Saturday, 4 April 2015

Tangerine Dream a short story by Grant Harbison

Dundee, Scotland 1987

21 year old Brian Hegarty ran frantically down the stairs of his house when he heard the relentless banging on his front door. When he opened the door, his friend, Craig Munro, stood outside looking very anxious.

“Whit’s aw the bangin’ aboot?” Brian asked. “The wife’s jist got the bairn tae sleep.”

“Sorry, mate. We’ll need tae get movin’ if we want tae see the game.”

“Whit are ye oan aboot? The pub’s jist doon the road.”

“Aye, but we’re no gaun tae The Crown.”


“Ah thought we’d gang tae The Viceroy.”

“That’s awa oan the other side o’ toon. Whit dae ye want tae gang there for?”

“It’ll be full o’ United supporters, plus there’s a bigger telly.”

“Aye, awricht. Let me jist grab ma jaicket an’ say cheerio tae the wife.”

Twenty minutes later, they both waited patiently at the bus stop.

“Ah’ve got a feelin’ it’s gonnae be a braw game the nicht,” said Craig. “An’ you?”

“Naw, beatin’ Barcelona at Tannadice is wan thing, but oan their groon’? Nae chance.”

“Aw c’moan, United could dae it. Scottish fitba’ is no aw aboot Rangers an’ Celtic.”

“Ah ken that.”

“If Aberdeen can dae it in Europe, so can we.”

“We’ve done well tae get tae this stage. Where’s that bus?”

Craig looked at his watch. “It better hurry up. Dinnae want tae miss the start.”

Just then a bus turned around the corner a little further up the road.

“Here we go,” said Brian

When they entered the pub three quarters of an hour later, they were astonished to find that it was almost empty.

“A bit quiet,” Brian remarked. “Is yer watch richt?”

“Aye, ah checked it before ah left hame.”

“Let’s hae a pint.”

“Whit can ah get ye, lads?” the barman asked.

“Twa pints o’ lager,” said Brian.

“Ah thought the place wid be mobbed by noo,” said Craig to the barman when he returned with the drinks.

“Aye, it wid be if the telly wis workin’,” the barman replied.

“Whit!” exclaimed Craig.

“Aye, been like that for a few days noo. Repair man said he’d be here the morra.”

“Aw that’s jist brilliant!” Brian moaned. “Whit noo?”

“Whit aboot the Tartan Dog?” Craig suggested.

“Dinnae be daft. That place will be full o’ the Dens Park mob. We’d be subjected tae verbal abuse or even worse when they find oot that we’re United supporters.”

“Aye, yer richt. Whit aboot Saracens?”

“Where’s that?”

“It’s aboot a mile doon the road. Hurry up an’ finish yer pint. We’ll probably only miss the kick aff.”

Outside the pub, Craig set the pace and Brian struggled to keep up.

“Slow doon, wid ye!” Brian yelled.

Craig slowed down to let his friend catch up. “If ye move a wee bit faster, we’ll get there oan time.”

“We could go hauf oan a taxi?” Brian proposed.

“Waste o’ money.”

“Are you bein’ tight fisted again?”

“That’s no fair. Ye ken ah only get ma Giro oan Tuesday. Whit aboot you? You’re the wan that’s workin’.”

“Aye, but ah’ve got a wife an’ bairn tae support.”
Suddenly they heard the sound of sirens

“That’s no too faur awa,” said Brian.”Ah wonder whit that’s aboot?”

“Somethin’s oan fire.”


“Look,” said Craig pointing ahead. “Dae ye no see the smoke?’

“Aye ah see it noo. Ah wonder whit’s burnin’?”

Just then three fire brigade trucks whizzed past them.

“Must be serious,” stated Craig

Brian noticed a figure walking towards them. “Maybe we should ask this auld guy.”

Before either of them could ask the question, the man spoke to them first. “Ah widnae gang doon that way, lads. It’s chaos.”

“Whits oan fire?” Brian asked.

“The Saracens pub,” the man replied.

“Aw naw.” Craig groaned. “How?’

