Simon Gold had a â€˜jobâ€™ to do and he had a long time to think about it.
24 weeks languishing in Predictorship obscurity with only a faded copy of The Sun and a box of Mint Imperials can do strange things to the mind of a Tottenham man. If he was to carve his name into Predictorship history he would have to do it now.
Stepping out into the sunlight Gold smiled. 15 points and a massive 11 point leap up the table. He read through the text on his mobile one more time:
NINE correct results (Birmingham 0 Tottenham 1 your only blank) and a record-breaking SIX correct scores (the games at Burnley, Fulham, Hull, Liverpool, Wigan & Sunderland). A haul of 6 correct results included 4 consecutive 2-pointers on the fixture list – another Predictorship record. Frighteningly, if Birmingham hadn’t scored in injury time and Carlos Tevez had found the back of the net for Manchester City instead of hitting the post, you might have been looking at a total of 18 points – just 2 shy of a maximum score!
Scrolling through the contacts on his mobile, Gold stopped at a number and dialled. He had allies and he was going to use them.
Janet Roberts was waiting at the table when he arrived.
â€˜Did you get the figures for me?â€™ questioned her roughly shaven companion.
â€˜Certainly did!â€™ smiled Janet, sipping her cappuccino. â€˜I needed to go back to the 2005-2006 stats, but here it is.â€™ She pointed conspiratorially at a line on the chart and Gold leant towards her to study it. â€˜Stewart Newport. 15 points. Here, can you see it?â€™
â€™S**tâ€™. He slumped back in his chair.
â€˜Iâ€™m going to have to act before the stats are released. Do you think you can hold them up?â€™
â€˜I can keep David busy on Tuesday evening. Iâ€™ve made some more beetroot soup so the last thing on his mind will be the Predictorship. Iâ€™ll give it to him then but I canâ€™t stall him past Wednesday morning. So what are you going to do?â€™
â€˜Iâ€™m going to have to doctor the stats overnight if you can let me in when heâ€™s sleeping off the beetroot.â€™
â€˜Sorry Simon, but that wonâ€™t work. Matt Whiteâ€™s got the originals and thereâ€™s no way youâ€™re going to get to that. That computer’s never out of his sight.â€™ Janet idly folded the paper over and over again, looking for inspiration.
â€˜There is another way though.â€™ the corners of her mouth twitched as a sly grin spread across her face. â€˜There was a rumour going around that Stewart didnâ€™t actually get 15 points and the totals were wrong.â€™
â€˜But youâ€™d still have to get into Mattâ€™s computer. I canâ€™t help you with that â€“ and Davidâ€™s the only other person with the passwords…â€™
Night had fallen in Church Langley and the Chairman was in his robe on the way to the bathroom. Although delicious there was something about Janetâ€™s beetroot soup that didnâ€™t agree with him.
â€˜Bl**dy H***! What * are you doing in here?â€™
Gold was sitting on the lid of the toilet seat waiting for him patiently.
Janet turned the TV down as she heard the throaty sound of a car revving outside the house. David ran down the stairs looking flustered and just got to the front door to see their mini cooper roaring out of the drive and into the night.
The red and white car lurched into a layby on the A14 where a bearded man in a pair of surfer shorts folded himself into the passenger seat.
â€˜How was the Superbowl mate?â€™ Simon asked his companion.
â€˜Awsome! Sorry I didnâ€™t get time to change â€“ all a bit of a rush Iâ€™m afraidâ€™. Mark Youngâ€™s mid-atlantic drawl was unmistakable. â€˜I got what you asked for thoughâ€™. He signalled to the battered holdall at his feet.
Bury St Edmunds shook through every stone of itâ€™s ancient foundations. The locals who stirred assumed it was a freak thunderstorm but none of them heard the mini cooper speeding of into the night.
â€˜You were only supposed to blow the bl**dy door off!â€™
â€˜Sorry mate, blame it on the jet lagâ€™.
A pile of rubble lay in the street behind them where a house once stood and a mystery that would never be solved lay in the ruins.