Below is the first chapter of my new novel "Poetic Justice", the first of the Jack Buchanan detective stories.
It was half time, an excited peace prevailed; Ibrox was rocking, the pub was heaving and Rangers were ahead of Celtic by two goals.
Buchanan nodded to the bartender for another pint of McEwan's Export, his sixth. 'Just gaun for a pee Tam, gotta make room for the next yin,' he laughed while swaying between the crowded tables.
It took a few moments for his eyes to become accustomed to the dimly lit corridor. A single fly spattered bulb hung from the ceiling at the far end. Buchanan could have found the gents in the dark though, the smell of stale urine mixed with tobacco smoke got stronger the closer he got.
He leaned on the door, stuffed a cigarette in his mouth, lit it and almost fell through the door. Two men were standing outside one of the cubicles, engrossed in the display on a mobile phone. Buchanan, bleary eyed, stared at them, they looked familiar, but nature called and he made his way to the urinal, unzipping as he crossed the wet floor.
To relieve the boredom as the patrons went about their ablutions, the management of the establishment had installed plastic covered humorous cartoons above the urinals. Jack started to read the caption under one but was distracted by the reflection of one of the men; he remembered where he had seen him before.
Momentarily sobered by the revelation, he zipped up turned and stared.
'Ah ken you,' he said taking a step towards the man. The other one made to leave then stopped.
'You're Davie Shelton,' said Buchanan, 'you're a child molester; I read it in the Herald.'
Shelton made to deny the accusation but replied, 'then you'll remember I was found not guilty.'
'A technicality, none of the children would testify, they were to afeart of ye; you're guilty in ma book. If it was up tae me ahd'v ripped yer baws aff and stuffed them up yer erse.'
'You and who else,' said the silent partner.
'You threatnen me?' Buchanan took a step closer, throwing his half smoked cigarette into the overfull paper towel basket, 'and what you lookin at on that phone, better not be what I think it is or al skelp the both of ye.'
The silent one threw a punch at Buchanan's face; the man's ring cutting Buchanan's cheek below the right eye. Buchanan grabbed him by the coat collar and swung him, face first, hard against the tiled wall, the silent one, no longer silent, slumped to the floor cursing Buchanan while holding his face, blood dribbling through his fingers.
Buchanan turned in time to see Shelton, cutthroat razor in hand, poised to slash at his face. Buchanan kicked him in the groin and drove a right uppercut into Shelton's face as he fell to the floor. Shelton lay on the floor writhing in pain holding his crotch, screaming obscenities at Buchanan.
'Take a razor to ma face wud you? al show you.' As he spoke he kicked Shelton in the face, blood and teeth flew across the floor.
'That'll teach you, you bastard,' said Buchanan getting ready to kick Shelton again.
Just then the toilet door opened and a fresh-faced youth stumbled in. Seeing smoke billowing from the wastepaper basket and the carnage of Shelton and his friend lying on the floor holding their blood soaked faces, he backed off, pulled a phone from his pocket and ran out of the toilet.
Full of self-indignant fury, Buchanan took aim with his size 12 to kick Shelton again. In doing so, he slipped on the wet floor and fell back hitting his head on the edge of a cubicle door. He landed hard, his head bounced on the concrete floor.
Buchanan lay where he fell, deathly still, blood pouring from his head wound.
Shelton's silent friend got to his feet and helped Shelton up, 'Come on Davie, we've got to get out of here, that lad's probably called the police.'
Shelton stood, looked down at Buchanan and kicked him hard in the ribs. He was about to do it again when the sound of a siren echoed through a broken ceiling vent.
'Come on Davie, we can't be found here.'
Staggering like a couple of Friday night drunks they pushed their way out through the back door of the pub, through the crowd of smokers, and into the side alley.
The sound of more police cars approaching spurned them on down the alley and out into the road, just in time to be run over by a police car.