“Ah dinnae ken. Aw ah ken is that naebody got hurt.”

“Where tae noo?” Brian asked Craig.

“We better gang hame,” replied Craig. “There’s a bus comin’. C’moan, run!”

Both young men ran across the road, narrowly avoiding oncoming traffic

“Hurry, Brian, it’s awready at the bus stoap!”

As soon as they got to the bus, the doors had already closed. They tried desperately to get the driver’s attention, but he didn’t see them and drove off.

“This is turnin’ oot tae be a disaster,” Brian grumbled. “An’ you said that this wis gonnae turn oot tae be a braw nicht.”

“It’s no ma fault.”

“We should’ve went tae The Crown, or better still, got a few cans an’ watched it at hame.”

“If a bus comes in the next few minutes, we’ll see maist o’ the second hauf.”

“Wan o’ the greatest matches in Dundee United’s history, an’ we’re miles fae hame, waiting oan a bus.”

“Aw, cheer up, will ye. Ye can be a richt prophet o’ doom sometimes. Here’s a bus comin’ noo. So stoap moanin’.”

“Dae ye ken the United score, pal?” Craig asked a young man sitting at the front of the bus.

The young man shook his head.

“Does anybody ken the United score?”  he yelled.

Some of the passengers shook their heads, while others ignored him.

“Looks like we’ll huv tae wait,” he said to Brian.

Twenty minutes into the journey, the driver stopped the bus.

“Whit’s happenin’?” Brian asked. “This is no a bus stoap.”

“Whit’s gaun oan?” Craig hollered.

“Ah think the bus has broke doon, son,” an elderly woman at the front of the bus replied.

Brian sighed and shook his head. “This jist gets better an’ better.

Moments later the driver appeared. “Ah’m sorry aboot this,” he told the passengers. “Ye’ll aw have tae wait for another bus. Ah dinnae ken whit the problem is. Jist mak sure ye’ve aw got yer tickets.”

“There’s nae time tae tak another bus,” Craig told Brian. “We’ll huv tae walk.”

“We’re still too faur awa. We’ll never mak it in time.”

“Ah ken a shoart cut, c’moan.”

“Where are we gaun?” asked Brian minutes later.

“If we go ower the railway lines, we’ll get tae the graveyard. We’ll nip through the grave yard an’ we’ll be minutes awa fae The Crown.”

“Ah’m no gaun through there!”

“Och, dinnae be a big fearty.”

“Ah’m no feart.”

“Aye ye are. Dinnae worry. Ah can assure ye there’s nae heidless corpses or zombies walkin’ aboot.”

“Dinnae be daft, Craig. It’s no the deid ah’m worried aboot, it’s the livin’. A lot o’ scallawags hing aboot there.”

“There’ll be naebody there.”

When they reached the graveyard, Brian looked in dismay at the railings.

“Whit’s the matter?” Craig asked.

“There’s spikes oan toap.”


“It’s dark. Wan slip an’ yer impailed.”

“It’s no that high. Ah’ll climb ower first, then ah’ll watch ye fae the other side.”


Craig climbed over the railing with ease. “See it’s easy.”

Brian climbed the railing tentatively. When he reached the top, he wobbled slightly before jumping forward.

“Noo tae get tae the other side. Quiet as a moose, mind.”


Nervous to begin with, Brian felt slightly relieved when they’d reached halfway without incident. But that relief was short lived when three young men suddenly appeared in front of them.

Brian felt his fear rising. “Ah telt ye this wid happen.”

“Let me dae the talkin’,” said Craig.

“Ah dinnae think it’s gonnae dae any good.”

“Awricht, lads,” Craig greeted them.

None of them answered. They just stared at Brian and Craig with malevolent grins on their faces.

“We’re jist tryin’ tae get tae a telly tae see the end o’ the match,” said Craig. “Dae any o’ ye ken the score?”

“Ye better hand ower yer cash,” one of them threatened.

“Och, dinnae be like that. It’s a big match for United the nicht.”

