Since Pantomime season is upon us now (oh no it’s not, oh yes it is, oh please yourselves)
and since my last Pantomime, The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha, went so well last year
I have endeavoured in this Ghostly little blog, to raise the Ghost of an Idea, which
shall not put my readers out of humour with themselves, with each other, with the
season, or with me. May it haunt their houses pleasantly, and no one wish to lay it.
Your faithful Friend and Servant, T.M.T.B.C.T
Chapter 1 part 1- McConville’s Ghost
McConville was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the priest, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Mac Giolla bhain signed it.
Old Paul McConville was as dead as a door-nail.
Mac Giolla bhain knew he was dead? Of course he did. How could it be otherwise? Mac Giolla bhain and he were partners for I don’t know how many years.
There is no doubt that McConville was dead. This must be distinctly understood, or nothing wonderful can come of the story I am going to relate.
Mac Giolla bhain never took down the old poster of Old McConville’s name. There it stood, years afterwards, above the Knights of St Columba door: Mac Giolla bhain and McConville. The firm was known as Mac Giolla bhain and McConville. Sometimes people new to the business called it Rangers hating, and sometimes Bigotry, but he answered to both names. It was all the same to him.
Oh! But he was a Rangers hater at the grindstone, Mac Giolla bhain! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old Rangers hating BIGOT! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster. The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shrivelled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue; and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice. A frosty rime was on his head, and on his eyebrows, and his wiry chin. He carried his own low temperature always about with him; he iced his office in the dog-days; and didn’t thaw it one degree at Christmas.
Plain facts and expert opinion on Rangers Football Club had little influence on Mac Giolla bhain. No warmth could warm, no wintry weather chill him. No wind that blew was bitterer than he, no falling snow was more intent upon its purpose, no pelting rain less open to entreaty. Foul weather didn’t know where to have him. The heaviest rain, and snow, and hail, and sleet, could boast of the advantage over him in only one respect. They often came down handsomely, and Mac Giolla bhain never did.
Nobody ever stopped him in the street to say, with gladsome looks, “My dear Mac Giolla bhain, how are you ya Rangers hating bigot?. When will Celtic ever publicly appologise for the Child abuse that they help cover up?.” No beggars implored him to bestow a potatoe, no children asked him what Big Jock Knew, no man or woman ever once in all his life inquired the way to why he was such a sad pathetic waste of skin of a man. Even the blindmen’s dogs appeared to know him; and when they saw him coming on, would tug their owners into doorways and up courts; and then would wag their tails as though they said,
“No eye at all is better than an evil eye, dark master! ”
But what did Mac Giolla bhain care! It was the very thing he liked. To Rangers hate along the crowded paths of life, warning all human sympathy to keep its distance, was what the knowing ones call nuts to Mac Giolla bhain.
Once upon a time — of all the good days in the year, on Christmas Eve — old Mac Giolla bhain sat busy at his computer screen. It was cold, bleak, biting weather: foggy withal The city clocks had only just gone three, but it was quite dark already: it had not been light all day: and lights were flaring in the computer screens of the neighbouring But-n-Bens, like ruddy smears upon the palpable brown air. The fog from the Green Brigades flares came pouring in at every chink and keyhole, and was so dense without, that although the court was of the narrowest, the houses opposite were mere phantoms. To see the dingy cloud come drooping down, obscuring everything, one might have thought that Nature lived hard by, and was brewing on a large scale.
The door of Mac Giolla bhains But-n-Ben was open that he might keep his eye upon his Aprentice Angela Haggerty, who in a dismal little cell beyond, a sort of tank, was sending complaining e-mails about alleged anti-Irish racism. Mac Giolla bhain had a very un-powerful lap top, but Angela Haggerty’s Lap top was so very much cheaper that it looked like it was powered by a rats fart. But she couldn’t afford to upgrade it, for Mac Giolla bhain kept the WiFi-box in his own room; and so surely as Angela Haggerty came in with the non responsive lap top, the master predicted that it would be necessary for them to part. Wherefore Angela Haggerty put on her Bobby Sands commenatrive blanket, and tried to warm herself at the 2 bar fire; in which effort, not being a Woman of a strong imagination, she failed.
“Rangers the most successful Club in Scottish Football History, Phil! God save you!” cried a cheerful voice. It was the voice of Alex Thomson, who came upon him so quickly that this was the first intimation he had of his approach.
“Bah!” said Mac Giolla bhain, “A Hun conspiracy”
“Rangers the most successful Club in Scottish Football History a hun conspiracy, Phil!” said Alex Thomson. “You don’t mean that, I am sure.”
“I do,” said Mac Giolla bhain. “Telling the truth about Rangers? what reason have you to be telling truths about Rangers? You’re a Tim.”
“Come, then,” returned Alex Thomson gaily. “What right have you to be dismal? what reason have you to be morose? Celtic were in the Champions League.”
Mac Giolla bhain having no better answer ready on the spur of the moment, said, “Bah!” again; and followed it up with “Bah Hun conspiracy.”
“Don’t be cross, Phil,” said Alex Thomson.
