Tony Blair: The Wilderness Years The Novel

Tony “Bono” Blair sets out to be CEO with a top Scottish construction company, McCreedie, and meets a strange woman on his journey.

“I feel you have been called upon. You’re the chosen one.”

He stays in a hotel occupied by American oilmen. He meets the strange woman again, and she warns him to be careful. Two men collect Tony: Aristotle Paterson site manager, and Breeze McKong foreman, whose son Billy drives a truck.

“Site? What site?”

The men are puzzled. They were expecting a construction expert. Tony arrives on the site, and is pushed into a dilapidated shed. He’s going to be testing concrete for a runway.

Tony meets chief engineer, Mr. Freeman, who says Ardrossan International Airport is expanding, but Tony is suspicious about drums of hazardous chemical. He sees a worker crushed, and nobody is concerned.

Paterson takes him to his bed and breakfast. His landlady is Mrs Harris, the strange woman. Tony escapes, but meets an aggressive drunk, Sandy Donaldson. He hears scary metallic noises. He sees Sorensen’s Marine Processor fish canning factory.

“There’s no fish round here, sir. You never see fish going in, sir, but you see the cans coming out, and they’re full of seagull.”

Tony’s path is blocked by a mountain of concrete. The man on the mixer, Jim Baird, removes it for him. But a silent man in a combat jacket blocks his way. Tony charges, nearly hitting Freeman. Worse, the hazardous chemical is just plastisizer for the concrete.

Paterson explains:

“The concrete is weak because the money ran out.”

Jim expands.

“The concrete’s weak because of the plasticiser. Paterson won’t want you finding his concrete’s weak.”

So, Tony writes a diary. He tricks Paterson into signing it, but in the lab, McKong makes all the test cubes. Freeman protests, and forces Tony to make one truthful cube. Cube testing day comes round.

“My theories about the world and bad men and everything were going to be proved correct when my itsy-bitsy cube shows up to be no stronger than John Major Minor’s lower lip.”

Tony looks in the log book while the cubes are being tested.

“July 13th No cubes. McCreedie’s concrete tester deceased.”

Yoiks.

McKong has the results. One cube is disastrously weak.

“I think you’ll find that result’s discarded, sir.”

The computer had scrubbed the only accurate result, because it was too accurate.

Mayhem. The man from the Faroes steals petrol from under Tony’s nose. Jim claims not to have seen him, and advises Tony to say the same, which leads him into a chat with CID. The man from the Faroes is on the run.

At the beach, Tony witnesses illegal fishing, and decides to act on it. He tells Paterson, but Paterson says keep out of it.

McKong sends Tony to the top of a silo to measure cement, but he nearly falls.

“I’m back from the dead. There’s no cement in the silo.”

But they don’t accept it, and send him back. He makes up some number instead, which will have disastrous consequences.

Tony sees white refrigerator lorries, and Sorensen’s men in the storeroom. One of them pulls a gun on him, and he runs to Paterson.

“Don’t creep up on people. It was just a bolt gun. They’re using refrigerated lorries so the plasticiser doesn’t explode.”

But Tony is sceptical. He buys a BMX, and discovers the Kirk. He sees a funeral, but the man from the Faroes wants to settle an old score regarding petrol. Tony heads off, but the man doesn’t follow. He disappears. Tony goes inside the church, and Mrs. Harris’s sister tells him to get out.

But that’s not so bad. Jim takes Tony to a bar, The Blue Bell, to meet Connie Delaney. Sadly, Sandy Donaldson is there with his mates, the fishermen.

Jim then takes Tony to a club, but this time it’s Jim who has to escape when a man wants him to work on some cranes.

They head south, but a queue of white lorries stops them. They return to find McKong beating his son Billy. Tony intervenes with disastrous results for Billy.

At Mrs. Harris’s, Tony meets Americans, Lee and Penny Duran.

“You work at the airport. There was an almighty kafuffle going on July 13th. The cop said it was murder.”

He meets another guest, Mrs. Francis-Prior, who plays piano before going to her room. Later, he hears her leaving.

Lee and Penny agree to help Tony escape, but they never rendezvous. Tony discovers the source of the metallic noises. On the other side of the hill, is Carse Plc.

