Season 2, Chapter 2: Nae Boaby Does it Better

Darren Jackson had enjoyed a successful career as footballer. He’d spent time at both the Edinburgh clubs, Dundee United, Celtic, and had represented his country on 28 occasions. Most professional players in Scotland would give their right arm for the career Darren Jackson had. When his playing days came to a halt he became an agent, representing a number of Scottish players. Though they draw criticism and a great deal of disdain from many quarters within the game, agents are an intricate, and, perhaps unfortunately, necessary part of modern football.

Jackson received a cryptic message regarding one of the players he represented late one night. The communication requested his presence at a meeting that was of vital importance and worth a large sum of money for the player. Large sums of money for players mean a cut for the agent. With pound signs flashing in his head Jackson didn’t think twice about agreeing to attend the meeting.

He arrived in Dundee by train the following day and took a taxi to the given address in Broughty Ferry. He strolled up the garden path of an impressive detached home, noting an unusual looking tree as he went. The front door was slightly ajar. He knocked, and when no response was forthcoming he put his head through and called out a greeting. Nothing. Slightly sheepishly he entered and walked to the living room. Though no-one appeared to be home he found a cat sitting by a Connect 4 board. The cat had a black moustache that contrasted it’s pure white fur. How very odd. He called out again, wondering where the person he was meant to be meeting could possibly be.

‘Miaow’

Jackson smiled. It was almost as if the cat had answered him. It was certainly looking his way, and rather intently at that. ‘Nice pussy cat’, he said absentmindedly as he looked around the room. Just as the stuffed bear in the corner started to strike him as incredibly bizarre the cat stood up on it’s back legs, picked up one of the Connect 4 discs and slotted it into the board. Jackson stared hard at the cat. Cats don’t stand on their hind legs like that. Cats don’t know how to play Connect 4.

Jackson laughed nervously. A cold, creepy sensation started to creep through him like a sharp frost setting on a winter morning.

‘Miaow’

He continued staring at the cat. The feline’s dark glare was unflinching. As he picked up a a different coloured disc to that which the cat had played he heard a distant voice inside his head screaming in protest. The urge to take flight flooded him, yet he couldn’t prevent his hand moving towards the board. The cry from his mind was silenced the instant he dropped the disc through the narrow slot at it’s summit. As it fell into place a wicked grin spread across the cat’s moustachioed face, and Darren Jackson felt the ice cold grip of terror clutch his very soul.

———————————

The first day of the season came at last. I had a spring in my step as I headed towards Dens, eager for the next few hours to pass so the opening game against Queen of the South could get underway. Traffic on the Kingsway was at a virtual standstill, allowing me to snake between the static vehicles to the other side without having to dice with death on the busy dual carriageway which carved through the length of the city. The road was choked all the way up to Clepington Road. Horns beeped impatiently and a few drivers had stepped out their vehicles to try and gauge what was going on up ahead that was causing the hold up. It was unusual for traffic to be gridlocked to this extent in Dundee. There must’ve been an accident.

As I approached what seemed to be the spot the incident had taken place the cacophony of car horns seemed to gather together and find a harmonic plateau. I slowed my pace down a few notches, letting my ear tune into the traffic jam’s seemingly-orchestrated blare. The music that filled the air toyed with my sense of recognition for a few moments before hitting home. Les Marseillaise. Straight away I realised what, or rather who, was holding up traffic.

Mikael Antoine Curier lay in the middle of the Clepington Road. He had stretched out across the central dividing line so that nothing could pass in any direction. While a small band of baffled, irate commuters formed a broken circle around him to offer curiosity-tinged abuse, Mikael lay on his back puffing lazily on a cigarette without a care in the world. As I looked on from the fringes he seemed to sense my presence. He noticed me, smiled and made a “come hither” motion. I broke through the crowd and self-consciously got down on one knee beside him. He spoke with a casual indifference to the chaos he was causing.

‘Bonjour Leigh. Ca va?’

He puffed on his fag and blew a series of smoke rings out above him. I could’ve sworn they merged together to form the shape of the Eiffel Tower for the briefest of moments before dispersing.

‘Aye, not bad, Mikael….’

