“Oh hail the sea! The spiky sea!
The Spiky sea!
I see a spiky sea!
Horror horror I see!
In my dreams the spiky sea!
Oil slicks, Red Bricks,
High heels go click click!
The spiky sea!
The spiky sea!
Best friends FOREV
You, me and the Spiky sea!”
-Traditional Aberdonian folk ballad.
Ten minutes in Jakey hell.
Disco pioneer Remington Blastcap III relates an odd tale to the infamous Dr. Inger Sol – renowned brain-box mender and a reliable source. This is from his records. I was going to wipe my arse with it but then changed my mind.
“And the bar staff said I had a Dog tick on my face, ken fit?, they were right I DID HAE A DOG TICK ON MA FACE”
“Ten minutes? It felt more like three hours. I lost track of time…..I had all these marks on me, like bruises…they didn’t fade for months”
Remington was tired of explaining himself. This guy was as useless as all the rest. He was in half a mind to just get up, grab his documents and leave. What sort of name was Inger Sol anyway? Was he Swiss? It sounded like something from a bad 1960’s science fiction novella, a particular genre that Remington was all to familiar with.
The office was not what he had expected. It didn’t look at all like a mental health professionals working space. A lot of clutter, it looked like a teenagers bedroom. Posters roughly tacked to the wall, the computer monitor was festooned with post it notes- the handwriting varying wildly- from a neat little block capitals script in fountain pen to wild garish marker pen shouting. All wrong. He felt uncomfortable. The sickly smell of the place reminded him of P.E changing rooms at School- a meaty odour, mildly unpleasant.
The constant music from the stereo was distracting- he didn’t really see the 13th Floor Elevators as a good choice in background music- possibly some of Rocky Erickson’s later work might fit the bill but they were causing him to get jittery, the strange guitar effects were disturbing at this time in the morning without drink taken. A rotary speaker was a mean weapon in the 1960’s – that and some other special effects. This referral had been a real mistake. Still, he thought he was here now. The train journey had been a real endurance test and he was going to see this through to it’s logical conclusion.
Blastcap had watched the passengers on the train with a slight edge of hatred. He despised other human beings, and despised their ordinariness- people clicking away on phones, besotted with the mundane, an endless conveyor belt of garbage. He cowked into his imaginary sick bucket.
“Just try and tell me as much as you can remember Remington, you don’t mind if I call you Remington- Mr. Blastcap sounds so business like….I like to keep things informal and relaxed.”
The Dr. Sol cast a weary eye over the folio of drawings notes and other ephemera that Mr. Blastcap had brought along. Already his interest had been tweaked. This was a very interesting case and it was important to tread very carefully in order to reel this particular chap safely into his net. A huge print-out of central Aberdeen had been lifted from Google maps and annotated with cryptic symbols and rough time’s. It looked like a timetable for a Bus journey into Hades. At the centre of the map there was a large red circle, within it a small stick man stood, with what looked like antlers on his head.
“That’s the problem, it feels like a dream. Everything is out of sequence. All jumbled. I get the edited highlights in my dreams, over and over. Sometimes I get them at work, during my lunch break and stuff. That’s why I came. I want this explained. I want to put this whole episode behind me…..Do you happen to have any alcohol?, I need a drink”
Blastcap picked at his frayed jeans. Scanning the room. What a mess of a place, in a totally run down area of the city as well. Torry was a nightmare nowadays- even since the Pogroms. The whole area stank of death, piles of rotting corpses lurked everywhere- buried in shallow pits. The methane gas exhaust pipes gave it away- sending the gas into the air before it could build up into dangerously explosive pockets of corpse stink. No smoking signs everywhere, as if genocide was not enough weight on the collective conscience of Aberdeen- they were denied the calming luxury of a smoke as well. The Dr. smiled genially, turning to his filing cabinet. In a moment or two he fished out a bottle and two filthy looking glasses. He poured two shots of a mysterious green liquid. Handing one to Blastcap. The other he examined carefully. Tutting under his breath.
“It’s possible I may be able to help. This isn’t some thing I am unfamiliar with. I can help, I can take away that sad face inside you have.” Dr. Sol gave his best Loon calming leer. It seemed to work. Remington Blastcap III relaxed somewhat. Ready to talk it out, ready to unload his burden.
“before you start have a toot of that booze. It will help.”
