Connor’s Chief End

Connor scowls as he returns to the trauma experienced in the City Chambers.

“There’s this auld fat guy in a pinstriped suit sittin’ in the middle o’ the row,” Connor said, “.and he seems tae be the leader aff o’ this geriatric wee gang . He shuffles some papers on the bench in front o’ him, looks up and shouts in a loud voice, ‘PAUPER CONNOR WILL APPROACH THE BENCH!’ Like every other alcoholic in oor bit, ma poor faither suffered fae peripheral neuritis and, as he made his painful way up tae the front, he looked like he wiz walkin’ oan eggs.”

I made a tentative move towards my bottle of strong ale, but quickly changed my mind.

“Once in front of the fat ‘pudden’ who wiz in charge,” Connor said scornfully, “my father bowed his heid. ‘Are you Pauper Connor of twenty-seven Stevenson Street, Calton, Glasgow? the man asked. Ma faither nodded his heid vigorously and mumbled agreement. The rest of the conversation between them Ah didnae hear. Ah wiz pure deid beelin’, so Ah wiz. Ah wanted tae charge forward and deck every single member o’ this stupid panel, but instead, I promised masel’ when Ah’d be big and strong enough Ah’d get ma revenge oan these auld rickety has-beens.

Ah’m loose. Yous bams urr deid.”

Connor was clenching and unclenching his fists. I was filling my lungs with sweet tobacco smoke.

“Actually,” Connor said, “it wiz the auld man that slept in furr good a couple o’ years later. Booze goat him. A’ ma maw tellt me wiz that he wiz laid oot in the Co-op Funeral Parlour o’er in Morrison street oan the Sooside (Southside). The Co-op hid sae many funeral parlours a’ o’er the city that folk used tae say if they didnae lay ye oot in the Co-op ye couldnae hiv been serious aboot bein’ deid.”

“Where was he buried?” I asked.

“Nae idea,” he responded curtly. It was clear that he was angry. “As far as Ah know, “ he said, “they could hiv pit him in a coal sack and carted him oot tae any cemetery in a tram car.” He paused and worked his jaw muscles furiously. “Ah’m tellin’ ye straight, man.,” he said through tight lips. “Efter the auld man went tae his reward, Ah said tae masel’ ‘Don’t know whit Ah’m gonnae dae when Ah grow up, don’t know where Ah’m gonnae dae it, but wan thing Ah dae know: Ah grow up, ah’m gonnae make a lot o’ money.’ And that is exactly what I have done.”

The dropping of the Glasgow patois must have had some significance.

“Sure,” Connor expanded on his boast, ”I knew I’d be doing things that wouldn’t be strictly by the book. I mean, I wasn’t going to be a licensed thief like a lawyer or a banker, but I kept my promise to myself. No matter what I’ll do, I will make a lot of money. And everything I’ve done since I was ten years old, I did it to keep my promise.

It was clear that money was Connor’s guiding light and that he aggressively did and took what he wanted to acquire more and more cash. I wrote in the notebook: “Sbjct v.fcssd. on mkng mny. ” There would no more history today. I closed the notebook and watched in amazement as Connor rose and began to attack the punch bag with savage punches. He released heavy bombs, with his bare fists, alternating left and right blows. Ooomf! Ooomf! Ooomf! Ooomf! Between blows he gasped out instructions: ”Beat it, kid!” Ooomf! “Ye done good!” Ooomf! “Back the night! “ Ooomf! “Hot time in Blackburn Street!” Ooomf!

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