Books written by Ray Sullivan

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Parallel Lives chapter 40

Alan lay half sprawled across his couch, a bottle of Irish Whiskey held limply in his left hand. Unlike Jack, Alan’s preparation for the inquest was all in hand and he had felt the need to relax and unwind. An evening spent sat in a dark corner of one of his ‘locals’, studiously avoiding banter with some of his favourite drinking associates had been drawn to a premature halt by the unexpected advances of a maturing divorcee looking for fun and no ties for a night, an opportunity Alan usually dreamt of but rarely tasted. And one he had swerved, preferring to wallow in his own thoughts, making an excuse that was so feeble and limp that it had the effect of letting the woman feel utterly rejected immediately.
Alan had staggered away from the pub an hour and a half earlier than the law obliged, and almost two hours earlier than the landlord normally started to encourage Alan and his ilk to leave. He had ended up propped in the same position for nearly three hours, save for the requisite comfort break that liquid refreshments impose, and had supped nearly half the Whiskey bottle’s contents.
While planes collided, engineering managers pored, scientists pondered, all events to which he was oblivious, Alan mused. He wondered about when to contact the Coroner and advise that the information and recommendations had been changed. To leave it until just before the inquest would surely piss the Coroner off but to do it too soon risked tipping that bastard Jackson off, with the result that he may not turn up. Or more importantly, John Staples may not turn up. Perhaps alcohol works in ways unfathomed, or perhaps the idea was always there, but unformed. Either way, Alan pushed himself onto his feet and staggered over to his sideboard, pulled open a drawer overflowing with papers, envelopes, coupons and out-of-date lottery tickets. Pulling out a small notebook and a ball point pen advertising a company that had ceased trading some months earlier, Alan sat back down. The trick, he felt, was not to tell the Coroner that he no longer needed to call John Staples. The trick was to revise the evidence that the Coroner would re-read prior to entering the inquest in such a way as to make the Coroner decide that Staples was not a consideration. Writing in small, barely legible letters, Alan drafted a document on a notepad that would become a substantial re-write of the HSE report by eleven o’clock the next day and would be faxed to the Coroner several days later, the day before the inquest.
‘If necessity be the Mother of Invention’, muttered Alan, ‘then ambiguity surely is the bastard son.’


Copyright Ray Sullivan 2011

The characters, places and events described in this novel are fictitious and any resemblance to persons, places or events, past or present, is coincidence.  All rights reserved

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