Blastcap sunk the shot. His head spun, it was the blood of a Dragon- slain a thousand years ago on the bipolar blasted planes of Buckie. It tasted like Jagermiester. He relented- and began to relate his tale to Dr Sol…..as he talked he eyed the old rusted syrup tin that sat on the desk- he could make out the picture on the front- and the chilling motto- from great strength comes forth sweetness, the fallen lion under a halo of buzzing flies….
At night Aberdeen switches on you, gets lairy and threatening. Sometimes you can smell the violence in the air. Radon Gas seeping from the towering piles of roughly hewn granite drive Aberdonians as mad as Hatters, and this coupled with dangerous quantities of alcohol and drugs makes the seagull infested city a dangerous place of a night time.
Leave it Boaby! She’s just nae fucking worth it…..
The intro always sounds the same as the outro, this is particularly true in Aberdeen- where the dead walk, spastics knit and dogs walk on their hind legs.
Go about your business.
I am a hollowed out skull balanced on a bag of bones.
I AM A HOLLOWED OUT SKULL BALANCED ON A BAG OF BONES.
That’s exactly what I mean, man.
The day after the night before you can see the blood splattering the pavements and wonky slabs. If Jackson Pollock had grown up here he would have ditched paint and adopted blood as his chosen media, mucking up the street with his impromptu art brawls. It’s all good clean fun though, or so I thought till I spent ten minutes in Jakey hell. If you’re nae in the way of understanding my terminology I’ll clue you up. A “Jakey”* is a tramp or a waster, or a homeless shrapnel grabber. To use the term beggar in the Granite City is unrealistic, no real begging as such goes on- our pavement dwelling former humans are proud of their right to your money. They fucking earned it…who says the underclass has lost touch with the protestant work ethic?, nae me that’s for sure: I know better.
Aye, so like I was telling you I was pretty ignorant of these types of folk apart from the odd encounter on a night out or returning from the shop and the like. Depending on my mood these encounters can actually be pleasant, junkie fuckers sitting on a cardboard pile preventer can be useful- if you have no idea where the nearest taxi rank or meat market club is they will happily clue you up, peppering their information with “pal’s” and other friendly terms. They also act as ciphers of the cash machines of the Granite City, advising buckled students as to which ones charge and all that, civil service from the pavement.
Some of these broken creatures add music to their offerings to the night, some twang tunelessly on detuned badly strung charity shop guitars- howling hymns of loss and rage into the brooding night. Others dance, free-jazz gyrations of hellish proportions. Sickly. Death.
Each and everyone comes with a marvellously intricate and well plotted back story, full of illness, misadventure and queer twists of fate, “and that Pal, is how I fell far from ma lofty position of power as a multi billion pound earning knitwear model to this fucking pavement, and I need to get back to Glasgow for ma cousins aborted foetuses wake the morn, and as you can guess I’ll be needing enough money to charter a decent jet nae fucking mega-bus for me.”
As far as I can remember the night of my descent into hell was a Saturday, I’d been on the lash from about five-ish or so, if you discount the bottle of cheap as fuck spar own brand wine I had before I went out ( three for a tenner, rough and all that) I was toddling down union street heading for the Prince, one of the only good pubs in Aberdeen, and a fair speed I was going at too, all eager to talk about music and the merits of the Seth Labido production technique with my friend Dave. I got slowed down a bit by a hen party staggering down the street, haggard blasted old bags mingled with tubby twenty-something’s dressed as nurses, taking up the whole pavement as they doddered around like a heard of brain damaged gazelle. A hummer full of drunk women slowly cruised past, a hideous call and response of animal ferocity ensued- becoming a tortuous feedback loop of miserable drunken screaming.
All to attract a mate.
