Bucky, the Big Tree and The secret of the Sierra Madre
“𝅘𝅥𝅮𝅘𝅥𝅮..La cucaracha, la cucaracha, ya no puede caminar…𝅘𝅥𝅯𝅘𝅥𝅯”….he sang softly flicking another pebble at the dusty brown scuttlers seemingly scavenging aimlessly in the stoor lit by the roaring brazier.
The last remnants of the yellow and red sun beamed over the blackness of the distant Sierra Madre blinding him a little and spoiling his aim. He adjusted his Green and Silver hooped Seville Souvenir Sombrero pulling it a little lower and with the revitalised vigour of a determined sniper, he fired one of his last two bits of ammo at the wee assembly of prehistoric survivors.
“-¡ Mil diantres!” he grumbled, his rusty Mexican/Spanish strange even to his ear. Not that surprising really. That’s what 15 years exiled in Coatbridge does for you. A decade and a half that had started as a one night stopover on his way back from Seville and that that unforgettable 21st May experience.
….“Mind you” he whispered to his target audience at his feet “a wee loss of local intonation was a price worth paying for the privilege of being inveigled into that centre of the intellectual universe. My soul will be tattooed forever with the culture, the music, the literature, the bonhomie and the roller coaster of pubs from the Big Tree to the Forge to Silkies and a thousand other stop offs in between……..”
His memory smiled as he gazed fondly at his last fine green bottle of that blessed elixir of life and then like a final parting he gargled the dregs down his gullet. The universe watched and in a cosmic empathy despatched the sunlight behind the towering peaks, leaving all as dark as the morning flush after a night on Chicken Vindaloo and Guinness.
Despite all that had happened he had never forgotten his true mission in life and had always been ready at a moment’s notice to return and discharge the duties that mythology and legend had placed on his shoulders all of 32 years previous. That call to arms had never come and despite moments of extreme anxiety, the world had continued to revolve in an acceptable fashion.
“Aye” he mumbled in the lilting melody of the Scottish patois “The adventure ….all over now…… the camaraderie, the wanderlust at last sated and here I am back in the real world. My world, and my pledged mission to protect the secret but magical treasures hidden in my cave.”
He admired the camouflage hiding the entrance to the sainted sepulchure from the eyes of the uninitiated…….“Lang-L-Toi rules ya bass” it proclaimed, sprayed on his texted instructions from that pilgrimage to pay homage to monument where the famed ‘Phil Coles’ had once stood.
He felt a tear form but before it could bubble down his cheek, a sudden air disturbance brought him back to the flight or fight of a clear and present danger. His antennae said ‘Hun drone’ and in a nano-second his attack response and radar honed to a scalpel sharpness from walking through Airdrie on a Saturday night, combined with his natural Pancho Villa reactions, triggered his hand, wrist and arm in perfect harmony to launch his last stony missile skywards.
Like a smart bomb it flew unerringly towards its target, taking the invader out of the equation and sending it tumbling its wilkies into the trunk of the tree he had been resting against….his very own Big Tree!
“Chinga tu madre!” he called in triumph at the vanquished infiltrator… “ or as we say in Coatbridge ‘Feck you!’….Hun Drone and quartered indeed” he thought with the Lanarkshire conditioned part of his brain.
He picked up a rock and stepped with destructive intent towards the semi-buckled spying sneak…..and then said “AAAAH NAW!” with regret as it wisnae a robotic clype after all ….just an unsuspecting wee bat that had been heading out on a night of foraging to feed its hungry offspring.
There it lay, patagium half-mangled, antennae twisted and probably shiteing itself at the prospect of a further assault by a feckin big rock.
Antonio hesitated as a pang of regret stayed his hand. He replaced the rock, blessed the bat with Extreme Unction but then as with all optimists realised that there was a bright side to his unjustified assault on the poor wee night time forager…..His return would not now have gone unnoticed.
After all if the bats knew and the wee army of combatative and irritating dust scrabblers knew then the world would know that he was back; and the message would be loud and clear ‘”don’t feckin mess wae the boy frae the Monklands unless ye want a severe malkying”.
