I awoke curled up on my side holding a hand that hung lazily in front my face. Still half asleep and perfectly comfortable, I thought nothing of it. But then a soft kiss was planted on my earlobe and my eyes shot wide open. What the hell….
He’d spent the night at the teepee after his house had been burned down. A tired grunt was all he could muster by way of a response.
‘Why did you kiss my ear?’
A brief pause as he came to life and responded, ‘Why are yi’ holdin’ meh hand?’
While we remained unmoving all of a sudden we were both wide awake.
‘Boss, where’s your other hand?’
Without hesitation he replied, ‘Between twa pillows…..’
Our bodies stiffened as one.
‘THOSE AREN’T PILLOWS!’
We jumped up as fast as lighting and shook ourselves off, horrified. Good fucking grief. I tried to make things less weird and more heterosexual.
‘How about them Bears, huh?’
‘Oh fuck aye, the Bears! McLean tried ti’ shag them a’, the dirty bastard. What’s a’ that aboot? Fuck sake, Wee Jum! Nae need!
Wee Jocky stretched to life and offered a ‘Miaow’. Rise and shine….
A couple of hours later we were back in the Ferry at the smoldering remnants of Jocky’s house. A few friends from the Fairmuir had been roped in to help salvage anything that hadn’t been destroyed in the fire. There wasn’t much worth saving.
‘Fuck sake, man. This is worse than 9/11! Di’ yi’ mind whaur yi’ were when America got telt, Leigh?’
I’m sure everyone on the planet did.
‘Aye, I was just getting home from school. Where were you?’
‘New York, as it happens. Funny thing is, the day before eh wiz wanderin’ through Central Park lookin’ fur thon wummin fae Casualty wha looked after a’ they pigeons in Home Alone II: The Search for Spock, when this boy up ahead o’ iz drapped his wallet. There was fuck all cash in it so eh shouted, “Ow wee man! Fuck up, ya cunt! Yi’ drapped yir wallet!” Boy wiz affy grateful, likes. Muslim fella. Ken what he says tae iz?”
Amused at the fact he checked the wallet for money before handing it back, I smirked and asked what the Muslim guy said.
‘Boy says, “Stay awa’ fae thon Twin Towers the moarin’. Tellin’ yi’ likes.” He said it just like that tae, turns oot he wiz fae Dundee and yaesed ti’ bide on the Provie Road. Eh says, “How come, pal?” thinkin’ eh wiz aboot ti’ get the inside track on a conspiracy theory, but the boy says, “It’s a lot o’ shite like, yi’d be better aff up at thon toy shop, Schwarz. It’s got the teckle piano keys on the flair that yi’ see in Big!” Eh fired up the next day and right enough there wiz the flair piano Tam Hanks had a wee go on. Eh wiz playin’ Protect Ya Neck when the bather kicked aff at the Trade Centre.’
Just then a member of the fire brigade appeared from the wreckage. As Jocky went over to speak to him I inspected the remains of his possessions, which had been laid out in the front garden. Granny’s stovie cauldron was burnt but intact, as was a large section of wooden bench that had once provided seating in the old Provest Road end of Dens. The stuffed Cumbernauld bear was missing most of its fur but still standing tall and unshagged, and a silver Tennent’s Sixes trophy was essentially unharmed. Other than that there wasn’t much left.
The fireman was departing, leaving Jocky staring intently at a piece of paper held in both hands. I strolled over to see what was happening. When I asked what the fireman had to say Jocky said nothing and passed me the piece of paper. It was a flyer for Horne’s carnival, which was currently in town down on Riverside by the Tay Rail Bridge. It didn’t seem particularly unusual to me.
‘Fireman Sam there found this in the livin’ room.’
I didn’t grasp the significance the look on Jocky’s face suggested it had.
‘It’s no’ burnt, Leigh. Some cunt left this once the fire went oot late last night.’
I struggled to figure it all out. He indicated that I should flip the flyer over. On the back read a ransom note-style message constructed from letters of varying fonts and sizes.
MEET ME AT MIDNIGHT. I BURNT YOUR HOUSE DOWN.