Anyhow, I got to the prince eventually, getting a little distracted as my wee mp3 player doofer-twanger refused to play anything that I wanted to hear, that’s the random shuffle mode. The prince was mobbed, full of a wide selection of crazy Aberdonian life forms; twatty office worker types in suits, student tossers gibbering shit to each other, beetroot red baldy headed real ale drinkers stoically denying the fact that real ale is just fart inducing jizz in a pint glass. And of course the likes of me, Lager swigging nut cases. The cheap red wine I’d necked had put me in a philosophical mood and me and Dave have a far reaching “maistly everyone’s a cunt bar us” discussion, applying our sound reasoning to all manner of topics within our table bound kingdom. A Quick shunt to the nearby Ma Cameron’s found us hidden in a secret ante chamber the main bar being besieged by pub golf playing student jabberers, my like-ometer went right into the red there. It was almost like being trapped in an episode of Dawson’s creek. We climbed high to the roof garden and stewed there a while our anti social vibe clouding the air with a beery fug. Last pub of the night was Drummonds, home of low brow pub rock and weekend rockstar hangout. It was as dull as a Terry Tablonski guitar work out but hey, you get what you pay for. Wisdom and maturity saw us call time around half twelve, the usual night club apocalypse seemed un appealing for a change, and there was stuff to do on the Sabbath. Dave headed off in to the fleshy carnival of bell end street and I began my usual quest for fried food before staggering home. After nearly being charged a tenner for a macaroni pie at the chip shop I hit a blank spot, coming round on union street by the Taxi rank, I checked my phone and I’d lost twenty minutes or so, no damage done though- that’s part of the game, and ye gotta be innit tae winnit jim.
Anyway, am busy putting that down to experience when I hears this yelling coming from across the road. The old graveyard, never been in there right enough, maybe I’ve cut through a few times but never had cause to notice the place in the night time. The voice is tetchy and slightly on the rabid side- sure fire owned by some greetin’ faced junkie ah thinks….
“abbbbout as much fuckin’ use as tits oan a fish ye are! RRRRRRRRRRRchhh-ah!”
I squint a bit through ten pints and can just about make out a blob of greyness perched on top of one of the granite death boxes over the railings.
“maaaaan is a foooooorge of idols – ah, fearsome switchhhhitter”
Aye, nae doubt about it, either the fall have been playing in Aberdeen and I forgot to go or Mark e smith’s Scottish cousin is trying out new lyrics. Probably neither, my mind has always been over creative that way. Its pretty funny to listen to so I start constructing a roll up, raking about in my jacked for the box of amber leaf (the yellow box produces yellow fingers, which is fitting I think). As am busy another voice answers from somewhere further back in the gloom, slightly higher pitched and cracked with hints of pure underclass hopelessness.
“shut up ye spastic, he’s watchin ye”
“zip it ye twat, shut up”
The riddles in the dinge continue out of my earshot. They seem to be reaching some sort of mental consensus.
I’ve rolled so now I smoke. Thing is I cant really see what going on, and sure as hell as a shaven headed lad in a nice shirt is lured towards a roll of flabby female mid drift I staggered closer to the railings of the churchyard.
I can’t make things out properly, its bloody annoying. I can make out a shape about twenty feet back in the gloom perched on a big granite tomb, the head is obscured by what looks like branches. The thing is there are nae trees in that part of the churchyard, further back there’s a few, but not here by the railings- the council removed them because their roots swole the pavement like puss filled veins. I stagger right up to the railings. Peering peerlessly, everyone else is trying to get into the Irish bar opposite to dance to early U2.
“stinks o piss this place dis, aye ways has…for years…where the fukkisbilly? He’s been doon tha bar for ages…”
This is hilarious. Part of me wants to chronicle this chronic situation, so I trundle round past the taxis and head round to the gates, the bus stop is being propped up by some girl wearing a belt and another small piece of cloth. Her outfit is stylish and well cut, and every inch of it is splattered with ripe fresh boke. I head in through the gates, its funny that this place exists right in the town centre. Personally I’m surprised its not been renovated and turned into a pub or clothes shop, maybe no one really notices it anymore. City of the dead in the city of the brain dead, but that’s just my jaundiced snobbery kicking in.
I head through the gates. It’s a small churchyard, the church is up the back and a wee path cuts right through exiting onto school hill on the other side. I reckoned I could wander through and maybe get a warped photo of the nutty tramps for my awfully dull web-log, maybe gain some “gritty realism” points among Aberdeen’s highly competitive creative writing community and all that. I walk at pseudo pissed pace, trying to look harmless but sober enough not to get mugged or anything like that. I get me phone ready to clicky click a snapshot .
I’m level with the big tomb now and I slow down. Tramp with the trees growing out of his head is still tottering at height. His gibbering has calmed to a low mumble . He twirls clunkily and spots me: aha! This is true, and the other is not…..
“ahhhh laddie..ye seen billy? Do ye follow the fitba?”
This, in Aberdeen is not an unfamiliar question- it can be tricky to answer without violence following. I tried my best to be diplomatic and a tad smart-arsey. That’s my style. I don’t wear glasses though, and have never actually read a dictionary all the way through.
“ I’m more of a participant than a spectator dude, but if you kick it I’ll chase it. Probably.”
