MYNYDD EIMON – PRIVATE HELL – opening chapter of new book

DAY 1

Sky-red – blood red – falling – hit ground hard – not too hard – office – golf club – red carpet – books and books and books – grey safe – easy money – alone – Cai presence outside – falling – vultures – watching – goading – sneering – flying and falling – flying and falling – “destroy the ungodly” – 6 stars – 6 daggers – 1 angel – 3 sticks, vertical like stumps –  mother – Mary – stick – gopher wood – battered old goose-necked putter – Bobby – Mary – Molly – Malone – cockles and muscles alive alive-o – her ghost wheels her barrow through the streets – “Sam” – “Wake up “ – Run Sam run – “Who built the ark, no-one, no-one. Who built the ark, brother? No-one built the ark”– “Wake up” – Bob – Mary – Sam

 1. the lady confesses

It started with a dame. It always started with a dame. Well sometimes it does. This dame was different and unique – like they all were. She was older, a lot older. She was the treasurer, the golf club treasurer. She was respectable, church-going and old. How old? Very old.

It was an ordinary morning, as they all are until something happens. I was walking along grey and grim Malakoff Street and although I didn’t know it I was about to be asked to investigate the possible murder of Cai Tywysog.

What was particularly unusual about this possible murder was that I had dreamt that Cai was dead. I had also dreamt that the sky was on fire. I was looking out of the window when I saw someone fall from the roof. It was Cai and his face cracked as he hit the ground. I wasn’t sure if the fall had killed him or something had happened before. Neither option mattered too much to him at that particular moment.  I also dreamt about an empty safe. Apparently this could signify loss, lack of security or a secret getting out. Or even an empty safe.

Unsurprisingly I felt a little tense this morning.

I knew that Cai wasn’t dead as I had seen him just five minutes ago. I had been in the corner shop talking to Mrs Evans’ when he had walked in. I picked up my packet of Lucky Strikes and a pint of milk from the counter, gave an assertive nod in Cai’s general direction and walked out of the shop. He looked a little pale, but definitely not dead. I walked to the end of Malakoff Street and turned left onto Alma Road.

Alma Road was quiet. Mynydd Eimon was quiet. Not just because it was a Friday morning, but because Mynydd Eimon was quiet. It was boring. It was dull. Mynydd Eimon was a typical Welsh valley village. It looked exactly the same as any other Welsh valley village at any time since the early Victorian Age. It was grey, cold, dull, quiet – calcified in an indeterminate age. It was home. My home.

I walked slowly toward my office. Perhaps office was a little grand in that it was two small rooms on the ground floor of my house. It didn’t look much like an office but it was. It was the office of Sam Watcher, private investigator. That’s me. I was a bone fide ‘ditectif preifat’. I had a business card and everything.

I smiled at the exquisite lettering on the door of the office, “Samael K. Watcher … Investigations”. I didn’t have a middle name but thought the K added a touch of class. I went to unlock the door to the outer office, formerly a coalhouse knocked through, but found it had already been opened. I stepped inside and looked at my little universe. The room contained an old black Davenport, two old, old, grey chairs, a bit of carpet and two doors – one to the outside, real world and the other to my inner sanctum. Everything was neat and tidy just as I needed it. There was the light grey carpet and dark grey walls. I had designed the room myself based on films I had seen.

What the room didn’t contain was my secretary who I had assumed had unlocked the door. I moved carefully toward my private office and opened the door slowly expecting an intruder. I was correct.

My office and refuge being invaded me nervous. I liked things to be where they should be.  My visitor was a dame. She had moved a chair. I looked around to see if anything else had been disturbed. Her coat and bonnet were hanging on the coat stand. I looked around slowly, carefully.  I didn’t notice anything else. I breathed. The room had a similar colour scheme to the outer office with a larger desk, a fireplace, a Reliable wall safe and a little state of the art, Prestcold fridge, a violated coat stand and a moved chair.