He looked at me with the gentle disapproval a parent or teacher might give a child capable of providing a better response to the question they’d just been asked.

I realised what he was getting at and rephrased my answer.

‘Um…..oui, bien merci. Erm……est tu?’

He shrugged nonchalantly.

‘Comme si, comme ca.’

He took a long drag of his cigarette and blew out a cloud of smoke that seemed to take the shape of David Ginola washing his hair before evaporating.

‘Mikael, what the hell are you doing? You’re causing a massive bloody traffic jam!’

He guffawed.

‘Leigh my friend, you think zis minor hold up is un faire du trafic l’embouteillage?’

He repeated the guffaw.

‘You have much to learn about French culture, Leigh. Much to learn. A traffic jam, indeed. Zut alors! You know nothing about causing massive disturbances on the road, mon ami. Nothing!’

The chorus of car horns emanating from the immediate vicinity had returned to sounding like the less melodic result of lots of pissed off motorists trying to get somewhere in vain. I looked around nervously before trying to get answers out of Mikael.

‘Why are you lying here like this, mate? What the fuck are you playing it?’

He gave me a perplexed look that suggested I shouldn’t even have to ask.

‘What am I doing? What does it look like you fils d’un âne! I am on strike. Why? No reason. Maybe mon croissant was a little bit stale this morning. Maybe I lost my copy of ze Serge Gainsbourg album where Parisian-flavoured jazz provides a backdrop for the sound of a man making love to a goat while berating it for being a lousy fuck . Who knows? One thing is for sure: I am on strike.’

‘You can’t just lie here, man. Come with me to Dens, we’ve got a game today!’

He spat wildly.

‘A game? My knee is……..how do you say……..pure buckled, man! I was injured in a bizarre accident. You would not believe me even if I told you and swore on the life of le saint de patron de la France, Asterix ze Gaul, that it was ze truth.’

I remembered him limping away from the Fairmuir in the aftermath of the fight with Jocky. Not many players can say they got hurt during a wrestling match in a working man’s club car park when the assistant manager of the team threw them off the top rope while dressed as Macho Man Randy Savage. That’s bizarre by any standards.

There would be no budging him from his prone position in the middle of the street. I got back up to my feet and wished him all the best. As I walked off he shouted, ‘au revoir, mon ami! One day Billy Reid will save me from zis existential Dundonian ‘ell and take me to ze Accies on a full time basis! I will recommend he saves your soul too! En guarde!’

I cut off the Cleppy Road away from the strike-induced disorder and breathed a sign of relief as the shadow of Dens Park fell upon me.

——————————

45 minutes after the game I was showered, changed and on the way down the Provest Road. We’d earned a hard fought three points. A Gary Harkins free kick gave us a lead that had been defended in spite of Queens winning a penalty and the ref reducing us to nine men towards the end. Off-field highlights included Jocky turning up in the Derry with a ‘CHISHOLM OUT’ banner and being ejected from the ground for hurling a half-full can of Special at the linesman who made the ridiculous call that saw Netan Sansara receive his marching orders. He’d used his ball boy contacts to get word to me that I should meet him in the play park after the game.

As I turned right on to Dens Road and walked up towards the Coldside roundabout a flaming 22 bus rocketed past in the other direction. Shocked, I stopped and watched it fly down past Dens like something from Hell’s park ‘n’ ride scheme before warily continuing up the road to the play park, where I saw Mikey the Hilltown Hun with a crate full of empty milk bottles and a canister of what I assumed to be petrol.

Jocky was flying high on the swings, working up as much momentum as possible then launching himself through the air, landing and tumbling forward about 10 feet from where he’d hit the ground. As he got up and dusted himself off he noticed that I’d joined him.

‘Hiya pal! Did yi’ see that? By Christ, few things in life are as teckle as flingin’ yirsel’ aff the sweengs!’

Slightly concerned by a man his age pulling stunts most folk leave behind before they hit puberty, I ventured, ‘you’ll end up hurting yourself, boss. That looked sore when you landed.’

Looking at me with the contempt only kids can muster for adults who simply do not get it he replied, ‘fuck up, ya daft cunt! Yi’ cannae hurt yirsel’ in the play park these days. Technological advancements, like.’

