A few foetid days after talking the Admiral into agreeing to Tarantino's sacking, Greycoat prepared the execution chamber.
First, he set out his office like a CID interview room. He took down his Turner and Picasso prints and put away the family photographs. The effect was a little spoiled by his inability to replace all the Heal's furniture at short notice, but one had to have some standards.
At precisely 11am Tarantino entered, having been peremptorily summoned by the Dragon at the Grey One's behest, a task she greatly enjoyed. Tarantino was at his best.
Black mohair, black silk shirt and white tie, his dress uniform.
The man's composure and dignity almost brought a lump to the throat. Greycoat looked at him across the table. Damn bad show, Charles. Couldn't go on. Disloyalty. Admiral desperate for blood. Sorry it had to come to this, a suitable financial arrangement could be reached, keep the car for three months. . . he stammered to a halt.
From an inside pocket Tarantino produced the latest copy of the Gazette . Front page, a colour picture of a bandaged patient and banner headlines. 'Hospital chief criticises government health policy. Not enough cash and waiting lists being fiddled, says Greycoat. Chair offers full support at darkest hour.'
I thought he was having a heart attack. He paled and flushed alternately, sweat flowed freely down his jowls and a certain odour permeated the room. Eventually he gasped that it wasn't true. Tarantino smiled. What wasn't true? The facts of the story or that he had not said any of it? He twisted the knife - they both knew the facts were true. Who would believe that he hadn't said it to the papers? Hadn't Greycoat himself ordered the re-engineering group to be convened, at which all the facts had come out? That looked like a panic reaction. A denial would appear the same.
Greycoat began to fight back. He'd go to the Press Complaints thingy, force the editor to recant. The Terminator laughed. The damage was done, the commission took months to report and Fred would never apologise. 'No, no, Lamberhurst, the game's up.' Still Greycoat squirmed. But the chair, he'd not said anything either? Tarantino giggled.
I thought things could get no worse for the Boss, when the red telephone rang.