The Pusher-published by The Common Breath September 2020

Am the heartbeat ae this city. The main artery. The holdin cell.

Yae wir probly preoccupied wi mer important matters wen wae met. A wiz watchin yae. Digestin yir ivry thought. We’ve shared an efternoon walk. Yae mibbe passed as yae hurried aff sumwher. An a remained still, mindin ma aen business. Observin.

Urr wiz it a cycle? An al fresco lunch? Or wan ae yir many recce missions. Nae matter. Stories huv a habit ae careyin in the wind an findin thir way tae mae wan wiy urr anotha.

It’s easy tae get sucked intae gossip an hearsay wen idle. Av mer leisure time noo, yae see. Business isny wit it wance wiz. Progress, they call it. Disrespectful, a call it. Neglect. Aye, thiv tried tae make up fur the maltreatment. Cerried oot poncey campaigns. Tried tae appease mae wae throwin dough at it. It’s aw superficial. Ma heart an theirs nae longer in it. A marriage deid in the watter.

Don’t get mae wrang, a select few still protect an respect me. Ma wee helpers. Fine human beings. People wi respect fir history an heritage. Am high maintenance, a suppose. Av history oan ma side tho.

Thir really is nae escapin. North, south, east an west…a kin pinpoint wer they rest.

But that’s enough o me, for noo. Am here tae tell a story. Aboot us. Aboot yir furst time. An it’s aboot tae start.

Piy attention. It’s feedin time.

Directly above, in a location sum regard as the centre ae ma being, is the Portland Street suspension bridge. It’s the maste troublesome ae hours. Four bells. Drunks urr tryin tae make thir wiy hame. Invadin ma personal space in the process. Throwin stuff it mae.

The dark sky is stiflin the moon like a widow’s veil coverin her auld coupon.

The stars urr partyin elsewhere the night.

The December wind stabs at the lungs ae sober men daft enough tae bae oot oan a night like this. Stingin their dials, yet, skeleton drunks in impractical, ill-fittin clobber urr ravenous fir the usual stuff.






Oor person ae interest watches fae nearby. Navy-blue parka jaycket zipt tae his neck. Hood up.

Patience is a virtue.

Fir an hour urr so he’s paroled the streets. Remarkably calm fir a furst timer.

Fae the opposite direction, a nondescript, shaven-heid boay, much like any utha in the city,













Hiz trail leads back tae St Enoch Square.

A puddle ae vomit.


A five-quid note.

An unused johnny still in the foil.

A sizeable pool ae pish.

An empty Coke can.

As he approaches the arched sandstone towers markin the entrance tae the footbridge, his early morning snack iz hiz world.

Hiz heid lolls inches fae the chips like heez searchin fir an accompaniment. He’s talkin tae hizself an singin sum shite aboot sumdy huvin a light.

Oor person ae interest hiz quickened hiz stride. He slips hiz hauns intae black leather gloves an clenches hiz fists.

Hiz lungs demand sum respite. He closes hiz mooth an breathes through hiz nose.

Watches an worries as the drunk uses ivry wan ae the 13 feet thatz the width ae the deck. Staggerin fae wan siderail tae the opposite wan while shovellin chips intae hiz mooth.

An a joost wait.

Wan last sweepin scan ae the othha side ae the bridge…then behind, an hae swoops.

Two black gloves push at the back ae the drunk.

Like a wrestler gettin slammed err the top ae the ropes. Heid-first. Soles ae hiz trainies pointin tae the sky.

A embrace im intae ma boady.

It’s the shock. Oan a night like this, a act like a nerve-agent. Brain an boadily functions become strangers.

Sleep wul take im afore hae reaches the temporary restin place that iz ma bed.

How long wul a keep im? Many factors wul determine that.



Gas formation



Experience tells mae it wul bae two tae three weeks afore ma newest lodger iz released fae ma clutches.

The rumour mill wul swing intae full flow. The keyboard warriors wul gie him a neat, catchy hashtag.

#The Pusher.