“Ah dinnae care. Ah’m a Dundee supporter. Noo dae as ah say an’ hand ower yer cash. Baith o’ ye.”

“When ah say run, we run,” Craig whispered to Brian.”


“Nae buts. Jist dae whit yer telt.”

“Hey, stoap whisperin’.”

“We’re skint,” said Craig.

“Ah dinnae believe ye. Ye’ve got ten seconds.”

“Run, Brian!”

Craig and Brian ran as quickly as they could towards the railing on the other side.

“Faster, Brian. We still huv tae get ower the railin’. C’moan, they’re gainin’ oan us!”

“Ah’m daein’ ma best!”

As soon as they got to the railing, Craig clambered quickly over. Seconds later, Brian tried to get over, but slipped on his first attempt.

“C’moan, they’re behind ye!”

With adrenalin pumping, Brian scrambled to get over the railing. As he was about to get to the top, he felt a tug on his leg. He lashed out with his boot and connected the face of his assailant. His attacker squealed and he managed to reach the top of the railing; but when his feet hit the ground, he felt an agonising pain in his right ankle and screamed loudly.

“Whit’s wrang!” cried Craig.

“Ma ankle. Ah think ah’ve sprained it!”

To Craig’s surprise, the other two men hadn’t bothered to climb over the railing. They merely attended to their friend without pursuing them any further. Craig helped Brian to his feet and carried him on his back until they reached the road. Brian sat on the side of the road, while Craig tried to flag down passing cars. Eventually a car stopped.

Craig ran to the driver. “Thanks for stoappin’. Ma mate’s sprained his ankle.”

“Ah’m no gaun anywhere near the hoaspital, pal,” said the driver.

“Nae problem, mate. We jist want tae get tae The Crown pub.”

“Ah’m gaun that way. Dae ye need a haun’?”

‘Aye, ah wid appreciate it.”

“Are ye a United supporter?” Craig asked the driver when they’d got Brian into the car.

“Aye, pure Tangerine.”

‘Dae ye ken the score?” asked Craig excitedly.

“Naw, ah’ve jist been drivin’ aw the way fae Manchester. Ma radio packed up the other week. Tae be honest, ah dinnae think we’ll dae it. No many teams gang tae the Nou Camp an’ get a result. It wid be a dream result though.”

“That’s whit ah’ve been tellin’ him aw nicht,” said Brian from the back seat. “The amount o’ bad luck we’ve been huvin’ the nicht, ah reckon it’s a disaster.”

“Oh ye o’ little faith!”

The driver stopped the car outside the pub. “There ye go, lads. Hope it’s a win. Dae ye want a haun wi’ yer pal?”

“Naw, yer awricht. Thanks a lot, mate!”

“Nae bother.”

As soon as they got inside the pub, Craig asked one of the patrons if he would give up his seat for Brian. The man complied and helped get Brian to the seat.

“What’s the score?” Craig asked the man.

“Wan each. We jist scored.”

“That means we’re twa-wan up oan aggregate?”

“Aye, we jist need tae haud oan.”

“Whit can ah get ye, mate?”

‘Pint o’ lager will dae. Thanks, pal.”

“Did ye hear that, Brian? Wan apiece. We jist need tae haud oan.”

Suddenly the commentator began to get excited. “United have it on the left hand side. The ball is whipped in, onto the head of Iain Ferguson, and it’s a goal! Barcelona 1 Dundee United 2. Oh what drama we have here at the Nou Camp! From going one nil down, United have pulled back two goals in the dying minutes!

The whole pub erupted in loud cheers. Craig gave Brian a bear hug and ran to the bar to get the drinks in. Just as he ordered the beers at the bar, the whole pub burst into song, singing, ‘The Terrors of Tannadice.’ Craig felt the hot rush of tears as he brought the beers back.

Brian was also in tears. “We done it, Craig!”

“Ah telt ye!”

“Aye, ye didnae jinx everythin’ the nicht.”

Craig laughed. “Drink up, we need tae get ye tae the hoaspital.”

“That can wait.” 
  • "Aye, a few merr widnae dae any herm.”     

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