When I say a plan, please don’t think it was a good plan. But for a plan cobbled together by a ninety year old murderer (manslaughterer?), a viking and, well, me, I suppose it could have been worse. Just about.
‘Where’s Nate, by the way?’ I asked Granny as she made Åke a cup of tea. I’d never seen him drink one yet but she always made him and he always accepted it like the well brought up viking he was. It hadn’t taken me long to track Åke down, he’s established a few wee haunts that I managed to sprint round in quick order. It wasn’t until we got back to the flat that I noticed I hadn’t seen my erstwhile grandfather the whole time.
‘He’s doon the job centre,’ she replied. ‘The Kerrs on the ground floor let him fiddle about with their car engine then Jimmy Reid fae across the road made up some papers for him so he’s aff to see about a mechanic’s job. He says engines hauvnae changed as much as you’d think.’
A few of you have asked what their, ahem, sleeping arrangements are, and I’m here to tell you that out of the top ten things I never want to know about my Granny, her sex life forms numbers 1-10. They’ve told folk he’s her lodger and I’m just going to go along with that too, even though I’ve caught them stealing glances at one another in a distinctly non landlady-lodger kind of way. They were in love once upon a time, albeit seventy-odd years ago when they were the same age. Beyond that… well that’s between them.
Actually now I think about it, her capacity for murder would probably sneak its way into that chart as well.
It’s good news that Nate plans to earn his keep, though it also means he plans to stick around. Which is fair enough from the point of view that he traveled back across the Atlantic after he was released from his platoon on VJ day to find Granny and got lost in time for a few decades. They’d shipped out from Scotland after the war in Europe ended and he swore to Granny he would come back for her and my mother, who was already on her way by then.
And to be fair, where would he go at this point? I googled his family farm for him a few months back and found it derelict, on the market for peanuts (though it seemed like a fortune to him.) He has only one sibling still alive, his younger sister Judy who is 89 and lives in a nursing home in St. Louis. Though there are apparently dozens of nieces and nephews and grand-nieces and grand-nephews, none of them were up for keeping the old farm going.
He went dead quiet when I filled him in on all that, and for a moment I felt sorry for him. One thing I am grateful for is that I came back when my loved ones are still alive. I only lost a year, not decades – or centuries. I offered once (via Solveig) to try to see if I could find out anything about Åke’s descendants, but he just smiled and replied that he knew the gods had taken care of them, and I was like… well cool then.
Over the past few months. Åke has picked up an impressive amount of English. It’s hardly fluent, but he’s a dab hand at gestures and drawings, so we’re getting to a point where we can muddle through something resembling a conversation.
By the time I came back with him. Granny had Rab wrapped in the impressive collection of plastic bags she has amassed over the years, and had scrubbed her flat till it was sparkling. Rab looked like a mummy who had been sponsored by Morrisons, and Granny said she half wished she had taken his Ma’s cash to reimburse herself for what he had cost her in 5p plastic bags.
The plan was that Nate would borrow the Kerr’s car supposedly to practice driving some more (he’d learned in the army, but apparently the last seven decades have heralded a great deal more in the way of road signs and rules). Åke would carry Rab to it as soon as it was dark. One plus side of living where Granny does is that it’s a hear no evil, grass no evil kind of place, so we reckoned the risk of being spotted was small enough.
Then I’d drive us all up to the Trossachs National Park where the body builder’s body was found. And Åke would… well he would make Rab look like the body builder. If you see what I mean.
So then, if or when he was found it would seem like another of these murders and certainly nothing to do with a wee old lady and her candlesticks.
Can I just remind you I’d been whacked on the head with a hammer when I thought this was a good idea?