Hauling a sports bag over his shoulder he tried to hold back the bile in his throat and set off for the meeting. He slammed the door behind him, an indication of the temper rising from within, and jumped into the car. Firing the engine, he revved the accelerator and reversed into the roadway at speed.
There was a blare of a car horn and the swift swing of a steering wheel as a passing motorist shook his fist at him and a mouthful of partially heard expletives invaded the atmosphere.
‘Sorry!’ he shouted, and then realised there was no way the driver would hear him at the speed he was going.
Undeterred, he ploughed on into town heading for the restaurant and the end of season meeting. He shook his head at the thought of it all. He was so annoyed. He would have his say today! He would tell them exactly what he thought of them. Oh, yes! He surely would. It was their fault. Not his and he would tell all fourteen of them that he really was the best coach in the county.
Sliding the car into a space outside the restaurant, he dragged his sports bag across the seat with him, locked the door, and forced a huge grin onto his face. With a brave front, he ambled into the restaurant.
She was there: The captain, number fourteen. And the room was set out with a long table set for a banquet and a meal fit for winners. But they all were losers.
No sooner had he entered than they began clapping.
He was dumbfounded at first but then they began to jeer and cajole.
‘End of season, end of game!’ came the cries.
‘Wrong decision, coach! Wrong decision!. You shouldn’t have made that substitution in the last five minutes!’
‘I made you city champions!’ he shouted above the mayhem. ‘You’re nothing without me!’
The captain announced, ‘Sorry, coach, but we need you to stand down. We want a new man for the new season.’
‘I took you to the county finals,’ he cried. ‘I made you what you are! I got you to the national finals and you repay me by asking me to go?’
‘Err.... No we’re telling you to go,’ she said. And then they all laughed at him.
Hauling the sports bag onto the table, he unzipped the compartment and pulled out a submachine gun.
There was a rattle of bullets passing through the magazine when he pulled the trigger and shot One, Two Three and Four.
Screaming! Panic! Terror! Mayhem!
Broken glass, turned over chairs, a splintered table. Blood!
Five and Six made a run for the door but he swivelled, bent low, pulled the trigger and let them have it in the back. Five crashed over a table and died instantly. Six got as far the front glass door and died in a hail of bullets as he cut her down.
Her body slammed through the door in a shower of glass, splinters and shards of glass falling and cracking into a dozen or more pieces, spilling onto the roadway outside. Mayhem! Terror on the streets!
‘I am the King!’ he screamed; his mind in turmoil, his brain in dismember, his very being gone to hell.
‘I got you to the national finals and you want rid of me!’
Standing on the table now, he rattled the gun again and watched as Seven, Eight and Nine took bullets in the head and chest.
It was a blood bath.
And people outside alerted by broken glass, screams and the sound of gunfire ran for their lives unsure of what was occurring but determined to leave the danger zone as soon as possible.
The owner of the restaurant reached for a telephone fixed to the wall but when he saw the barrel of the machine gun point towards him he thought again.
‘I didn’t come for you! Get out!’
The restaurant owner rushed from behind he bar, stumbled over the dead, and ran for the door as fast he could.
More gunshots ran out when Ten, Eleven, Twelve and Thirteen took bullets in the chest and back in a terrifying onslaught of violence and hate.
The air clouded and smelled of cordite. The barrel of his gun was hot. Bloodstained chairs and table told the story of a horrific massacre all because they wanted rid of the coach.
He could hear the sirens now. They were in the distance but they were growing. A wild cacophony of sound heading his way.
He slid another magazine into the gun and checked.
‘Fourteen!’ he yelled.
Walking along the table top, kicking the cutlery to the ground, nudging the bodies slumped over the table in their death throes until he found her.
She was crouched crying in the corner.
‘You,’ he said. ‘You!’
He let off a hundred rounds but not one hit her as he peppered the area around her in a terrifying display of power.
‘You.... You changed the shape.... I made the switch.... I took an injured one off and put a fit one on but you changed the shape.’
‘Sorry,’ she sobbed,
‘And now you want rid of me.... I got you to the national finals!
‘You’re loopy,’ she cried. ‘You’ve lost it!’
He killed her there and then with a salvo into the head and body.
Then he turned and emptied the magazine haphazardly into the bodies around him.
Sweating now, with the sound of sirens outside and a tannoy echoing he made for the door.
It was just a nonchalant stroll as he listened to his name being called on the loudspeaker. They were waiting for him. They were all there to see the great coach. The police were there, the media was there, a television camera had arrived. He’d made stardom. He was a celebrity.
They were calling his name.
He would forever be written in history.
Raising his weapon he pointed it directly in front of him and curled his finger round the trigger. Gesturing, threatening, pointing, he stepped forward into history.
The weapon was empty when he made his way into the street and was cut down by a dozen bullets fired by the police.
It was the fourteenth of February: Valentine's Day.
And Coach Ken Valentine had just settled the score.