The Tin Boy: Tale of a Scottish Football Misfit
The opening TWO chapters are displayed below. Feel free to contact me with any comments or feedback. Just as an FYI, this book is written in Scottish slang - a glossary is included in the published edition to assist my American readers :)
CHAPTER ONE: Final Kick ay the Baw
Govan Stadium, Glasgow Blue Crew n Glasgow Green Machine derby match, nil-nil. There’s a minute left oan the clock but it’ll probably be five or six; there’s been a few casualties n the ref’s had his hand in his poacket mair than a pervert wi Parkinson’s sittin’ stage side at a strip club.
It’s ma first appearance fir the “big team” albeit as a late replacement fir Rodrigo Alvarez, oor young South American striker. Ah don’t know how he lasted as long oot there. Those green n white bastards had been studdin’ the hell oot ay the wee tanned fella’s ankles n calves every other minute ay the game. Wankers. Peckin’ away at him like a woodpecker oan an oak tree. Fair play tae wee Alvo though, keepin’ the heid n gettin’ oan wi the job at hand. None ay this divin’ pish wi the weeman either like a lot ay these Latin types. Nope. Set ay baws oan him like a couple ay water melons. Fae the dugoot ah could hear the hatred echoin’ in the screams ay oor fans every time “they” drapped the wee chap.
“Ya dirty hackin’ bastard.”
“Fir fuck’s sake ref.”
“Git that cunt aff.”
Ah agreed wi aw ay it, but the weeman just goat up, dusted himself aff, even managin’ a smirk tae appear oan his face that only riled them up mair.
Alvo wis a great advert fir the game, n loved the badge oan the front ay oor blue strip as much as he loved his ain wife; a wee Argentinian hottie by the way, skin as smooth as a billiard baw, lips oan ‘er that wid’ve pished thimsels laughing at Angelina Jolie’s efforts, n ah had nae doubt she shat rose petals intae the bowl at their massive hoose in Bothwell. There wis even a rumor goin’ aboot that he’d kissed the club badge mair times than his burd’s juicy lips. That’s how much he loved Glasgow Blue Crew Football Club.
Resilient the wee fella might’ve been, but the final tackle fae that bam McCluskey wid’ve been enough tae drap Brock Lesner the enormous Ultimate Scrappin’ gorilla. The gaffer – big Walter Wallace – wis oot the dugout like a greyhound efter a fake rabbit. Ah thought the boss wis gonnae run right ontae the field n lamp the cunt himsel, but he stopped right at the edge ay oor
team box beside the sideline, givin’ the linesman whit fir. Half the crowd wir goin’ mental bit the other half wir a bit quiet, worried even. It wis a bad yin, n their wis nae doubt wee Alvo wid be spendin’ mair than a few weeks up in the stand; his knee wis gubbed.
The lads in the luminous orange jaickets wir awready halfway across the field in the direction ay the Polisland Road end, stretcher in their hands. The ref had his hands full anaw, but wis gettin’right in aboot things, breakin’ up a few scuffles, but he had pointed tae the penalty spot and there wis nae changin’ that.
The gaffer finished givin’ the linesman an ear bashin’ n turned roon, his vision zoomin’ like lasers right intae ma eyes, nearly burnin’ a hole in ma retinas. He shouts.
“BILLY, TRACKIE AFF, YIR OAN WEEMAN.”
Ah nearly asked him fir a few minutes so ah could shake aff the boner he’d jist gave me. Ah’d always dreamed ay gettin’ oan the park fir any game never mind a derby match, n ah wis instantly excited. Fortunately ah wisnae too blessed in the troosers department so ah figured naebody wid notice ma rager.
Trackie tap n bottoms wir aff rapido, swifter than a wee virgin gettin’ his gear aff efter hearin’ the words “fancy yir Nat King.”
Ah git tae the edge ay the field right beside the gaffer jist as the boys in orange are carryin’ wee Alvo aff. He’s awright, hands in the air wi his thumbs stickin’ up. The crowd’s goin’
“THERE’S ONLY WAN RODDY ALVO,” begins tae blare aw aroon the stadium.
Ah can tell the wee fella’s in agony, but he’s tough as a burnt sirloin. He’s ma hero in case yi hadnae figured that oot by noo. He even manages tae give me a high-five oan the way by.
“Git intae them Billy Boy,” he says.“Nice hard-on by the way.”
He might be fae South America, but he’s fair taken tae the Scottish lingo.
The gaffer glances doon at the wee bulge in ma shorts n starts shakin’ his heid, tryin’ tae keep a straight face, stayin’ focused oan the task at hand, but ah could see he wanted tae start pishin’
“Ah’m jist a wee bit excited gaffer. Don’t worry, ah’ll no let yi doon.”
“Yi better no, you’re takin’ the penalty Billy.”
Ah nearly shat masel, n wi the blink ay an eye ma stonner wis away.
“Nae bother gaffer,” ah said wi a wee wink.
He winked back, slapped me oan the back n aff ah toddled towards the penalty box.
