Jock, the director, said, “You’ve written a report? That’s something. Give it here.”
Jock took my report and turned away to skim it. I hate it when people do that with anything I’ve written. I like to read their faces while they read me. Jock was a terrifying bastard, with a big red face, a gorilla’s arm muscles and a pigeon’s chest. He’d passed the mandatory age but no-one had the nerve to tell him to retire.
He spun his chair back to face me. “It’s good in a way. And it’s bullshit.”
“Bullshit?” I was more surprised than offended. I thought I’d written something honest.
“Yes. Read that and it’s clear that you’re to blame. You probably think writing that’s a noble … gesture or something.”
“It’s just what I think was happening.”
“Ah, bullshit, Jaime. Actually, I expected you to produce some bullshit. Just, I thought it’d be something that covers your arse. Since you’re a clever bastard. But this isn’t even clever.” Jock was known to take some of the cockier young offenders to the Police and Citizens boxing ring, to show them that a man in his sixties could beat them. He said he was demonstrating that violence is meaningless. Really, he thought it got their attention.
I was getting annoyed. “I was trying to protect my colleagues.”
“Y’arrogant little weasel, you think the people here need your protection? We’ve been doing this longer than you’ve known how to tie your own laces. You thought it’d be romantic to throw your career away. Make a big gesture, take all the blame and walk. That’s no use to us. We’d rather you turn up to work every day. Do your share.”
“Well, Lance is going to jail. He’s not going to do very well there. That’s down to me.”
“Well, Jaime, it aint. Guess who’s fault it is? It’s Lance’s. You can’t mind him every minute of his life. You couldn’t stop him from fucking his life up when you weren’t around, because you’re not god. Contrary to what you seem to think. Here, take this report back. Keep it somewhere, and have a look at it if you ever start thinking you’re clever again.”