He would translate that into Mexican Spanish later!
And then a spark lit up his mind’s eye and he thought of the person who really had to know that he was back …his wee but perfectly formed Conchita.
“Quince años..” he pondered “Quince años desde que la vi …”
A picture formed, no…a sculpture of that last night beneath the stars they had held each other…..her hair, her eyes, her slender oh so slender neck and her inviting arms….and always…oh always her pièce de résistance (another Coatbridge chat up line he had learnt) the peak undoubtedly, the way she would stand there undulating her ribs, his mind watering in anticipation as she added the ‘coup de grace’ (His grasp of Coatbrigese knew no bounds)….black bean frying sauce.
He turned towards the ponderosa
She would probably see some changes in him no doubt, hopefully fur the better but perhaps she would have some new quaities that would add to his own whirling pool of devotion. He tried to stick his empty Bucky bottle in his jeans’ back pocket but they were a bit tight. He smiled realising that it was just his anticipation of her ribs in black bean sauce.
He emerged from the final tree leading to the welcoming light from the uncurtained windows. He readied his traditional greeting call but choked it into the depths of his soul as a figure appeared at the windae.
It was a man; a man that Antonio could see had the shape of evil, the stride of doom and in Antonio’s mind anyway the remaining lifespan of a gadfly.
The empty Bucky bottle would be put to a traditional Monkland’s use. The scars would be permanent, the injuries fatal and the judgement of the gods…..FINAL.
Assuming that renowned Mexican Guerilla pose that he had learned from 782 viewings of The Magnificent 7, he sidled through the mooncast shadows to just below the window frame.
A quick glance confirmed the stranger’s presence seated back to the window, at a computer, keying something slowly but deliberately. Antonio stepped quietly away into the shadow a gain and did a slow cossack dance cum exagerrated montypythonesque silly walk to the front door. He raised himself to his full 5ft 4inches and with a move reminiscent of Bruce Lee he shattered the catch, wrenched the hinges and battered the barrier to oblivion, emerging into the brightly lit interior to confront the turning figure at the desk.
It was more horrible than even he had contemplated.
Facing him was an ogre, a giant looming from at least 5ft 8ins, a balding red-bearded figure-hugging-blue-suited-pipe-smoker with a lower jaw like an alligator; but the thing that really made him stand out was the brown platform style winkle pickers.
Antonio knew instantly that he would have no regrets sending this shipwreck of style, to the after world of tastelessness to join Hepworths, Burtons and especially Smellie Shoes that used to have an emporium at Belgrove.
He gripped his Bucky bottle tightly and launched himself at his adversary….stopping in HDTV freeze frame half way to scream from his wily coyote pose
“If you have hurt my Conchita, laid a finger upon her blackbean sauce fried ribs I shall turn you into a bag of entrails that would adorn the waste skip of the slaughterhouse bin on Dundyvan road (near the oily black pond)”…..(He also thought of taking advantage of the time freeze to contact Quick Quid to get his tractor fixed and boiler repaired) but then just as time’s sweeping hand restarted he knew this may be his last chance and raised his weapon to shoulder height, demanding as the bottle arced towards the blue-suited man’s skull “What have you done wae ma Conchita?”
Fortunately at that very moment before the grevious harm had been inflicted, Antonio’s mobile rang. It was Quick Quid.
“Haud on a second pal…I need to take this”
The fashion assassin took window of the hiatus in violent assault to kick off the brown winkle-pickers, rip off the alligators jaw, peel away the pretendy baldy heid and unglue the red beard……
“It’s me my darling…it’s me ….look …..lick my saucy ribs”
Antonio was however busy on the phone by this stage “1,348% APR? Ya bunch of corrupt chancers..think ah came up the Clyde in a…… (world wide web P.C moderators have barred mention of the type of craft)….boat? Feck aff”
Wily Coyote plummeted floorwards, landing in stunned delight at the vision that stood before him.
