I sit cross-legged. “Hi, Joel. There was an incident. Petrol tanker overturned, fire, deaths, injuries. Only down the road. I was badly burnt. I’m getting better but I’m doubting my memory again. Like ages ago. I sometimes feel like I’m not all there. Like I’m disconnected. Maybe it’s because I’m on my own too much or because I don’t have a routine. Anyway, look. It’s cold up here. I won’t be away for so long, promise. I’ll be back soon. Take care, Joel. Happy New Year. Love you.” I head home.
I took him by surprise. Reached across the desk, grabbed his jacket collars with both hands, pulled him out of his chair, then pushed down and slammed his forehead onto the desk top. I hauled him upright and let go. He fell back into the chair, which tipped over and deposited him on the floor. I moved around the desk. Malone rolled over and looked up at me. He couldn’t see straight and was having trouble focusing. “Jesus...” he groaned. “Tell me what you know about Alfie Barnes,” I said.