Good morning! Today, 25th December, is the birthday of someone who is very much connected to the land in which I live. Yes, today we celebrate the birthday of
D.r. Brauner (David Brauner) by welcoming a former prime minister of Scotland, who tells us his unusual story. Take it away, Angus, och ay.
My name is Angus Montrose, the Father of Scottish independence and ex-prime minister. I’m an altogether extra-large man. Tall. Wide. Fleshy. Thick-necked. Big-headed. Everything about me is big. My presence. Gestures. And a booming voice.
I was right-handed before I took office. I left the PM’s Bute House residence the day I curled the fingers of my left hand around the thick, short handle of a brewer’s copperhead hammer. I flattened the splayed fingers of my right hand in the reeking vomit and good whisky I’d heaved up all over my desk. Arm high overhead, the copperhead hammer orbited in a tight circle. Fixing on the huge paw that anchored me to my desk, I steadied myself. ‘Long … live … Scotland…’ And in a white, flashing arc, I brought the hammer down on my right hand.
I now write in great difficulty with my left hand, the sinister one, the one that brought me down and ended my career. I lived for Scotland, breathed for the Scottish people and shepherded our long-suffering nation out of repression and into independence.
It was Brew Moray, a Scotsman of the Jewish persuasion, the first Chief Rabbi of his people, who broke me. He wanted nothing more than to leave Scotland with his people. Like Moses wanting to leave Egypt-land with his band of Hebrew slaves.
At our first meeting on Monday 27 July 20—, he said to me, ‘There are two kinds of Jews: those who are home in the Land of Israel, and those who are on their way.’ And I countered, ‘There’s only one kind of Scot: the kind who stays in Scotland.’ To which he said that he ‘felt very proud to be a Scotsman.’
I didn’t believe that. ‘But, Rabbi,’ I asked, ‘where, sir, is your heart?’ And he put his right hand on his breast and said, ‘Right here.’ O, how he evaded me. Before he left, I took his hand in a vice-grip, and make no mistake I hurt him, for the Rabbi openly massaged his sore hand.
I asked, ‘Is it some sort of Jewish tradition, Rabbi, to rub your hand after you people shake?’ His reply: ‘Ay, a very old tradition, but one not usually practiced much these days.’
To say the least we Scots did not get off to a good start. Right from the beginning things soured beyond all imagination. We looked at the world beyond our new borders and saw a pernicious mess – but that strife and pestilence was always somewhere else, in the God-forsaken places, but never, never, Heaven forbid, in bonny Scotland. And certainly not when I, Angus Montrose, the Bellicose, was at helm. How I came a cropper was only because of him, them. And with that I rest my left hand from its scrawled lament.
A cautionary tale of the near future …
a novel of
What does the future hold for
What if…? The speculative fiction depicted in another god has not come to life, not yet. But it could – after Scotland achieves independence. A rabbi’s dream could change the trajectory of one nation and save another nation from destruction. A prime minister’s Machiavellian patriotism could launch a new nation-state on an aimless course into oblivion. One woman’s miracle can produce a love-child. And another woman’s strength and daring might rescue a thousand lives. Scotland’s future history is yet to be written – or is it?
D.r. Brauner is a writer, editor and photographer. He was born in England, raised in America and holds an MLitt in English Linguistics from the University of Edinburgh. He wrote and photographed for The Jerusalem Post for fifteen years. During the last twenty-five years, he has edited academic papers and books and was the language editor of Yad Vashem Studies Holocaust journal from 2007 to 2014. From the early 1990s to this day, he has mentored a Creative Writing Circle in Jerusalem that has produced hundreds of memoirs, essays, short stories and novels, not a few of which have been published. Wherever David is, he is living in another world of images and books, kites and bikes, hopes and dreams. In this world life is all the better for having met his wife Ruth and finding their sweet dog Daisy.