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WA West May 2019
He did something in the shipyards, but I was too young to know what. Those times, in any event, had long passed. His hair was white and he had spectacles with thick rims, that is much of his appearance as I recall. It was hard to imagine the time in which he had worked; things around there were beginning to accelerate, melting into air and the past was exactly that; should he come back now he would recognise very little.

I learned much later that he sometimes visited the Chinese takeaway to talk about communism; he believed in an equally high standard of living for all, not death camps and suppression of the individual. If one man has a nice suit, all men must have a nice suit. His presence was not a political one for me, I was a child, he was someone who we visited. He greeted me on me and my brother's visits with a smile and a jig; "Not bad for 85 year old'' he'd say. He made us ice cream floats, slipping the ice cream out of those individual paper packets that ice cream used to sometimes come in. He was a vital man, there was something to him that made him exciting to be around. Although he had been educated to a low level by contemporary norms he was well read and informed, I came to learn in later years. He never had a child, that I learned too.     What does that do to a person to be childless? What does that do to a person to have a child? Time passes and things happen regardless. I think he died in the same week as my grandma, but I could be mistaken. The exact details of one's life sometimes become muddled. An enigmatic figure in a bigger picture. Forgotten by many.
Jim McDonnagh pulled his 2011 Ford Escape into his driveway, glancing over at his six year old son, who was sitting at the end of the drive. Angus McDonnagh, all of six years old, and ginger haired was waving at his dad, from a kitchen chair, set behind a card table. On the table was a sign and a box. Of course, from the angle Jim was at in the car, he couldn't see what was on the white board hanging in front of the table. Angus waved again, and turned back to the road.

Jim, entered the large four bedroom bungalow from the side door, looking back at Angus one more time. Angus, was sitting, watching the cars drift by on the road in front. Carol McDonnagh, Jim's wife of nine years was at the front window watching out over Angus and his table. Jim came up behind her, and asked "What's himself doing out there at the table then?"

"I think you'd best go ask him yourself" said Carol. She had a slight smile on her face.
"No, what's up with him then....why the lemonade stand at the end of the driveway?".
"It's not a lemonade stand...did you see any lemonade out there?"
"Come to think of it, no I didn't...just wee Angus, and a box"..."What's in the box?"
"Go and talk to your son"..."He'll let you know...and oh, we've a long distance call to Belgium going to be on the next bill".
"OK....I'll....who do we know in Belgium?"
"Questions, questions...go and talk to your son"

Jim, went out the front door of the house, past Angus's bike in the walkway, where he always left it, and where Jim always told him not to leave it. Angus turned to see who was coming and then turned back to the road.

"Hey son, what's up?" said Jim. "Your mum said I should ask you what you're doing out here".
"Nothing Dad, just practicing...that's all", and he turned back to the road.
"Just, ok I asked"....and Jim started away, turned on his heel and asked "Do you mind if I ask ...for what are ye practicing my lad?.
"To be famous Dad, to be famous" said the ginger headed mite.
"Oh, ok then....hold it....To be famous?"..."By sitting at the end of our driveway in the middle of Glasgow, you're going to be famous?".
"Not now Dad, I'm practicing....but one day".
"Oh alright, dinner's in half hour, see you then"...."Hold is sitting at the end of our driveway, at a card table with a box....practicing to be famous?".
"Easy Da...I'm selling autographs".
"Autographs?" asked Jim.
"Yep" said Angus.
"And whose fine autographs are you selling my son, my can't write your name can barely scrape by on the printing side of things too".
"Their mine Da...mum did them on some kitchen cards for me. Their only one pound each. All famous people have autographs". Jim walked around to the front of the table, and looked at the box and the sign. Sure enough, one box full of about twenty white three by five recipe cards with Angus McDonnagh written on them, nice and sweet as could be. On the sign, "OTTO GRAFS" ONE QUID EECH!!!!

Jim pondered his son's new and sudden career choice and asked "Angus...why do ye want to be famous?".
"Because it's cool Dad. Everyone likes famous people". "I see..." said Jim. "Just a thought though son, don't you have to do something to become famous, to have people like you?".
"That's why this is just practice" said Angus.
Now, how do you argue with that logic?

Up at the house Carol was looking out at her two men, one ready to be famous and the other confused as to why.

"Dad, you like them footballers on telly, right?". "Yes son, I do....they're good at what they do".
"And when you see them girls in the paper, without their shirts.....Cor' I'll have a bit of that...isn't that good. That means you like them too, right?".
"Yes son, but...that's a different sort of thing".
"How?...they're famous and people know them...are they good at what they do?" asked Angus.

Flustered, Jim answered "yes they are son, yes they are". "What exactly do they do Dad?".
"I'll tell you when you're ten son...wait until you're ten".
"I'm gonna be famous like that footballer who's always in the news dad"....
Jim thought about it...not sure who his wee boy was talking about.....and then it hit him.
"You know dad, the one they always show on the news and the sports with that lady".
"Son, that's John Terry, Englands Captain", said Jim.
"He's the one, played for Chelsea too".
"That's not what he's on telly for lately son, that's not the type of famous you want". "Why not?"
"He's famous for doing something bad, that's not what you it?".
"So, I don't want to be like him, and I'm not ready to know about taking my shirt off...what can I be famous for Dad....I'm ready..I've got autographs done in the box".
"I know son, you'll find out"....and hopefully soon thought Jim.
"You can be like that Justin Barber lad from Canada....go on the internet and do stuff there, you can get famous from that son".
"It's Bieber and nope, nope and nope" said Angus.
"He has tattoos, likes girls and worst of all...he looks geeky".
Jim laughed at the last bit. "But, he's famous...isn't that what you want?"

"Supper!!!" Yelled Carol from the window.

"It is, but not if I have to do that...I never thought being famous would be so tough".
Jim thought, exactly why I avoided it son. He grabbed the box, and folded up the table, Angus was dragging the chair behind him...he dropped it by the bike and went in.
Jim looked at it, dropped the table...took out a pound coin, dropped it in the box and went in for dinner.

"Maybe I'll be a fireman instead " said Angus as they went inside. "People like them too...and it doesn't seem as hard as being famous"...."Yep, a fireman".

Jim smiled, tousled his son's raggedy head and went to the table.

"Now would someone tell me about this phone call to Belgium?....

— The End —