Things start making more sense for Joe now as he figures out a particular grudge against him
Mike and Dad:
“Tim, you know that Mike knew Dad?” That was the first thing I said, as Tim came over to the car.
Tim hit the button on his key unlocking the doors, stopped and looked over the roof of the car. “You figured that out ‘en?”
“Something Mike just said. How does he know him?”
“Better get in the car, it’s a long story.”
Tim fired up the car.
“Well, come on?” Slouching into a comfortable position, preparing for a long story.
“Back in 1990, Davie was pally wi’ Mike’s brother, Carl Jenkins. They used to do the odd job together.”
“Jobs. What kind o’ jobs?” Asking quickly, not giving him a chance to continue his story.
“Thieving, sorting boys out, that kind of thing. They were on the hunt for a pair o’ lads in Aberdeen that ripped off a gangster in Glasgow, Jamie Dean, a relation in some way to Steve Dean. Their job was to find them and hold them until Jamie Dean made his way up to Aberdeen to finish them off.”
“Aye, carry on.”
“Right, Davie and Carl spent a couple weeks looking for these two, they'd all but given up. Unbelievably, both men walked straight into The Fountain when Davie and Carl sat at the bar.” Tim paused for breath.
“What happened next?”
“They couldn’t believe their luck. Two weeks of looking for these two bastards, and they walked right into the palms of their hands. Carl clicked onto who they were right away. He’d carried a photo in his wallet for two weeks. He signalled Davie to follow him into the toilet to hatch a plan. When they left, Davie headed outside, waiting for them to come out.”
“Who were they?” I was totally engrossed in the story.
“Well, Carl knew who they were, he picked up the job and told Davie what he needed to know. A couple o’ knife-thugs from Glasgow. The kind of boys who grew up in the slums, and carried a blade like a fashion accessory.”
“What did they do to Jamie Dean?”
“The word was, they intercepted a huge haul of drugs on the way to Jamie Dean. Pills, if I remember right. When they found out they belonged to Mr Dean, they disappeared from the city. They’d been shifting it up our way.”
“What happened to Dad when he went outside?”
“The plan was for Davie to head outside and wait. Carl was supposed to follow the two guys out once they left. The thing is, once they left the pub, he just sat on his seat sipping away at his pint.”
“Dad got left to deal with both men outside?”
“Aye, he tried. He stopped them in their tracks as they came outside at closing time. He was waiting for Carl to come out and back him up. He didn’t.”
“You’re going to tell me he got stabbed and ended up in hospital?”
“Aye, that’s right. Davie tried to take them both on at once and in normal cases, he would’ve been successful, but he wasn’t prepared for these two cunts being armed with blades. I don’t think they lifted their hands to him, but what they did do, was stab him five times. Once in the upper arm and four times in the chest and stomach.”
“Jesus, I remember that. Me and mam visited him in hospital. Carl didn't come out?”
“Here’s where the story grows another leg. Your dad was shagging Carl’s bird at the time. Carl knew and wanted to get his own back. He found out, but didn’t let Davie know that he knew. Carl didn't bargain on Davie living. God knows what was going through his head. Like Mike, Carl was a grumpy, back-stabbing jealous bastard.”
“Fuckin’ prick, shaggin’ other birds. Tim, you know more about my old man than I do. He must’ve been lucky to make it through that.”
“That’s what I’ve been saying. Your dad is one hard son of a bitch. The nurses said to your mother that they'd never seen somebody so close to death and be able to walk out the door as if nothing happened.”
“All this is why Mike’s a bit funny wi’ me?”
“The story isn’t finished yet.You know the story of your dad killing someone in a scrap, aye?”
“I’ve heard the stories, aye.”
“Three months later, once your dad was fully fit, he tracked Carl down and challenged him to a fight. Last-man-standing rules. Carl, the stupid cunt, agreed. A big fucker like Mike, but wasn’t the fighter your dad was. He just said yes ‘cos he knew your dad wouldn’t stop until he got his own back. Carl just wanted it over and done with, but little did he know. Mike was only twenty at the time, and had no influence over his older brother.”
“Jesus man, I thought you’d know that. It’s when somebody gets knocked down, the round ends they go back to the corner, or they have a minute to come to, then the round starts again. And no hitting when the man’s down. It’s frowned upon in this game, but happens a lot. Old-school rules, as they say.”
“The fight? Dad killed Carl, right?”
“Aye, that’s pretty much it Joe. Bare-knuckle. In the top floor of the Bon Accord parking lot. Davie kept winding Carl up about his bird saying stuff like ‘She was gagging for it, I taught her what a real man feels like.’ Carl got sucked in and kept coming. Davie kept putting him down, round after round. Somebody counted Carl was down about sixteen times, but once he went down the seventeenth time, there was no getting up.”
“This is what Mike told me. Carl was on the ground on one knee and Davie cupped his chin with his left hand and nailed him as sweet as you like across the jaw with his right fist. Game over. Carl was in a permanent sleep. Got told from an older guy I know that it was the most vicious punch he'd ever seen. Davie played with him the whole fight, knowing he was going to kill him.”
“You’re telling me that Mike witnessed all this?”
“Aye, he was there and seen it all. Like you, he’s desperate to get hold o’ your dad.”
“No wonder he’s so fuckin’ touchy wi’ me. And, he can join the queue.”
“Don’t worry, he's touchy wi’ everyone, not just you.”
That was a lot to take in on the way home from Kilgours. I remember the time as a young boy. I didn’t really understand what was going on with Dad in hospital. Five stab wounds and he survived! If he ever got his hands on those two Glaswegians, they’d live to regret their actions. It was sad that Tim knew more about my dad than I did but hey, I didn’t want to know him growing up.
I was getting more curious to know how much other dodgy shit he got up to. This road I was walking down was teaching me as much about my Father as it was teaching me about myself.