“The cranes supported a gigantic seated robot that towered over the site like some kind of outmoded old Labour local authority.”

There’s a search on for Mrs. Francis-Prior. Tony thinks he’s found her at the Kirk, but it’s just Connie with Billy. Inside, Tony discovers Jim hiding. He shows Tony his photograph.

“I looked at Jim’s wet-mouthed, boyish gaze.”

Jim’s a former model.

Next day, Paterson and McKong break the news that Jim is dead. Tony vows to find out what happened.

At Mrs. Harris’s, the TV attracts Tony’s attention.

“…the accident happened at the height of the hurricane. The man has not been named and only worked at oilrig manufacturer Carse Plc for two weeks.”

Paterson says nothing, and a man in a suit leaves. Tony assumes he’s a Jehovah’s Witnesses.

“That’s no Jehovah’s Witness, Tony. That square cat is the man from the Civil Aviation Agency, and he’s here to take me off the runway job.”

Sad, but Jim’s replacement arrives on the mixer. They fight when the new man gives Tony a lecture.

“McCreedie don’t want unwanted attention. Someone might notice they always win contracts.”

Tony resorts to military action, and accidentally kills North.

“The Civil Aviation Agency summoned another replacement. Life went on. I got over it.”

Tony shows Freeman the test results.

“So glad you decided to join us in our project to build the new, modern, streamlined runway, Tony.”

Tony sees a body on the beach, but Connie shows him it’s just a plastic manikin. She tells him Billy is trying to escape from his father.

Freeman gives Paterson an ultimatum about the runway, so Tony and Paterson go to the Blue Bell to commiserate.

“Do you remember Mrs. Harris’s sister telling me to get out of the Kirk? Well she was married to a man who worked at Carse. They had a big row, and she was discovered, injured. He was the man from the Faroes, the man who stole the petrol, and now he’s a fisherman. His real name is Christian Sorensen, as in Sorensen Marine Processors.”

The man from the Faroes interrupts Tony. He wants him out, but Paterson protests. Tony rescues him. On the way back to Mrs. Harris’s, they’re picked up for questioning by CID about the disappearance of Mrs. Francis-Prior. Tony tells them everything.

Finally, a letter arrives from the Civil Aviation Agency: McCreedie have been making false offers of employment. Tony has to return home immediately.

“Did nobody tell you? Win some lose some, dude. The Civil Aviation Agency sends its full apologies for this regrettable incident.”

Tony’s at the airport, about to leave, but he remembers his diary, and the incriminating evidence. He goes back for it, and sees two people fighting on the runway, McKong and Freeman.

“Keep out of it, Blair.”

“The show’s over don’t you think, sir?”

Mrs. Harris appears with an apple pie for Tony.

“You’re off without saying goodbye to your old friend, and I’ve a small leaving present for you.”

Mrs. Harris accuses McKong of ruining her sister’s life.

Mr. Ferguson and Paterson appear. Ferguson and Freeman want the runway broken out. It has no cement. Paterson and McKong disagree.

But a man from CID arrives and arrests McKong for the abduction of Mrs. Francis-Prior. McKong reveals that Mrs. Francis-Prior is Billy’s mother, and she wants him back.

“If Tony hadn’t been looking too closely into what didn’t concern him, he wouldn’t have gone into hiding in the first place, and he’d be with me.”

Mrs. Francis-Prior appears, and says that Billy is safe. But Tony remembers Jim. Nobody cared about Jim.

“Concerned for Jim Baird? Be serious. You’re out of touch, Tony.”

McKong unfolds the picture from Jim’s modelling days. He thinks Jim is homosexual, and therefore not worth concern.

“Not that it matters. Money is being pumped into this region, and McCreedie have a slice. That’s why the Civil Aviation Agency wants to take direct control of the runway.”

At that moment, floodlights light the site. Men crawl out looking for Tony’s diary.

“You cost us the contract, Blair.”

McKong strikes the runway with a metal bar. The runway disintegrates.

Tony hears a jet. A plane, the engine screaming reverse thrust, closes in on Tony.

But it’s Lee and Penny Duran’s car.

“We were told you might need a lift, by a man called Brown, Gordie Brown, The Chancellor.”

My novel is available now at Lulu. It’s blogged at Blogster, and it’s downloadable for free. See My Novel.

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