I looked hard at the dame in the chair. She was a frail old woman dressed in a long black dress, grey shawl, and tight bun with a lethal looking hair slide.    From the back she seemed very peaceful as she stared into the empty fireplace.  Her coat and bonnet were hanging up on the oak coat stand near the door and she had made herself completely at home. I walked across the room in a business-like manner and placed myself in my chair behind my desk. I turned my chair to face her. I reached in my pocket to get a cigarette, looked at the dame and thought better of it. I picked up a pen from my desk and started twirling it in my fingers.

I breathed. “Aunty Mary.” I said a little too loudly, “What are you doing here?”

“It’s about a murder, cariad, I’m ashamed to say. It’s about the murder of young Cai, my nephew.”

“Cai!” I feigned astonishment for some reason, “but I’ve seen him just now in Mrs Evans’.”

She thought for a minute. ”Well the murder may not be Cai and anyway it’s not today.”

“I see.” I clearly didn’t. I sucked hard on my pen in a way that I thought may convey serious thoughtfulness.

”So what is it you want from me?” I inquired.

“I need some information, some advice if you will.”

“Shoot”

“How am I looking if I were to murder someone?” she asked thoughtfully.

I sat down and continued working on my thoughtful expression, “I imagine you would be put in jail Aunty Mary.”

“Ah,” she paused, “I thought as much. But what about my soul?”

“Well.” I paused. “That would be one for you and the priest to negotiate.”

She looked disappointed.

“And the soul of the victim?”

“Again your priest would be the one to talk to there.”

“Not you?”

“Not me.”

“Are you sure about that?”

“Pretty sure.”

“And I would definitely go to prison.”

I paused to consider the question, “Very, very likely.”

She sighed, “So how long would I get?”

“Probably 10 years or life.”

We both silently assessed who would win that particular race.

“I’d like you to investigate the murder, when it happens. Would you do that for me?”

I nodded professionally.

“Thank you Samael,” she continued as she stood up, “You’ve been very helpful. Now how much do I owe you?”

“Aunty Mary you know I couldn’t take money off you.”

“You’re a sweet boy.” she said as she ruffled my hair and handed me a shilling piece, “Now take it and let’s hear no more about it.”

I took it and helped Aunty Mary put on her ancient grey fur coat and black bonnet.  I shivered slightly then I walked Aunty Mary out.

You can get this book on Amazon and Kindle here (and it’s free through Kindle Owners Lending Library if you’re in that).

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The Story of Golf IV – Mary, Mary

Mary, Mary
Mary on crowded links

Mary Stuart, Queen of Scotland, was playing golf at St Andrews a few days after the death of her husband, Lord Darnley the previous Sunday (10th).Life was pretty shit for her. She had returned to Scotland from France and her Scottish subjects didn’t seem to appreciate the sacrifices she had made. There was even talk that she was implicated in her husband’s murder.On top of that she was having a bad round and needed cheering up.

She had just three-putted the easy 9th and her drive at the long tenth had ended up in the long, thick purple thistles. Her caddies had been sent in to find it and she’s set her watch for 5 minutes. Having found it she had hacked out then managed to hit her approach to the front of the long double green. She played well normally and had an advantage over many of her opponents – she was considerably taller, almost 6 feet, and so generated a fair amount of power, she had played a good deal of golf in France and Scotland. Also she was Queen. This tended to work in her favour when raising her eyes at her opponent looking for a three feet gimmee.

She walked toward the green with her company of courtiers, doctors, advisors , media consultants, psychologists, astrologers and cooks.She was nearing the ball when suddenly James Hepburn, 5th Earl of Bothwell approached her on horseback. He had a rod in his hand. It looked like a putter.

“Where did you find this?” she asked as he presented it to her.

“It’s local. It’s a present, your majesty from your loyal priest here at St Andrews.“

“Really?” she said as she held it and practiced a few swings.

“It has a history your Majesty, and he really would like it returned to the church.”

She sank the 44 feet put. Unsurprisingly the club was never returned.

