FOOLS' PARADISE

Zlobtnov Yorovonko
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© Gavin Sinclair 2000

    "Sorry," I said, and took a swig from the can.
    "I bloody hate Rangers."
    I almost choked.
    "Yeah, I hate the bastards. I'm a Killie man, myself. Always have been. You know what really used to piss me off? Goin' to Rugby Park and passing all those 'Gers fans on the way, waiting for the bus to Glasgow. Three thousand we had in the ground, if we were lucky, and meanwhile half the town was at Ibrox. Bloody disgrace!"
    "But you played for Rangers."
    "Aye, I did."
    "And, uh, you're their manager."
    "Aye, I am."
    "Well, uh .....," I couldn't quite think how to phrase the question. I dropped my pen with a clink on the red terra-cotta tiles and bent to pick it up.
    "Money, lad. Why d'ye think?"
    I returned from under the table, holding my pen.
    "Anyway, it's all changed now." He paused, drawing on his cigarette and staring into space.
    "What has?" I managed after a few seconds of silence.
    "Everything. D'you know why I gave you this exclusive? Did you wonder that on the plane over here? A wee lad like you, not one of the big shots at the Record or the Mail? Or Scotland on Sunday, maybe?"
    "Actually, I did rather wonder. Yes."
    "'Cos they're all a bunch of pricks." He stared at me through a haze of smoke. I think I must look like someone who is easily shocked. People are always saying rude or outrageous things just to see my reaction. It's actually not a bad thing, when you're a reporter. Gets you some great quotes. "And I'd rather you got a nice little trip to Spain, than one of those bastards."
    "You have a great house here."
    "Yeah, yeah, I know. Drink your beer."
    "What's changed, Mr. McKean?"
    "Well, son, here's your exclusive. I'm resigning as manager of Rangers."
    I tried to look surprised. The fact was that I was disappointed. After a season like this one, this could hardly be called sensational news. The best I could manage was, "I see."
    "And I only have a couple of weeks to live."
I looked up from my pad. McKean was famous for his unusual sense of humour. His eyes met mine directly with no trace of mischief. I reached for the can of Tennent's.
    "What is it? I mean, what...."

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