Songs of Bliss
them wrapped in shades of scarlet, shades that smell of grease paint and stale cigarette
There is, Billy realises, no choice to be made. He has always gone with the flow,
with the least path of resistance, and today is no different from every single one of his
yesterday's. Josey Wales splits. The gun spins through the air. Billy falls forward. His head
hits the ground a few inches away from Jock. Billy can almost taste the last decaying spots
of Jock's saliva. For the first time Billy notices the smell, a rank mixture of expensive
cologne and faecal matter. He has time to smile. Got the bastard.
Boots on gravel. K nees in his back. Cuffs. He is manhandled into a kneeling
position, his arms pinned and locked behind his back. Marksmen. Blues. A moment shared
with the cadaverous Jock. Billy can feel the imprint of gravel on his cheek, can taste worm
earth on his teeth. He can't hear a thing. The music is dead, the words a vague shade of
grey, the melody a childhood memory. He feels hands under his armpits and he is hauled to
his feet. Now that the job is done, now that the ghosts have faded and Billy is alone amid a
sea of uniforms and flashing lights, all that he can think as he is pushed down and forced
into a squad car is that his shoes are ruined. He feels hollow, as though he has forgotten
something important, and as the rear doors of the police car close, as he feels the weight of
the law on the seat next to him in the back of the car, he wants to cry but he is as dry as a
An Affair to Remember
Blue and white tape. Black and yellow stripes. White suits and latex gloves. There
is a patrol car parked across the entrance to Sillick Farm, and a traffic cop leans against the
door with his arms folded across his chest. He is watching the house opposite, the bed and
breakfast, watching and waiting for the uniforms to finish a cup of tea and make their notes.
A statement. Descriptions. Vague impressions of height and weight. Hair colours.
Skin hues. Makes of car are always a problem. The number of shots. Clothes. Blood on the
broken tarmac by the front wheel of the patrol car.
"Shit", he mutters to himself as he jerks away from the car. "SOCO!"
A world of samples and dust. The lane is rapidly filled with crouching bodies,
bodies intent on tracing every last splash of blood on the unmade far m road, on grass and
fence posts. Glass shards are bagged. A bullet casing is picked up gingerly between the
folded edge of a uniformed cuff. More tape. Chalked outlines around blood stains.
In the courtyard the bodies are being zipped away. Identificatio n. James Charles
Stuart Cascarino. Kenneth Graham McCoist. Two-thirds of a firm. A board meeting gone
wrong, but still quorate. Supposition. A bullet to the head is an easy spot, but for the body
sprawled up against the barn wall there is no apparent cause of death. Instructions are
given. The mortuary. Scenes of crime. Post mortems. Ambulance crews slide black plastic