Ye’ve got tae put yer boots under the bedlegs in yon place or else they walk. Then ye’ve got a problem on yer hauns in the mornin. Happened to me yin night. It was Christmas Eve. Ah was a long way frae hame. Well, no that far but if ye’ve no got the fare it’s far enough. Ah was just a laddie, up frae the country lookin for work – labourin, anythin. Hadnae got onythin though. Ah didnae hae any skills. An by this time Ah was stony broke, so Ah had taemove oot the digs an book masel intae this place – a hostel it was. Somebody tellt me if ye booked in on Christmas Eve, ye get the Christmas dinner next day. That was the only wey Ah’d be gettin ony turkey, so Ah swallaes ma pride, buys a half-bottle and hides it in the linin aemy coat.
A dump it was – worse than bein inside. There was some rough company in that place. Mibbe because it was Christmas the staff turned a blind eye, but there was drinkin and fightin and singin and swearin gawn on aa night. Ah saw twa auld codgers gawn for each ither tooth-an-nail, tryin tae bite each other’s ears aff. Ten meenits later they’re shakin hands, talkin aboot auld times. It came as a shock, seein it aa. Ah was still that young then – Ah still had intentions, ken? In the bunk next tae mine there’s this auld yin, a real tramp. Gentlemen of the road they used tae cry them. He lights a candle while aa the ithers are kerryin on, puts it in a saucer by the foot ae his bed an kneels doon an prays. When he’s done, Ah says: “What ye praying for?” “Those less fortunate,” he says. Then he puts the legs ae his bed in his boots. Ah thought he was mad, like. Next mornin, ma boots are away. Ah learnt a lesson that night: never trust anybody.
Ah doubt it was real turkey they gied us, and the Christmas puddin was burnt, but it was a dinner, ken?