The Story of Golf III – Oengus, son of Fergus, Tyrannical Slaughterer

Oengus, Tyrannical Slaughterer
Oengus, Tyrannical Slaughterer

Saint Regulus sailed for many years from Constantinople. He had many adventures before he was finally shipwrecked off the coast of Scotland.

At the same time King Oengus, son of Fergus, had been having a terrible few years. As King of the Picts he seemed to be was constantly at war with Ireland, England and Wales. He was in Civil War with other Picts, fighting Northumbrians and the Gaels. Things weren’t going too well and he was psychologically exhausted. Being a ‘tyrannical slaughterer’ was hard work.

One night he had a vision of a company of angels who promised to send him an apostle of Christ to defend and guard him.

The following morning Oengus and Regulus met on the beach.

“Finally I’ve arrived in Wales” Regulus announced.

“Uh, yes.said Oengus, “We’ve been expecting you.”

“You must be called Oengus, son of Fergus, named after the Celtic god of love and beauty; patron deity of young men and women.”

“Ah yes. That would be me.” Oengus replied, “But there is a reason I’ve been looking out for you?”

“How so?” asked Regulus warily.

“Last night I had a vision” the king announced.

Regulus’ heart sank. The last time he’d heard that sentence was four years ago and in the four years he’d endured all manner of hell sailing from Constantinople.

“Yes, A company of angels appeared to me telling me to build a church to keep the relics and staff of Andrew. They told me you would bring his bones and his club. I am to accept these from you, defeat all my enemies and build a magnificent church at Kilriment.” continued Oengus.

“Kilriment in Wales?”

“Uh yes that’s right.”

And so it came to pass as the angel with the sceptre at Constantinople had promised. Oengus prospered and built a church for Regulus at Kilrimont, Fife. Later called St Andrews.

The Story of Golf II – The Emperor Constantine Awakes

Constantine with rod

“Regulus, my favourite monk. I’ve had a dream.”
“Emperor what is it?”
“It’s a series of mental images and emotions occurring during sleep. I thought you would have known that”
“I do know that. I mean – describe it,the dream, to me.”
“An angel appeared holding a sceptre looking like a walking stick and a very small white orb.”
“And…”
“And he told me we had to move Andrew.”
“What? Why?”
“The angel dropped the orb, hit it with the sceptre and said that we had to deliver the relics to the West, in the utmost part of the known world.’”
“The angel told you that you had to move the relics to the most distant, uninhabitable part of the world.”
“No. Not me – you.”
“I should have guessed. So I’m off to Wales then.”
“Yes.”
“Did the angel mention anything else?”
“Yes. You must take Andrew’s holy rod with you.”
“The stick he was buried with?.”
“Yes.”
“Did the angel mention anything else?”
“Just one thing. Beware the one they call Daly.”
Regulus set sail that very evening.

The Story of Golf I – Andrew on the Beach at Patras

St Andrew

“So, what was he like then, as a boss?”
“Good. A bit quiet, but really good to work for.”
“In what way?”
“Well. He just left you alone to get on with really. Trust. He trusted you totally. What more would you want in a leader?”
“Nothing…sounds good. You were the first weren’t you?”
“I was. Probably alphabetic”, he laughed
“….. and now the last.” he sighed.
It had been a hard ten years but now it was nearly over. The clouds were dark and the sea looked angry. They had been a month in Patras and their journey was coming to an end.
They walked further along the seafront towards the rocks. Andrew bent over to pick up a longish piece of driftwood and started examining it.
“Gopher Wood.” he announced
“Wasn’t that the wood from the ark?”
“It  was,” announced Andrew as he started swinging it.  Maximilla found some circular pebbles and before long the pair were hitting the pebbles along the deserted beach. The sun had appeared through the clouds and it seemed like this was the final perfect moment.

Suddenly the moment of peace and tranquillity was ruined as the wind sprung up and the waves crashed against the rocks they were walking on. Aegeas and twenty one men soldiers rushed forward and grabbed Andrew. They began dragging him away toward a decussate cross. He leaned over to Maximilla and resigned to his fate, whispered, “Remember these last moments”