The ref handed me the baw. Ma hands wir shakin’ like a battery hen n ah wis feart ah wis gonnae drap it, but a few deep breaths sorted me oot.
“In through the nose, oot through the mooth,” ah kept tellin’ masel.
Ah placed the baw doon oan the spot. It sat up nice. Good start weeman. Ah took five steps back, ignorin’ aw the shite I could hear comin’ oot the mooths ay their manky fans. The big German fella, Helmut (an appropriate name if ever there wis wan) in goals fir they dobbers wis starin’ me doon wi his Neanderthal face that wis jist designed fir a job oan the radio.
“Don’t even acknowledge him weeman,”ah said tae masel.
The ref gave a short peep oan his whistle. The fans ached wi anticipation. Ah hopped forward. Hopped? Whit the fuck? Ma right leg swung like it wis tryin’ tae kick a school bully’s bawbag intae the tap corner. Ma right leg? Ah’m a leftie. Swing n a miss. There’s a massive gasp fae the crowd. Ah faw oan ma arse. Where the fuck’s ma leg?
Ah bolt upright. Ah’m sweatin’ like a Catholic priest under investigation. Ah’m in ma maw’s hoose, in the spare room, no at Govan Stadium. Ah don’t play fir the Blue Crew. The bed sheet underneath me is soaked. There’s a big sweat ring aroon me that looks like the chalk ootline where a deid body used tae be. It’s a weird shape though, missin’ a bit. The only realistic part
ay the dream wis ma right leg, gone fae jist below the knee. Reality comes floodin’ back, n ma previous joy turns tae tears, again.
CHAPTER 2: Toes
Dreams, or should ah say, nightmares, wir almost a daily event. They wirnae always at night either. They’d sneak up oan me at any moment, even noddin’ aff oan the bus or somethin’. That happened a few weeks back. Ah’d been at ma physiotherapy session. It’d been a tough wan, knackered me oot. Oan the way hame ah must’ve dozed aff, heid probably bouncing aff the windae as well as the noddin’ up n doon. Ah was in another world, back in Afghanistan, right
before the incident. As soon as the explosion went aff ah bolted upright, lettin’ oot a roar, ma whole body drippin’ wi sweat, laughter echoing fae aw the seats ahint me. Ah ignored them, didnae even turn roon. Ah don’t sit near the front ay the bus any mair if ah can avoid it. Noo ah git as close tae the back as ah can.
Yi hear ay folks losin’ a leg n think tae yirsel, “ah don’t think ah could deal wi that.” They’re right anaw. Ah’m strugglin’, n a don’t jist mean in the physical sense. Naw, ah’m strugglin’ upstairs, in the nut. It’s killin’ me. Why me? Ah keep askin’ masel that. The next person that says, “mibby it was jist meant tae be,” is gonnae git ma prosthetic leg firmly inserted in their
arsehole, sideways. If God’s plan fir me wis tae have ma leg blown aff while servin’ ma country then he’s wan sick bastard. That’s why ah’ve given up oan religion. Load ay pish in ma mind noo.
Ah need tae stop feelin’ sorry fir masel though, accept that there’s nae goin’ back n jist git oan wi things. Isabel is really helpin’ a lot; she’s ma physiotherapist. She’s helped me so much wi the physical side ay things, bit she’s bin an absolute star wi the emotional side anaw. She’s goat
six toes oan each foot. Showed me. Whipped aff the Reebok trainers n white ankle socks right in front ay me. Ah wondered whit she wis daen. Ah’d jist been complainin’ tae her aboot bein’ aw self-conscious wi people starin’ it me aw the time, n havin’ an ex-girlfriend who’d obviously been repulsed wi ma leg. Ah kinda stopped talkin’, wondering why she wis takin’ aff the socks n shoes, but partly hopin’ the rest ay ‘er gear wis comin’ aff anaw (see, ah’m a total dreamer). Next minute she’s sittin’back in a chair in the wee gymnasium, feet in the air wigglin’ toes at me. It took me a wee while, coontin’ in ma heid. Wan, two, three, four, five, SIX! Whit the fuck!
“Holy shite,” wis aw ah could say.
“See, you’re not the only one who’s a little different, Billy,” she replied, givin’ me a wee smirk n a couple ay raised eyebrows.
“Better tae have twelve toes than eight.”
“So, you’d rather have three legs than two?”
“Yi know whit ah mean. Ah’d raither have two full legs.”
She jist let oot a sigh n shook ‘er heid at me.
“The point is this, Billy. Most people have ten toes. I have twelve. Would you have known I had two extra if I hadn’t shown you?”
“Of course no.”
“OK, so by the time I am done with our sessions here, nobody is going to know you have a prosthetic leg. You might have the very slightest of limps, but it’ll be under the leg of your trousers most of the time, like my toes under my shoes and socks. People who don’t know you will have no idea about your leg. You’ll blend in to society just like everyone else.”
Isabel wis great. She made aw the sense in the world. Ah hadnae been wrang aboot ma ex-girlfriend Charlotte though. The cow dumped me right eftir ah goat back fae Afghanistan. Bitch ripped ma heart oot.
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