“Conchita Conchita I thought you’d been wasted,
by a blue suited bloke who never has tasted
the tang of yer ribs, the spice of yer sauce
Life would have flatlined at the sense of yer loss”
“Oh my Antonio, yer such a big bleater
You know wee Conchita wis never a cheater
The internet of you it showed no’ a trace
Goggle said ” nae match fur that slabbery face”
“But the garb, the suit, the beard….” a thousand questions formed in Antonio’s head….not least of all, “How wis Conchita speaking like a wee teaser frae Cuparhead?”
Behind Conchita the computer screen flashed. Antonio snatched the last few words ….”...in the Kettle” ….and then right, wrong, white, black, up, down stopped having any meaning as a noise unheard since the demise of the dinosaurs fractured the night.
“¡Dios Mío!” exclaimed Antonio!
“Well feck me gently wae a sledgehammer” said Conchito.
A meteor screamed across the night curtain, the trail of the tail or possibly the tale of the trail underlining a pattern of dancing and alternating flashing stars.
Antonio knew that this was it.
He whispered to himself….”This is it”.
The starbusrsts were a keycode. He waited a few more minutes and confirmation came as the night’s coolness took over from the meteor’s passing heat.
A breeze rustled in the trees and sang in his ear. The moon above brighter than any moon ever seen shone through the singing leaves and the shadows cast danced in time to the aria that he had rehearsed all those decades ago. He joined in and sang those words to that tune while his feet danced that dance.
At last it was time.
He smiled to himself in the way that only Tims with a mission to save the world from utter despair and destruction could. Pirouetting past the goat pen he bowed in front of the sheer stone escarpment and stepped on the line of stones at his feet in the keycode order reavealed by the asterodal chorus line.
At first the wall cracked slightly then the gap widened and the echo of his song was replayed to him first and then followed by a harmony of the most beautiful choir, on the brightest moonlit clear night and gentlest of cooling breezes by voices not of angels, but of sages, shamans, Gurus
A beam of ultraviolet light sheared through the depths of the rear wall of the cave blinding Antonio. And then the Moon dimmed, the rustling stopped, the dancing shadows froze and the singing ended.
The night went silent, the rocks closed and Antonio rubbed the piercing dagger of light from his eyes, staring at his now rooted feet where lay the package with which he had been entrusted all those years ago.
The stars sparkled once more, but this time with the prophesy from so many years previous.
“when it is needed, and you will be told when, good men, strong men, men with magic in their feet and power in their souls will come from the east. Seven men, each with a word that when combined will form a key that will open the seal and reveal the secrets of the black magic case. The power of the words is unknown by those who carry them, apart from one man. That man, one among seven knows the power, but not the words. But it is only through him that when they are said will the power be manifest. They are only to be used in the most dire of straits, but no prayer or plea will be made for when those occur, the powers of the muses will set in motion the journey. You will be told when that happens.”
Antonio turned to engage one possibly final time with Conchita. She had gone.
He looked at the package in his hands. Conchita would never come second to a mere package of mysterious magic but unless he did what he had to do then there would never again be the even more mysterious magic of ACAHFBBSMR…..
Antonio, Conchito And Her Fried Black Bean Sauce Marinated Ribs.
Without a glance backwards he headed into the stygian gloom of danger but great potential.
Back in the Hacienda of the living room, Conchita reclothed herself, reshod her feet, reglued her beard, rechinned her jaw and replaced her bald pate.
Thescreen still displayed “Plenty of herring in the kettle”…she hit the enter key, picked up the wee cockroach on the floor, kissed it’s wee lips, wrapped it carefully in her hanky, placed it gently on the floor and crushed it beneath her left heel.
Outside as Antonio started his trek to save humanity, the wee stunned bat stirred and a green light shone from its blinking eyes. With a couple of practice flaps its wings took it back into the air. Staring up from their dusty territory the wild bunch of cockroaches turned in unison towards the path that Antonio had trodden.
Led by wee batty the bat, they marched in file to make sure that Antonio’s quest would not be in vain….Football, the transfer window, Celtic and the future of humanity depended upon it.
TO BE CONTINUED