Michael J Jackson

Gan Oot Wi A Bang

A group of partygoers in Jimmy Hats and kilts stagger across my path. Before I can react, their leader seizes my shoulders. She giggles and slides her hand through my ginger curls. I feel her lips smear against each of my cheeks, smell the lager on her breath. She reels back and says in a strong Gallic accent that she loves “Bonnee Scotland.” I cringe.

With a shake of the head and a fake smile I extricate myself from the betrayers of the Auld Alliance and continue past the National Portrait Gallery, heading towards the exit gate by the North British Hotel, or the Balmoral as it’s now named. The gate is a choke point and the crowd of departing partygoers is backing up. I wish Dougie and Catriona were here but they were lifted this morning by those traitorous Lowlanders in the Lothian and Borders Police, who, no doubt, were jerking in response to a pull of their strings by Those People. I’m sure my kinsmen now languish in cells and are undergoing insipid interrogations.

I shudder as I pass by Edinburgh’s traditional German Market and weave round drunken revellers who slur in a babble of Euro-tongues blended with Australian and American. Varied breeds of Those People are also in evidence, having swarmed over our open border. Many are attired in Up-Yer-Kilt badges, Lion Rampart T-shirts, and the tartans of clans of which they are not clansfolk and never will be. They are no doubt fuelled by whiskys not fit to bear the name from distilleries in Doncaster, and shortbreads made from margarine and tinned in Tesco tartan, some of which will later reappear as puddles of sludge; plooks that will stain the face of our capital.

Hogmanay is a time for homes and roaring log fires, for family, friends and neighbours, for in such warmth the bonds of community, and so of Nation, are forged. Not this travesty imported from Trafalgar Square, forced upon us by corporate overseers, marketed to the world as an “authentic Scottish experience.” The gales of 2003 cast doubts upon its future but it reappeared like a persistent bogle in all its profanity one year later. My kinsmen and I, though, took the storm as a sign from the Almighty—Scotland must return to her traditions. The cultural rape of the Nation must be curtailed.

The wind blows the rain against my exposed legs beneath my kilt. I pass the foot of the Scott Monument, giving a nod to “the wizard of the North”, turn, cross Princes Street, avoid a pair of fornicating dogs and hunker down on the corner with South St Andrew Street. I unshoulder my back-pack, unzip it and reach inside. I feel around the edges of my M18A1 anti-personnel mine. I angle the pack so it faces the densest part of the crowd, taking care that the Scott Monument will remain unscathed. When the mine is detonated, seven hundred tightly-packed ball-bearings will spray out and cut a swath fifty metres wide by two metres high through anything in their path. Three OAPs in garish plaid shiver in the wind. A young couple with dark skins hold mittened hands and kiss. Girls in mini-kilts share a giggle. Only the concrete of Waverley Market, or the Princes Mall as it’s now named, will stop the steel swarm. Everyone in between will be transformed to hamburger in an instant. I think of the Scots in that crowd and of how their deaths will redeem the betrayal of their collaboration. The Campbells of Montana have delivered me a weapon that bears a most fitting name—the Claymore.

I take the M57 firing device and, unspooling the control wire as I go, flit around the corner into cover in the doorway of McDonalds, behind the mine and clear of its deadly gaze. Not for me the role of suicide bomber. I will live for this time next year, when tradition is respected once more. In that quiet moment I will partake of a mature single malt and reflect upon my restorative to the Nation. I close my eyes.

“Hey big yin! Howse it hingin’?” My eyes pop open. I turn at the sound. A bear of a man, a Braveheart-blued face, a St Andrew’s flag billowing from his shoulders, staggers to my left. My nostrils twitch at the rancid odour of stale urine. Then, from my right, a response, “Awight mate! Where the fahk were you?” They embrace. Then turn towards me.

My pulse asserts itself. Their bodies sway but their eyes are sober. Redcoats incognito. I clack the firing device. They advance. Clack. They dive. Clack. As they land on me the air whooshes from my lungs. There is an explosion from Princes Street. Victory, Dougie, Catriona. Victory!

Steel encircles my wrists. Greens, yellows, blues, whites, reds flash across my vision. The redcoats wrench me around. The blue-faced race traitor looms in, a pair of wire cutters in his clenched fist.

Fireworks fizz and crackle as they light up the Castle. The crowd cheers and laughs. Oh! Brave bonnie lads of the ’45, forgive me. Forgive me.