I came back and sat down behind my desk. I put a cigarette in my mouth and stared at the wall. I’d been away from the village for seven years and nothing seemed to have changed. Aunty Mary looked exactly the same. The streets looked the same. The weather was the same. Always on the verge of raining. Except when it was raining, of course.
You think something would have changed in seven years. I had. Or at least I thought I had. It was difficult for me to remember. I had what the doctor had called ‘amnesia’ or ‘reduplicative paramnesia’ or ‘just plain old forgetfulness’. I considered it not plain, more acute in that I had forgotten the last seven years. On the positive side it didn’t look like I had missed much in Mynydd Eimon.
I could remember my childhood in the village – strange and sad though those memories were. I could remember the past three months. What I wasn’t so great on was the bit in between. However, the lost seven years were starting to come back. Slowly. Extremely slowly. It wasn’t as depressing as you’d imagine it would be. It was just what it was. I accepted it. I had had a lot of shit in my childhood and it didn’t bother me too much to not remember for a while. In a way it was like going on holiday for a while.
I squashed the cigarette in a glass tray and focused. Something was wrong. Something about Aunty Mary’s manner had alerted my senses. I had read somewhere that a private eye should always trust his instincts. My senses were tingling as I replayed the scene in my head. I couldn’t help but notice how unsure she was of who she would kill. I wondered why she had come to visit me. I would be of no use to her. She knew all the answers I had given her and she hadn’t once mentioned golf. It might be an idea to look at the golf club. I had a paying client and could start investigating. Why was she wearing her Sunday best to visit me? And that bonnet. What was it about the bonnet?
Something clearly wasn’t quite right. Why was she retiring from her job at the golf club? She was ancient two decades ago when I remember seeing her for the first time. She had frightened me looking at me in my pram. People say you don’t remember those things. I know I remember it accurately. She wore the same bonnet she wore today. I shuddered. Aunty Mary’s life was the golf club. The golf club was Aunty Mary’s life. Her retirement was coming up in a week or so and there would be a big party. What was going on at the golf club ?
As a poor boy from the bottom end of the village, golf had been as alien to me as English people were for the first ten years of my life. The only people I knew who played golf were priests, headmasters or solicitors. I had always thought it was not the game for me, or any proper Welshman.
I reflected on the time I’d been back in the village and set up my detective agency. My agency was surprisingly busy for a small village at the top end of the Welsh valleys. I had dealt with a number of cases, all unexciting inevitably. However they all paid the rent. In fact the investigating business was remarkably, consistently steady.
I heard my secretary making secretary-type noises in the outer office and I reached out to press the intercom to check my appointments. I then realised I wasn’t a proper American private detective who could afford a proper intercom. I looked at my finger hovering over my writing pad and felt pleased no-one had seen me.
I looked at the framed, signed print of Bobby Jones on the wall and thought about my short golfing career. I thought again about Aunty Mary and yet again concluded that perhaps it was time to take a closer look at the golf club.
And what was Aunty Mary’s problem with me and the priest? Perhaps it was time to take a closer look at the priest as well. Perhaps it was time to take a closer look at a lot of things?
I picked up my hat, I did have a proper hat, and walked out of the door without telling anyone where I was going, not that I had anyone else to tell – parents lost, no wife, girlfriend or children to worry about me. I looked around. Even my secretary seemed to have disappeared again. What I did have was a coat, a hat and a gun.
Yeah, perhaps it was time to take a closer look at a lot of things? Well no, probably the golf club and the priest would be enough to be going on with. I finally left my office with a headache. A migraine. A recurring headache you know no pill will ever cure.