Ross Wilson's poetry collection, Line Drawing (Smokestack Books) was shortlisted for the Saltire Book of the Year Award in 2019. He wrote Deid when he was 16. It was originally published in New Writing Scotland in 1997. He works full time as an Auxiliary Nurse.

They say ahm deid. Deid, ah tell ye. Me? Dod, deid? Ah dunno likes. Ah heard thum speakin last night, the nurses like. Nae pulse, they said. Nae pulse, he’s deid. Fuckin deid? Ah dunno, seems hard tae take in.

Ah tell ye somehin pal, this bein deid caper is nae joke, fir ah still huv thoughts, ken? It’s as if, like, ma mind’s still alive inside ma deid boady. So ah wis thinkin’ thit mibbe ahm a spirit noo, ken? Waitin oan the big man upstairs whiskin mae awo. Mibbe ahm, like, in purgatory or something, the place where loast souls gan till the big man decides what tae dae wit thum. Whether the gan up the escalator or doon the lift. Ah hope ih decides soon fir, like ah says, it’s nae joke bein a corpse.

When they fund oot ahd kicked it they pit mae in this room. Thir mustnae be oany central heatin cause it’s bloody cauld in here.

Ah day passes n’ the come tae confirm it. It’s official: Ahm deid. Ahm still no convinced though cause, like, well, ah kin still think n’ dream n’, well, deid folk cannae dae that cause, well, thir fuckin deid, eh? But ah’ll no complain, ah’ll jist sit this misconception oot n’ wait oan the big man.

Some braw nurses washed mae doon the day. At least ah hope it wis braw nurses, that’s what ah’d like tae think, cause, like, well, ah cannae see, eh? Course, it could huv been some fuckin stffy shaggin pervert wi hairy haunds n’ bad B.O. but the braw nurses is a better ideas so that’s what ah’ll think. N’, by the way, ah cannae empasise anuff the fuckin misery ih bein deid is, the boredom is unbelievable, n the wiy the treat ye is a fuckin disgrace, yeh’d think ah wis a piece ih shite. Ken what the cunts done tae mae the day? The bastards didnae gan n plug ma ivry orifice, eh? Nae kiddin. Started oot washin ehs, like, which wis fair anuff, but then, Jesus Christ, the startit shuvvin aw these wee plugs intae mae, eh? Bastards! Ears, nose, even up ma fuckin erse. They said ah leak. Leak? Awo tae fuck, ah wantit tae tell thum. Git that cork oot ma fuckin erse, awo tae fuck. But it’s nae guid. They couldnae hear mae, me bein deid, ken? Tell ye somehin though, ah didnae half gie they young nurses a fright. Fir when waan ih thum turned mae err oan ma side so they could waash ma back, like, ah gruntit! Gruntit, ah tell ye, right in ir pus n aw! Even ah wis shocked. Well, this wee nurse hing aboot pished ir breeks, jumpin back, screamin HE’S ALIVE! HE’S ALIVE! Like that doactir Frankenstein cunt. N’ there’s me tryin tae grunt again, tae confirm it, like, tryin tae shout it the cunt FUCKIN RIGHT! NOO UNPLUG MA ERSE N HAUN MAE MA JEANS! But it wis nae guid, they couldnae hear mae, eh? An aulder nurse telt the young een thit ahm no alive eftir aw, that it wis jist the last breath she heard, when aw the gas in yir stomach presses thegithir n shoots oot the boadie’s mooth like a fart, or words tae that effect, ken. Must admit ah wis a bit pissed oaff wi the clarification.

Some cunt haud tae identify mae n who bettir thin ma auld mum? She didnae half mak a fuss. Aw mae wee boy this, ma perr wee laddie that. Greetin aw err the shoap. Why ma wee Donald, why God why? IT’S DOD, ah wantit tae tell ir, DOD, NO FUCKING DONALD. Ah mean, ah might be deid tae thaym, tae the outside world, but ahv still goat feelings doon here, ken. Thank fuck mae faither hud the guid sense tae escort ir oot afore she brought eternal shame tae ma life in the eftir world, if that’s where ahm ir, cause fuck knows what this gig’s aw aboot likes.

Apparently ah wis killed bae a chip. Murdered bae a fuckin chip, kin ye believe it? They said ah choked oan it n’ cowped er in the High Street, jist like that. Of course, ah wis half pished it the time likes. Bought a bag ih chips oan the wiy hame fae the pub n that, eh? Ah must’ve swallied the bastard when it lodged in ma throat. Ah loast consciousness n duntit ma heid aff the kerb apparently. N that wis me, endyfuckinstory. Deid, jist like that.

It’s been a week noo n ahv been transferred again. It’s a weeir room this time, awfy wee. Ah tell ye, ah hope the big man isnae much longer takin mae up the stairs cause ah kin feel hings in here wi mae. Wee crawly hings. N ah hink thir hungry. ●

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