I leant back in my chair and took a mouthful of coffee. '24 hours' I said to Don. I was sat in our office, tucked away on High Street, on the edge of the city centre.
'Not much time, then' said Don, looking at the clock.
I'd explained to him about the press conference and the band flying to out to America.
I also told him who Hollis believed had the master-tapes.
'Jon Starkey was the band's drummer' I explained. 'It's been kept private so far but he's out of the band. Up to that point, Starkey had been living in the same house as the rest of the band but he's moved out to live with his girlfriend.' After listening to Hollins, the house sounded more like it was a squat, with people coming and going at all hours.
Don nodded. 'Will there be an announcement about the drummer at the press conference?'
Hollins had told me it was a possibility. Our presence was to act as good news, to show that things were moving forward.
I carried on. 'The master-tapes were being held by the band until they could hand them over to the record label. They were in the house, tucked away in an underwear drawer. I assume Hollins didn't want them left at the studio in case the producer went all Phil Spector on them.'
Don looked puzzled, so I told him to Google Phil Spector and John Lennon and
read about their recording session in the mid-1970s.
Spector had taken exception to Lennon and disappeared with the master-tapes, holding them to ransom, before eventually handing them back. Don wasn't as interested as me in the stories and myths music throws up. He asked if Starkey had access to a key for the house.
I confirmed he did.
'And a motive' said Don, nodding his head.
'It would appear so.'
'What's the real reason Starkey was sacked? I assume they're going with musical differences?'
I laughed. The classic fall-back. 'Hollins said he was hitting the bottle too heavily; couldn't do his job properly anymore. He had to be sacked; no further warnings but they don't want to make a fuss.' I shrugged. 'For old time's sake. They think he's got enough to deal with, without it becoming a more formal investigation.'
'So the theory is he used his key to the house, took the master-tapes and now he's holding them to ransom?'
'Something like that.'
'Has he contacted them yet?'
I shook my head. 'The band only realised they were missing a few days ago and they don't want to antagonise him. Presumably there'll be a legal battle over a financial settlement, anyway, if he's left the band. Hollins said he'd been trying to contact him, but no luck.'
'So how has it blown up with the press?'
'Some music journalist got word through an Internet forum and contacted Hollins. The plan is for us to get them back and have them handed over at tomorrow's press conference. Because there's so much interest in the band, their record label is shitting bricks that their investment is down the pan. They've got to be seen to be doing something. Worst case scenario, they can say they've got us on the job and it's all in hand.'
'And if we fail?'
We needed the work, so some good publicity wouldn't go amiss. 'Let's not think about that' I said eventually.
Don shook his head. He kept our books and records, so he knew what the financial picture was like. He passed me a pile of paper. 'I've been doing some research.' I glanced through the information, much of it I already knew. I knew the local Hull boys made good story. When I reached the final sheet, I learnt something I didn't know. 'They had a local manager before they made it big?'
Don nodded. 'Mark Harrison. From what I can gather from his website, he started out managing the band when he was a student, as a favour to his mates, booking them their first gigs around the city.'
Reading between the lines, Harrison had been elbowed out of the picture. Steve Hollins had come sniffing once the band's self-funded debut single had been critically acclaimed by the music press. Promising to open doors for them that were well beyond Harrison's scope of influence, he took charge of the band's affairs.
'Presumably he's pretty bitter' I said, passing the sheets back to Don.
'Would he have the opportunity to get his hands on the master-tapes?'
A good question. I didn't know, but I wouldn't be surprised to learn he had access to the house.
'Might be worth bearing in mind' said Don, looking at the clock. 'Especially if the drummer can't be found.'
Fiction - 100 Words Competition - The Unkindest Cut By Manuro
Phil's partner in hell-raising had convinced him that it would be a 'good idea' to spend all of his gig money on pork chops. They had met during the summer at an all-night Clown Skills and Raw Food workshop in Worksop, where the ability to see through walls and predict future events had proved, at the very least, useful.
Unable to control his bohemian life, Phil took solace
Fiction - Later. Still. By Christopher Skolik
Maybe human beings get through life by focusing their attention down to the smallest details, those soap opera comings and goings that make up the flickering magic lantern show of day to day existence, the little things that make life worth living, the details that stand between us and the chasm.
Fiction - The Hunch-Back (in the style of The Hitman by T.C. Boyle) By Katherine Horrex
By the age of nine the Hunch-Back is aware that he has no place. He questions the existence of everything he sees and it is not until he grows shady from first stubble and hard with distracting pubescent bulk that he gains any sense of purpose, or raison d'etre if you will, for he is half French.
