Wednesday, 22 August 2012

66 - Last Wishes

“It’s quite clever how they can keep yon coffin level when they go up steps like that, isn’t it Muriel?”
“I’m sure they’re doing Alex proud, Gwen, quite proud.”
“Oh we’ll miss him at the Kirk, him and his sense of humour .”
“We will too. Of course he missed Mary so; I dare say it was a broken heart that carried him off.”
“It was that or The Grenadier’s steak pies. I dare say you’re right, though, and what with all that nastiness after she died.”
“Why whatever do you mean?”
“Oh well when Mary died, Drummonds laid her out in the chapel of rest. Only, they made a gay auld mess of her. Alex said she looked like the laughing policemen in the arcade at Leith.”
“Never! Why when he gets laid in his grave, he’ll be fair spunnin’ round that Drummonds did him too!”
“Oh Drummonds was his choice, hen. He paid up front against one of their policies: “Ensure you get the funeral you want!” D’ye remember the flyers they left in St Giles?
“But I don’t understand why he’d go to them when they did his poor Mary so bad.”
“Oh that was Alex’s humour getting the best of his Christian upbringing. He got them tae agree to have pall-bearers carry his coffin from his flat in Hannover Street to the Kirk on High Street. Gave them the map o’ the route, saying he wanted to be taken the way he always walked to Matins.”
“But his arthritis …”
“Aye, hen: wi’ a career in rugby behind him, Alex’s knees were long gone and nae up to walking further than the corner of Princes Street. But Drummond – that’s the red-faced lummock at the rear – disnae have a full set o’ marbles and didna twig when he saw the map.”
“He must’ve had a bit of a shock this morning, then.”
“Oh aye: Playfair Steps is hard on the legs at the best o’ times, but in high summer and carrying the mortal remains of a prop forward … they must feel every one of those steps. What is it: a hundred?”
“Oh the scoundrel! Guid on ’im.”

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