I’d only just come into the dining room when I heard what Broonie called a “stramash” going on outside. I ran to the nearest window and peered out into the cold morning light. There, off in the distance was a figure striding purposefully, almost mechanically through the morning mist (why is it always misty lately?) My heart jumped and my stomach sank. Johan. The man I am convinced wants to kill me. And he was totally naked.
The stramash in question had begun the minute a group of three Neds had discovered the naked figure walking towards them. They began to jeer and holler and whoop, clinking their buckie bottles together like a small pack of hyenas. Johan never even flinched, he walked straight up to them and stopped. I strained my ears to listen to the conversation.
“Nice morning for a walk mate, eh?” said the Ned Leader.
“Nice morning for a walk” replied Johan.
This all seemed very familiar.
“Wash day tomorrow, eh mate? Nothing clean…right?”
“Nothing clean right.”
“Oh no…” I whispered to myself. I knew where this was going.
“Hey Boaby, I think this guys a couple of swigs short of a full bottle of Bucky”
“Your clothes, Give them to me now.”
I closed my eyes to the coming carnage and my thoughts flashed back to the night before. I had been flicking through the late night TV channels, unable to sleep due to the aches and pains accrued in the previous days training. The wrestling with Johan and the trebuchet launch had left me in almost unbearable pain. Nayls had told me that Captain Corelli’s Mandolin was on Sky Movies (and then proceeded to tell me all the things he’d do to Penelope Cruz, given the chance – “I say old chap, that young Miss Cruz would get the weasel, know what I mean Sammy, my boy?” he said, wearing a grin like Terry Thomas) and I was happy at seeing a movie about my homeland, my beloved Greece. I flicked through the channels in vain, no where could I find Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. It was then that I saw the movie. The instant the music kicked in I asked Zeus to make sure he didn’t see it. But Zeus had forsaken me and it was clear now that Johan had watched “The Terminator.”
I was snapped back to reality as it all kicked off. With a scream, Johan punched clean through one of the Neds as the other two ran away. He held the Neds heart in his muscular Scandinavian hand and looked impassively at the bloody organ. I knew what had to be done. I ran headlong out of the room and downstairs just in time to see him approach the building. I stopped mid-run to challenge Socrates Paradox. If no one errs or does wrong willingly or knowingly then why does Johan behave so? My internal dialogue was interrupted when Johan burst open the front door to Lennoxtown wearing a kappa tracksuit at least 5 times too small for him, he couldn’t even tuck his bottoms into his socks.
Shaun Maloney was the first. Poor wee Shaun. He walked past Johan, holding his breakfast bowl in his tiny child-like hands and said “Hiya mister, I’ve got coco-pops.”
With a snap, crackle and pop, Wee Shaun was flung headfirst through the changing room door and clear into the showers. I turned and fled through the corridors. I believed my deceptively languid running style would enable me to escape Johan, however as I turned the corner, I spotted him barrelling down the corridor in hot pursuit bellowing “Sarah Connor? Sarah Connor?” He backhanded Lee Naylor through a wall as Nayls was walking out of the massage room, his arm around the new female masseuse, wearing a smoking jacket and holding a martini glass. I ran into the new bosses office and crouched down behind his desk. Johan poked his head into the room, making robot noises with his mouth as he turned his head.
I held my breath, the sound of rushing blood filled my ears. I was terrified that Johan could hear it, but after what seemed like an eternity, he turned and tore off down the corridor.
I let out an exhausted sigh and got out from behind the desk.
“Listen and understand Sammy…” I jumped at the sound of the voice behind me. It was the Boss, Lenny, peaking his head out from a cupboard. “Big Johan is out there. He can’t be reasoned with. He doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And he absolutely will not stop, ever until you are dead.”
“Did you hide in there from Johan boss?” I asked.
“Hide, what? Er…aye…I was…hiding in that cupboard. Don’t look in there.” Even though I was curious at the boss’ apparent lie, I decided to quote Socrates, thinking it would help, “Wisdom is limited to one’s awareness of their own ignorance.” It fell on deaf ears as Lenny cut me off mid-stream saying, “Come with me if you want to live”. He handed me a small pistol. “Tranquilizer gun Sammy, left over from Martin O’Neill’s days. We needed them that time Johan watched Universal Soldier and thought he was the reanimated corpse of a Vietnam vet killed in action. It worked that time, let’s hope it does so again”
We exited the boss’ office to the sound of a muffled explosion and saw that the corridor had filled with smoke. The scent of melting plastic reached my nostrils and I instantly realised that the equipment room had suffered hand grenade damage. I followed Lenny down the hall, past the unconscious bodies of Scott Brown and Marc Antoine Fortune. I could make out a shape in the smoke sprinting towards us. It was Glen Loovens with a look of abject terror on his face.
“He’s coming, run!” wailed Loovens. Lenny held his ground and cocked the tranquilizer gun. “Get ready Sammy, here he comes.”
Charging out of the smoke, his stolen clothes burned away was the rippling mass of muscle that is Big Johan. “By the Beard of Zeus!” I exclaimed.
“Fire!” yelled Lenny. We fired. God how we fired. I emptied my cartridge of five darts into Johan’s torso, but still he came. Lenny emptied his gun too, but still he came. Just as he reached us, the tranquilizers had the desired effect and he slumped to the floor and passed out.
“You’re terminated,” said Lenny. “Well, that’s training Sammy, go home and get some rest, I’ll take care of the big yin here. On yer way.”
Later as I acquiesced on the sofa, I ran the morning’s events over in my head and wondered how Socrates would have dealt with it. He understood the immortality of the soul and as such, probably wouldn’t have been as troubled by the spectre of death incarnate as I am. I decide to take my mind of things by watching some TV. I flick through the channels and stop in horror. There, on Sky Movies, was a re-run of The Running Man. “Zeus, please, please don’t let him see it ” I beg. Just then the phone rang.
The voice, the terrible, fearful voice growled back at me. “Who do you love?”
I sank to my knees and held my head.
“And who loves you?” asked Johan.