Allegedly the light was so bright, Leggatt’s pupils had run for cover………
‘Did you hear a noise?’
‘Mister Leggatt. I did hear a noise. We all heard it. It was Tompkins sneezing’
‘No, I heard another noise, footsteps, almost silent, but, just audible, like the footsteps of a killer’
‘Look, Mr Leggatt. There ARE no footsteps down here, and as for killers, I think that’s a bit rich coming from someone picked up with enough evidence on him, to bang him up for a very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very……long time’
‘I think you’ll find, in order to make that last section of dialogue readable, you used way, way, way, too many ‘verys’ . Did you see a shadow………. there…….behind you?
‘Forget footsteps, forget shadows Mr Leggatt. I think you need to worry more about……..THIS!’
‘What is it?’
‘You, surely recognise it. It’s yours. A little black book entitled ‘The Names Of The Dead’
‘Ah, Mr Leggatt, ah indeed. Not only the names of dead people, but where they died, how they died, and, even the murder weapon used’
‘Yes, it must look a bit strange, but, I can explain’
‘oh, can you Mr Leggatt? So, you can explain why the first person listed on your Names of the Dead, is called Derek, and dies after being pushed from a cliff near Edinburgh’
‘and what’s wrong with that?’
‘My God, not even one shred of remorse or should I say………..Inspector Morse’
‘what do you mean, remorse….I only made it up for my bo…..’
‘MR LEGGATT! I don’t care what you think you did, but someone called Derek was indeed pushed from a cliff near Edinburgh two weeks ago. He only survived after his braces caught in a whin bush’
‘Yes, but…….. Hey…..did you hear a creaking noise? As if a murderer wearing brown loafers, was creeping down a heavy piled carpet?’
‘Ok Mr Leggatt. I think we’d better start at the beginning……………or should I say…Once Upon A Time’
……..although we knew #TeamTartan might be in trouble, our ‘urgent’ journey to the Kelpies had been delayed. First of all Gigi refused to budge unless she got pizza. Dad decided he needed to buy ingredients in bulk for his continued #Disasterchef attempts to produce a dry rub which would make haggis edible to us Americans.
Mom, however, was fed up. Fed up with dry rubs, pop up hairdressers, police stations, fed up with drama, One Direction, Mojito Man, servers, sockets, suspects, Gigi’s…….. ‘people’…..and…..most of all…….she was fed up with #TeamTartan.
I was the opposite. I thought I’d made the biggest mistake in my short life, swapping a two week looxshoory holiday in El Mento Loco, for, on paper, a damp boring fortnight with a bunch of Scottish Twitter addicts, who basically, had lost their way, the vote, their raison d’être. Instead, it turned out the 45% had galvanised them into a force so strong, even the Queen and Prince Charles had tried to stop them. Since we arrived it had been one humungous Scottish rollercoaster
In the end, Mom decided she would visit the Scottish National Gallery, whilst Dad, Gigi and I headed to the Kelpies to find #TeamTartan.
‘Look, I’ve got tweets to tweet, blogs to blog, drawings to draw and #EvilSkyDish’s to fight. Who are you lot and why am I here?’
‘Dave, look, we know if it wasn’t for you, we wouldn’t be here……..😏………but setting this work of fiction aside….you appear to be in huge trouble……’
‘what do you mean ‘trouble’? I work in a factory, support a football team that will never play in the Champions League Final and run the blog voted 57 millionth best in the world…..’
*chortles from those in the room* ☺️
‘Don’t laugh. You never know, I might be in for the Booker Prize one day. That’ll wipe the stupid grins off your faces…..’
*more chortling and just a hint of guffawing*
‘look….I made you up……………who are you?’
‘Hmmmmm, I suppose when you put it that way, there’s no harm in telling you………you’ve obviously heard of MI5, MI6, the CIA and the KGB?’
‘……and the FBI…….well…..we’re even secreter than the secretest, secret agency who do secret things while paid for by public funds, in the interests of……..eh…..the public and our national interest……..we are the Scottish arm and we call ourselves the FB Aye!’
‘what are you spluttering at’
‘The FB Ayeeee. wtf’s that all about ha ha The Scottish Secret Police….. Brilliant! You’ll be telling me next you’ve infiltrated all levels of society and your leader is Jim Murphy 😀’
*heads turn…..cheeks blush*
‘Enough! Do you know anyone called Gigi, FT or a Mark Leggatt’
‘Yes. I follow them on Twitter. Well, not Gigi. She’s only 8, although she’s quite scary for her age’
‘so, you know Gigi runs a global comic subscription scam’
‘no no, we made that up for a laugh…..it’s just a funny thread we use on twitter’
‘ you think so…….and Mr Leggatt…you know him too?’
‘Yes. Nice man, writes stuff, works part time’
‘Hmmmm……this gets worse Davey Boy….this just gets worse and worse’ 😈
It was Gigi’s brilliant idea to hire a canal boat. This not only allowed us to sidle up to the Kelpies unnoticed. It also gave us the space to store Dads dry rub ingredients which were now getting way out of control. We’d find him scribbling his ‘formulations’, as he now called them, at every opportunity. He was the Leggatt equivalent of the Dry Rub Crimewriter. Some of the ones he’d come up with, were so hot they could scorch varnish off a chair leg at five paces.
‘What next Gigi?’ I asked my little sister.
‘We set up the scanning equipment, I make a few phone calls. We wait……’
‘Ok. I’m going to draw a Webcomic about an obscure artist Dave’s never heard of. That’ll piss him off, unless it’s too late and #TeamTartan are already goners’
My Dad was down in the galley surrounded by haggis in dry rub heaven. All was good.