“What else can I be,” returned mentally ill Phil, “when I live in such a world of fools as say Celtic were in the Champions League. What’s Celtic were in the Champions League time to you but a time for enjoying Celtic; and not hating Rangers, and I’m not an hour richer” said Mac Giolla bhain indignantly, “every idiot who goes about with “Celtic were in the Champions League” on his lips, should be boiled with his own season ticket, and a Bobby Sands banner shoved up his arse. He should!”
“Phil!” pleaded Alex Thomson.
“Alex!” returned mentally ill Phil, sternly, “you support Celtic in your own way, and let me hate Rangers in mine.”
“hate Rangers!” repeated Alex Thomson. “But you don’t support Celtic.”
“Let me leave it alone, then,” said Mac Giolla bhain. “Much good may it do you! Much good it has ever done you!”
“There are many things from which I might have derived good about Celtic in the champions league, by which I have not profited, I dare say,” returned Alex Thomson: “That Bobby Sands banner among the rest. But I am sure I have always thought of Champions league time, when it has come round — apart from the tanking we got of those Amsterdam Ultras– as a good time: a we can show the rest of Europe what a bunch of British hating IRA terror loving scumbags time: the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, get pissed on Buckfast and give each other a doing when we get humped at home by the poorest AC Milan team in living history. And therefore, Phil, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!”
Angela Haggerty in the gimps den involuntarily applauded. Becoming immediately sensible of the impropriety, she poked at her Lap top, and sent a tweet about how the “KLAN” was stopping her from getting a job in Scotland.
“Let me hear another sound from you,” said Mac Giolla bhain, “ anymore non-Rangers hating and celebrate it by losing your situation. You’re quite a powerful speaker, Thomson,” he added, turning to Alex. “I wonder you don’t go into the Labour party with the rest of our Rangers hating bigots.”
“Don’t be angry, Phil. Come! support with us at Parkhead.”
Mac Giolla bhain said that he would see him — yes, indeed he did. He went the whole length of the expression, and said that he would see him in that extremity first.
“But why?” cried Alex Thomson. “Why?”
“Why did you get a season ticket?” said Mac Giolla bhain.
“Because I support Celtic.”
“Because you support Celtic!” growled Mac Giolla bhain, “Havent you heard of knocked off streams on the internet?”
“Nay, Phil, but you never came to support Celtic before . Why give it as a reason for not coming now?”
“because I can tweet anti British venom and spread anti Rangers bile and lies from the comfort of my Donegal But-n-Ben,” said Mac Giolla bhain.
“you can do that at Parkhead now! it has WiFi! why cannot we be friends?”
“Look truth is Rangers hating dosnt pay enough, me and that sad bigoted cunt Mince from Celtic minded shafted Tims on the internet for a £10 paywall a couple of times but they have wised up. Nobody buys my bitter books as they know they are just a rehash of my venom filled sectarian blogs” said Mac Giolla bhain.
“I am sorry, with all my heart, to find you so resolute. We have never had any quarrel, to which I have been a party. But I have made the trial in homage to Christmas, and I’ll keep my Christmas humour to the last. So A Merry Christmas, Phil!’ And Tiocfaidh ár lá!”
“Tiocfaidh ár lá!” said Mac Giolla bhain.
Alex Thomson left the room without an angry word, notwithstanding. He stopped at the outer door to bestow the greeting of the season on Mizz Haggerty, who, cold as she was, was warmer than Mac Giolla bhain; for she returned them cordially.
“There’s another fellow,” muttered Mac Giolla bhain; who overheard him: “my apprentice Angela Haggerty, with fifteen shillings a week, and a cat and spider plant to feed, talking about a successful Rangers. I’ll retire to Bedlam.”
At length the hour of no more Rangers hating and shutting up the But-n-Ben arrived. With an ill-will Mac Giolla bhain dismounted from his stool, and tacitly admitted the fact to the expectant Mizz Haggerty in the Tank, who instantly switched her Lap top off, and put on her Green Brigade Balaclava.
“You’ll want all day tomorrow, I suppose?” said Mac Giolla bhain.
“If quite convenient, Sir.”
“It’s not convenient,” said Mac Giolla bhain, “and it’s not fair. If I was to stop half-a-crown for it, you’d think yourself ill-used, I ‘ll be bound?”
Mizz Haggerty smiled faintly.
“And yet,” said Mac Giolla bhain, “you don’t think me ill-used, when I pay a day’s wages for no Rangers hating.”
Mizz Haggerty observed that it was only once a year.
“A poor excuse for picking a man’s pocket every twenty-fifth of December!” said Mac Giolla bhain, buttoning his 19 canteen Berghaus copy jacket to his chin. “But I suppose you must have the whole day. Be here all the earlier next morning!”
Mizz Haggerty promised that she would; and Mac Giolla bhain walked out with a growl. The office was closed in a twinkling, and mizz Haggerty, with the long ends of her Bobby Sands commenrative Blanket dangling below her waist (for she boasted no great-coat), went down a slide on the Gallowgate,and then ran home as hard as she could pelt, to play her Wolfetones CD.