Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Busconductor Hines by James Kelman (Phoenix 1984)




On the platform the two entertainers in red trousers, tartan waistcoats and red bowties, singing a song and accompanying themselves on accordion and rhythm guitar. At the next table Sandra was smiling at something being said by McCulloch's wife; and she smiled at Hines when she noticed him watching. He prised the lid off the tin. The waitress had arrived again, her face perspired; quickly she transferred the drinks from tray to table and collected the empties. Why don't you join the Foreign Legion, he grinned. Either she failed to hear or she ignored him. He reached for the water jug and added a measure to his whisky.

Reilly was talking. He was saying. No chance, they'll never give in without a fight. Look at that last bother we had over the rise; I mean after the autumn agreement it was supposed to be a formality, but was it? was it fuck?

Aye and we're still waiting for the backpay, said Colin.

What they'll do is toss it into us at Christmas week then every cunt'll think they've had a bonus!

Hines laughed with the others.

McCulloch shook his head at Stewart. You're just encouraging them.

Ah you cant escape politics.

Dead right Stewart, but it's no good telling this yin.

What you want to do is get a transfer down to our garage, said Hines, then you'll find out: bunch of fucking houdinis so they are.

They laughed again. Rab's right but, continued Reilly. It's murder polis. You've just got to mention the word strike and no cunt'll speak to you for six months.

No wonder. Union union union, muttered McCulloch.

See what I mean?

Aye well fuck sake if I started talking about the job yous mob'd soon be shooting me down in flames.

Hines frowned. That's actually true.

I know it's fucking true!

1 comment:

Darren said...

pages 48-49

Not the greatest excerpt, I know, but being a lazy swine I'm a couple of months overdue in listing the book on the blog.

Cracking book, though. One that doesn't immediately grab you but it lingers in the mind weeks after finishing it.