He also taught them body language, what to look for and how to spot lies. They had tried it out on their trips to the bars. And on each other. It worked.
“Okay, what we got so far?” asked Jake. Anna reviewed their list, the revised one, all males. “Well we’ve prioritized those who been on the tour longest. We’ve downgraded all of the main team to the ‘B’ list; they get their kicks on the field. We’ve eliminated many of the other playing back-up, including admin, media and all. Forget anyone over forty, they’re senile.”
“That’s a bit harsh,” said Jake. Some of those guys are pretty fit. And mentally sharp.”
Anna sniffed. “Well, we’ll come back to them, we get nowhere on the front line. That leaves four, including Coach Mason who was fired yesterday.”
“Well we better try and see him first, before he ups and leaves,” replied Jake. “You wanna cover him, while I take one of the others. I can see who’s around.”
They parked their new motorbike in the stadium parking lot, and took off their helmets. Both looking smart and business like carrying journalist notebooks and pocket cameras, courtesy of Mac. Anna wearing slacks and white blouse, buttons down the front. Arnie trudged out to greet them. Jake explained their angle and showed him the names of the four people they wanted to talk to. “If it’s no trouble, that is.”
Arnie was happy with media attention; told them it would boost gate receipts. “Coach Mason is around someplace. Arnie pointed to the locker room. “Probably clearing out his belongings. We can walk around and see if any of the others can talk to you.”
While Jake followed Arnie, Anna went to search out Coach Mason. She peeked into the locker room and saw someone packing items from a locker into a box. “Coach Mason?” she asked.
He spun round and saw Anna. “Yeah, that’s me,” he said. Eyes moved to the left. “Who are you?”
Anna told him. She saw Coach eyeing her up. Creepy sort, she didn’t take to him at all. But she carried on smiling.
While she explained, his eyes lit up. A promise of a full length feature in a sports’ chick magazine massaged his ego. Apart from them, the locker room was empty. The team were out on a promotional lunch at the town hall. He motioned for her to take a seat on the bench and smiled. “Okay, shoot. I’m all yours,” he said.
Anna took a few pictures and wrote down everything in her notebook. High school athletics champion, played college football; plus a first class mind in a first class body. His life had been first-rate up to when his brother was killed, and he got injured. Then it all started to fall apart.
“How’d you feel about that?” she asked.
“Being laid up in an army hospital for six months, my sports career ruined, how’d you feel?” he replied. She wrote down, ‘Bitter’.
“But you became a Coach,” she said.
“After what I went through, reconstructive surgery and all, they owed me that. It wasn’t easy, no one wanted a burned out vet.” She wrote down, ‘Rejection’.
“So how did this job come about?”
He leaned forward as if disclosing a big secret. “Miss I haven’t got a job now, I’m on the heap.”
She didn’t press him on that. “Coach, I hope you don’t mind me being personal and all, you got a wife, partner maybe?”
He laughed an embittered laugh. “You watch horror movies? Women don’t have time for me and I’ve got no time for them.” There was a sharp edge to his voice. She noted that. She sympathized with him, told him many women would find him pleasing, but wrote down, ‘Freak.’
“Final question, what are you going to do next?” She watched his face light up.
“I’m going to be famous,” he said. Eyes left. True.
“How come?” she asked.
He leered at her. “You said final question, miss. Interview terminated.” He turned his back on her, and started to take some more gear from his locker.
“Thanks Coach,” she said, getting up to leave. “Nice meeting you. I hope it all turns out ok.”
He turned and looked her straight in the eye. She sensed evil penetrating her head. “It will, don’t you worry on that score,” he replied. Eyes to the left again.
Back in their room, they compared notes. “I need a shower,” said Anna, taking off her top and stretching. “He made my flesh crawl, kept looking at my breasts, made me feel dirty being in the same room.”
Jake lifted his eyebrows. “I’ll join you,” he said, unzipping his khakis. “And soap them for you, ok?”
She laughed. “Pervert, but it sounds good.”
“It’ll feel good too, by the time I finish with you,” he replied. “You can see how horny I am.”
She didn’t have to look at his face to see he was telling the truth. It was as hard as a rock and staring straight at her.