Stag tramp spasmed. On the brink of incandescent outrage.
“shite, ye student wazzack fuckin’smart arse”
Its not branches. He’s got antlers on his head. Where the fuck did he get them from? I finger the phone in my pocket, maybe it’s a hat. Good bit of engineering though. It’s a wonder he can stand with that stag clutter weighing him down.
“aye, I’ll tell ye its nippy the night…nae as cauld as yesterday mind but nippy ah the same like……here ah-”
He comes unbalanced all of a sudden, getting snarled up in the scabby old dressing gown he’s wearing and loops back off of the tomb and lands with an ugly thump on the ground.
I can’t see the guys face, his stag hat has fallen off and he’s face down in the ground. Getting his shit together as they say. I’ll wander over I think, the only thing that puts me off is the stink of piss coming from that direction, this area must be a territorial spot for Aberdonians hacked up on Tennents and the like. It smells of war, a pissing army of blootered foot soldiers. Sheild’s clashing in zero-gravity…
“you allright min? have ye hurt yersell?” I mumble. This is cripplingly amusing….
“nah, I’m fine….i think I’ve buggered my snout, but ah’v din that afore…av bin through the mill already a couple oh times”
I reach down and grab the gadgee roughly by the scruff of his dressing gown, I reckon he must be some kind of in patient on the rampage. No one in their right mind would go live in a graveyard in a dressing gown, its jist nae sane, or good for the circulation.
“cheers laddie, you intae dope?thawackybacky-eh?- I’ll sort ye oot wee a smoke,,,,fuckin’ saaaarassens are cookin their wiggy lugs on ma market bit fukkit, itdisnaebithermeaaabit, I’m heeeeeerne the hunter! Rooooooobin thahoodid manny AYE!”
This boys great. I’m a nutter magnet.
“can a take a picture of you?, ah work for the Press and Journal..i might dae a write up on you”
“nae chance ya rabbitty shitbucket. Ah ye can takk a photae bit nae didderin words. A learned that lessun quick smart years ago. That fucker, erm whassis name BLOODY Froissart that’s it. Aye he made me look a right fuckin’ cunt in een oh his books. Ah right fukkin dip stick. Heeesabluddy liar. He’s deed noo tho’ ye see-” Stag boy is livid, I have to retreat a few steps to get out of the range of the spittle flying from his twisted mouth-
“Okay, just a photo then-“
I wave me phone at him and fire off a picture quick as he’s taking a breath-
“PEEEEEEEEEEEEANJAY! BAAAASTATDS thehelllotttothum!” he screams, covering his face and hunching over.
Ach, I’m fairly sure the pictures I take will be rubbish. Anyhow they are more for my own benefit, this guys an oddity all right one of those eccentrics you only encounter now and again. The antlers are a great touch he looks for all the world like one of those whimsical crests on a bottle of the most bespoke single malts. Binnit! The shots will jog my memory no doubt in the morning.
“Cheers min, thanks for that…I’ll nae bother you further, I suppose you’ve got a lot a stuff to do…”
“ ech, hang fire laddie, come and see the vaults….ye can tak’ a picture of them..meet the lads, we dinnae get much visitors noo-the-noo-noo-noo”
He meanders off past the corner of the Church, waving and gibbering at me. Follow me follow down to the hollow……..although the thought of doing any wallowing at this time of night is nae really appealing. I think about it for a while, out side the gates life is carrying on, Taxi’s and buses belt past, trailing smears of brake lights and headlights. Across the road a tangle of folk are waiting to get into Espionage, mingling with folk coming out of Burger King. It all looks so far away, must have butter on my lense. A Bloke in a white jumpsuit narrowly misses a car as he wavers across the road, he twirls- missing the car with a booze numbed foot yelling “scotzi fuckers!” and making complicated gestures of insultage. For sure he’s Polish, the accents a give away, as is the garish mismatched sportswear top and daft trainers.
“c’mon laddie, we’re hayin’ a fuckin’ bondie”
I chuckle to myself. Where’s the harm? And follow round the edge of the Church and down a steep slope, past massive moss encrusted tombs. Ancient monuments leer and tower down on me as I descend, as you will notice from the map I included this is where I fear my fevered brain added areas of the Church yard that simply don’t exist: at least in the bleached out harsh light of mid-day. I went back you see to ease my aching brain, partly to convince myself that these events really didn’t happen despite the photographic evidence I gathered at the time.
