A Tale of Rock Steady: Unsociable Socialising

The following is a fictional tale inspired around a series of events that took place on various trips while working for Rock Steady.

The bus is jumping with border line retards and psychopaths, with small balding older men with inferiority complexes running the show from the front, the feeling of responsibility and power soaring through their blood streams. The cavalcade of reprobates is punctuated by the flogging of fake DVDs that have been burned enmass on a laptop, the swapping of tales of bevvying on a night out, and the smell of a second hand decade old leather jacket that have been taken to too many Status Quo gigs in its life time. There is a diamond in the rough, a group of people who are not like the others and they stick out like black paint on a white rug.

What helps them stand out is not their accent. They, having had lived in Glasgow for a large part of their life, have adapted the ability to turn on and off convincing working class Glaswegian accents. They know the patter, understand the slang and can give as much poorly grammaticised sentences as the next Steward, but once that fluorescent jacket is off, once the clip-on tie is removed, they return to being middle class, intelligent students, who are here because it is easy money and not the only job offer the Jobcentre could get them. They stand out because they are able to talk to each other about things outside of football, shagging or crime. They are conversing, listening to each other, responding to subtle hints in body language and are actually enjoying the conversation.

A glance across the bus and our hero notices the parity between the tribes in the coach. There are distinct racial borders, unspoken and unwritten, but everyone in the coach can feel the sharply divided classes. It is not racism, but thinly veiled "Fuck You"'s to the groups that exist. It doesn't bother our Hero; living in the city and having gone to a non-denomination school where Religious Education is taught by an ex-Reverend and where atheism was not discussed he knows of the divisions surnames can cause. He knows that underneath the advertising campaigns, the political speeches and the Scotland As One campaigns, anyone can find racism in almost everything, but it is not racism as we are told it. It is jealously, envious eyes; glancing over at a culture that people feel they should get or know about and are affronted by the alienation is causes people.

Our hero is not phased by this, and is neither intimidated nor surprised.

Suddenly there is a shift in the dynamics of the bus. A member of the other tribe turns around and asks our hero and the collected parties a question. Initially, the change from intellectual conversation to slightly bewildering, barely coherent Glaswegian catches our hero out.

"What?" is simply ventured without thinking, without a thought to the wind.

"Ahahahah" the tribes reply, laughing heartily at a joke that only they know has taken place.

Our hero blushes but asks again, standing firmly "What did you say? Didn't quite catch that."

The joke is building in momentum, slowly dawning realisation occurs. Our hero think that they are playing a prank but an outsider knows what has happened. Does he dare to explain to our hero the joke and the fool that has been made. No, he doesn't. He decides to keep silent.

The climax is coming and the bus can feel it. The big reveal will take place in a couple of seconds and the captive audience, of which have no stopped talking about buckfast, bookies, odds and the barras, and are intently waiting on the big joke to be made aware, to see the face of an unsuspecting passenger.

The question is will our hero survive the onslaught?

"It's awright hen" the joke master explains, "We are just playing. Ah asked ye if ye'd seen that movie last night "Cunts say "What"."

The reveal is there, and in this moment three things happen. The tribe of gargoyles erupt in witless laughter catching the rabbit in the headlights, finding nothing but humour out of the public humiliation of a lesser being, someone they know will not raise a hand to them. The second is the embarrassment of our hero, who, in her shock, will not say a word for the next few seconds. This moment is accompanied by a third action, and this is of the collected friends of our hero. Do they stand up to the brutes or do they laugh along? Some laugh, to hide the pain of being cleverly caught out, others simply look away, ignoring that minutes before they were flirting outrageously. One of the crowd that watched from afar is readying himself to act though.

He gears himself up to tear into these bullies, the tribal fury of his own kind being destroyed building like a rising chorus. He feels hundreds of years of fighting in his blood, his ancestors who fought at Bannockburn, in the Great War, in the Second War, they fought for him and they survived for him, and this is his moment to stand up for what is good and great. He readies himself and opens his mouth.

"What the fuck?" he hears, but he has not said them. Our saviour, adrenaline firing his every sense to maximum capacity, is stunned by the sound.

The tribe turn around. "Eh?" says the Joke master, still grinning like a Cheshire cat in a toothpaste commercial, the stains of tears from the joviality tracking his cheeks.

"I said, what the fuck you fat sadistic pig." The joke master's smile falls faster than Galileo allows. "You think that is funny? I think it is pathetic." Our saviours heartbeat is racing, his eyes dart left and right. Our hero is fuming, she is going red, but not form being embarrased but from her rage. This is the last straw.

"You sit their thinking that you are the fucking king of this coach, whilst all the while you are breed contempt for myself and the other who are a decade younger than you who have not made the choices you have made and will be further on the way to a career greater than 6 hours on a Saturday in the cold rain for £40 than you will ever be. You are jealous, and I can see it, now grow up and stop taking the piss out of little girls."

The tribe are stunned, the bus is stunned. The road rumbles in the back ground and the radio pipes in some football scores. The red lights of the cars on the other side of the motorway blurred in the huff on the window light the faces of those shock ed by the outburst. Our hero places into her ears her iPod earphones and turns to look out the window.

The tribe slowly turn around, not sure what to do. The joke master is confused, not familiar with this tirade against him. In other circumstances he might have continued the battle, but here he has lost the war. This exchange is over, and he can sense it.

Our saviour, who is still rilled up for a confrontation stares at our hero, as she watches the road, her thoughts unknown. In his mind she is a god, a David of Goliath, an Inverness Caledonian Thistle to Celtic, and she is sitting there brave and ready for anything. He thinks of her as a warrior, and envious of her position commits the whole exchange to memory. He idly wonders what she is listening to on her iPod, as he inserts his headphones into his ears.

Our hero is sitting with no music on, shaking. She will never work for this company again.