It’s a shite night. Fuckin freezin oot here in the middle ay nowhere but it’s worth it, a know that. Definitely worth it, every fuckin time.
The warehooses shutter’s massive. Aboot ten of me could stand side by side along this path here and we wouldnae even match how long this shutter is. It’s massive height wise as well, fuckin massive, towerin above us. It wis painted grey once, a think, but now aw the paints chippin aff so ye can see auld white paint and auld red paint beneath it. The amount of lorries and trucks n that that pass under this shutter, nae wonder it’s so fuckin massive.
Naebody else is in sight. Only cars here are ma shitey wee Ford Fiesta and an abandoned Fiat 500 way over the other side ay the carpark. Might no be abandoned, could have a wee bird and her man inside hidin fae me after ave rolled in and interrupted their shagging session. It’s a strong possibility. A wonder if a walk over if maybe a’ll see a wee fittie wae her tits oot? Naw, a’ve been lookin at this car every now n then and a’ve seen absolutely nae sign ay movement. Nae body peepin their heed up to check n see if a’ve bolted or no. So a’ve nae idea how long that wee car’s been here for, and it’s definitely just me in this carpark.
Am waitin for Mikey to roll in in his wee sexy Audi his da’s got him. His da’s this engineer right, so he’s fuckin loaded. Works here, behind this shutter, durin the day. He’s got a wee nine tae five gig dain aw sorts of wee experiments and tests in here, a heard he gets tae have a lot ay fun dain it an all. A wish a could be an engineer an play wae aw that machinery aw day long, tae ma wee hearts content, but a ended up lorry drivin instead and now a’ve got a bird and a wean tae feed so a don’t see masel droppin out ay that and enrolling in the open uni any time soon. Usually am drivin right to these shutters, only getting a wee glance inside as a get the man at the door to sign for the shite in ma lorry, but a never get to go inside and see wit their dain and wit their playin wae. Makes me proper sad sometimes, so it does.
Mikey’s a wee grassbag, shitebag, specky wee cunt. Think he’s aw that cause his da’s loaded, but he’s done fuck aw except make a cheap buck aff ay desperate blokes like masel. He duznae even dae anythin himsel, just knicks his da’s keys when he’s aff tae sleep and drives oot here tae let me in and press some fuckin buttons. He barely does a thing, and he fuckin shows up late every times he says he’ll dae it. But a suppose, a dinnae have any keys and a dinnae know wit buttons tae press so a supoose am sortae at his mercy. Wee cunt.
Am startin tae shiver when a finally see light fade in fae the bottom ay the road n a know its Mikey. It’s one in the mornin, a Sunday morn, so nae body’s oot here the noo. Nae body at aw. Only me n Mikey. The lights get brighter and brighter until their in ma eyes, head oan as Mikey drives up the carpark towards me. He parks at the front, right behind ma ain car, but parks a wee bit tae close to ma car fir ma likin, so it looks like he’s gonnae bump in tae it if he’s no careful. It’s a wee power move, he pulls that shite aw the time. A think is cause he’s a bit scared of me, big man that a am. A smirk to masel as a watch him get oot his car, swingin his wee skinny legs roond. Am smirkin cause a like tae think this wee bawbag’s a bit afraid ae me.
“Good evening, Davie,” Mikey says tae me in his wee posh voice in that way where he’s tryin tae sound lit an evil villain or some shite. Fucks sake.
“Awrite Mikey,” a says tae him.
He snaps back instantly. “Michael,” he corrects me, like he aw ways dis when a call him Mikey. A know he’s gonnae dae it, it’s just a fuckin laugh at this point cause he gets so fuckin livid. He exhales, a think he’s tryin tae calm himself cause a really do dae it every time a see him, n then he smiles at me. “What have you got for me tonight, Davie?”
A pat ma poakit where ma wallet is and a tell him seventy, the usual. Mikey shakes his head, smilin like he knows somethin a don’t. “No, Davie,” he says like he’s Willy fuckin Wonka about to show me the chocolate factory for the first time. Tae be fair, he basically is. “What have you got for me?”
When a realise what he means am fuckin giddy, like ma wee girl when she sees that fuckin Paw Patrol pish on the telly. A swing roond ma Nike bag aff my shoodirs and tear the zip open, leaning to show him the contents of ma rucksack. He looks in and examines wit a’ve goat: three oranges, two red apples, a lemon and a beauty of a pineapple. A broat the biggest a could find in Morrisons this mornin before work. Had to hide it fae the missus, or she’ll be askin why a’ve goat a pineapple, n then she’ll be askin why it’s gone n none of us have eaten it. It stayed hidden in ma boot aw day. “Aye Davie, that’ll do,” Mikey says an a can tell he’s excited an all cause he only says “aye” n things like that when he’s buzzin. He pulls a wee set ae keys fae his jaiket poakit and goes tae the shutter, stickin the biggest key in tae the huge lock. Slowly, the shutter rumbles, like its wakin up fae a long kip, and starts tae rise up in tae the wall above. Am no shakin fae the cauld any more, am basically jumpin up n doon in ma spot cause am so fuckin buzzin. Mon then!
