COMEDIAN Limmy, aka Brian Limond, has turned his hand to fiction with his collection Daft Wee Stories. Here are three of them
THE FAT WORKIE
There once was a fat workie. You’ve seen him before. High-vis jacket, helmet, steel-toe capped boots. And a belly like a space hopper.
He grafted all day, every day. You might find him lifting scaffolding poles out the back of a van, before carrying them halfway across the site, two at a time, to wherever they were to go. Or you might see him walking around with a wheelbarrow of building bricks, stacked high like a pyramid, as he shifted them from here to there. Or he might be taking an industrial-sized drill up to Mick on the third floor. Or pulling a thousand litres of water out of a hole, one bucket at a time. Or shovelling concrete for four hours straight.
Yet there he was with a belly like a space hopper.
He’d see the office workers, the men and women in suits, with their slim, toned bodies. He’d see them from the site, from a high point. He could see right in their windows, as they sat at their computers. They’d barely move a muscle, other than their fingers, to type. They’d sometimes move one of their hands to their mouse, to click a button, then move it back to the keyboard again. Sometimes they’d turn their neck a bit to look at somebody else, then move their mouth to speak. And that would be them, all day, every day, until it was time to leave. He’d see them walk to their motors and trains and buses, where they’d sit down again until it was time to get out, then walk a short distance to their houses, where they’d sit down in front of the telly for the rest of the night before lying flat in their beds for eight hours until it was time to get up and go to work and not move a muscle once again.
Yet there they were with their slim, toned bodies.
And there he was with a belly like a space hopper.
They were going to put an offer in for the house. It was perfect, a terraced house on a leafy street, the type with trees coming out the pavement. Nice and quiet, but only a short walk away from the hubbub of the city, if they ever felt like getting in amongst it. It had three bedrooms, a living room at the front, and another living room type of thing at the back. Tons of space for both of them. He’d always fantasised about having a games room, and with all this he could have a games room and a home cinema. She quite fancied a gym. And they both loved the back garden, perfect for when they wanted to start a family, and perfect for getting mates round in the summer, for barbecues and that. And best of all, the price was right as well. It was f***ing perfect.
Aye, they were going to put in an offer. Until they saw that poster on their way back home, the one outside that new development.
‘Luxury apartments’, it said.
Well, there was no point in having a look, the pair of them had already made up their minds about that terraced house, it was perfect. Mind you, the poster did say ‘luxury’. They thought they’d better check it out. And two months later, they had the keys. To their luxury apartment.
No, it wasn’t as big as the house, quite cramped in fact, but the estate agent said that meant it didn’t take as much energy to heat. And no, it didn’t have a garden, but then you don’t have the pain in the arse of having to maintain one. And maybe it was in the middle of nowhere, but the noise from the neighbours through the walls made you feel like you were close to the hubbub.
And, aye, it cost about forty grand more than the house, way over their budget. Aye, it would probably postpone having children for a year or two. And aye, maybe their parents were right when all they could say was, ‘It’s a bit expensive for a one-bedroom flat.’ But they were wrong about one thing.
It isn’t a ‘flat’.
It’s an apartment.
A luxury apartment.
Just look at the poster: ‘Luxury apartment’.
It says so right there.
Iain held the spoon of tomato soup an inch from his mouth, motionless, as he stared out the cafe window with his jaw on the deck.
Outside, at the other side of the road, was his mum. There she was. They weren’t due to meet for lunch or anything; she had no idea he was in there staring out at her. If she did, he was quite sure she wouldn’t be doing what she was doing.
She was kissing a guy.
Some of the soup on the spoon dripped down into the bowl below, splashing one or two drops onto Iain’s T-shirt. He didn’t notice. His mum was kissing some guy.
He felt like chapping the window to get her to stop, the way a primary school teacher might chap on a window with keys to stop one of the children flashing their genitals. But he didn’t. As much as he didn’t want to see his mum like that, he didn’t want to see his mum seeing him seeing her like that. But she’d find out eventually. She’d find out that he’d found out, because he’d have to tell his dad. He’d have to. ‘Dad,’ he’d say. ‘Know how you and Mum stopped shagging years ago? She’s still at it, mate. She’s still at it.’
She squeezed the guy’s arse. Iain lowered his spoon into the bowl and pushed it away.
They stopped kissing for a moment, only to adjust their heads and get fired right back into each other once again. Iain could almost see the guy’s face now, but not quite, he couldn’t get a good, clear look. However, he did get a good, clear look at the semi that was bulging through the guy’s middle-age trousers. He saw that all right. He was surprised at how little he was shocked by it. Surprised and concerned. Concerned at what it meant for his mental health, as he had clearly become warped. He looked away. He reckoned that when he got round to telling his dad, he’d maybe leave this bit out. Dad needed to know the truth, but he didn’t need to be tortured with it.
Iain looked back at the pair of them. They’d turned slightly, and now Iain could get a good, clear look at the guy’s face.
His heart sank.
No. No, it can’t be.
Iain leaned his elbows against the table, closed his eyes and gently put his palms against his face. He wouldn’t be telling his dad after all. Not now. If the guy had been a stranger, aye, but not now.
It was bad. Pretty bad.
It was Dad.
Mum was with Dad.
The cafe owner walked over to Iain, the guy at the window, the one who’d been staring into his soup for the last fifteen minutes. ‘Is everything OK?’ she asked, looking at the soup. She’d made it herself.
‘It’s revolting,’ he whispered. ‘Revolting.’
Brian Limond, or Limmy, came to the world’s attention with his anarchic website and podcasts. After performing hugely successful stand-up, including at the Glasgow International Comedy Festival, The Comedy Unit worked with him on his own six-part series for BBC Scotland which he wrote, directed and starred in. In 2013 he won his second BAFTAScotland Award for Best Comedy/Entertainment programme. He has appeared in such shows as the IT Crowd, Pompidou and Charlie Brooker’s Weekly Wipe. Daft Wee Stories is his first book. Limmy is at the Edinburgh Book Festival on 22 August