Alan and Adara
In the icy slice of December Alan didn’t sleep in the railway arch his duvet of cardboard not sufficient to cover the whole of his flesh, constantly shifting to cover the bare bits and anyway he had to watch his back so as not to roll in the piss, thinking how the fuck’s it come to this? His wife is the answer, she didn’t want him no more so that was the end of his marriage and at the same time his job his black dog untenable it’s not easy for someone to live with someone and the dog and really he couldn’t blame her, sitting round head in Discworld for he was always bright imagination yet feeling fucking down, looking like a life not worth living. Whisky and depression, depression and whisky. Too much time lost, said his employers, they’d cut some slack with him on the sick but in the cold light of day they can’t afford to keep him on they need full staff and could he really blame them either? No severance except his wife leaving him and him not scraping the rent together so out he went, no fixed abode the street the last resort or that’s how it seemed and that’s how it was and that’s how it is in the icy slice of December in the cold light of day. Down, out, dead hungry. Till this little white dog sat at his feet, looking him in the eye…
Adara was his support worker working hard with people like him, she did everything she could to get him benefits, food, off the booze off the gear. And she was beautiful, in better times Alan would’ve wanted to give her one but obviously not now, not that she’d ever have wanted him to, her being Muslim married, on-grid gorgeous. One night she did actually sleep with him down there at the railway arch, wanting to know what it’s like to be him and people like him, brave the Glasgow night, wake up starving her bones brittle frozen as icepops. Or did she? Was that Alan’s imagination, fantasy world he wouldn’t put it past her she was so like professional, she fucking cared but sometimes he didn’t know anything off his head like that in another world, she could’ve been there or couldn’t who knew? Well anyway she knew what it was like to rough it like this, some people benefactors giving you a pound or something others seeing you as scum, piss-heads pissing on your bed while you tried to kip, one guy even set alight and burned to charcoal it was even in the news apparently. Adara was an angel till she got another job and moved on London or some shithole. But the night before she left he woke up in the morning and there was Hope at his feet, looking him in the eye, a canine gift from Adara with a bag in her mouth. The bag was Greggs and there inside was a sausage roll untouched Hope hungry herself didn’t even wet a bit she kept it dry for Alan but the man had to share it with the dog, now his would always be his.
The little white dog was born to a litter of three, bitch sister to two boys somewhere in the back of India Street got separated taken on by some fucked-up guy and treated bad got in some scrap with other dogs chunk taken out of her left hind leg and resigned to limp the rest of her wee life. What kind of life is there for some poor mongrel bitch with nobody to call her own can hardly walk scavenging the streets a three-legged race for doggy survival? Till one day the people in Greggs opened up to find this little white dog sitting outside, wagging her wee tail hoping for crumbs. Lucky the boss was a dog-lover couldn’t turn the thing away and stroked it and give it something. Grateful like the dog took the something away and never was seen again till next morning, same time, same thing. Morning after, same time, same thing on the dot so the women in Greggs would come to expect it, not knowing the wee dog was taking food away to feed her own litter of two having been fucked by some dog in the back of Sauchiehall or somewhere?
Yet one day, cold December, Hope returned to find her wee kin gone, crushed to dead when the bulldozers come in. Like us the dogs have feelings, she mourned her little puppies till Alan found her that day and saw she was crying, mopping her tears and cuddling her drying her eyes though he didn’t know why she was like this no idea she was mourning the loss of her wee ones. But then the dog just upped and left and he thought that, that day, was that, just get on with his life and find somewhere shelter for another night rough.
Alan and Hope
So the night we’re starting the story Alan’s tossing and turning trying to kip and cover the bare bones cardboard duvets are not sufficient for, and he sees the dog returned, carrying a paper Greggs bag with a sausage roll a gift from Adara. But this time she stayed by his side the whole day, till next morning, same time, same thing on the dot and the women didn’t know she was feeding your man. Companions is what they became and what they were and what they’d be forever. He got to knew her and she got to knew him, she’d lie by his side by the cardboard sign saying homeless hungry please help and the dog would give a wee thankyou bark every time some coinage hit the tin. And sometimes she’d nip out, limping tail-waggingly up town and returning with something to eat and people got to know her. But who can ever know how clever these wee things are? How can we ever know as much as they? Because one day the miracle happened, as Hope found Argyle Street and stopped outside Waterstones…
Alan’s sitting there, in his wee railway arch come Christmas Eve, and Hope comes back from her travels with a paper bag in her mouth. There inside was a book, Small Gods, one he’d never read a gift from the dog a gift from Adara? And your man Alan cried tears of joy, as that was the day he named the wee white dog Hope.