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666 Great Junction Street

Part 27

Fat Boab handed over another shot of Courvoisier to the haughty hack.

'You know, there was a big stramash in the street earlier on. Shouldn't you be covering that?'

Dawson sighed. 'Yes, I caught the tail end of it. Some awful racket and a bunch of oiks getting uppity with the local constabulary as far as I could make out. That's why I popped in here to get away from it. Too much noise makes me nauseous and, generally speaking, I don't do news.'

'You don't do news?'

'I don't do news. Oh, if only I could resign now or just get the lunch ticket - you know, reviewing restaurants and the like. Dribbling on about sumptious sauces and perky wines. At least you have some fairly tolerable establishments for noshing in around here. Awful snobs in them, though.'

Boab restrained his scoff. 'Aye, you've a hard life right enough.'

'What quaint rustic clichés you do spout,' said Dawson.

'So what you gong to write then?'

'No idea. I'll just spout some bile on impulse. Reflex vomiting if you like. It's my style.'

'Sounds riveting.'

'Are you attempting to extract the feculence?'

'Probably. How am I doing?'

'Not bad actually. Tell me everything you know.'


'Yes. Go on. I've got at least five minutes.'

Boab let that one go. It wasn't every day he had a cognac drinker in and he felt it was his duty to at last get rid of the stuff which had been lying untouched for years. This guy looked like he could shift the whole bottle, so it was best to humour the little prick. 'You'll have to let me know when they print your article. I can't wait to read it. Are you sure you don't want any background information you can warp?'

'Well, now you come to mention it, what's that horrendous spike at the entrance to your exquisite shopping centre?' Dawson was referring to the modern spiralling metal sculpture at the entrance to the Kirkgate which some said symbolised a middle finger sticking up, directed at the residents of Edinburgh. A little research would have told him everything he needed to know. But Dawson didn't do research.

'Ah, now, that I do know. It is a reminder of Leith's whaling past and represents the tusk of a Narwhal.'

'Bloody hell. The tusk of a Narwhal, a statue of Queen Victoria and a Boots with a bouncer. This is one classy neighbourhood.'

The pub door creaked open.

'Ah, Eddie,' said Boab, indicating the newcomer. He turned to Dawson. 'This is Eddie Thomson. He's a match steward at Easter Road. He gets paid to turn his back on the Hibs whenever they're at home. He's good at directing people to the toilets.' Then, nodding at Eddie, he said, 'This gentleman reckons that everyone who drinks in this bar makes him feel physically sick. What do you make of that?'

Eddie seemed distracted, but casually smacked Dawson over the head just for good measure.

'Must dash,' said Dawson, bolting down his cognac.

Next week: Start Making Sense



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