‘Yi’ dinnae hae ti’ be Tosh fae The Bill ti’ figure it oot, pal. Fancy comin’ doon the carnie wi’ Big Jock the night? It should be quiet at midnight, we’ll get a wee shot on the waltzers! Nane o’ this sharin’ a car pish either, we’ll get one each. Teckle!’
I agreed to join him. As he went to help pull a badly burnt red, white and blue Dalek out the wreckage, I gulped as a sense of foreboding took root in my stomach. This, I felt, was not going to be good. I silently cursed David Goodwillie and pressed on with the salvage work.
We sat in the Magdalen Green bandstand sipping cans of Special. It was pushing midnight. A full moon illuminated the night sky as cold breeze came off the nearby river, making me shiver and duck my head down further into the upturned collar of my jacket. Horne’s carnival was just over on the other side of the rail tracks. It had long since closed for the evening. While I was very apprehensive about what lay ahead, Jocky was taking it in his stride and blethered away as comfortably as ever.
‘Eh thought McLean wiz takin’ the piss when he says he’d played a lead role in a film. Eh bet the cunt 50 brick he hudnae. The wee fandan pure suckered punched iz when he turned up at the Fairmuir wi’ a copy o’ White Men Can’t Hump. Cunt wiz in a porno! He spent maist o’ it takin’ doags abuse aff Wesley Snipes as they pumped ghetto booty, but credit whaur it’s due he wiz in a film right enough. No’ bad cock on him tae! Sakes, Wee Jum.’
As Jocky made me stand up to help him re-enact key scenes from the movie we were distracted by the whirring of a tiny engine making its way through the darkness towards us. Wee Jocky was returning from a reconnaissance mission.
‘Well wee aine, what’s the score? Any sign o’ Teckledong?’
Wee Jocky landed gracefully and replied, ‘Miaow’.
‘Aye, we’ll get candy floss, pal, it’s nae bather. Right lads, fuck it. ‘Mon we’ll fire doon and see if this dayglo joy boy has the nerve tae show face.’
The two Jocky’s headed off at a determined pace. I took a second to gather myself before following on. I was nervous. I didn’t like this one little bit. I took a deep breath and jogged to catch up with them. We crossed the rail track via a pedestrian bridge that took us onto Riverside, an area that played host to several football pitches, Dundee University’s sports facilities and the city’s small airport. The carnival was set up a short distance away towards the rail bridge. Jocky kept up the pace, striding onward as we weaved through the trailers and caravans that formed the carnival’s boundaries.
The whole place jumped into life the moment we entered. I got a fright worse than I’d had when I fell out the hot air balloon as garish light and noise filled our surroundings. While it usually encouraged a fun, friendly atmosphere, right at that moment it was downright creepy.
Jocky had stopped in his tracks. He surveyed the scene around him. When his gaze focused and a frown fell upon his face I followed his line of sight. The carnival was, officially, closed for business, yet it appeared to be fully staffed. A carnival worker stood manning each stall and attraction. Suddenly much more cautious, Jocky slowly approached one of them.
‘Hiya pal! Eh’m lookin’ fur Davie Teckledong. Futba player, likes. Wears colours yi’ winnae get lost in a fog in and gies aff heavy gaybo vibes. Yi’ cannae miss the cunt.’
The worker said nothing. He just stood at attention by his ride, staring straight ahead. When I looked him in the eye my apprehension intensified greatly. His eyes were brimming with fear. He was petrified, stricken by some unknown terror of which he could not speak. Though I was too far away to gauge the look in their eye, every other member of staff here stood rigid and oozed the same feelings of their colleague. Something was terribly wrong here. I wanted to get the fuck out immediately.
Jocky turned to me, saw my anxiety, and with a silent movement of the head signaled that I should follow him. We took a short walk and stepped up onto the carousel, taking a seat on a couple of ornate metallic horses. I saw him look over my shoulder and turned to see a pink cloud fly in our direction. Wee Jocky had got his wish. As he passed us our candy floss the ride kicked into life. With the cat flying level with us, Jocky and I began the slow, bobbing rotation of the carousel, its chiming, slightly out-of-tune music providing a haunting soundtrack.
