Date: 19th January 2021
The latest blog from SFSA writer Donald Stewart:
A one parent finally has arrived at customs. Dad has the passports and he is looking after his son who is trying his hardest not to misbehave… And failing miserably…
Picture the scene…
Mr. Lawwell and son Andy want through customs to get on their way and get home after a really stressful trip to the Arab States. Mr. Lawwell thought it would be a nice relaxing time for him to top up his relationship with his son and try and get his fitness regime back on track – the hotel they visited had babysitting services so he thought he could get away with leaving Andy in their care, whilst he got trim.
Things did not go to plan.
Firstly, there was the issue of going away at all. Nichola, Andy’s mum gave permission but there was the Ugly Stepfather in the background, Big Neil. The man from Doncaster was not too happy about it all but a few kind words, promises of the duty free and suggested rewards that might come his way in the future and he was all sweetness and light. Mr. Lawwell knew just how to get the right nods out of Big Neil…
Then came the trip…
The babysitting service broke all the rules, wee Andy was allowed to roam free and get into all sorts – the pictures were nothing short of embarrassing. Nichola has been on the phone several times giving it large about the responsibility Mr. Lawwell has not shown and how in future there is every likelihood she will be saying a big fat naw tae them ever going abroad again.
Mr. Lawwell has a big reddie as they used to say in the scheme.
He now has to navigate customs.
On the way back he was pure keeking it in case they ended up in one of the corridors that meant they could not get back into the country. He body swerved that. The fact they were now out the EU and that might mean he had to queue to get back into his own country instead of just following the green brigade through the entry for all EU citizens tunnel, had him in sweats but what he saw made him realise that all his fears were for naught.
They have arrived at a virtually empty airport… there are no queues… anywhere…
And then came the tax.
Little known and not paid at the country you have left but at your destination, officials in the Arab states felt that travelers were more likely pay if they are in sight of their own house than if you are trying to escape theirs; so to get back to Scotland Mr. Lawwell may need to stump up some cash.
The problem is that Mr. Lawwell is rooked.
His last penny was spent on the plane to keep wee Andy quiet.
Wee Andy knows that he has the whip hand, he is in control, he is the master of the situation and he is playing it for all he is worth. He has managed to get chocolate for breakfast, lunch and is angling for pop tarts back at the house for his dinner…
Just before they get to pay the tax, Mr. Lawwell goes over the plan one more time…
“Andy,” he begins. “You know what you have to say?”
“Baloney,” responds the little tyke.
“Andy!” Mr. Lawwell is not best pleased. He pulls him into his face. “Listen, ya wee fanny. If you do not pretend to be 5 years old, we do not get back into the country cos ah huvenae got the money fur tae pay the tax. Ye remember what happened tae yer Uncles on yer mother’s side, Uncle Craig and Uncle David when they didnae pay their taxes?”
Andy does not have a clue but nods because he knows that will stop the moaning.
Mr. Lawwell continues, “So, ye huv tae pretend for the next five minutes that you are five. Understand?”
At that point a customs official from the country he has left taps Mr. Lawwell on the shoulder.
“Sir, we are ready for you now.”
Mr. Lawwell stands up, hopeful that nobody heard his conversation with his son. At times like this he wises that Papa Desmond was around to dip his hands in his pocket and pay out for the tax, but Papa Desmond has stopped returning his calls.
The official smiles and asks, “Today, sir we just need to ask one question. As you know there is a $100 tax for leaving our country with young people over the age of five. Can I ask the age of your young man here, sir?”
Mr. Lawwell tucks the passports back into his back pocket. Realizing that in them there is proof of Andy’s age for the first time, he starts to lose any confidence in his plan. “He is four and a half,” he replies, nonetheless.
The customs official bends over to Andy and asks, “That right little boy?”
“Baloney.” Replies Andy.
The customs official stands up. “Sorry?”
Mr. Lawwell, trying to take charge and being far too late to try and do so, responds, “He often uses words in the wrong context. It is a thing. He has a condition!” He quickly claims.
The customs official eyes him suspiciously. “A condition?”
“Aye,” responds Mr. Lawwell. “It’s called ADDHDR.”
“What is that sir?”
“It’s a rare form of developmental delay. It has a Latin name. I am not sure what it means.
The customs official bends back down to Andy. “That so?”
Andy smiles and responds, “Baloney.”
“It seems your young son might not share your view, sir.” He looks Mr. Lawwell in the eye and sees the nervousness.
“That’s part of the condition, you see. He says the same random things all the time.”
Mr. Lawwell has a brain wave.
“In fact, we were in your country to explore experimental therapies and have come back with tremendous ideas.”
“Is that so sir,” says the customs official, not too impressed. He recently had dental treatment in Scotland and it was a million times cheaper than in his own country’s health system so he cannot see how they have become adept at any type of treatment that would make them world beaters but there is always a first time, he supposes.
“So, sir, have you anything to declare today, apart from the young age of your son?”
Thinking he had got away with it, Mr. Lawwell visibly relaxes and responds, “Nothing, nothing at all. Apart from my genius.” He laughs at his own joke – far too quickly as he hears the snap of a rubber glove just behind him.
He visibly reddens.
The custom official explains, “Well sir, funny you should say that, but we have been informed that during your trip, you were engaged in some serious malpractice and we have searched your bags – nothing in there so, as your son is under five years old we cannot search him but you, on the other hand shall now have a full cavity search conducted.” He turns to Andy and ask, “And son. What shall we find on daddy today?”
Andy smiles and replies, “Baloney” as his father is guided towards a private room for an awkward interview.
Whilst the author asserts his right to this as an original tale, there is no evidence that the Peter Lawwell has ever taken Andy Walker on any trip, this is therefore not true, though Mr Walker did use the word baloney with reference to Mr. Lawwell during the week.
During the week, Peter Lawwell, through Celtic TV issued an apology to fans of the club as their trip to Dubai has seen them castigated, criticised and fall further behind Rangers in the league – as well as people ending up having to self-isolate due to an outbreak of COVID-19. Andy Walker said of the apology that the first 30 seconds were worth listening to, the rest was baloney.
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