Monday, 14 July 2014

Yes Monkey

About three months ago we started our Women for Indy stall outside Marks and Spencers in Aberdeen replacing the evangelical Christians and Peruvian pan pipes guys who have since, no doubt found other pitches. It being Aberdeen we quickly found that the North Sea wind had it in for our flyers if we didn't weigh them down. Being arty types, we didn't want any old rocks, so Lindsay did these beauties...

They have become a phenomenon. If we had a fiver for every time we'd been offered cash for them we'd be equaling Rowling's donation to Better Together.

The stones have now gone on tour with my husband's Grassroots garden with Yestival and nearly every day on twitter I see someone admiring them.

 They were only meant to stop flyers littering Aberdeen!

A similar thing has happened with a decoration I made to tart up the stall. I made Yes Monkey. Here he is.

Designed to keep kids happy whilst their mums and dads get their indyref questions answered by our Indy Quines and gatekeeper of the sweetie jar, folk all over the UK started to ask to have a shot of Yes Monkey. He packed his spare Yes tshirt and a clean pair of monkey pants,  left the stall and went on tour. He's got his own blog here but here are some of the places he's been.

Dunecht Show

 BBC Pacific Quay, Glasgow


The Bard's House
Dunnotar Castle

The wee guy has even collected some accessories along the way. Nellie Jean knitted him a rucksack for his bananas and he was also furnished with an Alert Reader badge from Wings Over Scotland.


Delivering Simon Neil's flag to T in the Park

However, best of all is this wee film that my brother Ewan made of him. Like a lot of Scots wanting Scotland to vote yes, Ewan lives in London. He has no vote but wants to help his home nation gain  independence from Westminster.  Here's his film of Yes Monkey's farewell tour of the "Old House".

Don't ever miss a Misssive, subscribe! Add to Google

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Monday, 23 June 2014

Hands off Our Melissa, Daily Mail!

This is Melissa. I've been pals on twitter with her for the last year or so. I am going to meet her at last when our art exhibition Aye Inspired hits its Edinburgh pit stop at Summerhall arts centre. And I'm looking forward to it.

 Mel has lived in Edinburgh since 1999 when she moved from San Francisco and made her home here. She got married to a Scot and had her son, who is now 13 and has autism. She's an oil and gas consultant and runs her own business. I've not met her in person yet, but she and I have been emailing and chatting online. Like you do these days. And I like her.

She is one of many adoptive Scots who have come from around the world and decided that this is home. She is also one of many adoptive Scots who have decided that Scotland is better off independent. Mel is a member of Yes Scotland and despite now being a single mum, makes time to canvass and speak to other Scots about her reasons for yes. She does this on the streets of Edinburgh and online.

But, oh, Mel is "hated by the Daily Mail".

Last week, for the second time, the Daily Mail branded Mel a "cybernat". In January she was photographed paparazzi style by a chap in her street hiding with a long lens as she returned from taking her son to the doctors. This was five days after her husband had left home abandoning her and her son after years as a family and she was still in shock.  To say she was having a pretty crappy day already would be an understatement.

Once she and her son got inside the flat the door buzzer went, " This guy asked me if I was Melissa Murray and  I said yes. I thought it was a delivery for me. I went downstairs, opened the door and here's this man  asking me if I considered myself a Cybernat. I said No. Then he explained who he was; a Daily Mail journalist. I asked him how he got my home address,  then slammed the door on him."

The next day she was even more shocked to find that the Daily Mail had run a full page feature in which they targeted Melissa along with online journalist Stuart Campbell who is the editor of Wings Over Scotland, an independence supporting website followed by thousands. The headline of the report?

Cybernats unmasked: Meet the footsoldiers of pro-Scottish independence 'army' whose online poison shames the Nationalists

 If you absolutely must you can see the original article here.

 The paper showed the photo with the caption: "Melissa Murray expresses strong opinions but is not Scottish herself". Nice bit of jingoism there. How dare those who live in Scotland who are not Scottish express an opinion about Scotland! Could you imagine the furore if any of the Yes or No campaigns said that?

Then at the end of last week, they recycle their info on Melissa and the covert photo of her in the street for maximum shadiness. The headline this time?

Vile - and bizarre - truth about the tartan trolls: They spit bile at those like JK Rowling who dare to question Scottish independence. Now this special report reveals their dirty tricks

Again, if you absolutely must you can see the actual report here but I understand if you don't want the Daily Mail to get the traffic.