‘Jocky, this isn’t right. This is all fucked up. I……I don’t think we’ve got David Goodwillie on our hands. He doesn’t command this kind of fear. There’s something worse than David Goodwillie at work here. The fire, this creepy fucking carnival…….it’s beyond him, boss. I don’t like it one little bit.’
He held the brass pole that speared his steed with one hand and his floss with the other. He chewed thoughtfully on it for a while, his darting eyes betrayed his calm exterior just a little. He heard what I said and didn’t take it lightly. We sat going round and round in silence until the ride finally came to a halt.
Wee Jocky, who had taken a seat on the saddle of the horse in front of us, did something I’d never seen him do before: He quickly stood on all four paws, arched his back high in the air and made a sound closer to a hiss than his usual relaxed miaow. Judging by the shocked look in his eye Big Jocky obviously hadn’t seen him do this before either. He jumped off his horse ready to fight.
Panic seized me. I made a hash of my dismount and fell hard on the riveted steel floor of the ride.
‘Penalty! ‘Mon tae fuck, ref! That cuddy cunt wiz nae place near the ba’ there!’
I took some comfort in the humour that shone through his battle-ready state. I picked myself up and fell into formation with my companions. Whoever was behind this had all three of us to contend with, that was for sure. I was shit scared but I wouldn’t stand idly by should there be any call for action.
‘Ya cunt, this is somethin’ else, eh? Bit like thon time there wiz an uprising at the Downfield clubbie efter we banjoed the cunts in darts league championship decider. Jocky fair rocked the oche that night. Ooft!’
Wee Jocky hissed again, this time with real venom. There was someone over by the House of Mirrors. A figure clad in long, flowing white robes. As it disappeared through the dark entrance a strange glow appeared to emit from its head.
My voice trembled as I asked, ‘Boss……..what the fuck was that?’
Jocky could only shake his head as he continued staring at the point the mysterious figure had disappeared. He gulped and turned to me.
‘Fuck knows, pal. Yi’ were right enough though: It’s definitely no’ Davie Teckledong.’
With a great deal of hesitancy we made our way towards the House of Mirrors, where danger surely lurked among the warped reflections.
I nearly jumped out my skin as Jocky saw his reflection in the first mirror we passed.
‘Fucking yaaaaaas! Check oot big fat Jocky! Ya cunt, these mirrors are fuckin’ teckle! If eh hud a hoose ti’ hing them up in eh’d be stealin’ these things!’
I was on a knife edge. The slightest thing made my heart race.
“Check your heid, Leigh, it’s weird as fuck! Looks even fuckin’ worse in the mirror!’
I was far too terrified to be offended. The House of Mirrors was dimly lit and ever-so-slightly smoky. The mirrors cast a series of bizarre reflections as we crept along the passageway. I moved with my trembling fists cocked as I followed on behind the ever-fearless Wee Jocky, who had adopted the Crane position as he glided slowly onward. Big Jocky seemed to have lost all his anxiety as he stopped to flap around in front of every mirror, giggling like a wee laddie and obviously enjoying himself despite the serious nature of the situation.
Ever so carefully we moved onward until we reached what appeared to be a dead end. It was a square room with mirrors covering every inch of wall. Our reflections repeated back into infinity wherever I looked. My heart thumped so hard I could barely hear the laughter.
The soul-crushing, blood-curdling laughter.
Just as I thought fear would get the better of me a flash of white caught the corner of my eye. We spun round as one to face the elusive enemy but there was nothing but the sound of footsteps moving quickly back the way we came followed by a shriek that scared me to the point it felt like a knife thrusting into my chest. The cold steel of terror seemed to penetrate my flesh and plunge deep into my heart. I turned to Jocky with tears of liquid fear streaming down my cheeks. It was too much; I was ready to crumble.
I began to fall into a petrified stupor but was saved when Jocky caught me with his eyes. As he puffed his chest out and raised his chin I felt him drag me back up as if he’d caught me a tractor beam. His life force dragged me up and vanquished the fear that had only seconds go threatened to overcome me. Adrenaline surged through me like water pouring from a burst dam. I felt energised. I felt like the noise coming out the Derry. I felt like a fucking warrior.