He was referring to the soft surface that surrounded the swings and all the other features of the play park. He started walking in slow motion with an exaggerated, bouncing stride in the style of an astronaut strolling along a lunar surface.

‘Check oot this rubber stuff eh’m walkin’ on! It’s pure space age! That Buzz Aldrin cunt invented it efter he came aff the see-saw and broke his ribs. Eh says, “fuck sake, Buzz! Careful, cunto!” and hud ti’ tak’ the boy hame. Thankfully he’d moved fae the moon ti’ the Provie Road by that point and didnae hae ti’ go too far. C’mere, eh’ll show yi’, Leigh’

He motioned for me to approach him. Apprehensive at where this was going I hesitated.

‘It’s a’right pal! What di’ yi’ think eh’m gonnae dae, suplex yi’? Dinnae be daft! ‘Mon now…’

I walked up to him and was immediately given a boot in the stomach. I bent over double, winded.

‘Big Jock wi’ the double-cross! Yas!’

He hooked my arm around the back of his neck and locked my head in his left arm. Taking a handful of my tracksuit bottoms he used unnatural strength for a man his age to lever me up and hold me suspended upside down with my legs sticking straight up in the air and my head pointing towards the ground.

‘Suplex right enough, cunto! See what eh did there? Telt yi’ eh widnae dae it then went ‘n’ did it anyway! Ooft!’

I was in a precarious position. With a fair degree of panic in my voice I told him to put me down. Preferably gently.

‘It’s nae bather, Leigh. Eh’m aboot ti’ demonstrate the remarkable progress that’s been made in play park safety fea….’

He was cut off by the sound of his mobile going off in his pocket. Single Ladies by Beyonce provided the ringtone.

‘Fuck sake, there’s the auld Al Capone goin’ aff.’

Realising he had his hands full and couldn’t answer it he called out, ‘Mikey! ‘Mon answer the phone fur iz, it’s probably Bomber!’

Mikey abandoned the Molotov cocktail he was preparing and ran over.

‘That’s the gemme pal, dig it oot and put it ti’ meh lug.’

Mikey fished the ringing phone out Jocky’s pocket. Jocky sang along, ‘if yi’ liked it then yi’ should o’ put a ring on it, dinnae be mad because yi’ didnae put a ring on it…’ then started shouting into his mobile as soon as Mikey flipped it open and held it up to his ear.

‘Bomber? A’right, big aine. Cheers fur gettin’ back ti’ iz.’

The blood was rushing to my head and I was starting to feel a bit woozy. Jocky seemed to have forgotten he had me held midway through a suplex and chatted away to John “Bomber” Brown.

‘…..aye, teckle mate, cannae complain like……just hingin’ aboot the play park wi’ a couple o’ mates……..aye, it wiz a good result the day…….eh, eh wiz there, ended up gettin’ turfed oot though………apparently yi’ cannae chuck stuff at the match officials these days………..ken, changed days like……..mind that time eh threw a frozen chicken at Davie Syme at Easter Road? Nae cunt batted an eyelid…..’

As spots filled my vision Mikey seemed to hurry him along with a “get on with it” gesture.

“Anyway Bomber, any joy wi’ the ectos?……….aye……….teckle mate, nae bather…….cheery!’

Mikey asked if he was sorted, to which Jocky gave a positive response and told him to head to the Bowbridge to meet Bomber, who was apparently dealing drugs these days. He disappeared and left Jocky to it.

There was silence for several seconds. As my vision went dark and I started to pass out I heard him mumble to himself, ‘sakes man, whaur the fuck’s mongchops? Cunt’s later than aine o’ Dave Bowman’s tackles.’

I barely managed a groan as I tried to catch his attention. He actually seemed startled by the fact he was holding me upside down above his head.

‘Fuck, there yi’ are there pal! Forgot a’ aboot yi’! Whaur were wi’ now? Oh eh! Yi’ cannae hurt yersel’ on the saft stuff at the play park! Check this oot…’

Finally, mercifully, he completed the suplex. I crashed down to earth on my back. My head was swimming so much I couldn’t really tell if my landing was any softer that it would’ve been on a regular surface. I lay dazed as my blood re-routed itself.

