This is the twenty-seventh part of a fiction serial, in 760 words.
I had the packets posted by just after eleven the next morning. I paid the extra for next-day delivery, and with nothing else to do I drove home and stopped at a supermarket on the way to stock up. I had a feeling I was going to be watching a lot of television from tomorrow, and didn’t want any reason to have to go out for the rest of the week.
Mark phoned that night, keen to chat about everything. I gave him the basic facts about what I was doing, and double-chekcked that he hadn’t said anything to Joel. He told me he was going to record all the news bulletins and sports reports on his bank of hard drives, so I would be able to revisit the moment when the Holloways were confronted with whatever the papers made of my anonymous allegations. Before he hung up, he gave me a warning.
“You better get your shit together, Darren. It won’t take them long to work out it must have been you trying to rake up the past. They will be at your front door, and trying to dig up any secrets from your background too”.
That was one time in my life that I was grateful for being such a dull bloke.
When you are expecting something exciting to happen, it gets hard to focus on anything else. I found myself imagining all sorts of stuff, and hoping for the best outcome, obviously. When Tuesday came, I rushed to the shop to buy all the newspapers, and had the 24-hour rolling news on the telly non-stop.
Nothing in the papers, nothing on the news. I rang Mark after drinking half a bottle of Jack Daniels that evening. I told him it had all been for nothing, and they weren’t interested. He was more positive. “It’s too early, mate. They will be checking the authenticity of the reports. They might even be approaching Southampton Football Club, requesting a reaction to a story being published tomorrow. Wait until Thursday, that’s when the shit will hit the fan. Southampton has a big game on Saturday. They are close to the relegation zone, that’s why Brendan was brought in. You know those news guys, they will love to tie in both stories at once. Saves airtime”.
One thing about the news in Britain is that the TV news picks up on anything in the papers. Then there are the local news channels, on the heels of the big boys like the BBC and ITN. Thursday morning at just after eight, I was watching the rolling news. Not much going on in Britain, but then, almost as an afterthought, they mentioned a story in The Sun. A football manager had been accused of involvement in an historic crime. The paperwork had been passed on to the police by The Sun, and they were waiting for a statement. The manager and club were not named, but twenty minutes later, the story was updated.
The female newsreader read her autocue with her voice trying to sound dramatic. ‘Brendan Holloway, the new manager of Southampton Football Club, has been named in a newspaper story concerning his father, a retired police officer. It concerns an accident thirty years ago, that the newspaper alleges was in fact a deliberate act. Because of that accident, and two subsequent deaths, Holloway went on to play for Chelsea and Brighton, as well as the England under-21 team. And he was recently appointed as Southampton manager, with a seven million pound contract’.
That was all. But it was a start.
By the time the main news came on at one, it was second after the war in Syria. The liberal Guardian newspaper was calling for an enquiry, and the case to be reopened, and there were telly crews outside the house of both Brendan and his dad. That was more like it. Brendan wasn’t home, so they badgered his young wife, before changing tack, and getting some local guy to pitch up at the Southampton training ground, where he refused to give a statement.
That made me think he knew.
They found former Sergeant Holloway at his golf club, and his face was a picture of guilt as they shouted the allegations at him in the car park while he was loading his clubs into his car. Mark rang. “Are you seeing this, Darren? They are on it large. Both of them are going to have to come up with something”.
I told him I was seeing it, and enjoying it too.