We never run. We fear no foe…..
We are the Dens Park Dynamo.
We charged screaming into battle. Down the dark corridor and out into the neon light-illuminated night we ran, prepared for anyone and anything. No army in the history of warfare would have defeated us at that very moment. We roared out the House of Mirrors to find…..
Nothing. No enemy. Not a soul.
Rigid and pumped up to a point of near-hysteria we quickly turned one way then another, our eyes darting in every direction in the search of our nemesis. I had gone from a whimpering mess to a growling war pig. I was ready and frustrated at the lack of focal point for my fury.
It slipped when I saw Jocky standing limply, staring at the ground in front of him. What was he looking at? As I paced over impatiently he crouched down to pick something up. He rolled a small white pebble between the tips of his finger and thumb then slowly rose back up to a standing position.
‘Boss, what the fuck? What’s wrong?’
He kept staring at the pebble as he held it up in front of me. My demeanor changed to one of confusion as I realised it was no stone.
It was a tooth.
He passed it to me. As I took it in my hand and inspected it he walked on a few paces and picked up another one. A few steps on lay another, then yet another a few feet onwards. It was a trail of teeth. I looked at the one in my hand and felt that cold, creeping sensation once again.
It was a trail of human teeth.
Who the fuck would leave a trail of human teeth in their wake? What possible significance could this hold? What the fu…..
I gasped as if I’d been punched in the gut.
The memory flooded my head with such ferocity that I lost touch with reality. I was back playing for Dundee at Dens. I heard the shouts of the players as the game took place around me. I heard the noise of the crowd from every direction.
‘Can yi’ hear me, Leigh? Wave at the bench if yi’ can hear me.’
Like a lucid dream, it felt like I was actually there. I knew it wasn’t real yet I was living and breathing the moment regardless. It was as if a testicle recognition-activated lever had been pulled somewhere, allowing me to buck the space/time continuum.
‘Tell him eh shagged his wife in 1987’
Jocky’s voice was crystal clear in my ear. I put my hand up to it and found a small ear piece that relayed instructions from the bench lodged in there.
‘Tell him she went first class on the Jocky Express, Leigh!’
I turned to Partick defender Alan Archibald. Contrary to what had happened at the time he stood staring at me, grinning as if he was in on it from the start and knew how it would end some 12 months later. As Jocky’s passed on his next instruction Archibald mouthed the words silently in synch along with them.
‘Tell the baldy fucker eh pummeled her until her teeth fell oot!’
A barely discernable squeak left my throat as the memory shattered like glass and brought me crashing back to a grim reality where Jim Duffy had arrived to exact revenge on Jocky Scott.
He stood but 20 feet away. Draped in long, flowing white robes that covered him from the neck to the ground, his hands clasped together and his mouth offering a serene smile, he seemed like a Buddhist monk; a being of tranquility and inner peace. His bald head was much bigger than it appeared on TV. While his face was proportionately sized his cranium was freakishly large. As we stood transfixed by his presence it started to glow. Before our very eyes it emitted a soft yellow hue that faded to a dirty orange before settling on a dull green. His head was the weirdest thing I’d ever seen in my life.
The four of us remained silent for a good 60 seconds. Nothing was said as Duffy and Jocky locked gazes. I couldn’t breathe as I stared at Duffy’s napper. The tension was unbearable. Finally, Jocky broke the silence.
‘Hiya Jim Duffy! Hiya pal! By Christ, last time eh saw you eh wiz hingin’ oot yer wife! Mind that, Duff? Mind? Ya cunt, that wiz fuckin’ teckle!’
While Jim Duffy remained passive and silent, his head turned a deep, crimson red. Jocky giggled mischievously like a kid who just pulled a sheet of cling film over a toilet bowl.
‘Yaaaaaaaas! You ken the score, baldy. Number one rule o’ shaggin’ the missus is if you’re no’ daein’ the damage some cunt wi’ a cock like a giraffe’s neck’ll dae it fur yi. Eh dinnae mak’ the rules, Duff, eh just yase them ti’ get the old Nat King Cole now and then, ken? Fuckin’ right.’
I started to suggest Jocky shouldn’t goad the guy any further when a voice like rolling thunder boomed out of Duffy.