The second the shutter is open far enough for us tae get in, we dae. We half crouch, like we’re dain limbo, under the shutter and in tae the ware hoose. Mikey, no even lookin at wit he’s dain, flicks a switch oan the wall n the whole place is lit up.
Widdin pallets line the wall tae oor left, stacked and ready tae cart shit arood the massive room. Every step a take echoes. Immediately tae ma right are rows and rows of desks with big complicated lookin computers and laptops oan them, used by the engineers who come here every day. Further right tae that is the machinery. Aw the shit they play aboot with aw day. A’d love a chance tae get tae play with it, all; see it crush shit up n things like that, aw in different ways. But am no here for that the night. Am only allowed access tae wan machine and am usin it as much as a can. Am gaggin fir it now.
A’ve been here hunners ae times, paid Mikey tae let me in and play aboot at least one a week noo fir months. The first few times a came in, a walked behind him, a few steps back, lookin at aw these big boy toys in awe. A felt like a wean in a massive Toys R Us, ma da leadin in front promisin that a can pick one toy. Noo, a’ve been here enough tae know ma exact path like the back ae ma haund. A march in front ae Mikey, steppin over loose wires n tins n wee scrap parts fae machines n computers. It’s no the tidiest place in the world, but nothin staps me fae wit a want. A stride oan forward, lit a proud soldier, aff tae kill some Nazi’s fir ma country, when a see it as a pass a corner in tae the mechanical jungle of the ware hoose.
The Hydraulic Press.
It’s stood there, fuckin massive. No as big as the ware hoose, no way, but it’s well bigger than me. A let oot a wee laugh when a see it. If ye looked at me, and watched me seein this Hydraulic Press, ye’d think a wis seein ma brother fir the first time in years eftir he’s served in the army or some shite. A love it that much, a swear. Parts ae it are painted yellow, the kind ae yellow which reminds me of seeing Ayr beach oan a proper good, sunny day. Makes me feel aw warm. It stands tall and proud; if it wis ma wean a’d be so proud ae it. A go towards it, a know Mikey is still around the corner, a good few paces behind us, and touch the cylinder, the thick, hard cylinder, which will crush anythin a put under it. It’s cauld tae the touch but a dinnae mind this cauld here. A’ll be warmin it up in a few seconds, so a will.
Mikey appears from the corner, and no wastin a second, he goes and switches the Press on. He’s a good boy, that Mikey. Within a couple ae seconds, the Press is humming and whirring, awoken from its sound kip. A dump ma bag oan the ground, rippin it open once mair, and a take oot the lemon first. A want tae see it squeeze aw the juice oot this lemon, then rip its skin apart and cut the wee bugger tae bits. Am no allowed tae handle the machine, so a hand it tae Mikey. Am gutted a cannae touch the machine masel but Mikey says if a get hurt we can both get in serious trouble, big time trouble, then a’d never see the Press again. A’ll never let that happen.
He examines the lemon in his haund, tossin it up n doon a few times, before he places it oan the wee plate, a few centimetres below the cylinder. A clasp ma haunds together in front ae ma face and am no even breathin, am that excited.
There’s YouTube videos ay this, but it’s no the same. Ye try tae put on the YouTube video, ye want tae see it crush shite, but they’re playin this shitey porn music the whole time and the man handlin the Press wastes aboot thirty minutes each time he does it showin aff wit he’s crushin instead of just crushin it. Just fuckin crush it mate! Fucks sake!
It’s time. The cylinder starts tae lower doon, the lemon just layin there, no even aware that it’s aboot tae be crushed tae fuck in just a few seconds. Mikey’s at ma side noo, watchin along wae me, but a pay him absolutely nae mind. A could not give less of a fuck aboot Mikey the noo.
The cylinder makes contact. Squeezes the lemon slowly, and aw of a sudden, it’s no just lit me crushin it in ma haund, it’s a million times stronger than a could ever be. It’s squeezin it doon n doon n aw the juice leaks oot the lemon.
It looks like it’s wet itsel.
It feels like am gonnae wet masel.
A groan as the rind cracks and splinters then finally bursts apart, just lit a thought it wid, but a million times better. It’s lit a voluptuous woman taken her lovelies oot a very tight dress, seein them burst forth lit that. Except, a’d take seein this lemon get squeezed in tae nothin over a big breasted woman any day, n a mean it. Nothin better.
A go tae the lemon and look at the wee pulverised thing, its fleshy innards crushed and its rind aw over the place. In its juice, the seeds float helplessly. A pick them up and they are completely uncrushed. Must ay gotten oot the way ay the Press as the lemon squeezed. A wonder if the lemon tried tae preserve its seeds oan purpose, you know, cause they say a humans first instinct is tae preserve life n reproduce n that. Shit like that gets me thinkin sometimes.
