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27 April 2014 @ 09:03 pm
LJ Idol Season Nine: "The Repository"  
The Repository
lj idol season nine | week seven | 863 words
No true Scotsman

x-x-x-x-x

"Whit are we doin' here? I thought you said we were pickin' up papers to apply for one o' those new flats?"

"Shh, Fergus," said Euna Fife. "Come along, now." She led him to a window marked Returns Processing, which was staffed by a man with thick eyeglasses and a bad comb-over. His nametag said, Robert Talon.

"May I help you?" Mr. Talon asked.

"Aye," Euna said. "I'd like to return this husband o' mine. He's defective."

Fergus turned and stared at her. "Ye whit, now?"

Mr. Talon began filling out a form. "Reason?"

"I'm not defective, woman! Yeah, sure, an' I might not be doin' all me chores an' that, but there's nae need for name-callin'!"

"Ye dinnae eat oatcakes or haggis, and ye dinnae know the history o' your mam's clan. Ye wouldnae even wear the kilt at our wedding," Euna said. "I was that embarrassed!"

"The wool itches me, woman! An' the family tartan, well, be fair. The colors are awfy bright."

Mr. Talon looked from Fergus to Euna. "Is that it?"

"He's learnin' French, when he cannae speak a word o' Gàidhlig. Then there's that American basketball he watches on the telly, an' to top it off, he's teetotal."

"Me Da was a right sot, lass, I've told ye," Fergus pleaded. "Guttered more days than not. D'ye really want that in a husband?"

"And," Euna pressed on, "he hates the sound o' bagpipes."

Fergus grimaced. "Aye. 'Tis like a sack o' seasick cats, bein' ironed by a sightless old man."

Euna threw her hands up. "Has 'e not half proved me point, then?"

"Erm, yes…" Mr. Talon agreed. "Quite.

"Euna, if ye' dinnae want the marriage, we can get a divorce. Why all o' this?"

"I have to think of others, Fergus. I can't have some other puir thing goin' through the heartache and humiliation I've suffered."

"We've only been married a month, love! An' nae one was forcin' ye to the altar."

Euna sniffled and turned away. "'Tis all for the best, Fergus."

"Euna!" Fergus pleaded. The floor underneath his feet suddenly gave way, and then he was falling, falling, down through the earth to whatever lay below.

~*~

He bumped to a stop on a thick pile of mattresses, and sat up dizzily. He saw a lit hallway beyond an open door, and he climbed down and wandered toward it. After a few turns, he found a room with a man in khaki pants and a comfortable-looking shirt sitting on a sofa, reading "Fifty Simple Things You Can Do To Save The Earth."

"Is this it, then?" Fergus asked.

The man barely glanced at him. "If by It, you mean some rancid form of Purgatory, then yes."

"Whit a useless bit o'business…" Fergus muttered, and then remembered his manners. "Fergus Fife," he added. "Whit're ye in for?"

"David Westlake, Liberal Republican."

Fergus laughed. "There's no sich creature!"

"Not anymore, apparently," Westlake said sadly.

Fergus looked around. The place reminded him of the waiting room at the dentist's. "So, whit do we do wi' ourselves, then?"

Westlake shrugged. "We read, or watch television. Exercise, take up hobbies, that sort of thing. I'm working on my golf swing."

"Och, whit a waste o' time," Fergus said. "That's a daft enterprise."

"Wait until you've been here a couple of years. You'll be racing cockroaches in no time, unless you find something more interesting."

"Well, I've thought about studying economics a fair bit. New ways to avoid payin' taxes and that."

Westlake put down his book. "That is patently immoral! The whole social contract collapses when people only think of themselves!"

"Ah right, ah right, mon, dinnae hurt yourself." Fergus sat down and poked at the old magazines on the table. "So, it's like prison, then. Who else is here?"

"We've got vicious rabbits, and honest politicians."

"No!"

"And selfish grandmothers and a benevolent CEO."

"That's pure madness, that is."

"No, I assure you," Westlake said, "it's all true."

"Och. 'Tis a muddle o' freaks, then, to be sure. An' then there's me, just a puir mon from the bonnie hills o' the Highlands, ne'er did harm tae naebody. I dinnae why I should hae to be here."

"But everyone here feels the way you do. We're all happy with who we are, it's other people who think we don't belong. That CEO was turned in by his own shareholders."

"Ye know," Fergus said, "I would've thought a place full o' mythical creatures and sich would be mair a sort o' Paradise or somethin'."

Westlake shrugged. "No. It's a bunker."

Something clomped around the edge of the doorway. "Any more coffee?" it asked.

Westlake stood up. "I was about to make a fresh pot."

"Lovely. I'll come back in a few minutes," it said.

"Whit aboot that unicorn?" Fergus asked, once it had left. "Ye didnae mention him!"

"Shhhh, not so loud! You don't want him to hear you."

"Whyivver not?"

Westlake rolled his eyes. "You've got to learn the rules around here, or you'll never fit in. I'm an actual Republican, and you're a whatever-you-are. A Fergus."

"Yeah?"

"And that animal—pay attention now—that is just a very fancy horse."


--/--


~~ I hope this was readable enough. It's a fine line, getting the flavor of the Scottish dialect while still making the words recognizable to those who don't have English as their first language. I also personally like good bagpiping, but I've noticed the complaints of those who _don't_ tend to fall along similar, uncharitable lines. ~~

If you enjoyed this story, you can vote for it along with many other fine entries here.