‘See what eh mean, pal? It’s nae bather! Yi’ arenae even hurt!’

I was too stunned to beg to differ.

‘Tell yi’ what will hurt: Billy’s Flying Elbow!’

Survival instinct jump-started me back to life. I quickly rolled away from danger then looked up and around…..but here was no sign of Billy.

‘YAAAAAAAS! Ya cunt, that wiz a good aine! Jocky’s just kiddin’ yi’ on, pal. Billy could nae come oot ti’ play, he’s awa’ ti’ see the Singing Kettle at the Whitehall Theatre. Anyhow, enough fuckin’ aboot; ‘mon we’ll go see BOOOOOOABY BRAAAAANAN. Yi’ ken Boaby – baldy cunt wi’ nae troosers wha hears voices.’

As my head cleared sufficiently to get up I wondered just how Bob was feeling after the strange and terrifying events of the summer. The last time I’d seen him he’d been running down the street screaming without any trousers on. Hearing voices from above wasn’t really something that could be easily reconciled in your head. I followed Jocky over the railings and walked towards Dens.

——————-

A few stragglers from the game were still milling around as we passed the Bobby Cox. A man with his young, Dundee-top-clad daughter politely asked if it was ok to get a photo taken with me. I happily agreed and kneeled down with my arm around the wee lass, smiling for her Dad’s camera. Jocky stood by his side waving at the wee girl with a big, friendly smile on his face.

‘Di’ yi’ like Leigh, wee aine? Leigh’s pure teckle! One o’ meh top three Dundee boys o’ a’ time. The other twa are Tommy Coyne, wha wiz known as the Cobra due ti’ the fact his cock used ti’ jump up and dance whenever Keith Wright played that penny whistle o’ his; and Alan Gilzean, wha introduced a young Jocky ti’ the liquid teckle that is Tartan Special. Bless yir soul, Gillie, ya mad ken-the-boy-fae-Saint & Greavsie vagina.’

The reception and office staff greeted Jocky warmly. After a round of hugs and good wishes he asked if Bob Brannan was available. The silence and concerned looks on their faces immediately told me that I had been right to wonder about Brannan’s well being in the aftermath of hearing the madcap voice from the heavens.

‘Bob’s been a bit……..well, he’s not quite been himself of late…….’, stumbled the receptionist as she tried to find diplomatic words.

‘What’s up wi’ the baldy cunt? Dinnae tell iz he’s got HIV again. Eh fuckin’ telt him ti’ stay awa’ fae that Magic Johnston, but would he listen? Would he fuck. Sakes, Boaby.’

The receptionist looked rather confused before explaining Brannan seemed to be spending a lot of time in the retail park on Dock Street. We thanked her, waved goodbye to the office staff and headed back out onto the street.

We jumped in a taxi. By the time we reached our destination Jocky had ascertained that the driver wasn’t busy as such but business remained steady, that he planned on working until about 11pm, and, like most people, was completely unaware that Jim McLean had converted to Islam in support of Cat Stevens and his autobiography had been tentatively titled Jihading With Giants until the publisher decided to focus on his penchant for riding around on horseback with a big stick and call it Jousting With Giants instead.

A lot of people were milling around the car park laden with shopping bags from Next, TK Maxx and Borders, but there was no sign of Bob Bra…

Wait a minute. TK Maxx.

‘I think I know where he is, boss.’

‘Eh’m thinkin’ the same thing, pal. Cunt’s bound ti’ be in Brantano snapping up a’ the cheap shoes. Boaby’s got mair pairs o’ shoes than Imelda Marcos. Eh’ve actually got a theory aboot Boaby and Imelda. Think ti’ yirsel’, “huv eh ever seen they twa in the same room?” Ken what eh’m sayin’, like? Anyway, Brantano, cunto.’

‘I was thinking more along the lines of TK Maxx…..’

It took a full five minutes for me to explain why this seemed like the obvious spot. Jocky’s lack of memory and capacity to say “wha?” and “eh?” repeatedly knew no bounds. He eventually got up to speed and complemented me on my powers of deduction.