Mikey clears his throat. He’s goat a wee plastic bag and some tissues oot tae clear the mess and get on tae the next roond. Am aw for it, shoving the lemon carcass in tae the bag and wipin the plate clean. A think it’s an orange next.
The sequence goes orange apple orange apple orange. The orange is crushed a lot lit the lemon wis. It gave oot less juice, but its rind was cracked and splintered way better, it looked way mair destroyed and broken. It even hud wee holes in its skin fae where the Press only scratched. A never get bored ay seein that wan. The apple wis surprisingly juicy lookin when it goat pushed doon n doon by the Press’ cylinder. It only let a wee tiny bit ae juice oan tae the plate, but when a went and picked up the apple, now in absolute bits, and held it in ma haunds, the fleshy part ae the apple, the white bit ye eat, it looked fuckin amazin, sparklin almost. So a ate it right oot ma ain hands, like a’ve been in the desert for years n years and a’ve got a few mouthfuls of water in ma haunds. When it’s only core and seeds left, a stick it in tae Mikey’s wee bag.
A saved the pineapple fir last. Obviously. That mother fucker’s gonnae look fuckin amazin under the press, and they aw ways save the best fir last. A want tae place it oan the plate upright, wae the leaves just below the base ay the cylinder, but Mikey says it willnae fit and he even has tae show us that it willnae fit before a concede n let him lie it doon tae be crushed. Before we start the Press, am lookin aw around the pineapple n the cylinder. The pineapple is thick – thicker than the cylinder! A go back tae ma place, at a safe distance from the machine, and shake as a wait for Mikey to get the bastard goin.
The cylinder makes contact wae the pineapple and immediately, juice spills oot ay it, overflowin over the pineapple’s armoured skin and doon oan tae the plate. The cylinder continues to plunder doon oan tae the pineapple, but the fruit dosnay flatten or squash. Well, it does a wee tiny bit, it’s a wee tiny bit narrower than it wis before. Naw, the thing is still very pineapple shaped. The press marches aw the way doon, and we just observe for a few seconds, as the cylinder is as far doon as it can be and its completely still, the pineapple wrapped aw aroond it. Mikey goes tae it, flips a switch and the cylinder raises back up and the whirring stoaps: time for the big man tae go back tae sleep. A grab the pineapple fae the plate an am gobsmacked, a really am. It’s basically a bowl noo, cause the Press has made a perfect circle indent in tae the pineapple, and its skins barely cracked, apart from the top ay it of course. The juice is leakin aw over ma haunds as a stare at the desecrated pineapple, and it’s only on the third time that Mikey calls oot fir me that a actually look back up tae him.
A feel lit a might faint.
Ootside, in the cauld winter air, the sun’s a long way fae risin. The shutters doon again and fir a week mair, am loaked oot ay the jungle, the paradise, a only want tae be a part of.
Mikey n me are sittin on the curb just a few feet fae the shutter n am smoking a cigarette. A aw ways offer Mikey wan as well but the wee man dosnay smoke, says his asthma’s tae bad fir it and he just sticks tae the ket anyway. Ye look at him n ye know the wee shitebag dosnay dae ket, but he’s done us a favour so am no arguing. A take long drags, and stare at the burnin paper and tobacco. A’ve goat tae strain ma eyes to look right at it, but a dae. A like it.
“What do you tell your wife you’re doing while you’re here, Davie?” Mikey eventually asks us.
“A tell her am oan a night oot wae the lads, that a’ve gone tae see a pal in toon n am stayin at his fir the night so a don’t have to pay fifty odd quid fir a taxi home,” a tell him wae a big cloud ae smoke just outside ma mooth as a speak. “Tell her am gonnae drive hame the next day.”
“The next day?” Mikey asks. I look at him, nod and accidentally oan purpose breathe a wee bit ay cigarette smoke in tae his face. He screws his wee mooth up and coughs before he continues: “Doesn’t that mean she’d expect you home at like, nine or ten in the morning? Or later? How do you explain coming home forty minutes from now, at half two?”
A shakes ma head. “A don’t,” a tell him “A stay oot. A drive aboot, see if there’s wee twinty four hoor cafés aboot. A normally just stoap in tae McDonalds for a few big macs and reflect mate.”
Mikey’s chuckling next tae me. “You go through a lot of trouble for this then, don’t you?”
A stand up then, ma cig in ma mooth, and step forward, starin at the stars shinin bright ahead ay us. “She wouldnae understaun if a told her, Mikey,” a says. “She’d stoap me fae comin, fae wastin oor money.”
Then a turn back tae him, blowing a last cloud ay smoke in tae the air before a flick the cig to the ground. Its embers die fast on the dampened ground. “A cannae risk this. No for anythin.”