‘I. AM. DUUUUUUUFFY. I AM THE CREATOR. I AM THE ALPHA AND THE OMEGA; THE BEGINNING AND THE END. I. AM. DUUUUUUUUFFY.’
His lips had not moved as he produced the deepest, most sinister intonation ever heard. His head had turned a colour I’d never seen before. He was utterly bizarre, and terrifying with it. Jocky straightened up into a more familiar wide-o pose.
‘Whit? Fucking WHIT? The fuck are you on aboot ya traffic light-heided cunt?’
‘I. AM. DUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU……’
The noise from within him stuck like that and droned on. The lights in his head changed rapidly, gaining speed until they became a brilliant white light we had no choice but to shield our eyes from. It faded quickly. When our eyes were able to withstand it we looked back and saw that he hadn’t moved a muscle. The drone gradually faded and stopped.
Even Jocky looked stunned.
But not that stunned.
‘Question fur yi’, Alfie and the Megadrive cunto: Wha’s in cherge here?’
Duffy resolutely maintained his smile. This time, though, there was movement. He unclasped his hands and raised his index finger. The finger began to glow. He pointed to his own chest and touched it. By moving the tip of his finger over his breast and stomach in a large circular shape he burned a hole in the material of his robe. It blackened then started to fall away. When it came loose and tumbled to the ground the resulting hole revealed a torso made of clear glass. Instead of internal organs he had…….
A cat dressed in long white robes.
A cat with a bald head that glowed in unison with Duffy’s.
Jocky turned to his own feline with the arched brow look I’d pulled so many times myself. There was a cat inside Jim Duffy. Jim Duffy wasn’t even fucking human. Good grief didn’t even come close to covering it.
The cat appeared to be in command of Duffy. It stood up inside him, pointed its paw at Jocky and the voice boomed out again.
‘YOU, JOCKY SCOTT, MADE MY MATE IMPURE WITH YOUR HUMANOID SEED. YOU RUINED OUR MISSION, A MISSION THAT WOULD HAVE SEEN OUR KIND REPRODUCE AND BEGIN THE INFILTRATION OF MANKIND. INSTEAD I HAD TO BE CONTENT WITH RELEGATING ANY FOOTBALL TEAM I TOOK CHARGE OF.’
Jocky looked thoughtful for a moment before replying, ‘Fuck aye, that kind o’ maks’ sense now, like. Eh wondered how yer missus hud a glowin’ index finger. Eh wiz too busy tellin’ the dirty bitch ti’ stop tryin’ ti’ stick it up meh dunger ti’ realise she an alien. Funny thing is, eh wiz pure giein’ it big licks wi’ the, “ET phone home!” shite as eh wiz pumpin’ her. Turns oot eh wiz on the right track there, eh?’
Duffy was about to respond when Jocky interjected, ‘Ya cunt, eh’ve shagged an alien! McLean’s never beatin’ that! Yaaaaaas!’
Duffy’s head started throbbing a violent red. His whole body started shaking and a noise like a radio caught between stations started growing louder and louder. The cat inside him stood on its back paws and pointed its front ones towards Jocky. Something was about to happen. He was about to strike.
‘Boss, I think we should get out of here…..’
I was already backing off, ready to make a break for it.
‘Fuck up, Leigh, eh dinnae run fae any cunt! It’s punch in the pus time fur Du…’
He was cut short by the blast of red laser beams from Duffy’s eyes. He barely managed to duck out the way so they could fly over him and explode against the wall of the House of Mirrors. I bolted and leaped over the counter of the coconut shy. I expected my companions to be right behind me, but when I looked back they were still standing firm. Duffy let off another blast from his eyes and Jocky side-stepped to avoid it with remarkable reflexes. Seizing the opportunity to retaliate, Jocky charged forward and kicked Duffy between the legs. The resulting deep, low vibration of sound like an oil tanker sounding its horn suggested Duffy’s race’s reproductive organs were positioned in the same anatomical position as that of a human.
