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The Advocate

by GingerTom 

Posted: 12 March 2016
Word Count: 660

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Content Warning
This piece and/or subsequent comments may contain strong language.

Annie came into the office with a grin like a Glasgow shovel. “Ah’m wantin some help wi this”. She slapped an envelope down on my desk and waddled into the kitchen to make coffee.

“Help yourself” I said.

“Dinnae worry. Ah will.”

I took out the letter and glanced at it. Another threat.

Annie leaned in the doorway, breathing heavily. “Dae I smell of fish?”

“You always smell of fish,” I said. “Must be all the fish you eat”.

“Aye, it’s that bliddy diet the doctor’s goat me oan. Bastirt.” She waved a plump fist in the air. “He wants a guid smack in the gob”.

“You’re losing weight, though,” I lied.

She ignored my attempt to please her and turned back to the steaming kettle. “Ye wantin’ anyhin’ pet?”

“No, thanks”.

She waddled back to the desk, spilling coffee across the carpet, slid herself into the only decent armchair and gave me one of her I’m-so-helpless looks.

“Oh, come on, Annie,” I moaned. “You don’t really expect me to sort this out?”

She grinned her best grin. “Go on, you know ye want to”.

“This is the last time, mind…” I said, picking up the phone.

I dialled the number and waited. Annie slurped her coffee.

A whiny-voiced woman asked which department I wanted. “Accounts, please.”

The usual tuneless version of Tijuana Taxi jangled in my ear. After a moment a familiar voice grumbled “Good morning, accounts, how can I help?”

I glared at Annie. She clasped her hands together in a praying motion.

I took a deep breath. “Morning Dad.”

My father greeted me with all the integrity I had come to expect from a member of Her Majesty’s government. “Whit the fuck dae ye want?”

“Ma’s here again.”

There was a long pause, then a cough. “Come on, son, you ken it’s no me that’s daein this”.

“Aye, I ken, Dad”.

He must have sensed my insincerity. “Dinnae tak the piss, ye wee bugger. It’s that solicitor. You ken I don’t need the money. And your mother’s not exactly short of a few bob”.

“I think it’s the principle, Dad”.

He sighed again. “Aye, it wid be. The principle.” There was silence for a moment, then “Look, son, I ken ye dinnae want to get involved…”

“Seems I can’t avoid it”.

I looked up at Annie. She mouthed “Tell him!”

Dad sighed again. He was good at sighing. “She knows how it works,” he said in his best generic platitude. “I'm no' being mean…”

“Dad, it’s not fair. It was Ma's turn to pick the numbers." I paused, then added "and they were her favourites...."

“I paid for the bloody ticket…”

I put my hand over the phone. Annie was grinning broadly. I waved a finger at her. “There’s an easy way to settle this.”

“Aw, no…” she began.

I interrupted her. “If he agrees…is that okay?”

She was silent for a long moment. She looked at the floor. Finally, “Aye, go on, then”.

“Okay Dad. Here it is, one last time. She’ll split it with you – half each.”

“Oh, come oan…” he started.

“It’s the only way.”

Another sigh. “Okay. But I want cash.”

I looked at Annie. “He wants cash.”

She grimaced, then said in a small voice, “Aye. Okay.”

“She says okay. So, here’s what’s going to happen – Ma'll leave your share with me, and you can come round here after work and pick it up”. I waited. Eventually, he muttered his acceptance, said goodbye and hung up the phone. “Right,” I said. “Hand it over”.

Annie dug into her pocket and pulled out a crumpled bundle. She peeled off three notes and laid them carefully on the desk in front of me. She sniffed, resignedly. “There ye are”.

I picked up the money. Twenty five quid. “You know,” I said, “Sometimes I wonder how you two manage to stay together”.

Annie smiled. “Oh, that’s easy,” she said. “It’s the excitement."

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Comments by other Members

Bazz at 15:37 on 12 March 2016  Report this post
Hi Colin, thanks for joining in with the challenge. Love your use of dialogue here, you give a great sense of character and shared history. I'm not sure I know the "numbers" refers too, so I wasn't too clear what was happening at the end, but I love the relationship between these characters, so spiky, yet funny and real, great last line as well. 

TassieDevil at 16:09 on 12 March 2016  Report this post
Hi Colin,
As Bazzsaid, both characterisation and dialogue carried the story however unlike Bazz i did follow the story line, sensing the low winnings from a giveaway line

Here it is, one last time. 

which infered that it was a regular thing, squabling over the winnings. Without that the ending would have had more impact in my opinion. I especially liked your nod to the theme, something missing from my own attempt.

"and they were her favourites...."


FelixBenson at 19:22 on 12 March 2016  Report this post
Great use of dialogue and dialect to make the characters come alive here, Colin. So the estranged couple are still battling about who should get the winning money from the lottery numbers (her favourite numebrs, he paid for the ticket) and they're trapped forever more in the same old battle? Good take on the theme. I love the fact that it comes down to just 25 quid, the final line - a great enightment of marriage, and I can't tell you how much I love (and laughed at) this line:

My father greeted me with all the integrity I had come to expect from a member of Her Majesty’s government. “Whit the fuck dae ye want?”

euclid at 19:59 on 12 March 2016  Report this post
Nice one, laddie.

The dialect seemed to have a life of its own!

I wondered why she came calling and why she made the call and then paid
half the cash. If he bought the ticket wouldn't he have the money? If she
had the money wouldn't she simply stay away? 

I expect I'm just a wee bit confused.



CharlieMac at 15:57 on 13 March 2016  Report this post
Great dialogue and a good sense of the characters. I have to admit I fell for it being a large amount until...Twenty-five quid! Yes, slightly tenuous but 'favourite numbers' worked for me. 

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