Part 1: Vinny and Duncan Go Sailing
by Alan Grant
It was one of those hot, sunny Saturdays that sometimes hit Moniaive shortly before the start of the monsoon season.
Vinny, Duncan and Gus were enjoying a liquid lunch at the George.
“We should be at the seaside,” Duncan pointed out. “Sailing a boat. With babes.”
“No money,” Vinny reminded him. “Plus no car, no babes, and no boat.”
“Gus has got a car.”
“No petrol,” Gus shrugged. “I only have enough for a couple of miles.”
“Hmm.” Duncan was thoughtful. “I’ve got an idea.”
“Forget it.” Vinny drained the last of his pint. “Your ideas are rubbish.”
Silence fell for a couple of minutes. Then:
“So what’s the idea?” Vinny asked.
“C’m’on.” Duncan headed for the door. “I’ll tell you when we get there.”
Five minutes later, the car was parked up the Dalwhat and Duncan was leading Vin and Gus through a field. Below them, the river tumbled and sparkled in the sunshine.
“We’re going sailing,” Duncan announced.
“Does your heid button up the back? Read the lips, man: we don’t have a boat.”
“I know where to get one.”
“Aye. Loch Ken, right?” Vinny sighed. “No petrol, remember?”
Duncan considered for a moment. “I’ve got it,” he said at last. “We could attach an outboard motor to Gus, and sail him down to the village.”
Gus began to look slightly alarmed. “We don’t have an outboard,” he reminded the others.
“Maybe we could just paddle you,” Duncan mused. “Like a canoe.”
Gus snatched up a thick, dead branch from the riverbank. “I’ll paddle your heids,” he said threateningly, backing away towards the car. As he reached it, he dropped the branch and slipped in the driver’s door. Seconds later, the car roared off.
Vinny shook his head. “Some pal he is.”
“I’ve got an idea,” Duncan said. “Let’s explore.”
MacAlien was relaxing in his secret base (reputed to be a cave up the Dalwhat, but we can’t say for sure or it wouldn’t be a secret). He’d fitted it out with all the modern conveniences, like Sky TV, a fridge and a dishwasher, and covered over the damp patches with chipboard.
He’d rather have been living in Dunreggan, but it was hard for an unregistered alien immigrant with no source of income to get a mortgage.
Suddenly, he heard approaching voices.
“Hello, wee man.” Vinny grinned as he and Duncan emerged from a narrow passageway into MacAlien’s cave. “So this is where you hang out.”
“Cool place,” Duncan observed. “Except for the chipboard.”
His eyes darted around the small living area. “Got any beer?”
“There’s a six-pack in the fridge,” the little alien admitted. “For…um, chemical analysis and investigation.” He snapped open the lid of a can and handed it to Duncan. “I can always get more from the shop.”
The trio settled down to watch a video Sharon had recommended. Vampire robots battled against giant earwigs with laser guns.
“Is that what it’s like on your planet?” Duncan wanted to know.
“Yes. We get a lot of trouble from giant earwigs.”
Suddenly, the picture on the TV shimmered and vanished. An ugly reptilian face with three eyes and a beak appeared on the screen. “This is the Galactic Council calling MacAlien,” a stern voice announced.
MacAlien stared at the screen. “Chair-thing of the Council,” he gasped.
“Silence,” the voice snapped. “You have been on Earth for five years now, MacAlien. Your reports show it to be a very dangerous world.”
“It’s not that bad,” MacAlien protested. “The people who live here quite like it.”
“Listen to this list,” the Chair-thing told him. “Drunkenness. Partying. Riding toy scooters at night. This is wanton behaviour of the worst kind.”
“Away and boil your heid, pal,” Vinny said pleasantly. “Stop hassling the wee man.”
The Chair-thing ignored him. “The Galactic Council has come to a decision,” it said gravely. “Human beings and their love of alcohol are a threat to the entire galaxy. Therefore, MacAlien, you will use your nuclear weapons to destroy first Moniaive, then Scotland…and then the world!”
