My mobile rang as I was reading and listening to Classic FM. I looked at the time - it was
â€œSir, its Derek here. Thereâ€™s been a body found in Arbroath.â€
â€œWhat? Another one!â€
â€œThis oneâ€™s swinging from a crossbar between goalposts in Victoria Park.â€
â€œYes, I know Victoria Park. Iâ€™m on my way.
As I sped down the dual carriageway between Dundee and Arbroath I thought: God! What
have I started? I gazed at the red tail lights in front and remebered earlier that night: The
figure of a man leaving the Arbroath Boys Club and walking toward my car. I reached into
the glove department and grabbing a pair of gloves I pulled them on. I then leaned over and
opened the passenger door as Jimmy Forbes looked in.
â€œCan I help you mate?â€ he asked.
I showed him my warrant card as I said: â€œDetective Chief Inspector Devine. Iâ€™d like a word
with James Forbes.â€
â€œWhat can I do for you?â€ He asked with a sigh.
He looked around and sighed again then slid into the passengerâ€™s seat, while I remembered
the bastard threatening me as a young footballer that he was going to head-butt me if I
â€œThereâ€™ve been reports of someone who fits your description following children around
â€œOh come on Iâ€™m clean, I havenâ€™t done anything like that for years!â€
I parked my car behind the Command Unit which sat at the edge of the grass. I pulled on shoe
covers and walked across the wet turf toward a group of dark figures as the pale, autumnal
moon hung in the sky. Torch beams were searching the darkness. Some white suits had their
beams pinned on something hanging from the goalposts. I made out the familiar shape of
Derek White and walked toward him.
â€œDerek. Whatâ€™s this now? Not druggies this time. Disgruntled football managers perhaps!â€
â€œSir! Yeah, Arbroathâ€™s becoming Midsomer I reckon!â€
Derek and I often softened the discovery of such atrocities with a little humour â€“ it was our
way of dealing with the job. The other officers and scientists usually just shook their heads
and either laughed or frowned.
As I gazed at the lifeless face of Forbes with his tongue hanging out of his twisted mouth
my mind was doing somersaults. How the hell could this have happened? I just beat him up
and left him where he threatened me all these years ago: near the 18 yard box on the first
pitch in Victoria Park.
â€œHeâ€™s James Forbes and lives at 42 Seaton Road. A man walking his dog found him. The
Pathologist has just arrived. Weâ€™ll get more information when they take him down.â€
I turned and looked at the dark outline of Whiting Ness, the rock mass that ended the park
and started the sandstone cliffs on their northward journey. I inhaled the sea air and wondered
what exactly was going on. I wanted retribution, but not death for these guys! This was no
murderous drug dealer.
On the way back home I wondered if I should carry on with my pre-retiral revenge spree as
David Bowieâ€™s â€˜Aladdin Saneâ€™ nursed my ear drums. Somebody was watching me. Whoever
it was had the killer instinct and considerable strength. Stringing up that body would take
some doing unless there was more than one.
I parked my BMW on the drive outside my bungalow and then entered the darkened, empty
house. My wife, June, died a year ago, and now my leisure time was filled with thoughts of
My mobile rang as I searched the fridge for a beer.
â€œSir its Derek. It seems as if Forbes was beaten and then hung.