‘If a’bodies favourite detective, Tosh fae The Bill, wiz here he’d say the same as eh’m aboot ti’ say, pal: good thinkin’, cunto. Also, did yi’ here aboot Burnside shagging June at the weekend? Fucking kent she wiz gemme for a length. Boy says she wiz wild tae, licked his farter and a’hing. Fuck sake, June.’

Jocky and I walked into the shop and scanned the vast retail floor. We couldn’t pinpoint him. Jocky called over a young shop assistant and unfolded a piece of paper that he had in the pocket of his trackie bottoms. He showed it to the guy and asked if there had been any sightings of the man in the shop recently. I was impressed with Jocky’s investigative foresight until I realised it was a photo of Davie Dodds.

‘Cunto there owes Jocky a tenner. If yi’ see him aboot eh want yi’ ti’ phone iz immediately. Meh number’s in the Yella Pages under “In Cherge” and also “Get Them Telt”. If he looks like he’s awa’ tae bail oot before eh arrive he’s easily distracted wi’ a big bag o’ peanuts. Boy’s half-elephant, like. His mither went a bit doolally once at the circus when it came ti’ Cairdie. Crazy scenes.’

Jocky ruffled the boy’s hair, turned to me and said, ‘right pal, Boaby’s in here somewhaur. Let’s split up. You look aroond the wee ski-wear section that shows a monumental misunderstandin’ o’ the Dundonian public’s need fur winter sports gear and eh’ll scope oot the bogs and checkoot. A’ cunt needs a pish sometimes, even Boaby, and the checkoot bit in here’s got a range o’ impulse-buy shite that’s beyond belief. Brannan’s fond o’ Russian chocolate shaped like Stalin’s heid and talking book versions o’ Nietzsche as read by Barry White, mibbe he’s floating aboot there somewhaur.’

We went our separate ways. While there was no sign of the club chairman I did spot Jocky admiring a pair of trackie bottoms then rolling them up and stuffing them down the pair he was already wearing. I continued the search without success until a voice came over the PA system.

‘Check one-two, this is a customer service announcement, would Leigh Griffiths please report to the service desk. Over.’

Was that Jocky? A member of staff certainly wouldn’t say “check one-two” or “over”. The PA announcement continued.

‘Has any cunt seen Davie Dodds? The Elephant Man, likes. Boy owes iz a ten-spot. Eh says ti Davie, “mind and gies that back now, ya trunk-for-a-nose Arab bastard,” but there’s been nae sign o’ him since. Sakes. Anyway, Leigh Griffiths to the service desk please, that’s Leigh Griffiths to the service desk. Over.’

It was definitely Jocky. I wandered across the store to meet him. As I approached he nodded silently towards the queue at the checkout.

Bob Brannan was in a bad, bad way. Much worse than I’d anticipated. He looked like a man who had not only looked into the abyss, but had taken a running jump at it, went for a bit of a swim and accidentally swallowed a turd curled out into the murky depths by Satan himself. Bob Brannan had lost the plot big-style.

He’d taken Jocky’s Godly advice and put a pair of trousers on. They were made of tinfoil. As was the rest of his outfit. Obviously fearing the Voice from above and the dangerous mind-invading signals it sent out, he’d wrapped himself almost entirely in aluminium foil by means of protecting himself. It was like a budget suit of armour. Only his face was visible. In front of him sat a trolley full of more conventional trousers. Combats, jeans, slacks, tracksuit, and chalking one up for the bright spark who saw Dundee as a mecca of winter sports, ski pants. The trolley was heaped full of them.

‘Boaby’s looking well,’ commented Jocky. I looked at him like he was nuts but he gave me a wee nudge and chuckled. ‘Just kidding pal, he looks like he’s gone bat-shit insane.’ He seemed to ponder that thought for a moment before smiling and saying, ‘fucking yaaaaaas!’

Brannan was now at the checkout, putting the assistant through the rigorous process of scanning at least 60 pairs of trousers. Jocky decided we’d meet him when he came out to the car park. We left the store and waited for several minutes until Brannan came out pushing his trolley full of now-bagged trousers. As soon as he stepped into daylight he dropped to his knees and threw his hands up to the sky.

