My Triumphant Arrival – Tony Blair in the Wilderness 10

Tony “Bono” Blair is a bit confused. He believes he is the famed British Prime Minister of the same name, deposed after winning a third term. Things begin to look up for Tony when a letter arrives offering a position with McCreedie construction. Thinking he is taking over as CEO of a powerful NASDAQ company, Tony accepts the offer and travels to Scotland, hoping to meet the people, regain their trust, and use his new career as a springboard back into high office. The new career isn’t all Tony had hoped, and he finds himself building a cement runway at Ardrossan International Airport

…Tony waits in hotel reception for the people to collect him so he can start his new assignment…the continuing story of Tony Blair in the wilderness…

I was sliding off a sofa next to the reception desk, and jamming my feet against a table with newspapers and a frivolous vase of thistles. I lay back and contemplated taking a power nap on the road to my triumphant return, but the Johnnie Prescotts carrying steel briefcases were staring at me from the bar like angry deputy PMs, and they weren’t helping me feel any less uncomfortable. Sure, some dignitary would soon turn up to meet me, but in the meantime, I had some catching up to do on the mess my namesake was making.

I picked up a paper and read it from underneath, but straightaway the newspaper was lifted out of my hands before I could read any news. I tried to stand and made the vase of thistles spill. The table and the newspapers were soaked. A man in a suit looked at the water, and then he looked at me and sniffed. His face was covered in tiny veins, like the minor roads on a battered route map.

“Who are you?”

“Blair’s the name, Tony Blair, but call me Bono. Lead me to my desk and my chair. You know, I was just about ready to give up on you guys. You must be Mr. Ferguson, my new pardner.”

The man looked confused. Apparently, he wasn’t Mr. Ferguson.

“He couldn’t be here to collect you, and he sent me in his place. Was it a good journey, sir?”

“I had a terrible journey, actually. The worst journey I’ve ever had. Now, don’t let me hold you up any more, I’m ready to roll up these sleeves, turn up my guitar, stick on a Marshall badge, and get stuck into that huge pile of paperwork.”

“Okay, sir. Suitcase.”

“Rightaway. You know, the job of—”

But the man walked off. He was already past reception and pushing open the glass doors. The Prescotts in the steel-capped boots glared at me. They didn’t look at all friendly, and I didn’t want to hang around in the Machiavellian.

The man must have been in a hurry because he was already half way down the steps. I picked up the suitcase and ran. At the bottom of the steps, the man pulled open the rear doors of some kind of battered white vehicle with the letters M C C R E E D I E on the side.

“Here we are, sir. Allow me.”

But I stared at the rusting, smoking heap of motorised shack in front of me.

“What kind of an outhouse on wheels is that? I don’t think I’ve ever seen a vehicle like that before, except in a fairground convoy. Is it in any way roadworthy?”

“Please, sir.”

The man took my suitcase, and lifted it through the smoke into the truck. He held the door open for me. I looked into the filthy truck. There had to be a MacDonald’s somewhere because burger remains were trodden into the floor. I needed to spread my influence amongst the ‘don’t knows’ and the ‘not decideds’ in that very establishment.

Newspapers lay across the dashboard, all opened with naked women grinning at me disgracefully. Talk about a focus group. You know, if that’s what getting to meet the real people of Britain meant, then that’s what I, newly deconstructed reconstructed man of the people, had to do. Being an un-PC, ex-PM meant I could have a jolly good look without the fear of a slap from my wife.

“Nice…ladies.”

The driver, staring out through the windscreen, remained hidden behind a white helmet pushed down over his eyes. He leaned forward to scratch his purple nose without taking his huge hand off the steering wheel.

“Hurry now please, sir. We haven’t any time to spare.”

I swallowed hard.

“Hey, look, I…er…think I may have left something in my room.”

“Get in.”

I didn’t want to waste anyone’s time. I climbed in the truck and shuffled up to the driver whose boiler suit was coated in some kind of smoking industrial waste. I tried to maintain a credit card-sized gap between my ski jacket and the driver’s boiler suit, but the man with the route map face squashed in and slammed the door, pushing me up to the driver. I was already forming future policy on filthy white trucks.

“Meet Breeze McKong, sir. He’s the foreman. I’m Aristotle Paterson, site manager, sir.”

“Site? And what site would that be? I don’t know anything about any site. The letter specifically does not mention a site.”

But acrid fumes from McKong’s boiler suit caught my throat, making me cough hard. McKong unlocked his hand, and shook mine.

“Breeze McKong. Fit y’ deen?”

Fit y’ deen meant nothing to me. I gulped.

“Yes, I’m sure.”

My hand went numb with shaking. I was going to have trouble reaching out to these people if they spoke a foreign language. There wasn’t any point asking the man to say it again, because I heard it right first time, Fit y’ deen? They’d just have to learn English if they wanted me as their saviour.

“Aye. Y’ ken?”

I had no idea what language they were speaking, some kind of early English I think, and it didn’t rock.

“Far ya geen?”

I stared at the man in disbelief.

“I beg your pardon.”

Paterson grinned.

“Where else would we be going?”

McKong let go of my hand, and jabbed his foot to the floor. The truck lurched forward and forced the moving traffic aside causing several puffs of tyre smoke, and a long horn blast. I had a feeling, deep down, and it wasn’t Carole Caplin’s massaging hands. Aristotle Paterson and Breeze McKong laughed.

“I greet my beads for his mammy.”

I flexed my bruised hand.

“What do you mean?”

Apparently, he meant he was crying.

“Well, hey look, we all need some cry time. Touchy-feely. Say no more. We all have to fight for the right to express ourselves. You know, we all need to make the world a safer place for crying.”

“He’s feeling sad for your mother, sir.”

“My mother?”

McKong and Paterson laughed some more. I had never felt less like laughing. In fact, they annoyed me so much with their laughter that I was starting to need some angry time. They annoyed me more than any other people in the whole world, and golly, those world people certainly made me want some angry time.

“Hello…I say there…Hello.”

But they just laughed even harder.

“Hello, hello. Oh shut the fuck up why don’t you? Do you know who I am?”

Tony Blair: The Wilderness Years ISBN 1-4196-0573-9

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