The Donaldson Boy. A short story by Aidan Moffat
This is a confession, although it is an anonymous one, so you may be inclined to consider it a boast. I can assure you that this is not my intention. As a woman of retirement age who has spent almost every available Sunday in one church or another, I can solemnly vow that I feel a genuine sense of remorse for my crime. Although, admittedly, these feelings are not so strong as to compel me to provide you with my name, because if I am to be honest, I also rather enjoyed the whole affair and I should hope that you have more important matters to attend to. Mine was a petty crime and thanks to your recent cost-cutting exercises in the area and a reduction in the number of local officers I expect you would have neither the time, nor the resources to concern yourself with the mere theft of a mobile telephone.
But before I confess, allow me to paint a background that may encourage you to sympathise with my very minor offence. I have lived in the village of West Kilbride all my life and have always loved it here. I am active in the community, I am well known and, if I may say so myself, a respected denizen of our little hamlet. I was lucky enough to be able to retire before my sixtieth birthday, but unfortunately this was due to my husband’s early and sudden death by heart attack. His life assurance policy paid quite handsomely, so once it was cashed I had no further need to work and chose to remain in our home by myself. I continue to socialise and have many friends from the surrounding towns of the region who often come to visit, but for the most part I live in our three-bedroom cottage alone (pets not included).
My solitary life was never a cause for concern until recently, but now I regularly find myself in a state of fear both in and out of the house. Ever since North Ayrshire Council decided to close the local police station on Alton Street and reduce our community officers in number until we were left with only two, it seems that the village has become overrun with vandalism, hooliganism, littering, foul language and the deadly menace of so-called “boy racing.” My neighbours and I have all fallen victim to the defacement of our homes with hideous and indecipherable graffiti; we have suffered the drunken destruction of our private property, including rainwater down-pipes, garden fences, motor vehicles, and even an incident involving a broken living-room window. There is the constant roar of revelry between the hours of 7 pm and 2 am, including extreme profanity, obnoxious singing and violent battle cries; there is the ever-present detritus of said revelry, e.g. lager cans, beer and wine bottles (often smashed to pieces), food packaging etc. And, of course, there is the aforementioned “boy racing,” making our intimate little streets extremely dangerous and potentially lethal and drowning us in noise pollution caused by the constant thump and hiss of the inhumanly fast rave music that the drivers of these vehicles seem to use as inspiration.
There is one individual who is guilty of all of the above and much, much more, a particularly nasty young ruffian - a “Ned” as we Scots call such characters - by the name of Steven Donaldson, or “Donny” as he is known to his legion of thugs. I should expect that you are already familiar with both him and his family. His mother and father are similarly dislikeable, as were his grandparents, and I know for a fact that they have all been arrested for various offences over the years, including at least one incident of very serious theft. They are highly unsavoury characters and remain very unpopular in the village, and I have often found myself crossing to the other side of the street whenever their hideously obese figures come into view. Yes, fatness seems to be the family curse and young Steven is by far the biggest of them all, his shaven head doing his repugnant, chubby mug no favours whatsoever. He is physically quite monstrous, but his massive bulk seems to afford him a threatening presence and the local Neds appear to revere both him and his vehicle. He drives a ridiculous little red Vauxhall Corsa adorned with those laughable sports stripes that morons seem to favour - two parallel white lines painted from the front tip of the bonnet to the back edge of the roof. How he manages to squeeze his hideously flabby body into the driver’s seat of such a small car is a mystery to all but the greatest of physicists, but nevertheless he can be seen at the wheel almost every night, racing through the village at dangerous and illegal speeds whilst more than likely over the acceptable alcohol limit. He and his foul companions tend to congregate in the train station car park even though it is clearly stated in the sign posted there that loitering is strictly prohibited and punishable by law. I live very close to the station (you must forgive me for not revealing precisely where) and his constant presence has me living in a state of perpetual terror.