‘I HAVE DONE THY BIDDING, MASTER! I HAVE TROUSERS APLENTY!’

Good grief.

He got back up and started pulling trousers out, waving them at the sky and darting his head around as if the Voice was playing hide and seek behind a cloud somewhere. I looked on with genuine sadness. Brannan had done enough during the course of last season to warrant ill-feeling from me yet somehow I felt sorry for him. He’d flipped his lid.

Jocky didn’t share my pity. The increasingly difficult ability to maintain his composure reminded me of watching an old school pal who’d drawn a massive cock and balls half way through a flip chart and knew it was drawing ever-closer to being displayed to the teacher and class. The mirth bubbled to boiling point then erupted.

‘Oh ya cunt! Check the nick o’ Boaby! Yaaaaaaaaaas!!! By Christ, this is as funny as fuck!’

He was ending himself, doubled over and holding on to his sides for fear they might split.

‘Come on boss, this isn’t funny. It’s a bloody shame,’

My empathy for Brannan’s state didn’t wash with Jocky.

‘Listen tae you ya cunt! Is it a wee shame for Boaby, pal? Is it? Poor wee Boaby, eh’m affy concerned aboot him tae………..FUCK UP, LEIGH! Cunt’s went and wrapped himself in tinfoil fur fuck sake! This is the funniest thing that’s happened tae a Dundee suit since Jimmy Marr got his heid stuck in thon railings and Peter cherged cunts a pound a go ti’ gie him a kick up the erse!’

I realised people were stopping to gawk at Brannan. This was not a good scene to play out in public. This was not a good time for Dundee United chairman Steven Thompson to walk past. Fuck.

He looked on with a mixture of disbelief, horror and amusement at the nick of Dundee’s chairman. This did not look good for our club image. Thompson was clearly thinking along the same lines. Oh how the city rivals had fallen. He couldn’t contain a contempt-ridden grin.

While it was well within the boundary of acceptability for Jocky to have his fun with Brannan, it did not stretch much further, especially not to Arabs. Jocky spotted Thompson and the switch inside him flicked to Dundee Til I Die mode. He straightened up and his demeanor quickly changed.

‘What the fuck are you lookin’ at, speccy? Eh?’

Thompson raised his hands as if to say, ‘nothing,’ but the smile on his face remained.

‘Question fur yi’, inherited-a-futba-team cunto: wha’s in fucking cherge here?’

The smile dropped off Thompson’s face. Jocky’s pretty menacing when he gets wound up. He’s a hard man. Thompson sensed it and started walking off.

‘You ken the score, spectacles. Big Jock’s in cherge here, a’body kens that. Boaby here’s haein’ a bit o’ a daft moment but that’s a’right! He’s still a Dee, and nae cunt, especially cunts fae the tangerine mong squad wha bide at the dingy end o’ the street, mess wi’ the Dee when eh’m aboot.’

As Thompson increased his pace to get away from him, Jocky gave him a final salvo.

‘Tell yi’ what son, yir faither will be rolling in his grave at what you’ve done ti’ his team. Third in the league? Qualifying fur Europe? Winning the Scottish Cup? Be as well diggin’ the poor cunt up, feeding Lee Wilkie his bones and lettin’ a’ cunt hae a turn pretending they’re the Undertaker in his coffin. You’re a disgrace ti’ the family name ya speccy fuck!’

Jocky dropped to the tarmac and did a rapid 10 press-ups before jumping up and doing a bit of shadow boxing. His routine was interrupted by Brannan starting to howl like a dog in heat as he took a match to the trolley filled with trousers in some kind of sacrifice offering to the Voice.

Jocky slumped a little as he realised Bob was going to have to be dealt with. As funny as he’d found it at first, and as much as Brannan had been an enemy in the past, Jocky wasn’t one for leaving his people behind. He put an arm round his shoulder and told him it was time to go. Brannan seemed to grasp it and allowed himself to be lead away as Jocky told the crowd who’d stopped to stare, ‘nothing tae see here, folks. It’s just Dundee’s chairman wrapped in tinfoil, burnin’ troosers fur God. We’ve a’ been there. Any cunt tells the Courier or the Tully aboot this and yi’ll hae the Young Leith Team ti’ deal wi’, eh Leigh?’

