Ely Percy 69
The family situation
Clicky’s got a new girlfriend. He’s gaun oot wi ma cousin, Kelly Campbell, an noo she’s startet hingin aboot the stairs wi aw ma pals. Ah cannae staun Kelly cause she’s wan ae the biggest slappers in oor year, an she’s always dead sarky taewards me; an no only that, when we wur in third year we baith endet up in the same French class an she got put next tae me cause we’d the same second name, but then her ma asked tae get her moved seats cause ae the FAMILY SITUATION.
Ah never did find oot whit the family situation wis. Ah know it wis partly tae dae wi ma ma bein a catholic an ma da bein a protestant an his family bein right intae the orange walk, but ah think thir musta been other stuff as well. Aw ah really know is that ma da disnae talk tae her da or any his other brothers or sisters cause they aw fell oot before ah wis even born.
Kelly Campbell’s big brother’s gettin married this Saturday. Clicky’s been invitet tae the weddin an apparently so huv aw the Campbell’s apart fae me an ma ma an da an Karen. How’d yees no jist talk, said Clicky. Whit fur. He said, Cause it wid make things easier. Aye, ah said, Easier fur who. Kirsty whit’s she ever done tae you, he said, Jist cause yir ma an da don’t talk tae Kelly’s ma an da disnae mean you need tae carry on the tradition. Whit yi talkin aboot, ah said, It’s nothin tae dae wi the family situation ah jist think yir girlfriend’s a weirdo enda story.
Ma ma always said that if ah wantet tae be pals wi any ae ma cousins fae my da’s side then that’s whit ah should dae. She said it wisnae up tae anybody else who ah palled aboot wi, an if a squad a wans fae school come up tae oor door lookin fur me an Kelly Campbell wis wan ae them, then she’d invite her in jist the same an she’d no make any bones aboot it. Ma ma’s like that: she’ll talk tae anybody as long’s yir a nice person an it disnae matter where yi come fae or whit religion yi are or whit beliefs yi huv. Yi can choose yir pals but yi cannae choose yir relatives, she said tae me, An it’s no the weans’s fault that the mother an faither are bliddy basket cases.
Kelly Campbell’s wee brother’s in ma wee sister’s class. She sits next tae him fur maist subjects an he’s her cookin partner in Home Ec. He looks lik a right wee ned wi his chains an his sovvy rings an his Burbury cap that he always wears tae school. Ah said tae Karen, Dae yi no feel awkward sittin next tae him. Whit yi talkin aboot, said Karen, Wee Bryan’s ma wee mucker.
Ah don’t know whit Clicky sees in Kelly cause she’s got a face like a Salvadore Dali paintin an she’s thick as two short planks. She’s a two timer anaw an she gets aff wi other folk’s boyfriends an that’s how she got a doin aff Kelly Marie Walker wan time when we wur in third year.
Ah tried tae tell Clicky aw this but he’s no interestet an he keeps gaun on aboot whit he’s wearin tae the weddin an how his ma an da think him an Kelly are a perfect match an that she’s a brilliant kisser.
Ah said, Ah really don’t want tae know aboot Kelly Campbell an her family an ah specially don’t want tae know whit like she is at kissin. He went in a pure bad mood wi me after that an said, Fine then Kirsty ah’ll no tell yi anythin aboot ma life fae noo on. Ah’m sorry, ah said, It’s jist –
Don’t speak tae me, he said, an then he pit his fingers in his ears an startet hummin.
Clicky musta tolt Kelly whit ah said aboot her, cause she come up tae me at interval the day an said if ah went near her boyfriend again then she’d get her big cousin tae kick ma heid in. Ah wis tryin tae work oot if her big cousin widda been ma big cousin anaw but she never said whit cousin she wis actually talkin aboot.
Kelly hit me on the heid wi an apple at lunch time the day. She tried tae make oot that it wis an accident but it wisnae. Ah wis staunin talkin tae Clicky under the stairs tryin tae sort things oot, an she wis hingin ower the bannister, an she tried tae say she wis aimin fur the bin that wis next tae me but it wis so obviously deliberate.
Ah endet up wi a big shiny red lump on ma heid because ae her. She said,
Sor- ree but that’s whit yi get fur staunin in stupit places. Quite a few ae ma so-called pals seemed tae think it wis funny, an ah wis not impressed wi Chris Rice singin,
FRUIT DROPS KEEP FALLIN ON MA HEAD.
Mrs Auldhill made me lie doon in the nurse’s office an ah missed fifth period because ae it. When ah come back, thir wis a rumour gaun aboot that Kelly had knocked me oot an ah had a concussion.
Ma da wis fur gaun up tae her door but ah tolt him no tae. Ah wis pure mortified ah wished ah hadnae even mentioned it. Ah said, Gaunnae jist leave it it’s fine. He never said anythin. Ah said, Haha whit yi gaunnae say dad
YOUR DAUGHTER ASSAULTET MA DAUGHTER WI A MACINTOSH RED.
He still never said anythin. It’s no as if they had tae peel me aff the flair, ah said tryin tae make a joke ae it, Get it … peel me aff –
Ah’m glad you find it funny, said ma da, Cause ah certainly don’t. Then he went away an got the yella pages an startet huntin fur Kelly’s phone nummer.
Kelly Campbell’s family are ex directory so they wurnae in the phone book but trust oor Karen tae huv thir nummer. Ah sat in the livin room wi ma ma an Karen while da tried tae get through. It wis engaged. Ah said, Aw well that must be a sign that yir no meant tae phone. Ma da said, Aye that will be right, then he waitet another ten minutes an tried again.
PIT BRYAN CAMPBELL ON THE PHONE PLEASE.
Sumdy wis talkin on the other endy the line but ah couldnae hear whit they wur sayin. THE FAITHER, ah heard ma da say, AN NEVER YOU MIND WHO IT IS. Everythin went silent fur a minute an then Bryan Campbell Senior musta came tae the phone cause aw yi heard after that fur the next ten minutes wis MA DAUGHTER, this, an, YI CAN TELL YOUR DAUGHTER, that, an ma da gaun aff his nut.
Kelly drew her eyes aff me continually the day in school. Ah heard fae Charlene that she called me a cow behind ma back but she never actually said anythin tae ma face. Apparently, her da went right through her fur the apple episode an he’s tolt her tae keep well back fae me.
The weddin wis a shambles. Wan ae Kelly’s other cousins brought gatecrashers an the groom endet up wi a bottle ower his heid. Noo the rest ae that family’s no talkin, said ma da, Ah’m glad we wurnae there.
Clicky’s split up wi Kelly. He widnae say whit happent, but ma wee sister tolt me: apparently Kelly snogged wan ae the gate crashers right in front ae him.
Ely Percy is a Scottish fiction writer, a memoirist and an epistolarian; their debut novel Vicky Romeo Plus Joolz is scheduled for publication in February 2019.