Joy for Judy, and Brian confronts Lynn's father.
I called at The Ring O'Bells expecting Badger to be in the bar but when I walked into the small room only Kenny and Adrian were there.
"No Badger," I said. "He told me he would meet me in here."
"He's gone to Manchester," Kenny said. "Do you know Adrian?"
I was happy to meet Adrian, a new friend, but my sociability soon faded and I sat in an obvious depression while Kenny and Adrian chatted.
Kenny glanced at me a few times realising I was not my usual self. "What's the trouble, kid?" he asked. I told him what had happened at Vivien's house. Kenny knew Vivien very well and had never liked her. "I haven't spoken to Lynn McLean and her family for ages. I can call in to see them on Monday. If Lynn's there, I'll explain to her what had happened. I'll tell her about Tommy and what a devious piece of work Vivien is."
"I don't know. She might not believe you, Kenny."
"Oh, she'll believe me."
"I'm still not sure. I'm grateful but if I speak to her myself I'm sure it'll be all right. It's best if I see her myself."
"Please yourself, kid, but you might go up there a dozen times before you get to see her if Martyn doesn't knock you out first. I'll go there once and it's all sorted."
"Well, maybe I can call round before her dad gets home from work."
"And maybe he'll get home early from the brewery. He'll be like a raging bull if he finds you there while he's out."
"Well, I'll go and see him myself on neutral ground then. Where he won't be so keen to, 'knock me out'."
"Thin ice, kid. You're on very thin ice. He's an ex-pro fighter and a good one at that. And although he's a fair and reasonable man, he's very protective over Lynn. He'd kill for her."
"I'll just take my chances on that because I'm not giving up. He can do what he likes."
"You're talking shit, Brian. Just leave it till I've been up there on Monday."
"Yeah, maybe I will." But I was not happy about waiting that long. I was badly missing Lynn and the misery about my future without her was keeping me awake at night. Maybe, as I said, I should try to talk to Martyn when he was away from the family home and on neutral ground.
Kenny looked at Adrian. "Have you got your car with you?"
"Don't go anywhere without it, Ken. Why, where are we going?"
"Haven't been to Minstrels for years and I thought I'd pay it a visit. They're still open until two, aren't they?"
"Yeah, sounds good to me, Ken."
I was surprised that Kenny was going to Minstrels and wondered if there was trouble brewing. I had no desire to go to Minstrels but thought I should go if Kenny had trouble there. However, Kenny assured me the visit was purely social so I declined the offer to join them and went home.
When Martyn left home he had no intention of going to the Recreation Club. He caught the bus to town and walked into Charlie's Gymnasium looking for Mike. There were a few men in there but he couldn't see Mike anywhere. He walked towards the office and was almost at the door when Mike walked out. Fear drained Mike’s face when he saw Martyn and he dashed back into the office and tried to close the door but Martyn barged it with his shoulder before he could get it locked. Mike ran to his desk and pulled out a small rounders bat as a threat to him, thinking that he may think twice about coming near him, but Martyn picked up a swivel chair and hurled it across the room as if it were a pillow. The chair hit Mike with quite a force, knocking him off his feet. The well-developed lad sprang back up but Martyn had moved forward and grabbed the rounders bat, yanked it out of his hand and threw it across the room. His powerful hands took the young man by his shirt and he slung him across the room like a rag doll. Mike landed badly and let out a scream as his elbow fractured.
One of Mike's friends ran in and put up his fists as he approached. Martyn's left hook came around so fast the over-developed youngster didn't know what hit him and he received an unscheduled sleep. He turned his attention back to Mike who was still reeling in agony on the floor. Martyn knew that he wouldn't be in pain much longer. He bent over and grabbed Mike's shirt and after raising him from the floor with one hand, he hit him with three successive right punches before letting the lad drop to the floor, unconscious. Martyn kept himself fully prepared as he left the gym but nobody followed him.
Kenny and Adrian set off through the town. "How are you getting on with Kathy?" Kenny asked.
"All right, Ken. She's a nice girl. I like her."
"She's having a bit of trouble with her old chap, isn't she? He's turned into a bit of an alchi."
"I think he's stopped drinking, though I suppose he still has the odd one now and again. I don't think he's an alchi. Kathy reckons he just couldn't handle the loss of her mother and took to drink as a kind of escape. She said he came home the other night crying. Said he'd lost his queen and didn't want to lose his princesses or some old bollocks like that. Anyway, apparently, he's been a changed man ever since."
They drove past the gym and Kenny noticed an ambulance outside with its blue light flashing. "Hello, problems at the gym," he said.
"That ambulance might not be the only problem. My old man reckons the old boy that owns it is in trouble with the tax man and they might close him down."