One Thursday, a few weeks ago, as I was catching the train to Glasgow to spend the day shopping for a new dress to wear to a wedding, I saw the Donaldson boy’s car parked at the station. It was empty, however, and he was nowhere to be seen, having left the vehicle on display at an angle across two spaces so as to attract attention. The reason for this became apparent as I approached: there was an A4 sheet of paper sellotaped to the inside of the window, advertising that the car was for sale, including a mobile telephone number for potential purchasers. I paid this no mind at the time although I was highly irritated by the way the vehicle deliberately used two spaces, flaunting a complete disregard and contempt for the car park’s rules. I went to Glasgow as planned, found a suitable dress and a pair of shoes to match, met with a friend for an early evening dinner, then caught the 7.45 train back home. When the train made its regular stop at Stevenston en route, a young girl, who was outrageously drunk and could barely stand, sat down on the opposite seat from my own. She was quite clearly what I like to describe as a “Nedette” - a young, female yob dressed in standard issue tracksuit and decorated with grotesque jewellery. She also smelled quite vile, of cigarettes and cheap tonic wine, but thankfully this was her only intrusion into my otherwise peaceful journey because moments after she sat down and sent a text message on her mobile phone, she fell asleep (or perhaps passed out is a more appropriate way to describe it). She had left her phone lying on the seat beside her and I noticed that it was exactly the same make and model as my own… and this is when I was inspired to commit my crime. When the train pulled into West Kilbride, she was sound asleep and I waited until the rest of the passengers in my carriage had disembarked before I very quickly and discreetly snatched her phone and stashed it in the bag that held my new dress. I must admit that it was all very thrilling.
When I walked through the car park, the Donaldson boy’s car was there (but in a different two spaces) with the sign still stuck to the window, so I nonchalantly read and memorised the number, repeating it constantly in my mind until I reached my kitchen and found something to scribble it down on. I was breathing very heavily by this time, still dizzy from the rush of the theft, my plan beginning to overwhelm me, and I found that I had to sit down for a few moments to compose myself. Not for too long, though - I knew that I had to act quickly because the young Nedette could easily arrange to have her phone disconnected once she arrived home. So I removed it from my bag and sent my first anonymous text message to Steven Donaldson, in which I am ashamed to say I used the same kind of coarse language that I constantly hear from “Donny” and his like. It read thus:
UR CAR IS PISH YA BALDY BASTARD :-(
There was no reply for a good ten minutes, but just as I was beginning to feel disappointed, the telephone beeped. The reply was utterly predictable. It simply read:
WHO R U (There was no question mark.)
Obviously I had no intention of revealing my identity, so I replied with this:
U NEED A BIGGER MOTOR YA FAT CUNT
This seemed to anger him a little more than the previous message but did not improve his imagination or punctuation. The reply was simply:
WHO THE FUK IS THIS
The messages were generating exactly the response I had hoped for, and by now I was positively exhilarated. My third was:
HAV U EVR SEEN UR COCK, FATTY? LOL
You’ll notice that I used the acronym “LOL” for this one. I meant this in the “Laugh Out Loud” or “Lots Of Laughter” sense but instantly regretted it because the Donaldson boy could have mistaken it for “Lot s Of Love” and presumed the message was from a playful friend. To rectify this, I quickly sent another message to make my feelings clear:
I FUKN H8 U YA PORKY POOF
It was at this point he attempted to call. Of course, I didn’t answer, leaving the phone to ring out. Minutes later, the phone rang again, and this time it was the automated answer-phone service to inform me that he had left a message. On listening, I found said message to be incredibly aggressive, horribly violent and full of profanity, making the intention to find and kill me extremely clear. I was initially quite shaken by it but also felt vindicated - his behaviour was exactly as I had anticipated and precisely the kind of which the village is now awash with. I composed myself once again and sent him a new text message, this time threatening him with the same sort of violence he intended to use on me:
IM GAUNY STAB U YA CUNT
This prompted another call, which again I ignored. There was no message this time, although he did make three attempts at getting through. When these proved unsuccessful, he sent this message:
CUM AHED THEN UR FUKN DED
To which I immediately replied:
UR GETTN SLASHT @ THE WEEKND - WATCH UR BAK YA PUDGY PRICK
Unfortunately, I’m afraid this is where our correspondence had to end, as the telephone ceased to function. I was disappointed that our dialogue had been terminated just as I began to enjoy it, but I can only presume that my little Nedette had reported the phone lost or stolen and the number had been deactivated. So I have no idea if there was ever a reply to my final message, although I suspect that there would have been, and hopefully the lack of any kind of response would have frustrated the fat cunt even further. My intention had been to give the Donaldson boy a taste of the fear that he has instilled in me these past few months and I hope that, if only for the littlest while, my plan was successful. While it will certainly have had no lasting effect on the boy, it pleases me greatly to think that for at least the duration of one weekend, “Donny” was constantly looking over his shoulder and suspicious even of his own friends - and I was responsible! It has helped me to cope with his constant, threatening presence, although I still daren’t venture outside beyond a certain hour. But now, when I see the Neds in the train station car park, surrounding that ludicrous little car that has yet to be sold, I find myself being able to giggle a little.
So there is my confession. I would have liked to return the stolen phone along with this letter, but the following day was filled with a tremendous panic and I threw it into the sea, so I’m afraid it will be halfway to Arran by now.
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