Jun 2018, 01:57pm
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The demise of an unofficial institution

My attendance the East Kilbride sauna (Dollan Aqua Centre) on Saturday morning has changed for two reasons. The heartache is the loss of comradeship of home grown ‘Benghazi Mice’. from 1987/2017 with the ritual meeting place being first Pollokshaws, which closed, moved the team to East Kilbride.

The original elderly gang, some 17 guys acting as weans, are down to 2 old bampots, Dom and myself, though we both now must retire from the rigors of the sauna. Dom has Parkinson’s disease, and his one liner to this terrible condition…’I knew I had Parkinson’s disease…I kept interviewing everyone’. My lame excuse being inconsequential cause is dry skin patches on my legs, where baths and showers, and most certainly, steam and swimming, are not in the treatment…if there is such a thing.

Throughout the stupendous span, the ‘Benghazi Mice’ emphatically were majestic company, warm and sincere, nevertheless I miss the rough and tumble loud self-opinionated conversations of a multitude of crazy pals, whose creation just hit the spot each time we met. We salute the fallen ‘Benghazi Mice’… long may they live within fascinating memories. I visit wee Dom, at his house, every second Sunday.

Due to one reason or another, I have lacked exercised for some considerable time, decided a forbidden swim would help painful muscles, joints, and bones, caused by constant mental foolhardiness of picking up gross over-weighty things, thinking I’m still 17 years old. This of course is an allusion, for when I peek into the mirror, I can’t believe the return reflection…mirror, mirror on the wall…forget it.

It would have to admitted I’m no Mark Spitz, more like a wrinkly looking Winston Churchill baby out of water. The contentious lifeguards always looked upon my style of swimming as an odd puzzlement with unique strokes. This time round, aching quite a considerable bit, demonstrating puny arm movements, coughing, spluttering, near out of breath, however, in five minutes or so, a sensation of mounting powerful strokes.

Not in a Tarzan the ape man panache, Johnny Weissmuller did with ease, but a steady eel like motion in the pool. The surprised exercise did the world of good to my confidence in accepting the pain as time swims by.

Swimming now alone in the pool, eyes closed floating around relaxing in the comfort of the warm water, memories slips back to the good old days in Saltcoats and Stevenson extended beach. To have any chance swimming in deeper water, there was a need to go way out a considerable distance, while looking back at the people on the sand imitating ants size wise. One such day while swimming out further from the coastline than ever before, I began to ease out and drift, allowing the heavy waves to dictate my speed and direction.

Totally alone sunbathing in salt water a familiar sound entered ricocheting around my head was the striking soundtrack from the film, ‘Jaws’, Loud pitch alternating two notes; “E and F" or "F and F sharp", warning of impending menace, piercingly encourage attempts to drown out any sensibility, I started to look around for the tell-tale signs of a shark while the frenzy tune bounced louder and louder. Knowing you are a bampot does not help as a sensation of panic around my head. I think I broke my own puny record storming to the shoreline.

In the absolute safety of a Glasgow District council pool I was repeating the need to look around for any sharks as these two awesome notes again impaled my mind. Unfortunately, the doctor was correct in not bathing, or showering my legs, for red blotches appeared on my forelegs. Something like when stung by a jellyfish…. this time I stung myself
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peter.howden
post 14th Jun 2018, 08:37am
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JIM STEPS;(1)

Jim stepped down from the train, into a grim grey unwelcoming platform, wondering why he had truly come. He had no wish to be here, or anywhere near this ugly reminder, but was drawn by subtle threats, making it perfectly clear as to what future tragedy would become of him if he disobeyed.

He knew the very moment stepping off the railroad car he was trapped… now there was no turning back. The blue skies had disappeared long ago replaced by dark and foreboding black holes with intervals of nothingness. The angel of death was abroad, lurking behind some innocent facade, being rewarded for surprising this beaten traveller.

