Millenium Bug Cairry-oot
Author(s): Chris Ferguson
Copyright holder(s): Chris Ferguson
The pairtie fir Hogmananay hud been a few week back now. It hud been the big yin - thay hud been bangin on aboot it fir months afore - aw this hype aboot the Millennium an aw that. Like ayeways it Hogmananay he hud got pished wi Davie and wis fir stoatin, stairtin in a pub in the centre so thays cuid be near the action then intae Princes St wi a bottle o neat whisky tae join in wi thoosands o uthers fae aw around the Waurld - it wis barrie like wi the fireworks ligthenin up aw the sky. Then ontae yin o the gay bars which thay hud boucht tickets fir afore, tae try an pull. It wis surprisin thays got in seein thays wir baith steamin bit the booncers wir probably resigned tae it on yon night. Like ayeways it hogmaney, he hud lost the heid.
He'd bagged aff wi sum Australian in the pub whae wis daein the Wurld tour thays'r aw intae an wis stayin it a B&B in Newington. Youse wuldnae hae been able tae get a cab yon night fir oniething, an if youse hud then youse wud hae hud tae sell yir grannie tae pay fir it. Sae thays decidit tae get a cairry-oot fae yin o the offies that hud decided tae stay open fir tae take advantage o the lucrative business opportunities that the Millennium night presented - an rip thae fowks aff whae wir tae pished tae ken. Then its wis aff tae Tony's pad which wis closer. Now he culdnae even mind whit he wis cried, he juist kent sumhin wisnae right any mair - he'd hae cried it "Queen's intuition" an so he hud decidit tae come intae the clinic fir the test.
The appaintment caird said quarter past one. He'd got there it one, well no one exactly bit mair like twalve thirty. He'd waulked up an doon in front o the Royal fir aboot hauf an oor like an expectint faither waitin on his first bairn which hud been an accident anaw. He'd been thinkin o aw the possabilities.
Davie, his best pal, hud says tae him he'd come wi him fir the results bit he decidit tae came on his ain in the end. Him an Davie he hud been best pals since the high scuil. It furst thays hudnae got on it aw. Thays wur baith in the same year an things came tae a heid one day so Davie invitit Tony tae a square goes in the playgrund it the break.
Aw the other kids gaithered roond as thay dae, thir wis a wee bit bluid bit naethin much really an then thays baith got taken awa tae Mrs McKay's office. She wis a right torn-faced auld bissum an naebodie it the scuil cuid unerstan why she wis cried "Mrs" as a mair likely candidate fir spinsterhood ye hudnae seen afore - must hae tricked yin o the male teachers intae it it the Christmas pairte whun thay were aw pished. Anyways, thays were baith gien the strap in her office - aifter that thays became the best o pals - likes the the tawse hae gaein thaim sum kind o bluid bond or sumhin.
It wis only aifter thays hud left the scuil that Tony foond oot that Davie wis gay anaw. Bumped intae him in yin o the gay bars one night - well it didnae take that lang really seeins thir wisnae that monie anyways. So aifter bein the best o Scuil pals thays became the best o gay pals.
Naw, he cuidnae hae askit Davie tae came alang wi him. He hud kent his ain diagnosis fir a few year now an hud juist lost his boyfriend a couple o month back wi the same thing - died in his airms an aw. He wis real cut up aboot that. Went on a wee bit o a moral crusaid aifter it. Ayeways bangin on tae him aboot safer sex an aw an even joint the gay Safer Sex Patrol whae used tae gae up the hill tae gie condoms oot tae aebody whae waulkit by. Daft really if ye think aboot it cos monie o the guys up there are merrit or hae girlfriends or huvenae even come oot tae thaimsels yit. Maist o the condoms were draipped or pit in their poackets. Tony cuidnae help haein a wee giggle tae himsel thinkin o the nummer o times the wifes or girlfriends hud been gaein tae dae the wushin an foond a condom in the mun's poacket an how he wid try tae explain it awa. Davie kent Tony went up the Hill bit Tony ayeways tellt him he used yin. Aye, if the results wir bad, kennin Davie, he'd probably hae askit Tony fir a square goes oot side the Royal.
Anyways, he hud went in it one as tellt, an reported intae the reception an waited - an waited. Eventually it juist aifter one twenty he wis cawed in by the doctor, no bad really considerin it wis the health service.
It wis the same yin he hud seen two week back when he hud come furst fir the test. A young guy a few year aulder than himsel, an English. By the leuk on the doctor's puss he cuid tell that it wisnae goin tae be guid. This wis confirmed tae him whun thir wis anither body sittin in the room. Doctor Tate introduced her as Kate MacPharlain, the health advisor - naw things werenae leukin guid fir Tony Burns the day. The Doctor stertit in that "praiper English" ye get wi officioldom - which seemt appropriate considerin the circumstances.
