‘Know whit’s traditional at Christmas?’ he said. ‘Ghost stories. Everybiddy loves a Ghost story’
I swirled the beer at the bottom of my glass and smiled. ‘Load a shite, in’t it?’
‘Naw, naw. Look at Dickens and A Christmas Carol. Classic ghost story that.’
I raised an eyebrow. ‘Name another then.’
‘Well, they don’t need to be set at Christmas, dae they? Take that MR James bloke. He wrote hundreds a ghost stories and used to invite his work pals tae his office, get them drunk and scare the living shite oot of them. And wis there no a series of ghost stories oan the telly at Christmas? Oanyway,’ he paused to take a swig of his beer, ‘it’s a tradition. Nothing else to say aboot it.’
‘Dae ye think they’re real? Ghosts?’
‘Naw! Gie us a brek! See me? Man o science. If ah cannae see it and ah cannae touch it, it’s no real.’
‘Whit aboot they ghost hunter programmes oan the telly wi’ that wummin frae Blue Peter? They claim to hiv evidence o ghosts. Whit dae ye make o that then?’
‘That’s aw a set up. Yon Scouse bugger, Derek Ah’ll-Con-ya, he’s a right chancer. Him and his American Indian guide. How come nae bugger has a Glesga Jakey as his guide? Efter aw, who’s got mair spirits in them than Malky the Alky?’ Laughter made him double over and a coughing fit rendered him speechless.
‘Right, ah’m away hame,’ I said. ‘Thanks for the craic and hiv a good Christmas when it comes.’
‘Aye, lad. You annaw.’
He walked me to the pub door and slapped my back as he sent me on my way. Ghosts, I thought and laughed to myself. I pulled my collar up against the cold and turned back for a last look at the pub before turning the corner and disappearing into bricks of the old factory walls.