Harry had gathered all the papers he wanted while he was waiting for a cab he’d booked into
“I’ll do my best, Harry. But there’s been some kind of audit last week and they’ve found a discrepancy between the number of certificates printed out and the revenue that’s come in. There was a meeting about it yesterday.”
“Do they know it’s you?” Harry was worried he might have put her job at risk.
“Hell, Harry – I’m not the only one at it! There must be half a dozen of us taking kick-backs. You genealogists all seem to want stuff by ‘yesterday’…”
“You know I appreciate what you’re doing, Linda?” Harry had told her, turning on his charm tap. “I was going to invite you out to dinner sometime…”
“Leave it out, Harry,” she’d replied, laconically. “Just make sure you get the money in the bank, and I’ll do what I can,” and he’d reeled off the references she’d need to sort the certificates for him.
And then, there’d been the call from Ana. In his attempt to erase the events in
“Did you get back OK, Harry?” she’d asked.
“Seems that way. No physical damage, anyway.” His tone was cold, his emphasis precise.
Ana had paused, as if she was trying to work out what he meant. “I’ve got the DNA results here. What do you want me to do with them? Should I fax them to you?” That’s right, Harry had thought: keep it purely to business – it’s the best way.
“Yes. At my office, if you don’t mind.” He’d given her the number.
“Harry … are you… alright?” There had been a genuine concern in her voice.
“I’m fine. As I suppose Alan, Yolanda, Pablo and you are. Now, if you don’t mind, I’ve got some work to do.”
And he’d hung up on her. For the first time in his life.
Colin McAllistair spent early Monday evening on a train heading north, his second trip that way in a week. He was leafing through a magazine, but not really concentrating fully. In the seat opposite him, a young couple spent most of the journey deep in conversation, recalling how they’d met and fallen for each other, as if theirs was the first love story every told. He tried to filter it out: he was thinking about Lillian McFry and Jonathan Harcourt. He’d packed his digital video camera, hoping Lillian would agree to him recording their conversation. If he was to persuade any of the producers he knew that there was a programme in Lillian’s story, it would help if he had a few rough pieces to show them.
McAllistair had that rare knack of being able to visualize things in the future. Some might call it day-dreaming, but others would see it as the skill and ability to conceive something, and to take it through to fruition. He’d found, often enough, that if he thought about how something might look, how events might pan out, even down to the tiniest detail, he could make them turn out that way. As he’d written his thesis as a student, he’d been driven by the image of himself walking up on stage to collect his degree, and could even have told you the colour of the Dean’s eyes. Now, he saw grainy, black-and-white images of