By Irvine Welsh
Paperback, 320 pages
W.W. Norton & Co.
List Price: $14.95
LANGUAGE ADVISORY: This excerpt contains language some might find offensive.
Woke up this morning.Woke up into the job.
The job. It holds you. It's all around you; a constant, enclosing absorbing gel. And when you're in the job, you look out at life through that distorted lens. Sometimes, aye, you get your wee zones of relative freedom to retreat into, those light, delicate spaces where new things, different, better things can be perceived of as possibles.
Then it stops. Suddenly you see that those zones aren't there any more.They were getting smaller, you knew that.You knew that some day you'd have to get round to doing something about it.When did this happen? The realisation came some time after. It doesn't really matter how long it took: two years, three, five or ten. The zones got smaller and smaller until they didn't exist, and all that's left behind is the residue. That's the games.
The games are the only way you can survive the job. Everybody has their wee vanities, their own little conceits. My one is that nobody plays the games like me, Bruce Robertson.
D.S. Robertson, soon to be D.I. Robertson. The games are always, repeat, always, being played. Most times, in any organisation, it's expedient not to acknowledge their existence. But they're always there. Like now. Now I'm sitting with a bad nut and Toal's thriving on this. I've been fucking busy and he's told me to be here, not asked, mind you, told. I got it all from Ray Lennox who was first on the scene with some uniformed spastics. Aye, I got it all from young Ray but Toal of course needs his audience. Behind the times Toalie boy, be-hind the blessed times.
He paces up and down like one of those fuckin Inspector Morse type of cunts. His briefings are the closest to action the spastic gets.Then he sits back down on his arse, petulant because people are still filing in. Respect and Toal go together like fish and chocolate ice cream, whatever the spastic deludes himself by choosing to think.
I got three sheets last night and this lighting is nipping my heid and my bowels are as greasy as a hoor's chuff at the end of a shift doon the sauna. I fart silently but move swiftly to the other side of the room.The technique is to let the fart ooze out a bit before you head off, or you just take it with you in your troosers tae the next port of call. It's like the fitba, you have to time your runs. My friend and neighbour, Tom Stronach, a professional footballer and a fanny-merchant extraordinaire, knows all about that.
Tom Stronach. Not a magic name. Not a name to conjure with.
Talking of timing, Gus Bain arrives, red-faced fae Crawford's with the sausage rolls. He's passing them around and looking like a spare prick at a hoors' convention as Toal starts his brief. Niddrie's looking on in the usual disapproving manner of the bastard. My fart-gas has wafted over to him. Result! He's waving it away ostentatiously and he thinks it's fucking Toal!
Toal stands up and clears his throat: — Our victim is a young, black male in his early thirties. He was found on Playfair Steps at around five o'clock this morning by council refuse workers. We suspect that he lives in the London area but there is at present no positive identification. D.S. Lennox was down at the morgue last night with me, he says, nodding to young Ray Lennox who wisely keeps his features set in neutrality in order no tae flag himself up as a target for the hatred and loathing which floats aroond this room like a bad fart. My bad fart, most likely.
There was a time when we could exempt each other from that hatred and loathing. Surely there was. I feel a bit light, then it's like my brain starts to birl in my head sending my thoughts and emotions cascading around. I sense them emptying into something approximating a leaky bucket which is drained before I can examine its contents.And Toal's high, sharp voice,reaching into me.
This is where he starts to play silly buggers. — It seems to have been a fruitless night for our friend. He was in the Jammy Joe's disco until three a.m. this morning and went home alone. That was when he was last reported alive. We can perhaps assume that our man felt very much an outsider, alone in a strange city which seemed to have excluded him.
Excerpted from Filth by Irvine Welsh Copyright 1998 by Irvine Welsh. Excerpted by permission of W.W. Norton & Co. Inc.