This physical return trek was no place for man to boldly go, for Jim’s gruesome journeys lasted for years, or so it seemed, though the actual miserable train confinement was measures in hours, but hours held the ‘Sword of Demoniacs’… forever present. His own Gordian Knot, no swift blade existed to delete the mental lunacy struggling for peace, always reaching no answer to this particular endless riddle.

So often, in the past, believing he had escaped his near fate, only to repeatedly hear this dreaded dominant voice dictating surrender terms. This time was the total conclusion of his life’s worth, knowing regardless what he truly wished for, had no chance in hell of coming true. Here he was, on the final dragging saunter towards his own demise.

Now outside the melancholy train station, Jim forced himself to take the first step along the cold streets of early morning, recalling his school days being regimental constructed by one domineer individual above all else. Jim once held illusions of being free from persistent bulling which made him do things, terrible things, he did not want to do. He constantly received harsh treatment at the hands of a demon, such as the leather belt, the feared rod complete with several kicks to surrender to absolute domination.

Though, he had since inflicted far worse things so demeaning, so horrific, he was scared even to think about them. Here and now, the truth was he was more entangled than ever. Now, he had to pay the ultimate price because as everybody knows, it’s impossible to keep them out… eyes are everywhere.

Coming to the horrifying but familiar tenement entrance, Jim took one last deep breath of cleansed air shaking uncontrollably as entering the mouth of the wally close inside making the final steps. A knock on the door… a turn off the handle he opened the ingress and called once again in unadulterated surrender;

Hallo Mother; it’s me?

Next piece to follow
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peter.howden
post 14th Jun 2018, 10:30am
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DESPERATE

LONELY;

If the doorbell goes again I will make no effort to answer and pretend I am not in. it is just kids playing ‘ring-bang-squish’. We played it when we were young, tying pieces of string around the handles of the doors. It did make us laugh as the occupants shouted abusive swear words. I would have liked to have had kids of my own, but it was just not to be, and I could not do anything about it.

There has not been one living soul stepped over this threshold for quite a long time. There was one doctor some two years back, when that awful Asian flu struck terror in the neighbourhood, but I still had to rise out of my sick bed and collect my prescription. He was not my real doctor, for apparently Dr Stein, dour man but good, has gone to the big hospital in the sky, I’m not sure her reached such high heights. The very young squirt was a stand-in locum, whatever that means, but he did ask some questions and had cold hands if I remember.

there was that nauseating wee man, trying to sell double glazing, put his foot forcibly in the door, ready to march right in, but patch stopped him dead, by showing his teeth. Patch was actually George’s dog, but the pet took to me because I would slip a wee treat his way when no one was looking. So, when George, my husband past away, patch and I became a couple.

Patch cross over to sleep forever and his body is buried out in the back green. I often pat the grass growing there, wishing him goodnight… every night. It is a terrible confession however I miss patch more than George. If you ever met George, you would probably understand why. He could find fault with an angel … wonder if he has met any… doubt it….miserable old git

We were not all that close as feelings were seldom shown, other than when George lost his temper over something trivial come to light, blaming me, which he did quite frequently yet you get used to someone’s ways, don’t you?... I think sort of miss him.

I do wish those kids would stop ringing the bell…EastEnders is coming on and it is not the same with the sound down

Goodnight Patch
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peter.howden
post 16th Jun 2018, 08:17am
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Content

Some say you have to travel far, and wide to find any state of Utopia, or the elusive Shangri-La or any of the elusive seven heavens, and this may be truer…yet it is reputed the hardest of all is to hold true tranquillity within life… or life itself. This may seem quite an unreachable fairy-tale claim, but in my mind, I have experienced abundant contentment, being wholly at peace, not only with the world but more importantly, with myself, and brother it was way-out sublimely exhilarated.

I would say there have been two handfuls of surprising awe-inspiring, glow of freedom times entered in my life, with total ignorance or concern of what was happening outside my bubble. The thing which is amazing is how simple they turned out to be.

