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Matt McGinn


Actually, I must tell you, you see, there was this poor wee boy who had the tragic misfortune of being born right outside Glasgow altogether.  And as if that wisnae bad enough… he was born without an umbilical cord.  So, the doctor immediately turned to the woman, he says, ‘That wean hasnae got a belly button.’  You know how doctors talk.  She says, ‘I don’t believe ye.'   He says, ‘Have a look’, and she’d a look and right enough, it hadnae a belly button.  So she says, ‘Whit’ll I dae, whit’ll I dae?’  The doctor says, ‘Well, in my opinion ye should have that child put doon.’  ‘Oh’, she says, ‘no, no, no, no, no’, because she had originally come from Glasgow and, as ye know, in Glasgow they don’t like having their children put down… on a Tuesday.  She says, ‘No, no, no, no, no, I’ll protect him’, and sure enough, she wrapped him up in the finest of linen out of Galls and, when she was wrapping him up, she noticed that where his wee belly button should have been, there was a wee silver screw.  ‘Oh’, she says, ‘my god, I’ll need to go to Edinburgh’, cos she imagined, well, in Edinburgh all kinds of strange things occur and there must be dozens of people walking about Edinburgh wi nae belly button and a wee silver screw in its place.  However she rushed through to Edinburgh on her own, because she was a widow woman, and she made discreet enquiries in the middle of Princes Street, going up and saying to people, ‘Excuse me, do you happen to have a belly button?’

Unfortunately, as a result of these enquiries, she found that, even in Edinburgh, there wisnae anybody wi nae belly button.

But when she was sending him to school she always put on a wee bit sticking plaster so that, even when he was getting P.T., the other weans widnae see it and they’d just say, ‘Ach well, he’s cut his belly again.’  The other weans just assumed, ‘Ach well, his belly’s accident prone.’  Like certain members of the royal family and that kind of thing.

However, he got to the age of eighteen and you know how it is at the age of eighteen, the biological urge took control of him and he started to eat and drink and everything.  No only that but he took a fancy to this bird and they got married.  So he’s lying there on his wedding night, claes aff, waiting on the lassie coming in and she came in and she spotted it.  Well, the minute she spotted it, the game’s a bogey.  Ye know, she started to giggle.  And she giggled and giggled and giggled… three times.  Till she died.  Which, ye know, it wisnae a nice thing to do on his wedding night.  She coulda waited.

However as a result of this, the chap developed the most terrible complex.  No only that, but it affected his mind.  Ye know, and he went to see doctors and ministers and priests, he even went to the Polis Office.  Just when he was coming oot the Polis Office, he met this old gypsy woman who was coming oot the Polis Office at the same time.  Ye know, and she, after taking his seven and six, she looked in her crystal ball and she says, ‘Son, go ye forth into the forests of Kirkcudbright, on the night of the first full moon, take aff yer claes, lie doon on the grun and look up at the moon.’  Well, it was the middle of November, ye know.  However, he was desperate cos picture yerself in the same predicament.

So, he rushed away doon cos it happened to be it was that night, the night of the first full moon.  So he got doon there and he went into a clearance and he lay doon, after he’d stripped himself.  He lay doon in four feet o snow.  And he lay there wriggling and writhing… for four and a hauf hours because, as it happened, there was nae moon, ye know how it gets in Kirkcudbright, it was cloudy.  So he lay there wriggling and writhing.  And I know he was writhing cos I says, ‘Whit ye daein noo?’  He says, ‘I’m writhing.’  And he was just about to gie up hope.  In fact, he turned to me, he says, ‘I’m just about to gie up hope’, when suddenly a wee hole developed in the clouds.  And through this hole there came a moonbeam… right doon onto his wee silver screw.  Well, his wee silver screw sparkled… and all the forest lit up.  He became very excited.  He became even more excited when, suddenly, dancing down this moonbeam came a wee silver screwdriver… right into his wee silver screw.  The silver screw turned… nineteen and a hauf times and then screw and screwdriver went dancing up the moonbeam, in behind the cloud, out of sight.

Well, he was overjoyed and he gave a shout for joy and he stood up… and his arse fell off.

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