He’ll arrive home with his haul of coins; coppers mostly, tossed into the river for good luck by train passengers crossing the bridge. He’ll soak the coins in soapy water. Later, he’ll scrub them with a nailbrush. He’ll clean off the mud and the slime, but he won’t be able to remove the telltale blue-green signs of verdigris.
His wife will complain about the money, as if it carries a stigma. ‘You can scrub it all you like, but it’ll always look and smell of the Forth Bridge.’
He’ll smile and shrug. ‘There’s no shame in being poor,’ he’ll reply.
* * *
Brendan Gisby was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, halfway through the 20th century, and was brought up just along the road in South Queensferry (the Ferry) in the shadow of the world-famous Forth Bridge. He has published two novels, "The Island of Whispers" and "The Olive Branch"; a collection of short stories about growing up in the Ferry during the 1950's and 1960's, "Ferry Tales"; and a biography of his late father, "The Bookie’s Runner". His author's website can be found here. Brendan is also the founder of McStorytellers, a website which showcases the work of Scottish-connected short story writers.