Last Minute Maley…

Date: 3rd June 2022

The second weekly blog provided to you by our resident writer Donald Stewart.

Last Minute Maley…

He is always late, but also just in time to make the difference…

And we do mean always…

Picture the scene…

It is the night out to mark the beginning of a new season.

The usual suspects are holding up one end of the bar talking themselves up, and diminishing the opposition who, this coming year, are going to be particularly poor. In fact, the longer the night goes on, the more alcohol gets drunk, the poorer they shall get.

It is not often that the Livingston Lions Holiday Camp get to let their hair down.

Their boss, Mr. Martindale is a bit of a stickler for rules. The camp is often run to a military style precision, but he knows how important it can be for the team to relax, have time to bond and enjoy some fun. After all, it won’t be long before the doors are flung open and, after two long years of no summer season, that the fun, organised and precise, shall begin for the summer season campers.

Until that hard work starts, they get their training out of the way, their relationships established, and Mr. Martindale gets to work out who will last the pace in the illegal sweepstake that is onsite. Odds are placed on the long stayers and the flops who often don’t even manage a weekend. Lots of Big Time Charlies have tried to crack the market, especially the English ones, and the illegal bookies make a killing when they flop.

Mr. Martindale denies there is any racism involved. His view is very simple. If yer crap, yer crap…

The first meeting of the “gang” who are going to spend what they hope is a crazy summer together, is when you find out who has returned and who has gone off the pastures new. Of those that remain there are plumb jobs that people vie for as if it matters in the long term but for the 6 or 7 week summer season it can make the difference between being stuck for long hours between the sticks of the swimming pool and the arcade or you get your big chance onstage to shine and show off.

Many have got onto that stage and now have bigger careers elsewhere. Mr. Martindale is really proud of the alumni who have come in, conquered and then found their own fame. He feels they shine a little light on him and his team thereafter. He isn’t wrong.

But for now, the beer is flowing, and the team are speaking ill of those they dislike and warmly of each other. It won’t last, knows Mr. Martindale but he says nothing.

But someone is missing. Mr. Martindale does another head count.

Mr. Maley is not there.

Before his 6th and final summer season, Mr. Maley is already a legend.

Mr. Maley was once believed by the team not to exist. Doing many a job behind the scenes he never appeared in the team up front and then people began to speak of him in hushed tones like he was a ghost that haunted the corridors and only appeared to a select view who could “see” him.

Over the last 5 seasons, he has not actually worked a shift as part of the team. Each year he has been a little like Peggy from Hi-de-Hi where he wanted to be a yellow coat but never quite managed it.

Mr. Martindale explained this once to the whole team and as soon as he made the analogy, fifteen heads in the room hit google to work out what the hell he was talking about.

Oh, the young, but Mr. Martindale knew what he was talking about. Mr. Maley was a life saver.

Last season, with only 15 minutes left to go of a show that was a complete disaster, Mr. Maley saved the day. The magician was drunk, the comedian bombed, and the singer lost her voice. The crowd were baying for blood, when Mr. Maley took the microphone and took to the stage. He had them eating out of his hands in that time and saved Mr. Martindale a lynching. To date, nobody can remember what he did when he was on!

The season before, a particularly riotous group booking was causing mayhem in the arcade when, 15 minutes before closing time, Mr. Maley arrived with extra pockets of change that the kiosk had run out of and started to calm the group and engaged with them to give them the best night and 15 minutes of their stay. It saved Mr. Martindale from a riot.

And then Mr. Maley made his entrance…

With 15 minutes to go before last orders, the bar door swung open and there standing in silhouette like a gunslinger form the old west was Mr. Maley. The assembled crowd cheered, and he was backslapped and asked to help those now unable to help themselves, requested to call taxis for those with long journeys home and berated for being late.

Good humoured and smiling he took it all in his stride.

Mr. Martindale looked on and wondered, what jolly japes and scrapes shall be the summer season for his new yellow coats of the Livingston Lions this season. He had a quick look at the healthy bookings and recognised there were likely to be a few interesting times ahead. There were a lot of names he recognised coming over the next 6 or 7 weeks to convalesce.

Bring it on, he thought. And oh boy, was it brought on…

 

 

Whilst the author asserts his right to this as an original tale, there is no evidence that Livingston have anything resembling a holiday camp, unless you know differently, so this is clearly a work of fiction.

The fact is that Gary Maley, a Livingston player for 6 years without ever appearing in a Premiership game, made his debut for the team 15 minutes from the end of Livingston’s final game of the season. Maley is 39 years old, the goalkeeper and this was his last game for the club. They beat Dundee 2-1…


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