"Mr Burns, the results have come back from your HIV test and I am sorry to tell you that they were positive".
This wis followed wi a silence that seemt tae last firivver. Tony felt drained, he hud heard the wurds clear enough an unerstood thaim bit he kept playin thaim in his heid hopin that, naw, he hud really misheart whit the doctor hud says tae him - bit it didnae make a difference, it wis juist the same. Thir wis a big hole whaur his chest an stomach hud been juist a short while afore.
The doctor cairrit on " of course with modern medication we are better able to control the illness and with regular check-ups can monitor your progress and your body's response to treatment. I am going to give you a prescription that I want you to take to pharmacy and Ms McPharlain will talk you through the issues you need to consider. I'd like you to come back in two weeks to see how you are getting on". The doctor left an the Health Advisor launched intae tellin him aboot "adherence" which wis aw aboot takin the drugs in the right ways - bit soondit mair like a course fir waa-paiper hingin, an aboot 'safer sex' - he cuid see Davie an his Safer Sex Patrol makin their dramatic entrance here stage left.
Fae her Weggie accent he cuid tell Ms McPharlain wis fae Glasgae or that ways aboot, bit she still tellt him the facts in the same English as the doctor an his teachers hud used it the scuil afore thaim, an it maistly just washt oor his heid wi the way he wis feelin the now. Thir wis nae compassion in it as thir hud been wi his grannie whun he wis a bairn an wauld fa an grazze his knees. She'd pick him up an say tae him "thir, thir ma wee son, dinae fash yirsel, we'll awa an I'll mak ye a jeely piece" an then gie him a hug an a kiss. Tony felt like he cuid dae we a hug an a greet juist then bit aw he hud instead wis this hail torrent o information tae tak in.
Ms McPharlain cairred on " there are various HIV services you can access including the HIV centre where you can get therapies and benefits advice. You can also get a coffee and a cheap meal there". Tony hud been it this centre afor wi Davie bit hud ayeweys felt a wee bit af an ootsider cause he wisnae cairryin "the pairty caird".
Aifter he hud left the Royal he didnae really ken where tae gae. He hud thoucht o phonin Davie bit he kent he'd probably juist gae radge it him. It wisnae that Davie didnae like him, in fact it wis the opposite - he luved him like his ain brither - bit aifter himsel bein positive an his pairtner Ian whae hud died fae it, it wud juist brek his hairt if he foond oot Tony wis anaw. He hud his pairty caird noo so he cuid gae tae the HIV centre himsel, bit he didnae think he wis able tae face thaim - noo yets anyhows.
Eventually he waulked doon tae Princes St an then gaed intae yin o the gay bars it the tap aff the Walk in Leith which wis still open. He boucht himsel a pint an sat doon. It wis strange bein thir in the middle o the afternoon whun it wis empty o aebodie. Him an Davie aften used tae come here tryin tae bag aff wi somyin - hud a competition usually tae see whae cuid be first. Usually though thays juist got pished an stairted tae slag the people aboot aff. Nearly got thaim barred fae the place a few times. Luckly thay hudnae been seein as he needit this place the now.
He thoucht o how he hud got it an yon Australian. He kent he culdnae be a hunner percent sure bit he juist kent it wis fae him. Aye he hud ayeways tried tae practise safer sex as yir tellt tae dae, an aways hud the condoms in his flat an the guid intentions tae use thaim bit aften the guys he picked up didnae want tae, an tae be truthful he didnae either. He ayeweys kept tryin tae tell himsel that he'd use thaim unless he wis wi a real boyfriend - bit that's juist the problem, he hudnae ever hud a real yin. Oh aye he'd hud flings as ye dae, bit thay never lastit mair than a month or twa - he wis what thay cried a real "serial monogamist" . He'd only been seriously winchin the aince. That wis wi a guy ower fae Fife. Tony hud meet him in the bar one night whun oot on the rassle wi Davie as usual. It wis Davie whae hud seen him the first. He says tae Tony, " Deek yon gadgie it the bar - he's fair gantin fir it!"
Tony leuks ower an sees this young guy seemin a wee bit feirt an on his ain. He wisnae bad lookin, a wee bit aulder than himsel an so he gaes up tae him an chats him up. He wis cried Alasdair an wis a vet ower fae Dunfermline. Tony tellt him thir wis a few bitches in the place the night needin seein tae. Alasdair hud seemt tae find Tony's pished haiverins amusin. Aifter that thay saw eachither fir aboot six month. Even his ma an da seemed tae take tae Alasdair. Thays hudnae liked it it furst whun Tony hud tellt thaim he wis gay - in fact he thoucht thay were gaun tae gae ballitisic! His da juist kept shootin on aboot how he wantit a "real man" fir a son an his ma tellin him it wis a sin, her bein a catholic an aw. It the time he hud tae leave haim an so he went an bidded wi pals. Then he got his ain place fae the Cooncil bein a "single homeless young person" an aw. Tae him it wis a palace an he cuid dae whit he liked thair.