The thing is, although they branded Melissa an abusive "tartan troll" this was the extent of what they could find in amongst over 30,000 tweets in Mel's profile:

"Do you want Michael Gove in charge of your kids’ education? Do you want Scotland the first place obliterated in a war? Then vote NO!’
‘Anyone who professes Scotland is #bettertogether truly must hate Scotland"

So far, so non-abusive. 

Reading the headline and a quick glance at the piece readers who didn't get that far down in the copy would have the impression that Melissa had been caught out abusing another adoptive female Scot, JK Rowling. But she never had, and never would.

I asked Mel how she felt when she saw the Daily Mail article, " I feel like I've been targeted because I'm an American and very outspoken. But I also think being a woman played a role. The Daily Mail is an incredibly misogynistic paper. So I feel the combination was one they hated.

" My husband had abandoned my son and me only five days earlier. I was in an incredibly low place. In fact the photograph the DM printed of me, may just be the worst picture I've taken in my life, although I'm sure that was the point for them. Anyway, the DM really caught me at a bad time in my life."

The thing is, Melissa is a wee bit like me. Passionate about Scots independence and putting herself out there a bit about it. If this could happen to her, this could happen to any of us. I had a conversation with a pal recently about the writer Alan Bissett, another person who has been demonised by the press because he supports independence. The way the press have spoken about Alan, who me and my sister met a couple of months ago at a Yes event and was one of the friendliest nicest blokes you could meet, was disgraceful. But Alan is in the public eye and you could argue that if you are well known, you should expect a bit of attention. And not always of the kindest sort. Ditto Stuart Campbell of Wings whose words are read by more people per post than watch any of the Scottish news shows. I am not saying it's right, but it can be expected when your profile is high.

But Melissa? She's a working single mum who gives up the odd Saturday to stand with the Yes guys at their Edinburgh stall and tweets about independence to her 2,000 followers. 2,000 followers- she's hardly Russell Brand! And SHE HAS NEVER BEEN ABUSIVE ON TWITTER! Not once! Believe me, if she had, the Daily Mail would have quoted her.

I wanted to give Melissa some kind of small right of reply on my humble wee blog. I only get about 1000 views per post, but if enough folk retweet and share it then maybe her reply will be louder. And maybe the next time you see the Daily Mail call someone they've papped on the streets "vile" you might think twice about believing it.

Final word to Melissa: " Why do people read the Daily Mail? It can't be for facts. As an American, it just reminds me of the really crappy tabloid papers we have in the States, like the National Enquirer. No one believes anything they say. At first I was annoyed by the Cybernat label. But now I don't care. I realise it's just the way a weak opponent attempts to demonise you. When they have no intelligent argument, they personally attack their opponent."

Keep on keeping on Mel.

Don't ever miss a Misssive, subscribe! Add to Google

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Real Ordinary

 This photo is credited to the eagle eyed Indy Quine, Amy, who spotted one of the BT ladies who'd come to a Yes event to stir it up wearing Union Flag pumps. it has nothing to do with this post, I just thought you'd like it)

What it is to be an ordinary person. Here's what it means as a woman campaigning for YES. 

It means that every time you are asked to debate against a No campaign counterpart, you are put up against a politician. Better Together, or whatever they are called this week, rarely offer up an "ordinary" person. I could get upset that this means the debates are not level playing fields as after all politicians debate for a living, have had media training most probably and it is their job to remember facts (I use the word "facts" in the loosest possible sense) policy, law and figures and can therefore take a debate in their stride as opposed to folk like me who hang about the loos feeling sick and haven't slept the night before because we're terrified and kept on having dreams where you are chased by a hooded man when you did finally drop off.  

But it's actually easy. Because you have no personal agenda. I don't want to keep office, my job or please my boss, or be "on message"; I just want what's best for my family's future. Being ordinary is a bonus.  Even when it feels that the politician debating you is trying to bury you in their debating experience or inwardly gives the air a punch when they see your unknown name on the debater's list instead of say, an MSP's.

By politician I mean one of 6 things:

  •          An elected MSP
  •         An elected MP 
  •     An elected MEP
  •      A party candidate
  •     A party activist or
  •     A paid party worker

Aberdeen Women for Independence have none of those types people in our ranks. We have nurses, teachers, social workers, retail workers, designers, students, pensioners, carers, and the like, but no politicians. We never talk parties, or party policy, we just talk life and independence. I can't speak for the Women for Independence organisation as a whole as I've never met any of them in person. I'd like to one day, but we're all a bit busy at the moment. We'll meet at the big party we'll no doubt a stadium somewhere. BYOB. 