He dances on ahead of me, stopping at a large rusty gate.
“c’mon lad, nearly there”-(his voice trails of as he disappears down onto a steep flag stoned path)
I hesitate slightly, the angles are all wrong, this path disnae fit in with the geography I have in my head, we’re low down now, maybe level with Pubs and café’s below union street. The path delves down deeper, flanked on each side by scrubby bushes streaked with toilet paper, newspapers and half crushed cans.
Waves of stink hit me as I carefully navigate the road, old rotten morbid reeks and occasional blasts of stale piss. For a moment I think I hear the low drone of bag pipes, or maybe it was the wind whistling past my frozen ears. It’s getting cold, or perhaps it was always cold- and the lager’s wearing off.
The path ends abruptly. Ahead a large black opening looms up, overhead huge granite blocks form an overpass, similar to a bridge- I stare up and high up- maybe ten stories I see lamplight shining, and above that hazy indifferent stars twinkle. I can feel the rumble of traffic above me, transmitted down through the earth and stones. Girders peep out from the masonry, underpinning the massive structure. Above the entrance to god knows what bright pink graffiti announced “Brian is a bam”, And noted “ torry quines have rashes on ther gashes”.
“through here laddie, we’ll hae a rare time….c’mon noo”
He’s right about the bonfire, I can smell the smoke as I reach the entrance. Happy days, the smell of bonfires remind me of childhood fun on the farm, burning fertilizer bags till they turned to molten gloop and then flinging them viciously at livestock. Every cow was a Gook in our hasty re-write of the Vietnam saga.
I follow, it takes a while for my eyes to adjust from twilight to pitch black. I almost go headlong in to a heap after stubbing my foot on a great big packing case.
“doon here lad, will ye tak’ a nip?”
He’s about forty feet ahead. Clattering towards a group of figures standing around what looks like a wheelie bin full of blazing rubbish. As I get closer I realise this must be some kind of storage vault, and the entrance I came through must be a damaged wall. Not only is there light from the fire, but lights hang from the roof- really old looking things, paraffin or oil based antiques. Long dead and stiff seagulls twirl like airfix models, suspended by glinting wires. A homely touch.
The stag boy’s alighted himself at a hostess trolley loaded with bottles and cans. He waves at me and repeats his earlier question.
“ a would nae say no to a whisky like, jist to take the chill off ma, I’m feelin the cauld noo.”
He rattles about, bashing and muttering.
“we’ve nae ice. Fucking typical”
“ och that’s fine, I’ll hae it straight. I prefer it that way onnway” this really doesn’t help his mood, the ice appears to be a major issue.
“shona! Hoy Shona”
He points his bony finger at a big grey blob by the fire, spittle firing from his twisted mouth-
“fucking dip shit, the only thing I asked you tae dae was get ice!…..you’re bloody useless”
His leg shoots out, kicking viciously at the shape. He keeps kicking, and the shape backs away from him. I grab my drink from the trolley, the glasses are a bit grubby. Funny, all the bottles are pub optic size, huge 4ltr bottles- the kind of thing a bitter ex-barman would take on his last night.
“last time I ask a fucking horse to dae onnything” stag boy bellows, he’s accurate though “shona” is a horse, a big dopey Clydesdale- bow legged and cowering under his assault. She seems to be wearing a grimey blouse, her Aberdeen City Council photographic I.D hangs around her neck, ludicrously.
“och stop sulking shona, I’ll mak ye a gin and tonic…I was just jokin’”
He starts sloshing about making the drink, shona perks up her ears and whinny’s enthusiastically.
He turns to me, lowering his voice, all secretive and conspiratorial- it’s the first time I see him close up, under the idiotic head gear its hard to gauge his age- he’s got that leathery blasted complexion of the out-doorsman, he’s sporting a lop sided moustache, with a wee square “soul patch” below it- which I’d swear has been rendered in marker pen.
“tell ye, I’m probably too hard on the lassie, she dis well for a horse..an her position in the planning office has its perks- a would never hae got permission for that conservatory if it wisnae for her pulling strings”
He’s poured almost a whole bottle of Gin and the same again of tonic into a black bucket and plants the sloshing mixture in front of Shona.
“there you go quine”
She guzzles the cocktail furiously.