“No! Never!” MacAlien cried emotionally. “I’ve made lots of friends here.” He held up his can of beer towards the TV screen. “Anyway, booze isn’t as bad as you think.” He took a sip. “In fact, it’s quice nite.Oops! Sorry – I mean, quite nice.”
The Chair-thing sneered. “Then be it on your own head. We will send the Galactic Destroyer, Big Shug, to do the job for you. Say farewell to your friends, MacAlien…for soon, you will all be toast!”
The screen went dead. MacAlien shuddered. Big Shug – the toughest, most feared fighter in the galaxy – was coming here. To destroy the world!
“Sounds like you’re in trouble, wee man,” Vinny said. He and Duncan got up, ready to go. “If you need anybody sorted out, just let us know.”
“Well, not just anybody,” Duncan put in. “Like, not my brothers. Or Gus. Or Mucky. Anybody else, though.”
“Thank you.” MacAlien’s voice was barely a whisper.
He watched them leave the cave, then opened another can of beer and took a long, deep swig. Earth was going to be destroyed, and there was nothing he could do about it.
Duncan and Vinny stood on the riverbank.
“I’ve got an idea,” Duncan said, and Vinny groaned. “Let’s walk back to the village in the river…walking on our hands!”
“I’ve got a better idea. Look–” Vinny pointed up at the treetops.
Duncan looked up – and Vinny’s fist arced through the air to land squarely on his friend’s chin. Duncan slumped to the ground, unconscious. Vinny dragged his pal into the river, then seated himself astride his body.
“We’re going sailing after all, man,” he grinned, as the current caught them and swept them downstream.
Will Moniaive be blasted into oblivion? Will Big Shug destroy the planet? Will anybody even notice? Don’t miss HIGH NOON IN HIGH STREET…next issue.
Part 2: Vinny and Duncan in a Stella Act
by Alan Grant
The Story So Far: Disappointed by MacAlien’s reports from Moniaive, the Galactic Council has despatched the assassin Big Shug to destroy the Earth. As the Clock House clock ticks towards Doomsday, MacAlien races to warn the village of impending disaster…
It was Wednesday night, and the village was heaving.
The History Group was meeting in the Institute, deep in discussion about Moniaive’s part in the Battle of Bannockburn (1314), when MacAlien burst in.
“Invasion from space!” the wee alien cried breathlessly. “Doom and destruction! We need a mighty champion.”
One of the male members was intrigued. “Mighty champion, eh?” he said, puffing out his chest. “And what would that entail, exactly?”
“You have to fight Big Shug. He’s twenty feet tall, he’s a dab hand with the laser pistols, and he doesn’t take prisoners.”
There was a sudden hiss of deflating chest. “Och, I can’t. Not tonight. I’m videoing Coronation Street. Purely for historical purposes, of course,” he added quickly.
The Fishing Club was holding an extraordinary meeting in the Craigdarroch Lounge. A 30-pound salmon (deceased) lay on a sheet of polythene on the table in front of them.
“That’s no’ a fish. It’s a wee whale. Where did you catch it, Wattie?”
“Thornhill High Street. The fish van took the corner too fast. The doors flew open – the fish flew out – and I was in the right place at the right time.”
Enter MacAlien, stage left. “I need your help, guys,” he gasped.
“Better get the drinks in, then, wee man.”
MacAlien got the drinks in. “The planet’s in severe danger,” he began.
“Aye. That’ll be the global warming, right?”
“No. It’ll be Big Shug, the intergalactic hitman.”
“Is that the boy frae Penpunt? He’s got his name down for the next trip to the races.”
“No, no,” MacAlien began, but somebody cut him off:
“It’s your round, wee man.”
Exit MacAlien, stage right.
Through in the bar, several games of backgammon were in progress.
“Do any of you know how to fight?” MacAlien demanded.
“Simon’s a devil with the double-sixes.”
“How is he with a plasma beam?”
The poker club were no help, either. They’d already sloped off to a secret rendezvous, where they would play this most dangerously addictive of all games until dawn. If the planet still existed by dawn.
