The Montedory Revenge, a Short Story
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He told Tatum he could have the morning off, but he expected him to represent the league at the game between the 76ers and the Celtics in Boston that afternoon. One of them had said "Go Sixers! Not for the first time Silver wished it was still fashionable to walk with a cane that he could use to strike urchins such as that. He despised the 76ers. The plan by their GM, whose name he would not even speak, had made a mockery of the league and humiliated Stern, tarnishing his reputation by subverting the way things should work by blatantly tanking for draft picks.
The system was designed to work a certain way and operated by gentleman's agreement. The Sixers had laughed at that agreement. When he became commissioner he immediately set about getting his revenge by dispatching old friend and partner Jerry Colangelo to oust the GM and destroy them from within. He was dwelling on his hatred of the Philadelphia basketball team as he arrived home to his brownstone.
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As he fumbled for his keys he heard a sound and looked up at the door. In place of the lovely door-knocker, David Stern had given him when he took over was a ghostly face. It was only there for a moment but it looked just like Jerry Colangelo whom he had just been dwelling on. Silver steadied himself and grumbled. It must have been something he had eaten at the company holiday party disagreeing with him.
He entered the brownstone and was met with a chill. He had forgotten that his wife and daughter were out of town. He had turned them off when he left, as well as declining to turn any lights on.
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It was as cold and dark as a house had ever been. Silver sighed at the cold dark house and went about the business of making himself some supper and putting a fire on in the fireplace to warm up the chill. He was shaken by the odd experience with the door knocker, and before settling in he walked through the house to make sure everything was as he had left it. Not a stitch of clothing or a crumpled bed sheet was out of place.
Eventually, he settled in to eat his dinner in front of the fire, by now casting some warmth in the cold room. As he ate his eyes drifted to the silver bell on the mantle. It was a gift from one of the league owners, but he had forgotten which. For reasons he could not articulate tonight its sight made him uneasy. He finished his dinner occasionally glancing at the bell. He resolved to remove it from the mantle and put it in a closet somewhere so he no longer had to look at it when to his utter astonishment it began to ring. It floated just slightly in the air and rang out rapid sharp chimes.
How long the bell went on he could not say. He sat staring at it, terrified. It came from deep in the bowels of the house, somewhere in the basement. It was an awful sound that made the strange chiming of the bell sound like an angel singing. Silver stood up from his chair and turned to the cellar door on the far side of the room. He was about to dial on his cellphone when a ghostly figure wrapped in chains passed through the door without it even opening. Into the room floated this figure, wrapped in equally ghostly chains. Silver watched in horror as it floated across the room.
As it passed the fireplace, the fire within flared up like the sun briefly as if it knew the ghost before it as well as Silver did. We have much to discuss and time grows short. The apparition laughed.
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I forged it link by link with deals meant to hurt rather than help. I forged it yard by yard with my betrayals. Now the weight follows me and I can not escape it. You brought in your son! You were good at your business for the league! Not wasting assets was my business. Taking the longest view was my business.
Why have you come to haunt me on the eve of the Christmas Day Games? Expect the first when the bell tolls one tomorrow.
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The second at the same time on the day beyond, and the third one day further at the stroke of midnight. There is hope for you yet, but only if you take the lessons you will be taught to heart. Henry took it for granted that Windy Glenn did not know. The few people who were aware of what was going on would not tell him because he would have killed the pair. After all, they reasoned, he had served five years in prison for killing his mother for undercooking a chicken.
Things stood to reason Baby killer? He does not like to think that of her. Ran away then, from a fear that Windy would get to hear of the affair, either from others or off the tip of her own tongue, pushed there by a guilt that did not listen to sound sense. He steps back from the window, rubs his lips, and checks the time on his mobile phone. Not yet eleven a. He is presenting a talk in the afternoon to a group in the military museum, and it is easy money to talk on a subject matter he loves — twenty years ago today, relentless rain and his dead daughter.
An itch he drinks to breeze away. In the kitchen he pours coffee. Brenda is adding turves to the stove.
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She is a woman who feels the cold easily, and she likes to feed her own coldness into it too. It is not what he had been expecting to hear. He had anticipated a gentler and more subtle attack, a reminder that she would put Windy in the picture if he went sniffing after an old flame. This numbs her. Her head goes a little to the right, her chin falls.
She sits to the armchair, knees close together, a position he has seen them in far too often. He averts his eyes from her glare and briefly squeezes his nose between thumb and forefinger. Indeed you would both end up dead. Last time, he killed the baby in front of her and laid it on the plains for you to find. He stands and goes into the hall. Takes his rain-jacket off the rack. Shaken by the revelations: Windy murdered his daughter; banished Delia; smiled at him down the years and listened as he spouted tales about the history around them, who would surely have betimes observed him go deep into the furze to visit the grave, bringing his flowers.
He wore the secret, exacting pleasure from the knowledge of knowing a piece of history that Henry did not. Opens the front door, ventures into the world, carrying a tale in his heart, one he will he never speak of, though it is his to tell. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
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The Book Club. Sign up to the weekly Irish Times books newsletter for features, podcasts and more. Subscriber Only. Ducks, Newburyport: One extraordinary sentence 1, pages long. Ilya Kaminsky's Deaf Republic: poetry in a world shaped by a boy's killing. Most Read in Culture. Or did it? Short stories. Deus Absconditus, a short story by Mary Costello.