 Some of the Quines
( who will kill me for putting this up)

All I know is we receive no orders from anyone, we are not given instructions through a central office and we do not  have to ask anyone's permission to take part in any town hall, radio interviews, debates or forums. We just go where we're invited. Which is turning out to be a lot of places. Road maps have been purchased. B roads have been traveled as have farm tracks by mistake in car unsuitable for the experience.

Folk invite the Indy Quines, as we call ourselves, to events all the time, and every week our quines talk to the public on a stall in the city centre. Not one has ever done this before April this year. Last week I was on the panel for 3 YES information events all over Aberdeenshire and debated against Christine Jardine of the Liberal Democrats (again, although for her it felt like the first time she's met me as she had forgotten having debated me 6 weeks ago and had no idea who I was) on the radio to round off the week. This week I'm speaking at another two YES events in Aberdeenshire. I have three cold sores as a result of this and I don't think I ate one square meal at a table the whole week but so what? OK this might be the year the kids refer to as "that year we had to forage in the woods for food" but I hope it'll also be the year they tell their kids about too:

 "Kids, did you know Scotland used to be ruled by a government in London? I know! Mad eh?"

 None of these events last week or the one before went through any central machine- folk just asked me via my personal email. So much for a top down campaign, so much for Alex's orchestrated army of cybernats. Not one Yes Scotland person was on any of the panels, never mind any SNP member or politician. With the exception of Ms Jardine I kept the company of "ordinary" folks, all speaking for the independence cause. Last week I shared a panel with an "indy-hero" of mine, Ivan McKee for Business for Scotland, who I'd personally like to clone and take with me to every event I go to, and next month I am sharing a panel with another indy-hero, Robin McAlpine of Common Weal. 

 Me with Ivan McKee and Uisdean Vass 
(this was Uisdean's first panel event)

Again, where are the party political bods? SNP MSPs and activists are out there and they are certainly busy but YES is bigger than them. The demand for YES info is so great that it is "ordinary people" who speak at them, for free, at their own travel expense, often coming straight from work without their tea (I have started a campaign for a wee bowl of Bombay Mix and a packet of crisps to be on each panel table- watch this space) but happy to do it because they have a compulsion to tell people why they are so passionate about believing in an independent Scotland.

We are not orchestrated or controlled, we are ignored by the media, we often cannot meet in council run spaces but we are out there and halls fill out wanting to hear these "ordinary people" many of whom like me, never stood up in front of any group bigger than their classroom full of students or their workmates to give a short leaving speech.

And that's ordinary. You can't fake ordinary. "Ordinary" folks are going to win this. The real "ordinary" folks.

Don't ever miss a Misssive, subscribe! Add to Google

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Friday, 30 May 2014

English Scots for Yes

This week I interviewed the organisers of English Scots for Yes. Since starting their group only recently their membership has grown rapidly and I think they are going to be a real positive voice and force in the debate. 

My thanks to Math Campbell Sturgess and Angel Brammer of the group. Slainte!

English Scots for Yes has only been on the go a short while. What has the response been like?
 Phenomenal!  Right now, we’ve only got a few people on the ground handling the running of the group itself, and we were working flat out…at one point our email server crashed due to the response we were getting!  We’re overjoyed at how well we were received by the YES community, and more importantly the English/English-Scots community.  Especially after the EU elections this weekend, we have had former NO’s and undecided voters come to us and say things along the lines of “I was undecided, but the BBC’s promotion of UKIP in Scotland and the reaction of the Union parties, then seeing your group and the rest of the YES campaign’s inclusivity has swayed me”
What are your hopes for an independent Scotland?
Post-Independence, we want to see a Scotland that is as welcoming and accepting of others as it is now, but with a Government we actually elected, that is in touch with what Scottish voters want, and has the powers to act on it.  A Scotland that is able, in he words of Alex Salmond, to be a good neighbour to England, not a surly lodger. And freedom - from the fear of what we will get from the next disconnected London government.

From time to time people accuse the Yes movement of being anti-English. What is your reaction to these kinds of accusations?
 Usually? I personally laugh (Co-founder Math), as they obviously haven’t met me in the flesh due to my strong southern-English accent! 
Co founder Angel: I greet the question with bittersweet laughter, because its not about England versus Scotland. If I were in England or Australia for that matter, I'd be fighting the same battle - to make the place I live better. 

