“Mum, ah want a Cheesestring.”
“Eh, wit’s the magic word?” Chantelle barks at her daughter.
Chloe looks at her mum with the kind of disdain only a hungry, petulant pre-teen can muster and says:
“Aye. Disnae matter anyway, we cannae afford cheese noo. Ye know that. We’ve no hud cheese in months.”
“Why’d ye ask me fur the magic word if ye don’t even huv any cheese? FUCK SAKE!”
“RIGHT, HEN, THAT’S ENOUGH AE YOUR FUCKIN’ CHEEK! AM CHOKIN’ FUR A CHEESESTRING AS WELL, YE DON’T SEE ME CAUSIN’ SCENES FUR NO REASON!”
Chantelle pauses, wondering if she’s been too harsh on her daughter. She watches over her shoulder as the girl turns and begins disappearing huffily up the stairs behind her then adds:
Chloe stops, summoning a giant glob of spit from the depths of her dry throat. It takes a lot of effort: they’ve not had running water in weeks and there’s been no point in drinking Irn-Bru since the sugar tax kicked in.
She feels it climbing her throat like lava through a volcano, bubbling up to her lips in a froth of rage. Then she leans over the bannister, grinning at the shrill screams as it falls right onto the back of her mum’s neck.
🇬🇧 🇬🇧 🇬🇧 🇬🇧 🇬🇧
On the other side of Glasgow, Beatrice sighs as her eyes slide over the pathetic coven of vegetables huddled around a stock cube on her marble kitchen counter. Some knobbly potatoes, a few pallid carrots, two wizened onions, and a comically small turnip. It’s all she has left, and none of it is organic. Disgusting!
She turns on the tap. It spits spurts of cloudy water at the sink’s surface and Beatrice shudders as she scrubs dirt from the mottled potatoes. She sets them aside, picks up a knife, and begins relieving the tragic carrots of their ashen skins with graceful movements of her wrist.
“Mummy? What’s for tea, Mummy?” comes Harry’s plummy voice from the top of the plush staircase.
“Veggie soup, sweetheart!” comes the reply.
“Oh, not again, Mummy!” whines Harry.
Her son appears in the doorway of the kitchen. Beatrice smiles wearily at him, halves an onion, and discards the newspaper-like skin.
The onion turns into little rectangles on the chopping board under her blade and her eyes begin to burn. Tipping the onions into a steaming pot with the potatoes and the carrots, she moves the turnip closer.
“Mummy,” says Harry imploringly.
“What is it, honey-pie?”
“I don’t want veggie soup.”
“I know, darling. Nor do I. But we’ll just have to make do for now until we can get something else.”
“But Mummy, I can’t eat it again. I just can’t. I hate it!”
Beatrice places the knife calmly in the sink and lets the turnip, half-peeled, drop onto the immaculate floor.
“Well, pumpkin. We’re stuck in Bearsden eating veggie soup for the foreseeable future. Did your teacher at that school we paid ten grand a year for you to go to ever tell you what ‘foreseeable’ means?”
Harry shakes his head.
“Of course she didn’t — she was too busy getting pumped by your dad. And now they’ve fucked off to our retirement villa in Valencia. So, we’re both stranded here. And we both need to eat veggie soup. At this point, angel face, we don’t have any other choice.”
“SO GET THAT TURNIP DOWN YOUR THROAT, YOU UNGRATEFUL LITTLE CUNT.”
🇬🇧 🇬🇧 🇬🇧 🇬🇧 🇬🇧
Brexit has not been kind to Scotland.
The good people of Yoker have been eaten by the good people of Possil, who were smoked and barbecued by the good people of Shawlands, who were slow-cooked and smothered in artisanal sauces by the good people of the West End. And all because nobody could afford Cheesestrings or organic vegetables anymore.
From television mounts on peeling walls, Theresa May gazes blankly through the screen into lifeless living rooms across the country and says weakly:
“Brexit means Brexit.”