The Boxer

I love Irvine Welsh and James Kelman’s writing, their use of Scots dialogue breathes life into their characters and immediately places them geographically.

This is an attempt, my first, at writing in dialogue, it’s an older piece (the middle of last year I think). It wasn’t easy and reading it again I’m still not sure I’ve achieved what I was aiming for, maybe I need to read Trainspotting again.

I should probably say the photo of the wrapped hands uploaded with this post isn’t one of mine.

Anyway, here’s a short piece in Scots followed by an English translation:

Scots Version

Smack.

Smack.

Smack.

It’s fuckin’ quiet in here. Quiet enough tae hear the blid and sweat hittin’ the flare, wee puddles o’ pain. Ah can feel ma hert thunerin’ in ma ears. Ma left eye’s jist aboot shut, there a gaping gash on ma right cheek bone, an’ ma body aches. At least it’s stopped fuckin’ screamin’.

It’s a lang time since ah’ve bin in this room. Nowt’s changed. Dunno why it should. The grey plastic flare still has its chips an’ cracks, the peint’s still peeling aff the wa’s and the corner o’ the mirror is still missin’. The wuden bench micht be smoother on account o’ a few mare years o’ use but ah’m pretty share the missin’ coat hooks were the yins missin’ when I was here last. But it could be ony skeell changing room. But it’s here.

I ken they telt me no to blaw ma nose, sumthin tae dae wi’ no breakin’ the seal in case it’s broken again, but ah need tae fuckin’ breathe! A finger on each nostril, a blaw, and a couple o’ strings o’ snot and blid join the rest o’ ma body fluids on the flare. Ma yin and bit een are workin’ weel enough ta see ah’m still wearin’ these han’ wraps, they’re ay the last tae come aff. Unravelling them turn by turn unwinds ma mind, it brings me back doon. It’s sumthin’ aboot the intricate pattern at odds wi’ the violence no lang past.

Hark at me! Whit the fuck ah’m a on aboot? This place dis ma heid in, it ay did. I push masel’ up aff the bench feeling the stren and hobble for the mirror. Whit a state. The stupid silk shorts stained wi’ sumone’s life. Mibbe mine. Ma face is a fuckin’ ruin. The smile hurts ma jaw. But it disnae metter, it’s a winners smile. A winner here. A winner in this fuckin’ room. At fuckin’ last.

English Version

Smack.

Smack.

Smack.

It’s fucking quiet in here. Quiet enough to hear the blood and sweat hitting the floor, tiny puddles of pain. I can feel my heart thundering in my ears. My left eye’s just about closed, there’s a gaping gash on my right cheek-bone, and my body aches. At least it’s stopped fucking screaming.

It’s a long time since I’ve bin in this room. Nothing’s changed. Don’t know why it should. The grey plastic floor still has its chips and cracks, the paint’s still peeling off the walls and the corner of the mirror is still missing. The wooden bench might be smoother on account of a few more years of use but I’m pretty sure the missing coat hooks were the ones missing when I was here last. But it could be any school changing room. But it’s here.

I know they told me not to blow my nose, something to do with not breaking the seal in case it’s broken again, but I need to fucking breathe! A finger on each nostril, a blow, and a couple of strings of snot and blood join the rest of my body fluids on the floor. My one and bit eyes are working well enough to see I’m still wearing these hand wraps, they’re always the last to come off. Unravelling them turn by turn unwinds my mind, it brings me back down. It’s something about the intricate pattern at odds with the violence not long past.

Hark at me, what the fuck am I on about? This place does my head in, it always did. I push myself up off the bench feeling the strain and hobble for the mirror. What a state. The stupid silk shorts stained with someone’s life. Maybe mine. My face is a fucking ruin. The smile hurts my jaw. But it doesn’t matter, it’s a winners smile. A winner here. A winner in this fucking room. At fucking last.

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