A Friday night in Stranraer

Date: 3rd May 2020

The latest from SFSA writer Donald Stewart:

It’s murder…

Picture the scene…

It’s a lonely place, on a Friday. Stranraer, gateway to…

Larne…

The ferry terminal has gone quiet since the last shift for Kevin Kyle finished and his shuttling between Northern Ireland and Southern Scotland is long over; as mobile as his shuttling between defenders in his heyday, he tells us. The P and O Ferry has fallen silent, the bandstand hears no noise.

The Country and Western themed night at the Fitba’ Bar is looking forlorn as the strains of Kenny Rodgers and Tammy Wynette fail to raise a smile from the authority figure in the corner, surveying the scene.

Iain has had enough of the shenanigans. He wants answers.

On the floor is the corpse, on the floor of the Fitba’ Bar, Stranraer…

There’s been a murder.

By all accounts, Detective Sergeant Dougan, for Iain is he, knows that the local crime families, the Doncasters and the McKenzies have been at “it” again. No craftily worded press release focused on the minutiae will get them out of facing the fact that, here they have left another corpse in their wake.

Because of his local knowledge, Iain had been asked into the investigation by the Govan Big Wig, a DI with power.

In the file he had seen, which was different from the legendary Big Dossier, Iain knew that the last murder in the feud had been investigated by DI Deloitte. Everyone, who was in the know, knew that it was just one big whitewash.

This DI, the Govan Big Wig, wanted the investigation blown wide open and the Govan Big Wig claimed that he had the evidence to do it – he had the legendary Big Dossier. The problem was, he wasn’t a sharer and Iain was under extreme pressure from everyone else to tell people why he was backing the Govan Big Wig without having seen the legendary Big Dossier.

Entering the bar, Govan Big Wig DI “Ah’m no Taggart” Robertson, catches the DS’s eye.

“It’s like a cliff hanger on House of cards on the tele,” Iain, the DS is heard to mutter under his breath.

Just then his phone rings. His phone doesn’t often ring.

He doesn’t recognise the number.

He tentatively answers.

“Iain?”

“Oh aye…”

“It’s me.”

Clearly supposed to know who she is, Iain does not want to sound ignorant but can hardly commit.

“Oh, aye…”

“What dae ye think? Thrown the cat amongst the pigeons aint it?”

“Oh, aye…”

Iain is still struggling to work out what pigeons and when he ever had a cat to throw but his mind starts to form an opinion, around the kernel of an idea that becomes a thought needing expressed and then he just nudges the DI, nodding that he thinks he has someone worth listening to on the phone. The DI indicates he should put it on speaker phone.

“I got yer memo and I want you to know that nether me nor the DI no think yer our nodding dug.”

Iain realises that he is listening to The Budgie.

Chief supremo in the headquarters at the heart of any criminal justice in Edinburgh, she was not one to be trifled with…

“Have you put me on speakerphone?”

Iain starts to nod, realises that she couldn’t see him and it was a daft thing to do, just as she said, “Are you nodding at the phone, Iain?”

“Oh aye…”

“Then stop it. DI Robertson has the dossier, the evidence, the smoking gun. He has the legendary Big Dossier. We need a probe and God forbid, you are at the centre of it all, OK?”

Iain, still struggling with cats and pigeons now worries about what kind of probe Budgie might be interested in.

“Oh, aye…”

It was an answer that seemed to have worked well enough so far…

The line went dead. Iain looked up at the DI who looked directly at hm like he was the wee brother nobody ever wanted.

“You, me and the Budgie are all in it thegither now.”

“Have you got it?” Iain felt emboldened by the call.

“Of course, I do, but we need to be careful.”

“What for? It’s the evidence.”

“But if we let people see it too soon…”

“What?”

“Then they will see it…

“Oh, aye…”

“Too soon…”

Iain looks at the DI with quizzical features. Eventually he speaks.

“This cannae be a witch dog.”

“You mean hunt?”

“Oh, aye… It’s right to look into the whole process. How did he…” Iain points to the corpse on the floor of the Fitba’. “Get here? If things were done wrong then we want it recorded and lessons to be learned so that the future…”

Just at that he was distracted by the white plume of smoke coming through the door. “Oh shit.” The DI swore under his breath as coming through the door is the retired Govan interloper, now back home in Cowdenbeath, Findlay. Once THE Govan Big Wig before the DI was the Govan Big Wig, his unfortunate inability to keep his jovial character in check led to his fall from grace and people tended to think he walked with several chips on either shoulder.

Iain was not, however, finished. As he knew that the DI was always in awe of the Findlay, he whispered to the DI as Findlay approached.

“Just remember I am not in this solely to be a back up for you. You may be bigger than me, far more powerful but I am no nodding hunt dog. And remember it was you who contacted me and asked me to be part of this. You wanted me to back you up. You haven’t shared why, and I have not seen your evidence, the legendary Big Dossier. And by the way, I am still not sure that things have not been done wrong for the right reasons.”

The DI looked over and smiled, unsure of what doing right for wrong meant; he remembered when doing wrong for right was the way they did business…

“Worry not. Once we have got rid of big Doncaster and McKenzie things will be hunky dorey. Trust me.”

Findlay was, by now, directly in front of them. His grey whiskers twitched before he spoke, and he tapped his pipe out on Iain’s shoulder. “Dear, dear, DI Robertson, this is certainly not the way we used to do things…” He turns to DS Dugan and addressed Robertson over his shoulder, “And, Robertson, who’s yer dug?”

 

Whilst the author asserts his right to this as an almost original tale, any similarities to persons real or imagined are deliberate. However as neither Mr Robertson nor Mr Dougan of Stranraer or indeed Mr Findlay or Ms Budge, as far as he is aware, have ever been in the polis, and Mr Doncaster and Mr McKenzie have no ties to organised criminal activity, this is clearly fictional and never actually happened – though some of the words did.

 

The fact is that during the week in an interview Chair of Stranraer FC, Iain Dugan spoke of how he backed the call, along with Ann Budge of Hearts, from Rangers over an independent review. Obviously wanting to assert their independence, he stated categorically that Stranraer FC were not Rangers’ nodding dog and that this should not be a witch hunt. With an Extraordinary General Meeting on the horizon, to see the dossier filled with evidence of incompetence and dirty dealings, allegedly, there shall be a resolution tabled, no doubt to resolve, resolutely all issues that need to be resolved. What shall be left hanging? Likely the fans… plus ca change…


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