Why did you think it was important to set up English For Yes?
 We're sick of the media portraying the referendum as "us against them", English Scots like us left somewhere in the middle. It's not about that. It's about what's best for Scotland's people, be it those who were born here, or those who chose to live and work here,, no matter where they're from. We're all Scots. It takes a people to make a nation. 

What was your reaction when David Cameron asked the English and Welsh to pick up the phone and ask Scotland to stay?
Angel: It would never happen.  Cameron can't have it both ways. The right wing can't sell us as "subsidy junkies" in England one moment, then ask them to beg us to stay the next. Westminster's lack of respect is his Achilles heel. 
Math: I laughed. I'd just had my welsh sister-in-law on the phone a few days before, talking about how exciting the prospects for independence were!   
What has been your personal high point of the whole indyref campaign so far?
 Angel: I think it has to be the egg-on-the-face moment when the UK govt were caught out on their lies about the pound, when one of their own ministers confessed it was all a rouse. It's good when they called on their lies, and people start to realise that not everything the unionists come out with is true!

Math: For me, it's the over the entire campaign, especially so in last few months, how engaged and active Scotland is politically. It used to be extremely hard to get anyone out for anything political, now we are packing town halls up and down the land on a weekly basis, there are action groups of practically every concievable kind for the Yes campaign, there's even going to be the Yestival (a festival of arts and music organised by National Collective)! It's like Scotland is waking up from a long slumber!

And the low point?
 The relentless negativity of the NO campaign.  Some of the more ridiculous claims were funny, like the article warning about Scots facing massive roaming charges, right above an article saying the EU were outlawing roaming charges!  But their entire campaign is just so negative, and miserable and utterly lacking in vision. 
A close second though would be the loss of Margo.  Margo Macdonald was a real flame in Scottish life. A role model for what politicians should be, and a fierce campaigner both in the independence conversation and in wider politics. Things seem just a bit washed out and colourless without her.  

Do you think Scotland is going to vote Yes in September?
(Laughs) Both:  Yes. 

By Angel Brammer, Math Campbell-Sturgess (co-founders_ with contributions from other members..

You can follow English Scots for Yes on Twitter

Don't ever miss a Misssive, subscribe! Add to Google

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Thursday, 22 May 2014

An Open Letter to Jackie Baillie

I like to keep an eye on all things Helensburgh, having been born there and having spent some ace times there as a kid. For us Clydebank kids Helensburgh was "the beach" and the source of much ice-cream bought for us by my late Great Aunt Peggy who lived there.

I am sharing this letter by Helensburgh resident Dave Pollock who has challenged his local MP Jackie Baillie on whether Faslane is good for Helensburgh.

It's a must read:

An open letter to Ms Jackie Baillie

Dear Ms Baillie,

Recently, I attended a meeting organised by the Helensburgh Advertiser in the Victoria Halls in Helensburgh. The meeting was interesting but it did not clarify an important issue, which is whether the Base at Faslane is a benefit to or a blight on Helensburgh.

Your assertion at the meeting that we only need to look around Helensburgh to see the beneficial impact that the Faslane Base has on this area surprised me. Central Helensburgh does not look prosperous to me. This is underlined by the large number of empty shops and by the charity shops in prime positions in the centre of the town. Charity shops have an important role but their number and location suggest that there is not much competition from conventional retailers for these shops. In addition to the numerous semi-derelict empty shops, there are major buildings, including former banks, a hotel and a filling station that appear to have been abandoned. If you doubt this, I’ll be happy to give you copies of the photographs I took recently in central Helensburgh. This situation is surprising in what should be a prosperous town, especially one that supposedly benefits from 11,000 people employed nearby. 

I noticed that Mr Young, in his letter published in the Advertiser (8/5/14), says that the number of "directly related defence jobs" is even higher (12,000), so the beneficial effects of the Base on commerce in Helensburgh should be even more obvious. It isn’t. At the meeting, you were very clear that 6,500 people are employed by the MOD and Babcocks at the Base and another 4,500 are employed in the supply chain supporting the workers at the Base. You were adamant that these numbers are "very real and not made up" and that you have consistently quoted these figures to justify your support for the Base. It is surprising that the potentially huge spending power of such a large and presumably well-paid workforce does not have an obvious beneficial effect on Helensburgh. Why is that? 

