Archive for March, 2011

Slater steps out into the rain, the drops shattering on the rim of his fedora and spitting in the savage beam of the floodlights overhead. Out on the pitch the groundsman is putting in a late, wet hour; Slater tramps over to him and tells him to call it a night.

‘Harry, isn’t it?’ he asks, and the groundsman nods. ‘Go on back into the warm. But leave the lamps on, would you?’

Harry scuttles away, and Slater watches him until he disappears down the tunnel. He checks his pocketwatch, hides it away.

Eventually the other man appears at the corner of the Jimmy Seed and East; Slater watches him pick his way down the embankment – beneath the memorial garden, where ghosts of the past lay underground and not as they did everywhere else; in the walls of the place, the seats, the dressing rooms, and in every blade of grass – towards the corner flag. He straightens up, pulls his mac tighter against the rain, and saunters over.

‘You’re late,’ says Slater with a forced air of detachment, like it didn’t matter one way or the other whether the other man had turned up at all; like this was his home now: the centre-circle, the heart of this club, in the rain.

Mortimer stands stock-still, his hands thrust in his pockets.

‘So what’s the story, Slater?’

Slater keeps his face straight; he doesn’t move, he doesn’t budge an inch. ”How’s business?’ he asks.

‘Cut the shit, lawyer,’ snaps Mortimer. ‘I don’t talk small any more than I played small – and I never like to do either in the rain. We both know the score here. You had a good man and you kicked him out – and where did it get you? You’re on the slide – you know it, I know it. So what do you do? You’re a man that likes to talk, lawyer – but your talk ain’t nothing if your word ain’t shit, and you’ve gone back on your word once already. Make it twice? You don’t dare. So you call me in. And sure, I’ve been waiting on the call. But I was waiting from the start. Ain’t nothing I can do from here.’

And with that he turns around, heading back towards the Jimmy Seed.

‘Wait!’ shouts Slater. And Mortimer does wait.

Slater watches his man standing stationary, as all about him the squall of the SE7 winter resists the Spring, the coming of the new blood and the new life, and the resurrection.

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