Several years ago, I was on the road around France, I stopped at the magic family’s abode, taking advantage of their hospitable natures, for free bed and lodgings in their medieval village. The following morning with the sun high and bright in a blue sky, they packed the car, to go swimming in ‘Bassin Du Lampy Neuf’ which supply’s water for the famous and fabulous Midi Canal. It was such a grand day weather-wise, I decided to saunter around the man-made waterway.

On reaching the other side I came across a small burn, cascading through several rocky patches before running into the main reservoir. Several small pools formed as its water flowed, attracting lots of Mayflies, Dragon flies in multitude of bright colours, a host of summer Moths, while fish with coated pigments, having amazing alterations…swam below. Countless timorous and cheeky wee beasties were a feast for the eyes, along with mini turtles, even though of unknown origin, just blew the cobwebs my mind. I sat there, just sitting there for nearly an hour, totally enchanted by nature wonders and boy what a treat. This short but unforgettable enchanted time was the crème de la crème, for me of the whole trip.

Years before, Rebecca and I visited the Pam and Jack Honey, (again gratis accommodation), down Cornwall way, who preferred to stay in their chalet, in Freathy, built by Jack… and who could blame them. Could be a wild place but never missed being a fabulous rugged beauty beyond words. What a holiday filled with kindness and laughter. The very last night I was having difficulty sleeping, I rose and wandered through to the living room where Jack had constructed a wall to wall, panoramic window to see right to the horizon …and beyond… if with a little bit of imagination.

It was a still clear night, whilst all was quiet in the house. I poured out a healthy glass of special whisky from Jack’s stock, then sat just staring out to the moon lit calm sea and the twinkling sparkling stars. Over on the right-hand corner there was the harbour town lights of Loo, but apart from that, all else was nature in the raw. What a wonderful couple of hours of sheer nothing apart from sips of the ‘Water of life’ and boy what a life.

The Algarve was an experience of tranquillity away from the madding crowd in the Praia Da Rocha hotel. The pleasant staff were at your beck and call which suited us, as ‘She who must be obeyed’ lazed around the palm trees surrounding the swimming pool, sipping a cool orange drink while reading a novel. Everything was inexpensive compared to buying power in Britain however when one sunny day, and there were many while we were there, I strolled some three kilometres upriver from the main town Portimao. A casual walk took me to a family café where the beer was a pittance compared to the low-priced resort.

As usual with foreign tongues, I could only master a few words of Portuguese, mainly ‘Obrigado’, Por favor and ‘Hora’; But I could tell by their body language, the occupants inside the café were a multitude of generations of a family, presuming to be related to the owner. I sat in the corner fascinated with the everyday goings on within as outside I also kept an eye on a fisherman working old fashion way, straight from the bible days, by being waist deep and casting his triangle net.

Again, totally transfixed with the whole ambiance, the time just flew by before I realized I should make my way back …in case my Scottish Ayesha was worried.

These three precious times gave just a glimpse into peace of the heart, but worth every single magical moment and I rate myself very lucky to have experience them

Muito Obrigado
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peter.howden
post 18th Jun 2018, 12:02pm
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Jim Steps;(2)

Jim stepped into the doorway he had sworn, so many years ago, never to return … now… at this tense moment, something unexplainable entered his mind, searching to find the spunk, or a credible reason, not to ‘do a runner’, returning back where he came from… but at that precise moment, he could not recall where this was. Raw nerves blocked any practical logic as dread caused a dehydrated choking gullet, combined with aggressive sweat invading uncontrollably over all his skin.

There had been no response to his call, so gingerly moving towards the scullery, he called out again for his mother to hear, but still no answer. Stealthily opening the stiff door ajar, seeing there was no sign of life or activity, no kettle, pots, or pans on the black, back to back, lead range. Memories flooded back to always being a kettle on the boil and home-made soup during the periods of good times but murky goings-on always to presidency over such homely content.