He winks at me, “ see its all true what they say about the council, nepotism- ye’ve nae fucking idea min- last week me and some of the lads had to sort out een oh her managers…the fat wee fucker was trying to get into her saddle- he’s awa saying shite like-noo, Shona- I ken that yer new here an’ a bit the only way oh getting a promotion is tae get closer to me on a one basis. Establish a genital based dialogue, with positive feedback opportunities……….”
He grins at me.
“ me and him, ( he points at a pale faced youth wearing headphones) cornered the fucker in Archies and explained to the boy, that Shona was a horse and if he got caught rattling the partition walls in his dip-shite wee office wee her he’d be looking at a lot mair than sexual harassment”
The pale lad sidles over grinning-
“AND THE MANNY HID NAE IDEA FIT BESTIALITY WAS” he bellows, shouts.
The sheer volume is staggering, I almost jump out of my skin. Stag boy doesn’t even bat an eye-
“ he’s right, RT here spent so long kicking him in the balls in the toilet the boys trousers looked like he’s spilled wine on them”
“AYE BUT HE ASKED FOR IT! F’N PERVERT arsebangin’ B E A S T !
-IF THE WASPS IN MA HEED WID SHUT UP LANG ENOUGH I WID A REASONED WEE HIM, BIT AH HID TA GET MA POINT ACROSS YE KENFITAHMEAN? HE DIDNAE EVEN ASK HER OOT, JIST SAYS OH LOOK MA COCKS SOMEHOW POPPED OOT- FIT AR E WE GOING TO DO ABOOT THAT THEN? SOOOOOOOOOOOOO”
His voice echoes around the vault,
“allright min you dinnae have to shout- turn your music doon” I wave at him making “turn down” motions with my hands…he’s obviously deafened by his walkman..
“ AYE SORRY, ABIDY SAYS THAT! HAARGH! THE MUSICS TO KEEP THE BUZZING DOON, OTHERWISE A CANNAE CONCENTRATE-“
Stag boy shakes his head at him, hands him a tin of lager and pushes him away;
“ he’s a nice lad, nae harm in him- but as he’ll nae doot tell you he’s heed’s full ‘o wasps, the buzzing drives him scatty, it’s a terrible affliction, they snuck in one night while he wis asleep and built a nest in his brain box…”
I nod, he’s ten feet away but his voice is still yammering-
“ SO SHONA DIV YE FANCY GOING TO THE CINEMA THE MORN? MY SHOUT”
Shona eyes him suspiciously from the bucket, briskly shakes her head and gets back to slurping.
“ IS IT BECAUSE OH THE WASPS? HOW NAE?”
Stag clutter, pays no attention to the mating ritual, the horse looks like a bit of a slag anyway- that saddle: talk about askin’ for it.
“ He’s nae really that interesting really min, you should see the x-rays we had done up at Foresterhill, you can see the outline of the bike- they thought it was a tangle of ganglia or some sort of anomaly, well that’s what they said- personally I wid prefer it if there was a knot of malicious tissue workin’ itself up a to a take over bid, he’s a pain in the erse”
While he’s gibbering I decide that the beard in definitely a marker pen job, he’s getting so agitated that the slavers from his twisted little mouth are making it bleary and runny round the edges, the horse I just cant get my head around- I mean what exactly did she declare in her equal opportunities form when she applied to the council, how the hell did she work in the building, did she ask for special arrangements in the interview process? So many questions, and so little chance of being given a rational and coherent explanation.
The whisky was drained, and my brain was strained. Burny burny.
“so you were saying, the lads then- anyone else I should meet?”
Tonight, this night- as it happens- is an open ended kind of thing. I’m, as usual nae really fussed, this can go the way it’s meant to or whatever. Fuck it. I’m cunted: anyway is better than this. The brethren around the blazing are weird definitely, but they are all interesting multi-layered people, I’m intrigued.
More Tins of McEwen’s export are proffered, like a bad hand of cards. A buckled flush, six short of a seven.
I’m really just waiting to see what kind of nut he produces from the dinge next, I roll another fag and make light chit-chat,
“I think I saw a dog shoplifting on union street today, big hairy thing- like the Dulux dog in the advert years ago, it hid a cap in it’s mouth- like it had just walked out of a shop with it. Nae sign of the owner.”
“that’s a very interesting story laddie, I’m glad you feel you could share that with us, I have absolutely nae fucking idea what a jew-lux do is exactly but I could make a fairly good guess…”
I’m being stared at by a chap by the fire, I mean I had noticed him earlier- he just looked a bit scruffy, maybe a homeless or a half-homeless, mostly he spent his time looking at the younger lad with the headphones with a disgusted bored expression on his face, like he could taste inner flavour of retard boys soul and it was a bit past its sell by date. In between that and pinging those weird seagull mobiles.
