Dark outside as storm clouds gather

Date: 15th June 2020

The latest blog from Donald Stewart:

It is dark outside as the storm clouds had gathered. It is late night at the Lost And Confused Bar downtown in the Emerald part of the fair city when the door opens and in walks a man who thinks of himself as a hopeless romantic.

Most people though just call him hopeless…

Picture the scene…

It is close to midnight. Judas Priest are on the jukebox with faded bikers sitting round a table fading into the night time routine of wondering in whose caravan they shall crash or burn.

The Big Levein has entered, thinking himself like a Coen Brothers classic, and is surveying the debris of yet another night of debauchery and filth.

Or at least that is what is in his head.

What is in the bar are a few empty bottles that had just fallen off a table and crashed to the floor. Their smashing had woken everyone up as there had been precious little to keep them awake until then. Startled expressions on people’s faces were taken for fear at his arrival by The Big Levein.

He manages to sashay up to the bar, striking a match on the underside to light up a cheroot before the barkeep’s stern expression is matched and beaten by The Big Levein; he is able to do whatever he wants to do and what he wants to do is smoke. A cheroot. Big time.

His attempt at striking a match actually takes six goes before it lights up and the girl behind the bar has thrown water over him and the match, telling him, “ye’ll no be doing that in here son.” He sheepishly nodded and put the sodden box of matches away.

He puts both of his hands on the bar and smiles ruefully at the barkeep, nodding towards the whiskey on the shelf and indicating by two fingers how much he was after because The Big Levein wants whiskey. Neat.

Levein asked, politely, “Could I have an orange juice please, cos ah’m awfa parched?”

The barkeep complies and gives The Big Levein a glass full of his favoured liquor. The Big Levein drinks it down in one go, nodding again, silently, that The Big Levein wants it filled up again.

Levein drinks the juice but it went down the wrong way, and he coughed up some of it in his mouth. Finding nowhere to put his sick, no receptacle in which to drop it, he swallowed it again with a pained expression on his face. He turned to face the bar.

There are bodies strewn throughout the place. The Big Levein can pick out their formation. The Big Levein knows what this is. He counts one at the back, six in front and another six sat in front of the first six – The Big Levein called it the Barcelona playbook. What others called it was unprintable. The Big Levein smiles again thinking, this is how all playbooks should be read. The Big Levein’s voice the effective thirteenth man, The Big Levein’s genius obvious for all to see. The Big Levein’s team, the future.

By now the dachshund snoring on the floor, the six former folk musicians who brought him with them, who are still in their Arran knit jumpers and the six bikers are beginning to get up to head out. The girl behind the bar is heading out to collect the empties as well as sweep up the glass from the smashed bottle. She turns and looks Levein directly in the eye and says, “Ye wanting another juice?”

Thinking he needed a clear head for the night still left, The Big Levein shakes his head, by now having communicated his strength to all in the bar without a word. The Big Levein takes his second glassful of whiskey and downs it again in one. The Big Levein prepares to go.

“I won’t thank you very much. It’s getting a bit late and I shall have to be getting back.” This is what actually comes out of his mouth as he started to walk towards the doorway to leave. In his mind he is thinking that he needs to get back to watch the soaps he recorded on Sky Go earlier because he will never catch up with all his box sets if he leaves them unwatched…

The Big Levein approaches the door. The barkeep is now trying to move the evidence before law enforcement come and drag the miscreants away. Before leaving, The Big Levein turns and says, “Be good” to the barkeep sweeping up the mess of the riot in his head.

What she and everyone around hear is, “God, don’t fancy your job much, am off but will see ye next week Marie.”

As the door closes silently after he has gone, one of the bikers turns to the girl who was behind the bar and asks, “was that…?”

She nods.

He shakes his head.

His words lost in a torrent of abuse from his compatriots who are out of sorts, out of place and in Easter Road on a school night after joking with the taxi driver who they didn’t realise was a Hibs fan asking him to “take them somewhere unique”. They had been shaking for the last few hours until boredom set in and they nearly fell asleep. Silently now understanding that The Big Levein was alone and in the wrong side of town at the wrong side of midnight, he was likely to be in danger. Each of them reached for their phones, clearly hoping to help a brother in distress.

They call a taxi to take them brothers home.

Hearts fans who supported Romanov are rare but those who still believed in The Messiah are now only found in fiction… Or are they…

 

Whilst the author asserts his right to this as an almost original tale, any similarities to persons real or imagined are deliberate. However as nobody called Levein has ever made a late night visit to a boozer on Easter Road, this is clearly fictional and never actual happened.

 

The fact is that during the week Craig Levein did an interview in which he said he would not have got Hearts relegated despite being sacked because he would have found a way. This follows an episode when in charge of the Scotland national team when he fielded a team with no strikers. He claimed it was just like playing like Barcelona. Barcelona were not contacted for comment, possibly due to the high level of laughter from the region when they heard it.


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