The Community Council was enjoying a quiet drink and informal discussion in the George, when MacAlien burst in with the bad news. “We only have a few hours to live,” he said breathlessly. “We need a plan!”
“You’ll get one in the Post office,” the chairperson told him. “Sharon has everything. She’s open late for the lottery, too.”
MacAlien gave a sigh of quiet desperation as he went into the back room. Moniaive was doomed. Unless…
Vinny and Duncan were standing by the pool table, cues in hand.
“Watch this, wee man.”
Duncan swung his cue and cracked it hard against Vinny’s head.
“Never hurt. Fiver you owe me,” Vinny grinned. “Now it’s my turn.”
There was a sudden crash of breaking glass. A monstrous hairy hand shot in through the window. It grasped the startled MacAlien in a vicelike grip.
“B-big Shug,” he gasped &endash; then the hand hauled him out through the shattered window.
“MacAlien.” Big Shug’s voice sounded like granite. “Any last requests?”
Shug still held the little extra-terrestrial in his hand. Every now and then, as if to emphasise his evil, he slammed MacAlien off the road. Our little pal was so stunned, he couldn’t even squeak. Things were looking grim indeed for Glencairn. But then a bold pair of voices rang out:
“Hey. Leave the wee man alone,” Vinny snarled.
“Aye. Pick on somebody your own size,” Duncan joined in.
Big Shug snarled surlily. He flicked his wrist, and MacAlien sailed through the air to crash headfirst into the big tree at the Dalwhat Garage.
“So,” Shug said accusingly, looking down at Vinny and Duncan. “You are the local champions, yes?”
“We arra boys that make the noise,” Duncan agreed.
“Then I challenge you to battle,” Shug said. “What can you do?”
“Firewalk,” Vinny said proudly.
Shug looked uncertain. “Firewalk?”
“Aye. Were you not at Wendy’s barbecue? We melted our shoes and didn’t even feel it.” Vinny whipped out his lighter and set fire to his trainers. “See?” he grinned, as flames licked around his ankles. “Bet you a fiver I can stand it longer than you.”
Big Shug shrugged (try saying it three times, fast). “I’m not wearing trainers. And my boots are fireproof. It’ll just have to be straightforward violence. Fist against face. My fist. Your faces.”
“Nae probs.” Vinny and Duncan quickly agreed. “But first – a wee Moniaive tradition. You’ll take a drink with us, aye?”
“Drink?” Shug was puzzled. “You mean, like water? Or Irn-Bru?”
“Something like that. We call it Stella.”
Duncan stuck his head round the bar door. “Hey, Ricky. Three cases of beer, when you’ve a minute.”
MacAlien’s head was spinning as he hauled himself to his feet. Leaning against the tree, he saw Vinny and Duncan and Big Shug drinking bottle after bottle of Stella.
“Och no,” MacAlien thought. “Alcohol has been banned in most of the galaxy for centuries. Big Shug doesn’t know what he’s letting himself in for.”
And indeed Big Shug didn’t. After eight bottles of Stella, he was arguing that Alex McLeish was the greatest Scotsman ever. After 12 bottles, it was Alex Salmon. After 15 bottles, he was headbutting the streetlamp.
After 20 bottles, he was a) sick b) sleepy and c) unconscious in very short order.
“Not so tough now, are ye, ye big Jessie?” Vinny asked pleasantly as he kicked the unconscious Shug in the ribs.
Duncan beckoned MacAlien over. “Now here’s the plan, wee man. You use one of your alien gizmos to send Big Numpty back to wherever he came from. He’ll be so hung over, he won’t remember that he didn’t destroy the planet.”
Vin was impressed. “You’re a genius, Duncan.”
“So are you, Vin. It was your plan.”
And so MacAlien, Moniaive and the Earth were all saved, albeit in low-key fashion.
The village held a special party in the Institute to celebrate. By 11 o’clock, nobody had turned up except the Gala Committee, who were doing the bar, and Vinny and Duncan. They’d been celebrating earlier in the pubs, and were now standing on their heads in the mistaken belief they were in Australia.