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‘Ah can jist see it noo … ma designer Arran cardigans wid be aw the rage.’

Duck Feet, Ely Percy’s second novel, follows 12-year-old Kirsty Campbell as she and her friends go through high school together. Taking in teen rites of passage as well as the troubles of bullying, drugs and pregnancy, each chapter is told with poignancy and humour. In this extract, Kirsty contemplates the pitfalls of teenage fashion.

 

Extract taken from Duck Feet
By Ely Percy
Published by Monstrous Regiment

 

Nearly evrubdy in school wears stuff that says Tregijo. Yi can even get school shirts that’ve got it writ on them. This boy in ma class cawd David Donald, his family are pure poor cause thiv got aboot ten million weans, he come in wan day wi a Tregijo shirt an he got the slaggin ae his life. Ah didnae even notice anythin cause ah thought it looked identical tae evrubdy else’s but Charlene said, Naw yi can well tell that’s a fake, she said, Cause the stitchin on the cuffs is different.

Charlene wants tae get a pair ae Tregijo jeans as well as a top noo. Ah said, Ah didnae even know yi could get Tregijo jeans. Charlene said, Where’ve you been planet Uranus, an then she sniggert. Ah tolt her ah didnae get it an she jist said, Never mind, then she said, Ah take it ah’ll need tae gie you lessons oan how tae huv a sense ae humour as well as fashion.

*

Ma ma went an knittet me an Arran jumper tae wear ower ma school shirt. Ah said, Ah cannae wear that. How no, ma ma said, Yiv wore Arran jumpers tae school before. Ah says, Aye when ah wis aboot eight-yir-auld or somethin. Ma ma’s face wis pure trippin her. Actually the last Arran jumper yi had ah knittet a year past in October, she said, If yi remember right aw the wans in yir class wur jealous an ah endet up daein aboot six ae the bliddy things fur other folk.

Ah wantet tae say tae her that that wis primary school; that naebdy in high school wore an Arran jumper, no even David Donald an he wis the pure reject ae the class. Ma ma said when she wis at high school she’d tae wear hand me doons fae her big sister an she didnae go cribbin aboot it. She said, Ah remember bein no much aulder than you Kirsty, she said, An The Who had jist split up an fur months afterwards ah wis made tae wear yir Auntie Jackie’s auld denim jacket wi their logo on it.

Your ma musta been a pure reject anaw, said Charlene. This wis cause ah tolt her aboot The Who jacket. Ah wish ah hadnae tolt her noo but she kept askin me when ah wis gaun intae Glasgow an whit jumper did ah think ah wis gaunnae get. She kept on an on an on at me an ah had tae tell her somethin; ah never thought she’d hit me wi a comment lik that though.

*

Ma ma used tae be a sewin machinist. She used tae work in a factory that made aw the clothes fur Marks an Sparks. See aw yir Tregijo jumpers an yir shirts, she said, Thir no worth a chew. Widyi mean, ah said. She said, Thir no worth the money hen. She said, Ah’ve looked at some ae the stuff an the hems are aw squint an everythin an thiv jist been papt oot intae the shops an naebdy’s botherin as long’s it’s got a designer label on it thir’s folk that’ll buy it. Dae yi never think aboot gaun back tae it, ah asked her. Back tae whit, she said. Sewin machinin. Ma ma jist sighed. Wid yi no go back tae it then. Ah gave it up tae huv you an Karen, she said. Aye ah know. Don’t get me wrang it wis a great environment ah loved ma job, she said, But that wis thirteen year ago an it’s aw changed. Aye but yi could still go back. Aye Kirsty, she said, Ah can jist see it noo … ma designer Arran cardigans wid be aw the rage.

*

Ma ma gave me the thirty pound fur gaun intae Glasgow wi Charlene. Ah felt dead excitet cause ah’d only ever walked past Trendy Tribe, but then ah also felt bad cause ma ma an da had a big argument cause ma da jist got made redundant fae his work, an he says we cannae afford tae be spendin money willy nilly.

Charlene’s ma’s boyfriend disnae work either but he’s never oot the pub an he’s always wearin the best ae gear. Charlene’s ma works IN the pub an she’s whit ma da calls aw fur coat an nae knickers, an she gies Charlene thirty pound a week jist tae gie her peace. An they wonder how that wee lassie’s the way she is, said ma ma. Aye, ma da said, Ah’d rather dress lik a tramp than live the way that they live.

*

Ah wisnae that keen on Trendy Tribe. Ah thought thir sizes wur dead weird, an the folk that wur servin kept comin up an sayin, Can ah help yi dae yi need a hand can ah get yi anythin else there. Ah couldnae even get peace tae look but they wur up ma back every two minutes.

Charlene must’ve tried on every jumper in the shop in every different colour. She took that long in the changin rooms that ah actually shoutet through tae her, You better no be knockin anythin, an that soon made her move. She spent seventy two pound aw in: she bought a jumper that said

TREGIJO + PARTNER

that had a picture ae a cowboy haudin a smokin gun. She also got her jeans that she wis wantin, an a belt tae haud them up cause the smallest size wis too big fur her.

Ah endet up jist gettin a plain white T-shirt that had a T on the sleeve; it only cost fifteen pound an the lassie in the shop wis gaunnae gie me a twenty percent reduction because it had a black mark on it. Ah said tae her ah’d jist leave it though cause ah wisnae sure if it’d come aff, so she had tae go an get me another new t-shirt the same. Charlene wis pure hummin an hawin cause she said it wis takin ages an she wantet tae go fur somethin tae eat. Then she said, Is that it is that aw yir buyin, an when ah said Aye she said, Kirsty that’s pure miserable.

*

Charlene’s in a bad mood. She managed tae lose her purse wi twenty eight pound in it in the toilets in McDonalds, an by the time we realised an went back sumdy wis away wi it. Her return ticket wis in it anaw so ah had tae pay her bus fare back up the road.

When ah got in the hoose ah opent the carrier bag tae show ma ma whit ah’d bought an ah noticed the lassie had gied me a black Tregijo T-shirt by accident; then ah noticed that the white wan ah’d picked wis in there anaw. Sake, ah said, Ah’ll need tae go aw the way back intae Glasgow tae take it back noo. Don’t be daft, said ma ma, Sumdy’d need tae go wi yi an wur no wastin aw that money on bus fares. But it’s stealin is it no. Naw, said ma da. It’s whit yi caw an error in your favour – Anyway, it’s bad luck tae look a gift horse in the mooth. This is true, said ma ma. Ah wisnae convinced, but ah let it go cause ma ma did huv a point aboot the bus fares cause it widda cost another seven pound fifty an that’s only if we got a child an an adult day ticket.

Ma da had his ain good fortune the day. He’d applied fur a job packin balls a wool in a warehouse ower in Hillington an he got asked tae go fur an interview. Ah’ve got a right good feelin aboot this, he said. Me tae, said ma ma, An if yi get it they might gie yi some freebies.

 

Duck Feet by Ely Percy is published by Monstrous Regiment, priced £8.99.

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