‘So….Mr Leggatt, let’s continue……page 123 of your ‘little black book’ “……Marco is found dead , with only a tiny cut to his left leg. poisoned using an umbrella’
‘Yes, I know it’s been done before, but it was a Friday night, it was late, I couldn’t be bothered…….’
‘So you killed him……?’
‘NO…..I think your getting mixed up. I’m a writer. All those names are fictional, I made them up. What I meant was, I’d had a couple of martinis that night, and couldn’t come up with an original way to kill off Marco. I was REALLY getting bored with him and bloody jealous at the number of women he was bedding!’
‘So, you became jealous of a fictional character that you yourself had created…….?’
‘Eh…….yes……I had had a couple of drinks……’
‘Were you in Biarritz recently?’
‘Yes, we had a break in Biarritz…..why?’
‘Well, I think we’re about done’
‘Done with what?………..can you hear a whirring noise………what was that…….now it’s clicking……..are we safe here’
‘Well, Mr Leggatt, you see, a Marco Verucci was nearly killed in Biarritz a few weeks ago…….and guess what……..he’d been poisoned with………an umbrella!!!’
Gigi glowed green as a myriad of computers scrolled gigabytes of information across the screens.
‘It looks like they are being held in some sort of subterranean complex directly below the Kelpies. Yoor Wullie is being held with 2 others in one room, Leggatt is in a room of his own as is Dave. Nothing unusual there. 😏 There’s only one way in. It’s heavily guarded. There is a ventilation shaft, but I’m not sure that helps us.’
Suddenly the door to the deck of the canal boat opened, followed by a body stumbling down the stairs onto the floor. Startled, Gigi and I turned around to find a green and very crumpled Mojito Man lying in front of them.
‘Mojito Man! Are you ok?’
‘Yes. I’ve come to save Debra. I miss my Bendy Girl. Not easy to be an Avenging double act, when there’s only one of you, plus, I miss my Saturday night, Mojito mashing, drinking partner’
‘That’s a noble quest Mojito Man, but, it’s like one of Leggats novels, neither Gigi nor I can fathom it out. If we don’t come up with something soon, it might be too late’
Just then there was a loud bang, the galley door burst open, and a purple cloud of hot dry haggis rub filled the room.
‘Sorry girls…… Last ball of the ninth….I think I just struck a home run……we have a haggis dry rub to die for’
It was Mojito Man who had surprisingly come up with the plan. As darkness fell, Gigi, Dad and I found ourselves playing baseball close to the entrance to the Kelpies.
‘Ok Gigi, hit me with your best shot’
‘Eh, Gigi, you’re supposed to be letting Dad hit it towards the guards remember? We’re supposed to be DISTRACTING THEM!’
‘He never let’s me win back home, so why should I let him win here?’
It soon developed into a slightly heated game, at which point both guards moved toward us.
That was the cue for Mojito Man to start climbing one of the Kelpies.
‘Could you move along please. This is a restricted area’
‘Ain’t it a ‘tourist attraction’ for……….tourists?
‘We have a temporary safety incident at this time. The attraction is closed’
Gigi was trying to kill dad, or at least maim him, hurtling the baseball towards his eyes. WHAM! Fortunately Dad managed to hit Gigi’s bullet. Unfortunately, his home run hit one of the guards square on the forehead. There was a cracking noise just before he toppled like a felled tree to the ground. As the other guard bent down to help him, Gigi took him out with a new Karate move she’d learnt only the other Saturday.
…………Mojito Man sat on top of the Kelpie. He didn’t like heights. It was only the thought of sharing a green Mojito and a packet of hula hoops with Bendy Girl, which prevented him from keeling over. He looked down at the ventilation pipe, unscrewed the top of the dust unit, opened the first bag, waited for my signal, then chucked the first of Dads Haggis Dry Rub down the pipe.
Having been questioned about their links to Leggatt and Gigi, YoorWullie, Debra and Stoker of the Dean had long since got bored. YoorWullie was just about to attempt to bore the guards to death with the history of the Jacobites, when Stoker of the Dean shouted’
‘Look there’s purple smoke coming out of that vent. What a lovely colour. It’s beautiful’
As the first guards breath caught the first pocket of Haggis Dry Rub, he sank to his knees coughing, spluttering, his eyes streaming. Within seconds the second guard was similarly indisposed.
‘Cover your noses guys, this is our chance to get away from these numpties.
YoorWullie and Stoker of the Dean followed Bendy Girl into the corridor. Stumbling, choking guards were running in all directions. They followed one particular group up a set of stairs and within minutes they were out in the open air in front of the Kelpies. They found themselves surrounded by men in black suits coughing solidly and three familiar characters playing baseball.
‘Over here Debra, follow us……’
It wasn’t long before Leggatt and Dave appeared, joining the rest of #TeamTartan in a race to the canal boat. Soon they were on the move, leaving the Kelpies looking particularly beautiful, covered in a purple dry rub shroud, backlit by the silver moonlight.
As Mojitos, Belhaven and Irn Bru were brought out in celebration at #TeamTartan’s escape from the FBAye, there was a large pat on the back for Mojito Man’s idea to use my Dad’s Haggis Dry Rub mix through the subterranean ventilation system. It had been a stoke of genius. 😏
As the canal boat chugged it’s way into the Scottish mist, Leggatt placed his martini on the table……’Did anyone hear a noise…..?’
TeamTartan were back where they belonged………together ☺️
I smiled, what could possibly happen next……… 😳
FT’s TartanDiaries Episode 9 – Purple Haze was brought to you by David Linden aka @qosfc1919 and Dodo Productions © 2015 ☺️
Mark Leggatt really is a writer and his novel ‘Names Of The Dead’ will be published in July by Fledgling Press and online By Faber.
Also remember to visit FT’s webcomics over at thehistorytwins.wordpress.com