lj idol season nine | week seven | 863 words
No true Scotsman
"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."
"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."
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."
"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. ~~
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