 
 
 
witchwife: Shamewitchwife on April 28th, 2014 06:13 am (UTC)
Fantastic! Loved it with my entire heart. (And.. I'm actually a little bit jealous for not having written it.) ;)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on April 28th, 2014 05:05 pm (UTC)
Thank you! This was one of those prompts almost guaranteed to set off "crack" for me. But the result was a lot of fun. :D
kick_galvanic, zagzagael, skull_theatrebleodswean on April 28th, 2014 02:03 pm (UTC)
Hahahaha, literally not a true Scotsman. The first half of this rocked it hard.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on April 28th, 2014 05:07 pm (UTC)
As far as his wife is concerned, of course. But stereotypes don't always define a group, and we usually don't want them too!

I grew up in a state with a long tradition of liberal Republicans, and now even moderates have almost entirely been drummed out of the party. :(
Direst Ryl: Vervainryl on April 28th, 2014 08:47 pm (UTC)
"Aye," Euna said. "I'd like to return this husband o' mine. He's defective."

I am so very glad I had just swallowed my coffee before I got to that line because I burst out laughing.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on April 28th, 2014 09:05 pm (UTC)
That was the line that got my husband, too!

I think I noticed it less, because I felt so bad for Fergus at hearing that, and his response to being called 'defective.'

Although that's exactly why you return things, too. :D

Thanks for reading!

Edited at 2014-04-28 09:05 pm (UTC)
cindy: jared laughingtsuki_no_bara on April 29th, 2014 02:06 am (UTC)
i totally lost it at "ye whit, now?" this is cracky and funny and ridiculous and a great take on the prompt. and i could totally follow the dialect.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Laugh SPNhalfshellvenus on April 29th, 2014 03:30 am (UTC)
Poor Fergus-- he never saw it coming! And how could he?

I'm so glad you enjoyed it. I was fairly certain, when I saw this prompt, that it would either lead to taking a bye, or to crack. Because some prompts just beg for crack. :D
mari4212mari4212 on April 29th, 2014 09:39 am (UTC)
*giggles uncontrollably*
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: heh-hehhalfshellvenus on April 29th, 2014 04:59 pm (UTC)
:D Glad you enjoyed it!
rayasorayaso on April 29th, 2014 01:32 pm (UTC)
I loved the whole thing, especially returning poor defective Fergus for not being a True Scotsman. It made me laugh out loud. I also enjoyed the ending, with the "very fancy horse" that is not a true horse but a unicorn, and the line "and you're a whatever-you-are. A Fergus." The slang alone must have taken a lot of work!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on April 29th, 2014 05:00 pm (UTC)
So much research. Why do crack and satire take so much research?!?

Poor Fergus. He deserved better!
Teo Sayseternal_ot on April 29th, 2014 01:43 pm (UTC)
Amazing take!! *HATS OFF* and if you like the bagpiper music blow your own bagpiper right now!...:D..Very well done! enjoyed it!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on April 29th, 2014 05:01 pm (UTC)
I do like bagpipes, and they're not at all easy to play. I think they get unfairly criticized. ;)

So glad you enjoyed this! :D
John Louisgrail76 on April 29th, 2014 02:18 pm (UTC)
Very funny!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: heh-hehhalfshellvenus on April 29th, 2014 05:01 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much!
shimmerdreamshimmerdream on April 29th, 2014 10:04 pm (UTC)
I loved this - it was hilarious!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on April 29th, 2014 10:46 pm (UTC)
Thank you-- glad you enjoyed it! :D
Jemima Paulerjem0000000 on April 29th, 2014 11:42 pm (UTC)
There are few sounds more beautiful than bagpipes echoing off the Appalachians on an early spring morning -- but I have to admit, a bagpiper indoors is a fearsome thing. They're generally best listened to across an open field. :)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on April 29th, 2014 11:57 pm (UTC)
When I was in music school (undergrad degree), there was a bagpiper who would play in the Pioneer Cemetery next to the music school. It was a long time before I actually saw him-- you'd just hear bagpipes coming through the fog.

He was pretty good, too. :D
(no subject) - jem0000000 on May 2nd, 2014 03:11 pm (UTC) (Expand)
ViolaConspiracyviolaconspiracy on April 30th, 2014 12:01 am (UTC)
This was a pretty brilliant literal but not literal take on the topic. I really enjoyed reading this, dialect and all.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on April 30th, 2014 12:11 am (UTC)
A lot of my crack results from taking the topic _painfully literally_, and then skewering it. The less I like the topic, the more likely that is to happen. :O

However, that results in having fun with the prompt in the end, so it all works out!
millysdaughter: rainbowmillysdaughter on April 30th, 2014 02:04 pm (UTC)
What fun!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on April 30th, 2014 05:44 pm (UTC)
Thank you-- so glad you enjoyed it!
A Karmic Sandbox: Candid Teasekarmasoup on April 30th, 2014 06:43 pm (UTC)
I happen to love the bagpipes, too, but the description of a sack o' seasick cats, bein' ironed by a sightless old man about made me spew my lunch in a spit take. This was loads of fun!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on April 30th, 2014 07:22 pm (UTC)
I'm glad someone besides tsuki noticed that line!

I wonder if it's easier to describe people's random hatred for bagpipes when you're an outsider to that opinion?

Glad you enjoyed this! :D
Snark: toadie snarksnarkerdoodle on April 30th, 2014 08:20 pm (UTC)
This was just awesome. :)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on April 30th, 2014 08:35 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! :D
Es'kaeska818 on April 30th, 2014 09:36 pm (UTC)
-giggles- I love the idea of returning a defective husband. XD
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on April 30th, 2014 10:12 pm (UTC)
The poor guy was being judged by standards ranging six ways from Sunday! What could he do? :D