At the meeting in the Victoria Halls, a gentleman from the audience provided a possible answer to this question. He had learned that a large number of staff at Faslane live at the base from Monday to Thursday but return to their homes elsewhere in the UK at the weekends and they do not buy houses in the area or contribute much to the local economy. I was surprised when this information was revealed. I was even more surprised that you kept your head down and said nothing in response to this revelation. Your uncharacteristic silence was all the more significant, since, throughout the rest of the debate, you intervened vigorously, when you disagreed with anything. Do you dispute the information he provided or were you already aware that many of the staff at Faslane do not live here or contribute much to the local economy, because they live elsewhere in the UK for part of each week?

My second point concerns the calculation of the number of workers (4,500) in the supply chain that supports the 6,500 staff at the Base. I did not understand your explanation of how the number in the supply chain was calculated. I would be grateful if you could explain how the figure of 4,500 people in the supply chain was arrived at. As I recall, you said this figure was obtained "through use of an income multiplier, which is the amount you (ie we) spend in the local economy." 

 You were at pains to emphasise that these figures aren't made up, that they had been produced for Scottish Enterprise some time ago and that you have been quoting these figures consistently ever since. Frankly, your account of the calculation, though obviously well-rehearsed, did not make sense to me. I would be grateful if you would explain how the figure of 4,500 was calculated. It is incomprehensible how the cash we collectively spend in the shops can somehow be transmuted (by a magical "income multiplier") into the number of people employed in the supply chain for the Base. How is this possible? Moreover, how is this factor influenced by what we spend elsewhere - in Glasgow or Braehead for example? More importantly, how does the calculation take account of the transient nature of the staff, who work for the MOD and Babcocks at the Base but only live here part-time and leave for long weekends elsewhere?

It is no secret that the No Campaign, of which you are an active member, seeks to dissuade people from voting “yes” in the referendum, by trying to frighten the voters. This approach seeks to undermine the confidence of the voters by highlighting the alleged risks of voting “yes", whilst implying that there are absolutely no risks associated with voting “no.” Another undermining technique employed by the No Campaign is to disparage the idea that Scotland could be a successful independent nation that could, for example, defend itself. You used the latter technique at the meeting in the Victoria Halls when you sneeringly suggested that if the electorate voted 'yes' in September, the Scottish Navy would have only "seven frigates and half a submarine," the latter presumably being obtained as a farewell gift from the remaining UK. Very droll but not as absurd as the current parlous state of the RN. Are you aware that the RN now has many more commanding officers than active, major surface warships. When I last checked, there were 40 admirals and 260 captains but just 19 ships that are major surface combatants (13 frigates and 6 guided missile destroyers), not one of which is based in Scotland. This is disastrous for a nation with aspirations to be a major world power. 

Correction - for Westminster politicians with pretensions to pose on the world stage and, according to their favourite cliche, "punch above our weight." Even more absurd are the 2 aircraft carriers currently being built and for which the UK cannot afford to buy aircraft. It now turns out that there are questions about whether the flight deck of the single carrier that the Ministry of Defence can afford to retain, is strong enough for the aircraft to land on. I'll leave the submarines, including the abandoned hulks at Rosyth, for another day, when I hope you might clarify the logic, practicalities and morality of your position. This story requires a modern Gilbert and Sullivan duo to do justice to these issues and to the monumental incompetence and soaring self-regard of the Westminster politicians, including your labour colleagues at Westminster.

In conclusion, I wonder why you have apparently not noticed that the population in this area is falling and, according to the Sunday Times, house prices in Helensburgh are falling to a greater extent than anywhere else in the UK. (Google it if you haven’t seen this news.} Moreover, as the Advertiser recently reported, there are many unoccupied shops and a lot of charity shops in the centre of Helensburgh. Why is this? True to your Project Fear philosophy, you raised the spectre of falling house prices, depopulation and diminished prosperity which would inevitably occur in Helensburgh if the nuclear submarines were ever removed from Faslane. To emphasise your threat you pointed to Dunoon, where, when the US nuclear submarines were withdrawn, house prices, prosperity and the population all fell. You warned that a similar fate awaits Helensburgh. What you did not admit is that the dire (Dunoon-like) circumstances you predict already exist here in Helensburgh now, before any nuclear submarines have been withdrawn. Why is that? Is it possible that the falling house prices, the falling population and the numerous closed shops in central Helensburgh are related to the proximity of the Base and its nuclear weapons, from which many people would prefer to stay far away?

