The four of them met at the Diggers as it was the closest pub to the churchyard. The plan was to have a pint then walk to Ali’s grave, then across town to where Drew was buried, conveniently close to the Artisan Bar. They had a bottle of Yamikaze 12 year Old Japanese Malt to sprinkle on the ground at each site.
“There’s floaters in it, though”
“They’ll no mind” said Stevie, “they’re deid after all.”
They walked down the hill. It was a bright spring afternoon.
“Remember Kenny Morgan? He died young.”
“He drank, didn’t he?”
“Aye Paraquat” said Stevie, limping into the graveyard. Stevie suffered from some ailment which kept him intermittently short of breath. 14 pints of Guinness a day didn’t help.
Time wore on. The sun was blazing and the distance between the graveyards seemed considerably more than a mile and a half. They had to stop quite a few times to let Stevie, by this time very red in the face, catch up.
They couldn’t find Drew in the second cemetery.
“Christ You cannae even track him down now. He still owes me a tenner you know.”
It was a vast necropolis, apparently packed with men called Andrew who’d died before their time. The party split up, reformed, this time with no sign of Stevie.
Finally they gave up and drank what was left of the Yamikaze. It did have floaters. As the shadows lengthened, they set off to the Artisan, then after a few pints, back towards town.
“Where do you think Stevie got to?”
They were passing Greyfriars.
“That’s where his grannie’s buried isn’t it?”
They all nodded, noting its convenient proximity to Sandy Bell’s.
* * *
Hugh Macmillan lives in Penpont, Dumfries and Galloway. 'Thin Slice of Moon' new and selected Poems just published.