Stag clutter gestures to him, thankfully as he trundles over I realise that he hasn’t reduced himself to the lunacy of a marker pen facial hair experiment.
“talk to jim here, he’s our resident renaissance man- in all matters he can converse thoughtfully and articulately, and is a man of words too- mostly wildly inaccurate but many of his pamphlets were read as far afield as the lower depths of fuckistan, and unga-bunga land. Some of his sayings and truisms have been enshrined upon the most spectacular and high end of Marks & Spencers Biscuit Barrels and even on some sets of Denby Pottery and ceramic tomfoolery. He’ll probably be dead keen on your views on them pesky jew-lux dogs that you talk of, he’s one of the few buggers I kane that hiv actually hid first hand experience of the pogroms”
Jim extends his hand, the first thing I notice that he had ladyish hands, like he hadn’t done a fucking days real work in his life.
“ greetings freeman, I am Jim. King Jim. Well ex-king jim. Fucked if I can remember how that happened , I wis nevir that guid at history.The roman numerals escape me, but its I’m the real deal as you young folk say. First film and a sequel in the same box. Nae extra features though, the thingumy fell off, might have been leprosy.”
I think this particular tit wants me to kiss his ring, since he thinks he’s some sort of monarch. Well he can fuck off, he can sort his own arsehole out the fucking dip shit. I decide to be polite, and shake his hand.
He fixates on my amber leaf stained fingers.
“Christ! Two hunner years and nae fucker takes onny notice! Are you daft fuckers still smoking that bloody weed?”
He does a neat 180, and starts rummaging in a great big box file near the drinks trolley, which as it happens is being amateurishly raided by a steaming drunk shona, raided is a loose description she’s basically trashing it and hovering up the booze from the smashed bottles, glass and all. Rampage. A horsey rampage. A real sight to behold. I take a quick snap. Just to jog the memory.
He’s got a tatty bundle of papers in his hand,
“if you had a knife would you cut yourself with it?”
“what?, what the fuck does that mean you scabby cunt?”
“Why would you deliberately damage your health young man?- I covered this subject in my paper here- take this with you, I know it word for word- it’s probably worth a fortune nowadays. It’s the original manuscript.”
He hands me a scabby bunch of ancient looking papers, the penmanship is wonderful and very decorative- “Hey min, you should be teaching night classes in calligraphy at Aberdeen college” I say- Stag boy looks confused. I stuff the papers into my Jacket pocket.
Ah the vaults. A wonderful place. Somewhere below and to the left lurk the fire engines and Ambulances that were stowed away in the 1980’s. King Jim offered to show me around, including the emergency vehicles- and he also offered to show me along the ancient tunnel leading to the shrine of the spear buried deep below Union Terrace Gardens- the resting place of the fabled weapon of Bobbie The Golloch Smasher- renowned pictish lord and spittle flecked warlord of the north. That and the keys to the rusty gate of Atlantis. So much to see, and so little time. It was a quandry. I baled. Jim’s enthusiasm for the fire engines was unstoppable- but he claimed they were deep down in the lower vaults, and he feared attack by beasties. He never elaborated on what these creatures were, simply saying- “Dark beasties, they tunnel- always houkin’ in the ground, they are under everything, here, down the beach, under that new Shopping Mall with the giant letter “U” outside it- I cannae be daein’ with them- spiky sea worshippers one and all. The smell queer as well, like stale clothes dried inside the hoose. Jist…..Gadz min….”
He did though, show me the Catafalque, lurking, oh yeah. I forgot to get a shot of that so you’ll just have to take my word for it on that score.
For the first and only time Dr Inger Sol interrupted the monologue of Blastcap:
“So what did you do with the manuscript then? What was it?”
Blastcap paused, eyeing the Dr suspiciously- he had never been comfortable talking money matters with strangers-
“I sold it to a collector. As far as I can remember it ended up in the museum of Scotland. It was a good shout. A quarter of a million pounds was paid. I bought a house on the west coast. I say house, it’s more of a dilapidated old lodge…….it’s a pretty famous pamphlet one of King James’ biggest sellers besides the witch hunting guidebook he wrote, counter blaste to tobacco– you can download on that Project Gutenberg site min.”
Inger Sol nodded, and Blastcap returned to his tale….