The cat inside Duffy smashed through the glass of its vessel and flew – unaided – towards Jocky. As it screeched into attack it was intercepted by the jetpack-assisted Wee Jocky, who launched a flying roundhouse kick and sent its alien counterpart tumbling back through the air. Both Duffy and Jocky turned to watch as the cats began fighting furiously like something out a feline version of the Matrix.
As the paws and fur went flying I turned back to Jocky. He had turned his attention back to Duffy, who did a double take at him then made what I could only guess was a plea for help in his strange native tongue. He needed his cat’s protection but his cat was too busy being Agent Smith to Wee Jocky’s Neo to answer the call. Jocky was in no mood for showing mercy.
‘This is fur burnin’ meh hoose doon! And fur gettin’ the Dee relegated, ya hopeless cunt!’
He stepped forward and cracked Duffy in the jaw. A good punch in the pus crosses the interstellar divide; Duffy went down like a ton of bricks. Jocky stood over his fallen nemesis and seemed to have a brainwave. He laughed and tugged his trackie bottoms off. He took his mighty member in one hand and started tugging at it. With the other hand he rolled Duffy over onto his stomach and pulled his robes up over his head before kneeling down behind him. Oh no….
‘Boss! No! For goodness sake, don’t do it!’
He heard me, looked over and waved.
‘Fuck up, Leigh! ‘Mon hae a wee shot! Plenty space in cunto’s mooth!’
As Jocky got down to business and Duffy made an unholy squealing sound I was mercifully distracted by the flying cat fight. They were going at it hammer and tong in mid-air as they flew towards the coconut shy. As Wee Duffy came close with his back turned I instinctively helped my pal. I was definitely due him one.
I reached out and grabbed the feline foe by the tail, holding it in position. Wee Jocky seized the advantage. He adopted the Crane pose and immediately launched his attack, thrusting forward and crashing a rear paw into his foe’s head, knocking him out. In the background I heard Jocky on the phone.
‘McLean! Guess wha eh’m up ti’ meh beanbag in right now! Guess!……………How the fuck did yi’ manage ti’ guess that, ya cunt? Go and gie iz Wesley Snipe’s number!’
I ignored it, refusing to look around and see what would surely be the worst thing I’d ever laid eyes on. Besides, I had an unconscious alien cat to deal with. Wee Jocky miaowed his gratitude for me helping him and nodded towards the Tay. In a move unlikely to win me any favours with the intergalactic RSPCA I walked out the booth, twirled the inert pussy cat over my head like a Jambo singing Glorious Hearts and hurled it into the river. It splashed into the Silvery Tay and sank out of view.
Judging by the cries of, ‘Wha’s in cherge here, Mork?………Wha’s in cherge here, ya mad extraterrestrial vagina?……WHA’S IN FUCKING CHERGE HERE, DUFFY?!’ Jocky was putting the polishing touches on his own victory.
When I finally brought myself to look round Jocky was wiping his tool on Duffy’s robes. I grimaced at a sign proclaiming, “The Ride of your Life!” in the background. Jim Duffy most certainly had not experienced all the fun of the fair.
A short while later we were in the back of a taxi. I freaked out when Jocky told the firm’s operator he had a body to ditch somewhere, but he waved me off and continued talking, explaining he was and old pal of Peter Marr. The taxi arrived mere minutes later, and the driver even helped load the unconscious and completely toothless Jim Duffy into the boot.
We drove to the Ferry. Jocky had only grinned when asked what was to become of Duffy. I wasn’t entirely surprised when we pulled up outside David Goodwillie’s house. We hauled Duffy out the boot and dumped him at the front door. As we got back in the taxi and sped off into the night Jocky made a phone call.
‘Hiya polis, hiya pal! By Christ, some cunt’s been raped in the Ferry! There’s a boy wi’ an arsehole like the Channel Tunnel in the gairden at thon United player Davie Teckledong’s hoose! Mak’ what yi’ will o’ that, ken?’
He came off the phone, stood up out the open sunroof and gave a “YAAAAAAS!” that was most likely heard as far away as Jim Duffy’s home planet.
I gazed up at the stars and sighed. I was going to miss this: the “YAS!” moments, the crazy, unpredictable behavior, and most of all, the man at the centre of it.
It was almost time for me to say goodbye.