SOMETHING very weird happened to me last week. 

Well, it was actually quite mundane, but my brain turned it into something strange. 

I went to visit my maw and her partner, and I pulled up outside the close as I’ve done many times before and walked to the door. 

I went to press the same buzzer I’ve pressed many a time only to see that the name was no longer on the buzzer and had been replaced with a totally different surname. 

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I stepped back and looked at the block of flats and couldn’t remember if I’d been here before or even if I’d seen them before. 

Was this where I was meant to be? 

I walked up and down the street for a bit, checking all the buzzers and looking for my maw’s motor and couldn’t even see that. 

What a sight I must’ve been for anyone watching me: skulking about in the darkness, looking lost and confused, my extremely large and voluminous hair blowing in the wind only adding to my sinister and otherworldly vibe. 

I got back in my own motor and checked Google Maps on my phone. This was the destination, it said, even showing how many times I’d been to this address before. I started to feel lightheaded, and more than a wee bit freaked out. 

I had, I reckoned, slipped into some kind of alternate universe. 

I’d read a theory online the day before which said if you die you just slip seamlessly into another version of reality where you’re still alive and life carries on as if nothing had happened. 

My God, I thought, I’ve died. I sat in silence for a few moments. 

Perhaps in this new universe, nothing would be just as it was before my untimely death. 

Hands trembling, I did what I normally do when I feel strange – I phoned my maw. 

As it rang I wondered if her voice would be the same, maybe it’d be a new maw who answered the phone, maybe it’d be my maw but in this universe she isn’t my maw and

I’m just a stranger phoning her asking for an address in deepest darkest Paisley. 

“Where are you?” she said as she answered the phone, sounding worried. “You said you’d be here hawf an oor ago?”

“I think am ootside,” I said. 

“Aye, I can see ye,” I looked up and she was waving from the window. 

I imagine I must have looked quite distressed as I could see, even from a distance, she looked quite concerned. 

“The name’s no oan the buzzer,” I said. “I didnae know if this wis the right hoose.”

“Aye, somebody mixed them aw up. Third one up on the right.”

I did as she instructed and was relieved to see her and her partner still looked and sounded the same when I went in. 

It seemed this universe was just like the old one and I hadn’t died after all... or maybe that was what they wanted me to think. The whole ordeal reminded me of a weird feeling I used to get as a wee guy. 

There are these flats where I lived in Springboig, they’re all connected and form the outline of a rectangle with a lane cutting through the middle which is flanked by two big grassy bits and the middens. 

I found out recently they were modelled after a stunning housing complex in Vienna, Austria known as Karl-Marx-Hof. 

Glasgow Times: ViennaVienna

Me and my pals used to get chased quite frequently by a group of older boys and to evade capture (and/or getting battered), we’d run through the lane, split up, jump a fence, run through a close at random and reconvene somewhere else when the coast was clear. 

Sometimes I’d go flying through a close and out the front door and freeze, feeling completely lost. 

I’d see the street from an angle I’d never been exposed to before and everything looked totally different. 

Like the close had spat me out into a different part of Glasgow or something. 

I’d go all dizzy and feel weird until I saw my pals or my would-be assailants and had to get moving again. 

I used to always be sceptical of other wee guys in the scheme I hadn’t seen before. 

They’d say they’d lived there as long as I had, just round the corner from me and yet I’d never seen them. 

These wee guys are spies, I’d think. They’re from the CIA and they’re monitoring my movements. They want to find out where I got my chipped PlayStation from. 


All sorts of thoughts going through my mind and every single one of them just completely and utterly wrong. 

I like that my mind immediately jumps to incredibly wrong conclusions about anything and everything. It’s a good help with my writing, 

I suppose, but I just wish it didn’t make me feel so panicked and daft at something as simple as a name not being on a buzzer.