McReady – by Lorne Finlayson

Finn

You will remember Finn from previous posts. All grown up from his prairie town adventures, Finn’s fascination with the local characters who clashed with the “milk and cookies” lifestyle of this young farmboy, has inspired him to write about some of these rough guys. Here is a snippet from his work in progress, about the seedy sod, McReady. You must understand that once in a while the language slips up. We can’t expect a character like McReady  to use words like “Oops-a-daisy” when the F word is more on the mark. I apologize in advance on behalf of McReady, the lout!

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Excerpt:

Jesus, my head was pounding. I just had to get out of bed and get a drink of water and some aspirin or something. Maybe a shot of gin would do it. Oh, I hate Saturday mornings. I always have a hangover. Before I rolled out I looked over at the other side of the bed. No one there. Damn. Struck out again. And she was so friendly in the bar, too.

I got my feet on the floor and heaved myself upright. Major accomplishment. No clean shirt, but yesterday’s was all right, so I put it on, pulled on my pants and jacket and fumbled around for my shoes. There were socks in them. I gave them the sniff test. They weren’t too ripe so I put them back on again, stuffed my wallet into my pocket, and jammed a brown hat onto my throbbing head. “Off to the coffee shop, Pal,” I ordered myself.

The landlady was already up. I could hear her scuffling around upstairs. Then, all went quiet and I knew she was listening to see if I was home so she could come down and bug my sorry butt about the overdue rent. Christ, I’m only a couple of weeks late, not like it’s any big deal. The old bag needs to get laid, that’s what I think. I stopped and considered the possibility, but, no, not now. A man had to have some standards and porking a 200-pound granny is a bit much, even for me. So, I planned my getaway. First, I rattled my back door lock, like I’m undoing it and getting ready to leave. Then, I stood real quiet and listened. I knew she heard me, and I heard her open her back door and head down the stairs to cut me off. So, I scooted out the front door and I was on my way, quick as Bob’s your uncle. Hardy har har. We’d played this game for years and I always won.

The sky was all grey, low clouds and the sun was up there but I couldn’t quite tell where. A cold breeze was swirling down the street, picking up the chocolate bar wrappers, cigarette packages and pieces of yesterday’s local newsrag and piling them all together in heaps along the curb between the parked cars. I could feel sand and some farmer’s topsoil gritting under my shoes. Normal morning in a prairie town. Just needed a few tumbleweeds and a couple of six guns and we could shoot a western. I figured as soon as I could get a stake together I was getting the hell out of here. Take the bus to the Coast. Some of my pals told me there’s good pickings in Prince George.

The Do-Drop-Inn was a greaseball joint with a half dozen or so round tables, a counter and a surly Yugoslav to run it. The door squealed as I walked in, asshole being too cheap to oil the fucking thing. His coffee was obscene, but it did the job on a dead body like mine. So, I poured one and looked around.

Over in the corner this other rounder, Moose, was having a greasy breakfast of ham, eggs and some slimy mush that resembled hash browns. He was sitting real close to his daughter Allie, a delightful little thing that he was trying to protect from us horse players and card sharks. I walked over and sat down and he looked up, a bit of egg on his porky chin. The sweetie looked up at me shyly and smiled, but said nothing and went back to her toast and jam.

“Christ, Moose,” I said, “kid can’t make out on toast and jam. Feed her some real food.”

That got his attention and he growled, “Hey, watch your mouth.”

Allie just giggled.

*****

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Have you met any “seedy sod” characters? I’m sure they’re all around us but they seem to stand out more in the healthy prairie environment. They make wonderful resource material for writers.

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8 thoughts on “McReady – by Lorne Finlayson

  1. There were lots of them on 20th Street in Saskatoon,the site of McReady’s escapades. Also, River Street in Moose Jaw was infamous as a refuge for members of the Capone Gang from Chicago when things got too hot for them there.

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  2. I haven’t personally met any seedy characters but I’m reading a book right now that has one in it. It’s by a Canadian author Lauren B. Davis – The Stubborn Season and it takes place during the depression years in the prairies. She’s a really good writer. Although the main characters aren’t seedy, there are sub-plot characters who are. ” Prostitutes accost David as he and Walker make their way along the hall: ‘Ooooh, looky here, pretty chicken meat. Look at this little baby needs a momma to take care of hisself.”

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  3. I’d like to hear more about this seedy character. Along with a scruffy exterior there is often a gentle and kind side, albeit well hidden. And who shall expose this character for what he really is ? My “wet” coast sinuses dried up immediately after your location description.

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    • Thanks for visiting the blog, Brian. I am also hoping to hear more of McReady. He is SO bad (on the outside, and I agree, maybe he has another side to him). We’ll have to clean him up a little before putting him in the limelight again, but not too much. I’d like to hear “Finn’s” comment too.

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