Mortimer lights a cigarette and kicks back, resting his feet on the table where old papers are in a mess and last night’s brandy bottle stands one third full. The morning after the night before, and there’s a feeling of quiet jubilation in SE7. A night of fear and madness for the referee – baying crowds, baying benches – and that goal from Wright-Phillips.
Morts draws on the cigarette, winces as he blows a plume of bluish smoke out under the low lamp. So many days have passed and no more leads. In his dreams he strains to hear the words that Parkinson formed in his mouth but never spoke. As he lay there on the floor, battered and passing out of consciousness. But always the words elude him. And now Parkinson is gone; it’s like he never existed.
Think, Morts. He frowns, stubs his cigarette out.
And there’s a knock on the door; he tells the shadow in the reeded glass it’s open.
The man who comes in wears a snood high over his mouth. He pulls it down.
‘Racon,’ says Morts. ‘I’ve been expecting you. Take a seat.’
And Racon sits right down. His hands wrestle in his lap.
‘Why so nervous, Therry?’
Racon pushes a picture across the desk, says ‘I want you to make him disappear.’ But in a French accent.
Morts laughs. ‘Therry, that’s not the kind of business I’m into.’
Racon puts his head in his hands; when he looks up his eyes are crazed and searching.
‘I don’t know what to do,’ he says.
‘Why don’t you start at the beginning?’
And so Racon tells him all about it, how the little Irishman’s pushed him out, and how the midfield now lacks balance, how they sit too deep, how they don’t carry enough threat.
‘So what do you want me to do about it? They’re winning, aren’t they?’
Suddenly Racon’s temper explodes. ‘But that’s just it!’ he shouts, banging a wild fist on the table. ‘It’s some kind of voodoo shit he’s into. But they believe it, Mortimer. They believe!’
The bandy-legged Frenchman closes his eyes; when he opens them they are full of knowledge. He’s said too much. He pulls up his snood and stands. And without another word, he leaves.
Mortimer pours himself a brandy. They believe. He repeats the phrase two or three times, turning the words in his mind.