Flavour of the Month

2 0 0

The booking at Riverview wouldn't be wasted. At this moment, Rab and his missus, Alma would be perusing the menu and making their mind up between the wild boar with sautéed cabbage and mushrooms or the seafood pancakes.

"I'm not sure about that Michelin stuff," Rab said when Richie phoned him on Thursday night and asked if he'd take the reservation, paid for of course. "It doesnae really fill you—"

The phone was snatched from him. "Richie? It's Alma. Your date's got somethin' else in mind, aye? We'll be very happy to go. I hear you can see half the Rangers football team in there most nights."

She thanked him profusely and put the phone down. Richie'd needed to pull a lot of strings to get into Riverview at the last minute. The place was usually booked up months in advance—especially in spring and summer when the afore-mentioned title played out.

The Clyde didn't make for the bonniest views in Glasgow, mud-brown most of the time. But the Riverview was sited near the Cart on the south side and it tinkled prettily beside gentle greenery, flowers and even the odd Highland cow.

As he'd built the place some years ago though, Richie's name pushed itself past snotty maitre'd's and receptionists practised in the art of "Ah, no sir, I'm sorry" speeches. The owner had overheard the conversation and his name and done some phone-snatching himself.

Perhaps one-seventh of the Rangers football team had been knocked back to make room for him. In which case, someone bearing his name needed to go there on Saturday and eat and drink their fill.

Richie sincerely hoped the food was substantial enough for Rab. Main courses in that place started at £22. If he needed two of them, as well as his starter and pudding, Richie would be picking up a hefty bill.

Luckily for him, Rab and Alma didn't drink much—and they wouldn't touch wine. The wine list in the Riverview was two-inches thick and the prices at the back end of it made your eyes water.

A fashion awards thing to attend—a first for Richie. But Lillian's invite had been heartfelt and touching. She'd stumbled over it, apologising profusely but saying she couldn't get out of it. And, er, did he want to come with her? She'd understand if he wouldn't. They could rearrange to do something the following week...

"It's okay, Lillian," he cut through the apology. "I'll come with you. It'll make a wee change for me."

Arrangements put in place, he put his phone down and realised he had no idea what to wear. The thought made him smile. Wasn't that a woman's question? Aileen used to do it all the time, phoning her friends to run countless outfits past them and check no-one had picked the same Next/New Look/Topshop combination.

If he phoned any of his mates, they'd die laughing first. Then, he'd never live it down. From now till the day he died, one of them would raise it every time they met up. The time Richie Calhoun phoned and asked what he should wear to a fashion awards thingie.

Richie Calhoun! The man once mistaken by a Big Issue seller as competition for a prized Glasgow spot thanks to his scruffy clothes and filthy appearance.

He assumed it was black tie—any building awards or fundraising night he'd been to specified that—but what did that mean in fashion? Should he wear a plain black kilt, Robbie Williams style? He did own a tux, but it was old, and the elbows worn and shiny, making it look cheaper than it was.

Ash might be able to tell him, but he couldn't explain going to a fashion thing to her without mentioning Lillian.

In the end, he hit on Cammie. His foreman's son wasn't necessarily a fashion guru—he said an obsession with clothing was a gay stereotype—but he'd know enough to prevent Richie making a fool of himself.

The Artist's History (18+) #WATTYS2018 LONGLISTRead this story for FREE!