The Very Small Scotsman

by Matt Triewly

I am walking through the colonnade. It is almost twilight. I become aware of a weight and glance down. In my arms I am carrying a small Scotsman. A very small Scotsman. I do not know why I know that he is a Scotsman. I know that he is small. He has a passing resemblance to John Hannah the actor which is maybe why I know that he is a Scotsman.

"You're my subconscious aren't you and this time you've decided to take the form of a small Scotsman. I'll give you this, you're imaginative," I say as I look down upon him.

"Aye, I can take a myriad of forms," he replies in a softly accented voice.

"Okay," I say, "why is it that whenever you appear to me in my dreams you can never fully answer my questions such as: is the subconscious a part of me or is it separate?"

There is a silence. I think I have confounded him. Then he speaks.

"The purpose of the subconscious is to show not tell. Anything, be it knowledge or reward is only of value if it is not easy to come by. Remember this. Remember this."

I look down and he has disappeared. Gone. But where?

I carry on walking and leave the shadow of the colonnade. I then head down the street to the old family home. When I reach the house, I descend the stone steps to the porch. As I slip my key into the front door a warm feeling of security and nostalgia wash over me. I feel safe. I feel happy.

I enter into the hallway and immediately turn right into the kitchen. I am shocked to see my ex, Sharon standing there with her daughter and elderly mother. With her arms folded Sharon says: "I knew you'd never sold the place like you had claimed. You are so devious. But I was up to your little tricks."

"It's not my house anymore, Sharon, I sold it. But the new owners let me visit anytime I like."

Her daughter and mother just regard me silently. I wonder whether they are all splinters of my subconscious. Bit-players in this weird otherworld psychodrama. I remember the small Scotsman and speculate if he is behind this. Smirking.

"Okay, if that's your attitude then we're all going," Sharon spits.

On the floor is a small tortoise shell cat. I scoop it up and dump it in Sharon's arms.

"I think that's yours," I tell her.

The group of them troop out and I discern the front door creaking open. I then hear footsteps as they traipse up the stone steps.

There is a sharp 'crack' followed by another sharp 'crack'. There is shouting and I realise that guns are being fired.

I rush to the front door and call back Sharon and her family. They quickly get back into the hall and I hurriedly close the door behind them.

"Perhaps we should do something. I saw a man lying on the pavement with blood flowing freely from a wound. He was screaming in agony. I think he will die," says Sharon's mother.

"No. We must keep out of it. It is none of our business. Besides, they may get in here and shoot all of us," I respond.

There is a knock on the door and behind the frosted glass are two dark figures.

"Don't answer," I order with a feeling of rising anxiety.

Too late. Sharon 's mum lets the two men in. A spilt second a whole gang rush in.

I feel scared. Very scared.

As the militia fill the kitchen I sneak out onto the street. Looking in all directions I see no one. The shooting has also stopped. For now.

On the kerb is an old minibus. Stealthily I approach it. It is empty so I slide the door across and get in. The keys are in the ignition. Keeping as low as possible in order not to be seen I get into the driver's seat. I then start up the engine and throw it into gear. The vehicle jerks off and with throttle to the floor I speed off. I do not know where I am going. My intention is to get as far away as possible, as quickly as I can, from this place.

After a bit I come to a river. The bridge there is half submerged. It has been sabotaged. Blown up.

I slow the minibus and bring it to a halt. I am pondering what to do when I am startled by a knock on the driver's window.

A young woman with long, dark and wild looking hair is peering in. I can see that she is frightened and notice that her face is bleeding. She asks me to let her in. I do.

"Brace yourself, my dear," I tell her.

I then reverse the vehicle back about fifty to sixty yards before halting. I then stamp down on the throttle whilst changing gear as swiftly as possible in order to achieve maximum speed. As I hit the slightly raised lip of the river bank the woman screams. The minibus lifts into the air before descending in an arc upon a small section of roadway exposed above the level of the water. The vehicle hits the tarmac and then bounces back clearing the other half of the river before landing heavily and loudly on the other side of the river. I then slow down, put the handbrake on and let out a sigh of relief. I feel safe.

The woman removes her hands from her eyes and says: "You're a fucking manic!" She then pulls the lever on the door and jumps out.

There's gratitude for you, I think.

Suddenly I become aware of a fullness in my stomach. I need a crap. Urgently.

I look up and see a public toilet. Handy.

I get out of the minibus and head for the toilet. Nobody is around. Nobody. I walk into the loo and push open a cubicle door. I pull my trousers down and gently lower my arse to the cold porcelain. Immediately I let go of my bowels. The relief is like heaven. When I have finished, I check to see what I have done. To my surprise there is nothing there. Then there is a hissing sound followed by bubbles and frothing. As I screw my eyes up to see what is happening, I realise that is the small Scotsman.

"Fuck me, have you been up my arse all this time?" I say to him with incredulity. I then add: "Is this dream all some cryptic metaphor about the subconscious 'being up a person's arse?' "

"I'm not telling you anything - remember the subconscious only shows."

At this point I wake up.

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