Eventually his ma an da relented an allowed him tae come roond tae the hoose wi gay pals - bit nae boyfriends. Whan Alasdair came on the scene that wis different likes, probably cause he wis a vet an aw an thay thoucht that wis respectable - the auld yins liked tae be seen as respectable.
Alasdair drapped him aeftir aboot six month - either got bored aff him or he wantit tae fin himsel anither bit o rough fae one o the Cooncil schemes. Tony hud lived Alasdair fir aw that time an this wis his first real break-up. He didnae really ken how tae cope. He'd gae tae the bars or up the hill tae find sex wi oot the commitment an lost the heid a wee bit. Davie wudnae hae approved o his goin ons fir sure.
Whun the pub claised fir the aifternoon, Tony decidit tae take a waulk up Calton hill whaur he'd hud sae monie o his recent encoonters. He went tae the top - he'd ayeweys liked it up thair. It wis ayways sae peacefou - awae fae the noise an bustle o the traffic and fae the trains fae the station ablow . It night ye cuid see the lights o Fife awa in the distance which made him mind o Alasdair an the guid times thay'd spent the gither an he cuid see the castle lit up wi Princes St pointin like an arra intae the distance anaw. Whun he wis up thir cruisin, if he wisnae busy, he'd afen fin himsel in a dwam as he leukt it the city lit up like a dream an imagine aw his problems juist floatin awa.
There wis the few straggly tourists hingin aroond it the end o the day. The eejits left ower fae the big pairtie nae doot whae didnae ken whit else tae dae wi thaimsels in the vacuum left ower aifter the Hogmanay cairry-ons. An then there wis the desperate early evening cruisers - aye, this wis the midden o the hail warld's rejects.
Sum o the cruisers were gien him the leuk bit he juist stared back it thaim cauldly. Wi sum o thaim it wis the leuk o lechery bit ithers juist seemt tae be able tae see intae his soul an ken. He felt like he'd hud a big 'H' pit on his foreheid fir aebodie tae see as a warnin, like yin o those plague victims in the auld days he hud been telt aboot it the scuil, that wud hae tae gae aboot wi a bell tae tell fowks thaes wir comin.
He went an sat on the stanes o the 'Disgrace of Edinburgh' an leukt oot ower the city. He saw the busslin toon ablow him whaur a few Week back he hud been pairtyin bit whaur now fowks wir cairryin on their normal lives an naethin much hud changed it aw in thir day, an grat - grat a hail fist fou o tears. How wis he gaein to tell his mither this, how wis he gaein tae tell Davie.
The airm reached roond an haud him tight; "Ye'll no be needin this juist the now then I take it" says Davie haudin a condom in his ither haund, an stertit tae greet anaw.
anither body: someone else
auld yins: parents
bag aff wi somyin; get off with someone
barrie!: great! brilliant!
cairry ons: shenanigans / frolics
cairry-oot: Carry-out ( drinks or food bought outside and taken home )
Cooncil schemes: Council estates
deek!: look at!
fair ganting fir it: really gagging for it / really wanting sex
fir stoatin: so drunk that you are unsteady on your feet
greet / grat : cry / cried
haiver: talk nonsense / ramble on
Hogmanay: New Years Eve
jeely piece: sandwich made of jelly preserve ( similar to jam ) - staple food of Scottish kids!
ken / kent / kennin: know / knew /knowing
lost the heid: lost self control
midden: rubbish tip - area behind tenament blocks for placing rubbish
offies: Off-licences ( shop to buy alcohol in )
on the rassle: on a pub crawl / going from one pub ( bar ) to the next
radge: mentally insane
square goes: a one to one fight
steamin: very drunk
tawse: strap used in Scottish schools for corporal punishment
thay/ thays: they - 'thays' used more to indicate two people but often used to talk about a group in general.
torn-faced auld bissum: sour-faced old witch
waa-paiper: wall paper
weggie: Edinburgh name for a Glaswegian
winchin: courting. Going out with someone
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Millenium Bug Cairry-oot. 2023. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 10 December 2023, from http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/document/?documentid=714.
"Millenium Bug Cairry-oot." The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2023. Web. 10 December 2023. http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/document/?documentid=714.
The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech, s.v., "Millenium Bug Cairry-oot," accessed 10 December 2023, http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/document/?documentid=714.
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