I gave him a “what the fuck?” look then dutifully mumbled in agreement. I put my arm round Bob’s other shoulder to complete the show of solidarity. Jocky and I held our heads up high as we walked through the crowd of bemused shoppers and piled into the next available taxi.

The driver stared at Bob and asked Jocky, who had claimed “shotgun” and taken the passenger seat up front, why his pal was wrapped in tinfoil.

‘He’s no’ really meh pal, chief, he’s just….’

Jocky faltered as he responded. He turned in his seat and stared hard at Bob. I saw the tightening of his jaw, then the softening of his eyes and the slightest of nods as a decision was made in his own head. Turning back to the taxi driver he changed tact.

‘Yi’re right enough, big aine. That’s meh pal. Boaby’s a good cunt. Dundee man, and a’body kens the Dees are sound as fuck. Isn’t that right, Boaby?’

Brannan lurched forward and whispered, ‘there’s some bargains ti’ be had in that shop like, but yi’ need the patience ti’ wade through it a”

Jocky nodded in agreement, ‘right enough, Boaby, right enough. Drehvur – Fairmuir, cunto!’

As we snaked through traffic a news report on the radio announced that concern was growing over the whereabouts of former footballer Darren Jackson. I sat up and asked the driver to turn up the volume. The news reader said Darren, my agent, had last been seen departing Dundee train station a few days ago and had not been since.

‘That’s a bit weird, eh? I wonder what Darren was doing up in Dundee?’

Jocky shrugged his shoulders.

‘Mibbe he wanted ti’ see one o’ the city’s many tourist attractions, like the Discovery, or Oor Wullie’s hoose.’

I sat back and thought about it. Jocky half-turned his head towards me, nodded sagely, then started whistling Single Ladies to himself. It didn’t take Tosh from The Bill to see he was acting in an ever-so-slightly suspicious manner. I gave it a few more seconds thought. Oh man……

The driver was busy talking to control on the taxi’s radio, so I leaned forward and spoke quietly in Jocky’s ear.

‘Boss…..what happened to Darren?’

‘Wha?’

‘Darren Jackson, my agent who’s just been reported missing on the radio.’

‘Wha?’

‘Don’t give me the “wha?” routine. What’s the score here?’

Jocky smiled.

‘Well, the thing is pal, eh wiz efter a joab during the summer. Eh wiz offered the Celtic gig, and as much as it would’ve been as funny as fuck tae accept it and hae a teckle laugh wi’ the Big Jocky Knew angle, there’s nae danger eh wiz takin’ cherge o’ those pricks. The boy wha did the interview had Bobby Sands commemorative dinner plates hingin’ on the wa’ in his office fur fuck sake.’

That all-too-familiar mischievous glint came to his eye.

‘Darren Jackson came ti’ meh hoose the other day. Just so happens the cunt fancied a gemme o’ Connect 4.’

Good grief.

‘Well………yi’ ken whaur it goes fae there……..’

Oh man. Poor Darren. Jocky turned to me, smiling.

‘Meet yer new agent, Leigh. The name’s Jocky. Big Jocky. Eh like meh Special shaken, not stirred. In fact, dinnae even bather shaking it. Just put it in a pint gless and gies it, cunto. That’s the gemme.’

I sank back in my seat as Jocky engaged Brannan.

‘What di’ yi’ say ti’ that, Miss Boabypenny? 00Jocky’s in the hoose! GOLD-FINNNNGA! Phwew-wheeeeh-weh! Oh ya cunt! Wha’s in fucking cherge here, Boabypenny?’

Brannan rolled down his window, leaned out and bellowed, ‘WHAUR’S THE FUCKING TIPPEX?’ at no-one in particular. Jocky told him it was a good question and followed suite from his own window.

As they scared pedestrians and the driver witless I took stock for a moment. The first day of the season was over. It had been eventful. As my new agent started singing, ‘nae Boaby doooooooes it better! Mak’s iz feel sad fur the rest….’, I got the distinct feeling it wouldn’t be the last eventful day the 2010/11 season would bring.

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