Against the odds: Vinny plots a way to get even with his nemesis

The burly bus driver is all set to blame the ‘Dodger’ for his marriage breakdown

New England Patriots’  Malcolm Butler  makes a vital interception to deny  Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Ricardo Lockette  during the final seconds of Super Bowl XLIX  at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, USA. Photo: Larry Smith/EPA

New England Patriots’ Malcolm Butler makes a vital interception to deny Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Ricardo Lockette during the final seconds of Super Bowl XLIX at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, USA. Photo: Larry Smith/EPA

 

For the dawn of spring, there was no sighting of daffodils, or leaping lambs, in the shattered world of Vinny Fitzpatrick. On Imbolc, the first of the four ancient Gaelic festivals – Beltane, Lughnasa and Samhain were the others – Vinny was is no mood for saying a prayer, or raising a glass, to St Brigid.

Instead, the only cross on his mind was the one he had been forced to bear since Angie’s shocking revelations.

Even now, a week on from the disclosure, Vinny couldn’t bring himself to think about the trauma which had splintered his heart into a million tiny shards.

Rodger ‘The Dodger’ Winston was the sweet-talking cur who’d somehow persuaded Angie to cross the great divide, leaving a chubby cuckold behind to pick up the pieces.

The unctuous managing director of his father’s betting chain, Winston’s For Winners, was a long-time pursuer of Angie – the bump on his shnozz was a permanent reminder of a Vinny haymaker at Leopardstown a few years back.

Even back then, The Dodger had long coveted, not just Angie’s business, Boru Betting, but a bit on the side too. Now, he had both. And the pain of the capture hurt Vinny like nothing he’d ever felt before.

Not even his Da’s passing had hit him like this, as Finbarr galloped to three score and ten, and then said his goodbyes for a year as cancer ebbed his soul.

This was different. This was a short, sharp, shock from the blind side.

Glazed eyes

If the activity under the sheets was a tad more leisurely of late, he could still raise a gallop when the whips were cracked – even if he was a sprinter these days rather than a stayer.

He’d thought his fitness regime, which saw him shed 14 pounds in six weeks, had impressed Angie but had since sussed that being his old roly-poly self, was no different to borderline plump.

Even had he signed up for the Pioneers for life, it wouldn’t have affected the roll of the dice. His number was up.

From the time Wee Rory McIlroy trotted up in Dubai, until the last-gasp interception in Arizona which ensured the New England Patriots claimed the Super Bowl, Vinny sat blankly in front of the flat screen telly in his family home in Causeway Avenue.

When hurt, Vinny had an automatic reflex; he cocooned himself from the big bad outside world. He didn’t eat, apart from a jumbo bag of cheese puffs, he didn’t drink and it took a mighty effort just to get to the toilet and back.

Mostly, he sat on his ample backside, wrapped up in an old comfy blanket from his youth, and wallowed in self-pity. Not even his 7/2 bet on McIlroy, or his €20 on the Patriots at evens to win the Super Bowl had lifted his glum spirits.

It was close to two bells when Vinny nodded off in his chair, only to be woken at 8am by the sound of the telly. It was transfer deadline day and Sky Sports were giving it loads.

As the cameras nipped around to freezing reporters standing outside various Premier League training grounds, Vinny considered the absurdity of it all.

At this time of the season, the only bargains on the shelves were faulty ones, like those horses in Timeform with a squiggle after their name which meant they weren’t to be trusted.

After all, why pay for faulty goods, thought Vinny?

Left peg

At 57, he had plenty of experience, and a decent left peg but who will buy this wonderful morning?

He imagined what good ol’ Harry Redknapp would say if he rolled down the window for a chat with Sky. “Yeah, he’s a good geezer is the boy Vinny, but not what we’re looking for right now. I’m sure he’ll get sorted.”

Washed-up and unwanted, the skies overhead were gun-metal grey as far as Vinny could see. Wearing a glassy expression, Vinny ignored the infrequent beeping of his mobile and half-followed the breaking news of muttering retreats.

It struck him that the papal colours of yellow and white were everywhere on Sky Sports. From Jamie Carragher’s tie to Natalie Sawyer’s clinging dress, custard was the common calling card.

To Vinny, the studio looked like a field dotted with daffs. It reminded him of the time he’d once brought Angie daffodils on a date. Angie had laughed then, tossing her head back before giving Vinny a peck on the cheek. She wasn’t laughing now. Or maybe she was, with The Dodger.

Angie had made the new arrangements quite clear.

Vinny could see the twins for two afternoons a week, and every second weekend. Angie’s solicitors would be in touch, in due course she said, and they could hammer out a proper separation agreement then.

Cold voice

At the thought of the slimy London spiv, Vinny felt the bile rise in his throat. He might have lost Angie but that didn’t mean Rodger was going to get his grubby hands on her.

As someone on Sky Sports suddenly got excited about Harry doing some transfer business, Vinny’s grey cells were elsewhere. It was time to plot and plan. Revenge was a dish best served cold, just like custard.

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