As they were approaching the bus terminus Kenny spotted Martyn on his way home. Kenny asked Adrian if he would make a detour to Meadowview and they stopped to pick Martyn up. Martyn got in the car and Kenny looked round to speak to him. "Have you been at Charlie's Gym?"
"What makes you ask that?"
"There was an ambulance there and I wondered what was going on."
"I think that someone took a liberty with someone. So someone's been in there to sort someone out."
"Oh," Kenny said. "Well if someone ever needs any help, I hope he remembers that he can always rely on someone."
"Are you two talking in some kind of code?" Adrian said.
Kenny laughed but knew that Martyn had said all he intended to on the subject.
They pulled up outside Martyn's house. "Is Lynn home?" Kenny asked.
"She is yeah."
"I'll come in. I want a chat with her."
"Not tonight, Kenny. I'm sorry, mate, but there's been some nasty things going on. No offence, but I think it's best if we leave it tonight."
"Nothing to do with Brian Conway, is it?"
Martyn got out of the car. "Brian Conway. If that's the idiot with the motorbike, then no, it's nothing to with him."
Look, if there's anything I can..."
Martyn cut him short. "It's a private matter. I've gotta go, Ken, and thanks." He gave a wink and walked off.
"Long time since I've seen him like that. It must be bad if he won't tell me."
"Do you mind if we pick Kathy up while we're here?"
"Course not. As long as we don't have to wait two hours for her to get ready."
"No, she always looks great anyway and I'll hurry her up. I think she'll be well-pleased."
Judy was dancing with two girls at Minstrels unaware of the three friends approaching the pay booth. The chief doorman noticed Kenny and he rushed over to greet him. He let the three of them in as his guests, pleased to see his old acquaintance in the club again. A few heads turned when Kenny walked into the hall. Many of the older revellers knew him. Some were happy to see him and some were a bit unsure but they all wondered why he was there. Adrian and Kathy went to the bar but Kenny walked to the edge of the dance floor. He had seen Judy and stood looking over at her as she danced. One of the girls looked over and noticed him. The girl stopped dancing and reached over to speak to Judy.
Judy stood for a while as if she were afraid to look but then she turned around and looked straight over to him. She stood for a few seconds more before walking slowly towards him. She was nervous and unsure about the reason for his visit but it obviously had something to do with her. Different thoughts were alternating through her mind and she was wondering if this was the end of her misery or was he there for another reason. She was hoping and praying in her mind as she slowly approached him watching him closely for a sign, any sign at all that his visit wasn't hostile. She had almost reached him but he had not moved. He had made no attempt to meet her half way, he just looked at her.
"Hello, Kenny," she said.
Kenny smiled at her. "Fancy a dance, Jude?"
Jude, the name sounded like a magical word to her. She had yearned to hear it again from him for such a long time. She knew that her years of torment were over. Tears of emotion rapidly filled her eyes before spilling over to trickle down her cheeks. "Oh, yes, Ken. I'd love one."
Saturday afternoon I went to the brewery. After speaking to the gateman I rode my motorbike around the barrier at the gate, came into the yard, and rode right up to Lynn's father's office in a yard cabin. I dismounted and walked into Martyn's cabin, much to his surprise.
"What the fuck are you doing here?" Martyn said. "And who showed you where I was?"
"A bloke at the gate told me. And I came here to have a man-to-man talk with you."
Martyn remained seated which I thought was a good sign. "You've got guts lad, I'll give you that. Have you got any idea who you are talking to?"
"Yeah, you're Lynn's dad." Martyn laughed but only briefly and I paused before continuing. "Before you start throwing me around the room can you just listen to what I have to say?"
"My daughter Lynn was in this very office crying her eyes out because of you. I'll listen to you but it had better be good lad because if it's not, being thrown around the room will be the least of your problems."
"Tommy Hutchins was a good friend of mine and he was killed at work."
"Yeah, I know. I read it in the paper."
I went on to explain about Vivien, the way she had lured me to her house and tried to seduce me. How Lynn had seen me leaving and drawn the wrong conclusion.
"Couldn't you see it coming? Are you that fucking dense?"
"I'm not dense, a bit foolish maybe not to have seen what she was up to, but that's the way I am. I like to see the best in people. I swear, I promise that I would never knowingly do anything to hurt or upset Lynn. I love your daughter, Mister McLean. I love her so much that…"
"All right, all right, save the slush. Look, I'll have a word with her. I tell her what you've said, but it's up to her, lad. If she doesn't want to know, then neither do I and it all ends."
"I believe that you're a fair man. All I ask is that you do your best for me."
"I will, lad. I think I will." Martyn shoved a pencil and pad across the table. "Just put your address on there and I'll get a lift round on Monday and let you know."
"I can call round to you."
"No, you won't. If you really believe I'm a fair man you'll write your address."
We looked at each other for a long moment and then I leant over to write my address.