Furious Vinny takes the law into his own hands
AGAINST THE ODDS:Retribution, not winners, on his mind as he arrives at Leopardstown
As he reached the penthouse suites atop the main grandstand at Leopardstown, Vinny Fitzpatrick could hear the tinkle of glasses and laughter at the far end of the corridor.
For the umpteenth time since he arrived at the racecourse, he felt inside his trouser pocket for the knife.
There was, he knew, no turning back. He was armed to right a grievous wrong, and dangerous too because the manner of retribution would be bloody and far-reaching.
The target of his fury was Sir Roger “The Dodger” Winston, owner and chief executive of the high-flying London-based betting company, Winston’s, sponsors of the day’s racing at Leopardstown, and Boru Betting’s parent company.
Winston had crossed a line with Angie that was strictly out of bounds with the portly bus-driver and was about to pay for his dastardly deed. Nothing, or no one, would stop his gallop now.
Like Vinny, Winston was in his mid 50s. Unlike Vinny, he was tall, ruggedly handsome, and immensely powerful within the racing game – his highly public charity work had earned him a knighthood.
He was also a serial chaser of skirt, which explained his unforgivable actions in Boru Betting a fortnight ago that had almost wrecked Vinny’s marriage. It had taken a lot of courage from Angie to spill the beans on her boss, but she had been left with no choice when Vinny, after fearful soul-searching, had called a summit over tea and biscuits in the kitchen.
Roger The Dodger
Vinny had been in the pits of despair at the thought that his dashing wife, a head-turner in her mid-40s, may have indulged in an extra-marital act in her place of work with the stranger he now knew to be Roger The Dodger.
The truth, when revealed, hit Vinny like a sledgehammer. Between tears, Angie explained why she had been so cold towards her husband since the ill-fated rendezvous with wicked Winston.
She told how she had been surprised by Roger’s visit two weeks previously, and how his flirting, which she initially found amusing, had become more serious, and then quite sinister. In the back office, Winston’s advances had been bordering on the aggressive.
It was then Angie had lashed out, catching Winston in the groin area with a boot and threatening to report him to the gardaí.
After a sneering Winston left, vowing to “finish” Angie if she spoke a word about the incident, Angie, clearly flustered, had been astonished to find her husband in the shop, casually flicking through the Racing Post.
“I just clammed up. I was sure you’d seen Roger leave and that you would put two and two together and get six. I should have told you the truth but was afraid you wouldn’t believe me. I was scared of losing my job almost as much as losing my husband.
“I’m so, so sorry Vinny for putting you through all this,” she said, between sobs.
For his part, Vinny was hugely reassured as he’d half suspected the worst; that Angie had fallen for another man, one far more wealthy and influential that he was.
As the doubts were dispelled and he comforted his better half, Vinny’s relief that his marriage was in one piece morphed into resentment.
How dare Roger the Dodger play fast and loose with his wife? How dare he abuse his authority as the head honcho of Winston’s to inveigle his way into her place of work clearly hell-bent on monkey business? And how dare he threaten her with the sack should she speak up?
Sir Roger Winston may oversee a betting empire whose tentacles spread from Stepney to Shanghai, but that didn’t give him the right to behave in that manner.
“He may be a knight of the realm but it was time he was knocked off his bloody perch,” thought Vinny.
Barely, three days later, chance provided Vinny with his opportunity as Leopardstown staged the final flat race card of the season, all sponsored by Winston’s.
There were seven races, from the €10,000 maiden to the €100,000 Guy Fawkes Handicap, and had things been different, Vinny would have fancied his chances of picking a winner or two.
As he alighted the Luas at noon, he popped into the gents and checked that his knife, a red Swiss Army issue, was working just as it did when he was in the boy scouts 40 years ago. He knew he’d have to get close to Winston to land a telling blow.
Vinny hardly noticed the “Winston’s for Winners” banners and the cut of his jib was focused as he strode, sentry-like, up the avenue of one his favourite racetrack. There was purpose in his step as he flashed his membership card at the entrance and headed up to the parade ring.
Vinny reckoned Sir Roger would entertain guests over lunch before making his grand entrance for the presentation of the Guy Fawkes Handicap at 2.40pm. He would strike between races three and four,
Some 90 minutes later, courtesy of Angie’s invite for the Winston’s lunch – Vinny noted the irony – he headed upstairs towards the suites, breathing slowly and deeply.
In memory of Guy Fawkes he whispered to himself, “remember, remember the 10th of November, gunpowder, treason and plot.”
He felt no remorse; this was an act of vengeance Sir Roger couldn’t dodge.
After arriving at the premium level, Vinny decided to check his knife one last time and nipped into the men’s toilet. To his horror, he found the blades were stuck fast. He tried to lubricate them with the oily soap from the dispenser but it was no use; his weapon had been dismantled.
His plan was in disarray but there was no turning back.
He gathered himself and headed for the Winston’s suite, where Sir Roger was addressing his guests in a rasping tone. Seizing a tray of champagne at the entrance to the suite as cover, Vinny made directly for his target. No one knew what was coming, not least Roger The Dodger.
Does your mother sew?
A yard short of his target, Vinny stopped and said aloud. “I’ve something to say to you, Sir Roger.” With that he stepped on his tippy-toes and leaned forward. “Does your Mother sew?” he said loudly.
“I beg your pardon,” spluttered Sir Roger just as Vinny’s firm head butt landed on the bridge of his nose.
As blood spattered on to the knight’s white jacket and he collapsed in a heap, Vinny stood above him and hissed: “Well, tell her to stitch that.”
Bets of the week
3pts Darlan to win Racing Post Hurdle (10/3, Betfred)
2pts Republic of Ireland to beat Greece (6/4, Paddy Power)
1pt Lay England to beat India in First Test (4/1, Ladbrokes, liability 4pts)