It is his mother to which the French in him must be attributed,
Fiction - The Terminal Brothel By Christopher Skolik
Gales crashed onto the housing estate. Grey sky like fractured mountains.
In the passenger seat Dennison read through the paper, as Snaith drives. As some story or headline caught Snaith's attention he would ask Dennison to read it in full.
The council estate was a maze of similarity -a dizzying optical illusion where homes, roads, and people all
Fiction - 100 Words Competition - Kundalini By Andrea Longstaff
She was homeless and walking the streets.
Her mind was unhinged but full of new found awareness. A realisation that she was now free in the true sense of the word.
Her life always did have a surreal texture to it but after a night of no sleep and helping the stranger who had dropped his pens.
He looked into her glazed eyes, "I hope you get a good nights sleep tonight"
Fiction - The Artist By The Silver Fox
Pencil in hand, he stands immobile. His eyes are locked onto the pristine expanse before him as though searching for some secret buried within the paper itself; an image that his pencil will simply be highlighting rather than creating. Above and beyond his eye line, the graphite point gleams dully in the harsh light that cascades down onto the easel.
Fiction - 100 Words Competition - Crackers By Pete Texas
I was 12 ½ when my dog ate my rabbit
He chewed on its head like a malnourished Gannet
So I traded Ben for an Arini Parrot
Put her in the hutch with the lettuce and carrot
I was sure with the straw to build Polly a nest
So when she fell asleep she'd have somewhere to rest
Fiction - 100 Words Competition - The Flat By The Silver Fox
He emerged from the oven to see the landlord eyeing him as though enquiring as to what he'd expected to find in there. He adopted a knowing expression - as though saying that he hadn't found it and was disappointed.
"Seventy a week?"
"That covers your water rates," came the expansive reply. He nodded, fearing that further conversation would bring
Fiction - Independent By Katherine Horrex Photos by Darren Rogers
The room was pulsing with white noise and euphoria. Giles was positioned behind the sound booth, stupefied by the scene on stage: five Burberry clad men thrashing manically at their instruments, their sixties feather cuts flicking through the damp air.
A final power chord growled through the Marshall stack, reverberating triumphantly and the lead
Fiction - 100 Words Competition - The Prescription By The Silver Fox
The pen flashed across the pad like a magic wand. Jeff watched, appropriately spellbound. The prescription was pushed across the desk with neither comment nor eye contact.
"Not much of a bedside manner."
"This isn't a bedside."
Pain sent a stinging retort flying to Jeff's lips; need bit it back.
"Not funny," he mumbled, leaving.
After an agonising moonwalk
Fiction - 100 Words Competition - Kids Like That By The Silver Fox
The abuse, though muted by the noise of the engine, was clear and vile in the thick afternoon air. It poured onto the bowed head of the smaller boy; rank as his sweat and tears. He pressed down upon the accelerator and the car shot forward, elongating the bully's last insult into a thin scream.
He was out onto the hot road before the broken bundle had rolled off of the bonnet.
Fiction - 100 Words Competition - Who's The Daddy? By Catherine Horlax
I heard footfalls; hollow thuds echoing down the corridor, and drew my knees up so my boots wouldn't be visible. He'd said he'd be there. A tap gushed.
I noticed the door was inscribed with idiocy, and calmed myself with the fact that
'Lisa Hyde stuffs mashed potato up her cunt'.
At least I'd kept my word - I'd said I'd be there too. I laughed because, barring crying,
Fiction - 3 Phones, 300 Words By Joe Hakim
She smiled as she handed him the bottle. He took it from her and poured himself a glass.
'So what do you think?' she asked.
'I'm not that bothered,' he replied.
He was pretty drunk by now and he attempted to think of something to say, but the silence remained stagnant. She took a gulp from her glass,
Fiction - Lessons Learnt By Nick Quantrill
DS Richard Coleman pulled into the lay-by and headed towards the flashing blue lights. An hour later it would have been someone else's problem. But it wasn't. An articulated lorry had been isolated from the other vehicles, cones placed around it, linked together by barrier tape.
A mobile generator providing power to the small floodlights
Fiction - Mr Keith Fortner By The Silver Fox
In assessing the nature and worth of Mr Keith Fortner, it helps to be acquainted with one or two salient facts about his background. This is true of anyone, of course; understanding can rarely come without some awareness of their past experiences and emotional development after all.
Even the vast majority of people who tend to exist in a very limited context - the parameters
Fiction - After The Rain By Joe Hakim
He noticed there was another crushed snail by the doorstep. It was the third one he'd found this week. It was funny because he could never recall standing on the snails, but there they were.
He opened his back door and lit a cigarette. He'd been in this place for a month now, but it still didn't feel like his home, just a place he was staying in for a while.