Without warning, the kitchen door scraped open, standing there was Jim’s mother…not a single word passed her tiny lips as she stood there, motionlessly staring in despair. Jim desperately wanted to rush forward, hold her so tenderly as possible, begging forgiveness…but now also stood absolutely still.

Then the door opened fully, providing a recognizable dark figure behind the nimbleness of his mother…it was his father. Somehow, he was now in front of the lean figure, and displaying displeasure at being disturbed

Jim’s memory whisked through so many years, thoughts he had buried deep in his unconscious mind, so long in the grinded past. The common denominator was a sadness, then bitter apology for not seeing the continuous woe his mother bore and the destruction of her very personality, due to the liquor avarice, and blackness of this bleak hearted man. Jim clenched his raised fist ready, and able, to knock the living daylights out of this brute.

Striding forcibly forward, reaching his target only finding a pitiful being, crouched to avoid any just punishment. At a final glance towards his mother, her facial features change into a known expression he had never forget. In all the rumpus and misery spread by this man, but more important the wrongs Jim knew he himself had done, and unable to stand up to this sly brute…his mother always had that look, just between mother and son.

Jim stopped in his tracks, leaving the squatted body alone, turned slowly towards his mother and seeing a slight smile brightening her forlorn disposition as her figure seemed to evaporate.

Jim found himself on a train travelling somewhere, unexpectedly understanding this was just an allusion, playing havoc on his mind. It also sealed two things…you can’t change the past… no matter how you try… and loathing someone, over any time period, just festers and hurts you alone….
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peter.howden
post 19th Jun 2018, 02:47pm
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Wee Willie;

When Wee Willie voice broke, he was unable to carry a tune or sing the way people would be glad to listen. Although he dearly wish to try on stage again as a boy had performed a solo in the extravaganza B. B. concert week, held each year in the infamous ‘Empire Theatre. However now no public engagements, though salvation came in the manner of driving alone on motor journeys, were a welcome God send. Locked safely cocooned in his own mote mobile, able to render and Croke like a frog… anytime, anywhere, anything roughly musical he wished… when Willie wished.

While there is no one in the house, he grabbed a brush pole, and electrified the old record player, then swing with the music, moving like Mick Jaguar ‘Walking the dog’, the absolute supreme escalade, scaling in his own wee melodious world.

Wee Willie and his wife ‘Toty Hen’ were invited to a dance held in a T.T. hall Whiteinch (a half posh area of Glasgow) held some weeks away. When the night finally arrived, Wee Willie was suffering with a sore throat and runny nose, caused by a virus straight from the gates at Acheron. Toty Hen suggested sucking mentholated sweets, to combat the vocal problem, helping not to spoil what promised to be a swinging night.

The Glaswegian couple sat down, surrounded by family members, and Wee Willie ordered a soft drink for him and the usual round of spirits for everyone else. Wee Willie had already promised Toty Hen he would not touch a drop of the dreaded alcohol, as I had a very early shift next morning at work. She insisted too much consuming liquor and colds don’t mix, which Wee Willie disagreed with… but I daren’t not tell her...as he wanted to live.

As Wee Willie grudgingly sucked his lozenges away, he glanced with envy at my friends, particularly his brother in law (a sailor cabin boy, who knows the rest) swirling down the water of life which flowed seemingly endless.

Wee Willy now found it necessary to go to the loo, preparing to go with the flow, but totally pissed off because he could not carry a melody, especially with such a clinical pastille in his gub. Instantly…Wee Willie decided he had had enough, deciding to join my comrades of real drinkers. But his first action was to rid himself of the lousy cough tablet… so spat it out there and then.

It bounced off the stainless-steel sheet in front of him, then hit a partition made of the same rigid stuff, landing, and staying stuck fast on the smallest target in that tight-fitting toilet…his privates.

The fellow using the next bowl quips as he peeked over. “That’s a fancy way to carry a tune
-=-=-=-=-=
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