‘Loved it. Noo we’re gittin separate trains back tay oor separate lives.’

It’s been nearly ten years since Alan Bissett published his last novel, Pack Men, so BooksfromScotland were delighted to hear that he has just released a novella with independent publishers, Speculative Books. Susan is far from lazy, packing in a weekend full of high jinx in Bissett’s story and told in a brilliantly unique way – we won’t give away the surprise, you’ll have to buy the book to know what we mean! Here, though, we share an extract, which sees Susan spending the night in a swanky hotel.


Extract from Lazy Susan
By Alan Bissett
Published by Speculative Books


Fancy some Led Zeppelin? he says.

Wee bedside light’s oan. Much better vibe noo.

Is that rhymin slang again? I says, hinkin through the possibilities an comin up blank.

Naw! he scoffs. Nivir heard Zeppelin?


Aww man, Susie, he says, they were lit wannay the biggest rock bands ivir.

Noo, I dinnay really like rock music, but if sumdy’s passionate aboot sumhin ye should gie it a shout, try an feel whit they feel.

They invented aw that rockstar behaviour, he says. Groupies an mountains ay coke an trashin hotel rooms an worshippin the Devil. You’d have fitted right in wi them!

Hmm, I says, I dinnay want tay trash nae hotel room. Hotel rooms are for chillin in. An the Devil’s welcome tay lit hang wi us an that, but I’ll no be worshippin the cunt. Disnay work lit that pal!

Haha, he goes, ye ken whit I mean though.

dae I?

Stick them oan then, I says. Lit’s hear whit they’ve goat.

William presses play an straightaway this big sound bursts oot the speaker. Ooft, I goes.

Fuckin Kashmir, he says, as starts drummin in time tay the massive beat.

We listens tay it for a while, an I shuts ma eyes an lets it happen tay me. Eftir a while I opens them an goes: that is relentless.

Zeppelin, man, William says. Hammer ay the fuckin Gods.

I nods deeply, feelin the song’s vibe, but then William takes a deep breath an ootay naewhaur goes Susie? I… I dunno how much longer I can keep daein this.

Keep daein whit?

This, he says, openin his haun up as if that says iviryhin. I’ve been burnin the candle at baith ends an I feel lit…lit I’m gonnay crash against the shore or sumhin eventually. Dis that make sense?

Naw, I says. How can a candle crash against a shore?

He nods lit a wee dug in the back ay sumbdy’s motor, an looks lit a forlorn wee boy for a second. Whit I’m tryin tay say, Susie, is… this is ma final fling wi ye…

An his face hings there jist sortay tryin tay gauge ma reaction tay this.

See folks, I reflect the cunts I meet. You go low, I go low. You go high, I go high. You git high, I git high. Ye’ve just got tay gauge folks’ energies. Whit’s their deal? Match it. Dinnay come in disruptin them wi yer ain hing. Meet them whaur they are an ivirycunt becomes a soundcunt. Ye reflect back at folk whit they want ye tay be, an that wey ye’ve goat them oanside forever.

Charles Manson said that. He took it too far eh? But he had a loat ay gid ideas.

William, I says aw saftlike, it’s fine. I’m jist glad for the time I goat wi ye.

Ye’re no…ye’re no upset or nuhhin?

I dis the face. The face they aw need tay see. Well sure, I’ll miss ye. I like talkin tay ye, I like oor banter, but I unnerstaun. Ye need tay take care ay yer relationship. I respect that.

Kent you’d git it, Susie, he says, an it’s like sumhin’s been

released in him.

Course I git it, I says. That’s why ye like me. Cos mair than ony cunt: I. Git. It.

I dae like ye, he says, smilin.

Nods ma heid in time tay that bulldozer ay a beat. Whit a tune, man, I jist says.

Epic, he says.

Points at him an raises ma eyebrows. Jist lets a wee smile hing there in frontay him for a bit. Hunner percent mate, I says.


Next mornin we’re haulin oor bags oot the taxi ontay the train station platform, comedoons an hangovers collidin gently. We got nay fuckin sleep cos we were up bletherin till aboot hauf five eftir that, toppin up oan lines, movin fay Zeppelin ontay The Orb. William’s choice. Kinday chilled-oot but dancey at the same time. Loved it. Noo we’re gittin separate trains back tay oor separate lives.

Well, whitiver ma life is.

I’m no sayin ye’ll never hear fay me again, he says, as his train appears – the wan takin him tay Glesga for the Rangers gemme – an he starts inchin forward wi his bag.

Jist shrugs. Ye ken whaur I am, I says.

Gie nuhhin awa. Nivir ivir come acroass as weak, needy or entitled.

He nods a bit sheepishly, then there’s a wee glint in his eye jist as the train pulls tay a big noisy stoap in front ay us. That wis a gid night though eh? he says.

Oh aye, I grins, a classic. An he gets oan the train, takes his seat, waves at me, winkin, as the train pulls awa, an I wave back at him, an I ken fine that in aboot five months ma phone’ll ping an it’ll be William textin that he is in a club, high as fuuuuuck


The best feelin x

an I’ll jist reply

Aye mate. It is x


His train disappears roon the bend an I looks up an doon the empty platform, lit it’s a dusty stoap in the auld Wild West. Still an oor til ma train doon the East Coast tay the Edinburgh Festival. Whit a fuckin MADCAP weekend this is gonnay be, an oaff tay a great start hooooo

Takes a selfie ay me staunin unnerneath the sign that says STONEHAVEN, posts it tay Instagram wi the comment

Current stoap aff on the magical mystery tour through life that is me!


adds an emoji that’s wearin glam-rock type glesses, then finds a bench an sits doon, knackered.

Ma phone pings wi a text, an I looks at it. It’s fay William.




Smiles then deletes it. Nivir be the last wan tay reply. Keep yer power.

An oor tay wait for ma train. Comedoon startin tae settle ower me gghhegh. Whit tay dae noo?


Lazy Susan by Alan Bissett is published by Speculative Books, priced £9.00.

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