Thursday, 21 March 2013

Ower The High Backs

Young Gunn's short of cash, and he needs it, really needs it.  As most of us do, you may be thinking. But Young Gunn's in a fix and needs money now, anything he can get.
We are walking along Govan Road, watching our step on uneven pavements of tarmac and slab, dodging dog tolleys and keeping an eye on the street. The lights cast a luminous white glow over us and a biting wind whistles round our ears.
Crossing the road is a gang of four, boys in their late teens who walk with the confident swagger that comes with power. They're dressed in dark trackies, hoods and caps and one has a bandana pulled up and over his mouth and nose. Unbelievably, he's the one Young Gunn chooses to approach with his proposition. I stop just behind as Young Gunn tells him about a games console with games he's got and how they're for sale. Interested? Aye.
Young Gunn says he'll get them so the boys can take a look. I have drifted a few steps back from them - just as well, as Gunn suddenly zips off to get the games out his hoose. What? Anxiety must have driven him demented. I shout to him to wait, but he's off and away.
I cross over the road and watch for Gunn coming back round the corner. The gang stands at the notorious close's mooth, up from the Harmony Bar, down from the Old Govan - waiting for Young Gunn, waiting to see what he'll bring them.
He's made a mad dash and now returns, helter skelter over the road and bursting with eagerness and enthusiasm to settle a deal with his new found friends. I end up just watching from a shop doorway, wondering at his madness.
Young Gunn is chattering animatedly, pulling this and that gadget out of the bag of tricks. It's going on a bit long, so I cross back over and stand next to him. I nudge his elbow to get him to hold off without riling anyone. The Govan bandana is a tighter, meaner affair than the Lone Ranger every wore. It's not a neckerchief, but a tightknit one piece throat hugging choker, a menacing message encasing the lower half of the young man's face. His eyes are large and almond shaped, deep brown with long dark lashes, they follow Young Gunn's every move but display no emotion..
One of the other boys asks if he can take a closer look, and at this point, Govan's cowboy flutters his eyes and with a subtle flick of the head, disappears up the stairs, closely followed by one of his compadres.
Young Gunn takes a quick glance at them leaving but is pleased to hand the game over to the boy who wants to check it out. He seems very interested .
"Is it ok if ah take it up the sterr to show ma maw? Ah'll need t'get the money affa her."
I'm saying no, but Gunn is all accommodating and wishes to close the deal. The thing is out his hand and the boy has it up the stair and shouts down "Right back". The fourth member of the gang skliffs up the close after him and gives a loud snort.
"You shouldn't have done that, you're never gonny see that again," says I.
"Ah will, he's showin his mum."
"Is he whit. Cannot believe you stopped them in the first place."
Gunn stands resolute, staring up the particularly smelly close, ill lit by one dull lamp. And then, sad realisation dawns and Young Gunn says miserably, "It's got all the extra games with it as well."
Ever stood in the lamplight on a stone cold night and felt a chump? Aye, and it's not nice.
Young Gunn makes a sudden dash up the stairs but returns quickly lamenting, "They've went ower the high backs."
A window above us opens and a beefy man looks down. Gunn calls up to enquire as to the whereabouts of the boys, what did they think of the game? But the man looks bemused and not very interested.
Malk comes along the Govan Road, on the lookout for his son. Beef shouts down, "Who d'ye fancy fir the gemme the morra?" and they have a brief discussion on the woeful world cup qualifier.
Young Gunn tells Malk what's happened and Malk looks very sorry for Gunn and shakes his head.
"Go'an tell the polis," he advises, "That wey if they get lifted the night, and they've got it oan them, ye'll gerrit back."
But everybody knows, that's probably not going to happen.

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