D. Pollock

PS Recently, I sent similar emails to you and to the editor of the Helensburgh Advertiser, which did not publish my open letter to you. The emails I sent to you and to the Advertiser asked questions similar to those in the email above. I have now contacted the Advertiser to advise them that I wish formally to withdraw the letter I sent to the editor and that I no longer want it to be considered for publication in the Advertiser, because I have made other arrangements. However, I assure you that I am still looking forward to receiving your answers to the questions posed in the original open letter to you and now in the email above.



This morning we received a response from the Helensburgh Advertiser on Twitter:

Don't ever miss a Misssive, subscribe! Add to Google

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Do It Anyway

Another day and a million complaints on social media from Yes groups that the mainstream media ignore them and their activities. They are right, unless it's to slur a yes group the broadcast media in particular in Scotland ignore the massive people-led revolution that's taking place in Scotland. 

National Collective, which has been at the forefront of the arts movement for the yes campaign has been active for two years. They have been hosting gigs, art shows, sessions and all sorts of creative activity all over Scotland. The other week they announced the biggest and most geographically comprehensive touring arts and music festival, Yestival,  that Scotland has ever seen (maybe even that the UK has ever seen..?) and they get no coverage in the broadcast media at all. Not a sausage.

Trad Yes have been setting up wish trees all over Scotland and hosting traditional music gigs in support of the Yes campaign. Traditional music is a mainstay of Scottish culture and a very well covered aspect of music culture by BBC Scotland. Has Trad Yes made it into the Scottish broadcast media in any shape or form? Even just a wee mention on What's On slots? Nope.

My sister and I set up an arts exhibition called Aye Inspired which for the last 2 months has raised nearly £2,000 of crowdfunding and has 50 artists showing work all inspired by the campaign for independence. We are taking it round Scotland and our premiere is in Aberdeen on June 28th. I tweet about it every day, my followers retweet it thousands of  times. Has any media got in touch for an interview, or even further information about it? Yes. One. Kind of. A student at Robert Gordon's University who couldn't believe she got the first (and so far only) interview for her student radio show. Anyone else from any media source? No.

Then there's Lady Alba. One youtube video and she goes viral with her hilarious take on independence and the Naw vote. Is her alter ego Zara Gladman swamped with interview requests? Naw.

But it strikes me that all this activity is still attracting attention even though the media don't cover it. That's pretty incredible. It's a force of nature. It can't be stifled because the mainstream media are not the arbiters of information dissemination. People are. Yestival,Trad Yes, Aye Inspired, Women for Indy, and all of the hundreds of other movements for a Yes vote, are getting heard. Because they are people led.

It would be nice if the media woke up and reflected this. But you know what, whether they do or not, we're doing it anyway. Pretty damn well, if I may say so myself.

And if it's a Yes vote in September, how great will it be to say that even though the media ignored us, we did it anyway?

Don't ever miss a Misssive, subscribe! Add to Google

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Farewell Integrity

It was one of those Tuesday mornings where you feel like a blind dog who's been beaten and left to die in the gutter. I had a feeling when I opened my eyes and saw that dame's reflection glinting off the near empty bourbon bottle that today was gonna spell trouble.

"I need a Private Dick", she purred without introduction, her red hair like the sunset over the wrong side of town.

I pulled my chin off my chest and tried to remember who I was so I could introduce myself. She didn't wait.

" I got a case for ya. A case of identity. And I need answers quick. Real quick."

 She pushed forward a bill with the photograph of a woman I knew I'd seen before. It took me a minute but it was the broad in the newspaper that I'd lined my cat's tray with last night.

" See this dame, she goes by the name of Jean," she said as she lit a Lucky Strike and inhaled in a way I'd never seen a broad do this side of the Hollywood sign. "She looks like Jean, but she sure as hell don't sound like any Jean I know. See Jean is a Scottish dame and Scottish dames don't say the kind of garbage Jean says here. Find out who she is. My boss needs to know and will be...very grateful."

I looked at the empty space she left as she walked out my room like the images that accompanied so many so of my half remembered Wild Turkey fueled night sweats.

I still felt queasy from last night but something about that Dame and the way she moved made me feel like a newborn kitten. If finding out who this ol' broad Jean is was what it took to get her to stop lookin' at me like I was some kind of deadbeat, hell...I'd do it.

That afternoon I stumbled across this. It was the broad. 


She wasn't just any broad, she was a model in the stock photograph portfolio of a commercial photographer called Clair Borley. She was called Jean alright, that much was true...but who was she really? This Clair Borley who was she?