That’s that then. When I wake up the next day I have hazy recollections of the stag lad, the photos don’t really help he just looks like a tramp with two television aerials stuck on his head, a kind of bizarre mish mash of tom weir and Herne the hunter. I’m also clutching a rock, which I must have picked up on the way home, bit of a mystery that. Jist like that Promethius gadgey, or was he called prosthetic. Anyhow Saturn ate him. He’s right though, I get a weird feeling when I leaf through the index of Froissart’s chronicles and see his name mentioned. Must be a distant relation.
The hard working Dr. had listened patiently, all the while glancing at the box beneath his desk. The spikes of the helmet poking through the cardboard box that concealed his costume. Long ago as a student he had made a startling discovery, that only the insane could treat the insane. It was a simple fact. He had made a career on this assumption. Never publishing it, never sharing it with fellow academics. Keeping his shocking secret close, but applying it diligently to all manner of lunatics and those suffering a chemical imbalance. He knew he was different to other practitioners. His normal operating procedure would have been frowned upon. This case however would draw a neat line under his life’s work, proving his theory beyond a reasonable doubt. He would have the recognition he craved, a glittering future awaited him.
But first he had to square the circle that he had kinked- beginning with dear Mr Blastcap, nervously fidgeting opposite him. One final push and he would have all he needed. He glanced at his dust festooned computer monitor. Down to the right, lurking small and fiendishly minimised was a small window, it showed four views from all the concealed Ultra High Definition Camera’s hidden in the four corners of his study, another oblong bar tracked the stereo image of the sound waves captured by a matched pair of Reslo Ribbon Mic’s mounted within his garish 1970’s lamp shade directly above the pair of men. Every sound recorded faithfully and archived without compression. To stand the test of time, he could wait…he had all the time in the world.
Remington looked relieved, his burden lessened- his mind purged. The tape recorder clicked off. The session was ended. The tape recorder was a theatrical touch, a ruse- Dr. Sol had no time for such piffle, he required much more than a mere sound recording to preserve this his finest moment. He had won the ancient dictaphone in a bare knuckled fist fight with infamous racist and hater of the disabled Lucky Reefer. Not so lucky now, Lucky, he thought ruefully.
“Well, I think we have made some real progress today Mr. Blastcap. I think we should continue- possibly on a weekly basis. How does this seem to you?”
Blastcap looked forlorn. He had expected to be kicked out half-way through his tall tale. He had watched the Dr. all through the two hours or so of his halting, faltering ode to mania. The Dr. gave little away, pausing occasionally to prompt him for further detail and explanation but never showing any signs of suspicion.
“Good I suppose. I’m quite busy though. I mean the weekends are a no-no. I have all these prostitutes to cut up, It’s very time consuming for me. I have to fit it around my job as well.”
The Dr. raised a glass. He couldn’t wait. He was an impatient man. He began to un-pack the cardboard box.
“The ladies will keep Remington, let me just get a hold of this now..”T.M.I.J.H Endnotes: * IYAH HOOR! Some sort of explanation is needed for this strange outburst. Iyah Hoor was the ancient Celtic God of weaving, as documented in the texts of Saint Columbine (the youthfull spree-killing saint) Hoor was credited with bringing key developments to the modern day Glaswegian area: such as fire, washing in water, the abstinence from intercourse with livestock on the sabbath and the burial of corpses. He also proposed “thee instygatshun of cycle laynes, and the abeyance oh thayt rush oor traffick in the kingdoms to the nirth of Jims Hoose” Iyah Hoor was a fucking stand-up guy and all round dude. **All tramps are called Jake, as all forestry Commission employees are called Jim. That’s just life. Billy is a cunt and he works on the rigs, two weeks on and two weeks off. All that time spent on a four legged metal platform in the middle of the sea makes him convinced that he too should be standing on all fours in liquid. He achieves this by getting as buckled as possible onshore through drink and whacky chemicals, and sure as sheep bark by the end of the night he can be found in his bathroom on all fours like an animal in a lake of his own gack mumbling “aaaaaaaaamaaaa fukken riggggggggg!……aye” Occasionally he does a piper alpha impression by setting fire to his jumper with a nasty Lambert and Butler, or a regal kingsize if he’s feeling classy- But nae every time…Obviously you have to be there to appreciate the subtlety of the image, but its convincing. As reported in the auchinbucket chronicle, page 3 beneath “knitted sheep devours playstation”- third of june 2004.