by Christyposted 05 August 2001 12:23
When they re-opened the coal mines in Scotland's industrial belt there was no shortage of labour from impoverished mining towns in the former USSR. That's where Yuri was from - and that's how he came to be working in Scotland. It was hard work and lowly-paid work but after a year of it a whole bunch of miners decided to hire a couple of coaches and head for the Highlands. Time for a holiday - time for a Highland fling! To keep costs down everyone was given some part in the organization and Yuri's job was to take care of the drinks.
The only word of English that Yuri recognized was the word "FREE". Free what? He didn't know. It was just one word out of a whole jumble that he'd noticed on some paper that someone had left on the bar. Maybe it was a coupon or maybe it could be exchanged for some gift. Yuri decided to keep hold of it. But more pressing matters needed sorting. The bar at the inn hadn't enough glasses for two coachloads of visiting miners and the lads had suggested that Yuri go and find some more. In halting English he asked the barman if there was any place he might find more glasses. The barman's broad Scottish accent was lost on Yuri - but he gathered that he should look somewhere outside and round the back of the inn.
Round the back was a back-street and Yuri hadn't a clue what to do next. He walked along it and reached the far end when a Policeman stood in his way. "Taking the night air sir?" asked the officer. Yuri remembered enough brushes with the law back in his home town - and promptly did a runner - with the Policeman in hot pursuit. In and out of dark alleyways - out on the edge of town - managed to give the officer the slip and reached the entrance to a big, strange building.
"Do you have an invitation, sir?" asked the man at reception. Yuri was breathless and didn't really understand the question. His heart was pounding and his head felt light. "Glasses," he said. "Miners," he gasped. "Se... seven... seventy..." he panted and promptly fell in a faint. "Are you alright sir?" asked the man on the reception desk - and as he turned over Yuri's limp body he saw the invitation card - promising free treatment for the glasses of his dreams.
Poor Yuri. The miners hardly recognized him when he stumbled back to the inn - having endured all known processes for inducing myopia - before being bundled out of the building with his outrageously thick minus 70 glasses strapped to his face.