Chapter FIFTEEN by Jamie Crombie

John Allenby was going through his last minute details of the closing ceremonies on his laptop in his hotel room when there was a knock on his door. John walked over to the door and opened it only to find an exhausting looking Anne Mallinson wrapped tightly in a blanket with a security guard on each shoulder to keep her propped up.

“Oh my god” John gasped at she quickly grabbed Anne and ushered her to the couch. John quickly thanked the hotel security for their thoughtfulness and closed the door behind them.

As he turned back to Anne, John asked, “What the hell happened?”

Anne finely released all the tension from within and burst out crying as she finally felt safe after an unknown amount of time swimming to shore and getting herself to the tournament hotel. Anne started to mumble something, as her words were a combination between sobs and real words. Regardless, of what she was trying to say, it wasn’t something anybody could decipher.

John got Anne a glass of water as Anne’s limp body just melted into the couch. John returned with a glass and gently handed it to Anne. She quickly gulped it down as if she had spent a day in the Sahara. John watched with concern, as Anne seemed to come back to her senses.

As she licked her lips and cleared her throat Anne said “they have Fritz”

John quickly responded with “Who has Fritz”

Anne replied “ The lady with tattoos all over her body”

John’s head started spinning, as the thought of the tattooed lady from his dreams wasn’t merely a thought but a reality.  John sat down as Anne continued “ The lady with the tattoos shot Fritz”.

He sat down and took a few deep breathes as Anne described the situation of the cigar boat coming up to their yacht and what ensued afterwards. This still didn’t make sense. How the hell was a woman from his dreams now actually shooting at Fitz Mallinson?  The relative ease of how the tournament was running now switched from green light to red light in seconds. Still trying to comprehend what this all meant, John was brought back into reality with the sound of his phone.

“John Allenby here” John said.

“No I haven’t seen Shelley recently”

“What. Russians answered her phone”

“Tyler, are you sure it’s Russians”

“I’ll put a phone call into Zeus so Donald McDiarmid can get to the bottom of this”

John was now almost as pale as Anne after what had transpired over the last 15 minutes. His tournament had gone from green light to red light to nuclear in less time than imaginable.  His head continued to spin as he refilled Anne’s glass with water and he poured himself a Scotch.


Tyler Wolfe was lucky that the issue of tanking his match had been solved with Sylvain Fosu completely snapping his Achilles tendon. His phone call into John Allenby had eased his mind a bit but at the same time would probably open up another can of worms if John got to the bottom of the issues at hand.

The Russians can’t blame him for winning the match when his opponent lay on the court with only one leg in use. But at the same time, the Russians don’t like losing money when they thought their bet was a sure thing.  He would try to explain that his extending of the match was just his way of making the fixed match look more realistic but he wasn’t getting a good feeling about how understanding they might be.

His dilemma was how to keep the Russians happy before they did something to Shelley. How to keep the Russians happy without having to tank a match? This was his last chance at ending his career on top and he wasn’t going to let anybody get in his way of making his dream a reality. As he thought more about the situation, ease flowed through his body and mind as the simple solution presented itself to him. The Russians only concern was to make money and it was now his job to find them their next new recruit. Tyler knew that this tournament here in Rio was his last hurray so if he explained the situation to them and handed another player to them on a silver platter then he would be off the hook. The money train he has provided for them over the years now had an exact due date so by simply extending that date with another player and those issues would be resolved. I guess the only question now was, who would that be that player and how could he recruit such a player or should he say blackmail such a player.


It was odd to see Wolfie on the shuttle bus to the practice courts this early in the morning but based on how poorly he played last night, no one was going to question that he needed to find his game and quickly. So the others players just went back to eating their breakfasts while Wolfie left the hotel with headphones on and full of thought.

It didn’t happen very often but when Tyler needed to really put some deep thought into something, it was solo practice, which normally gave him his answers. By the standard measure of intelligence, Tyler probably didn’t appear high on anybody’s test scores but his common sense approach to most issues had solved most predicaments.

One board, two boards, two boards…. Three.

Two boards, one board, one board, one board, two boards…. Three

Tyler’s simply drill of hitting length to width of only two boards or less had served him well over the years and with the issues that needed to be resolved today. He wasn’t going to leave until he hit 50 in a row on both sides. Two hours later, 60 plus in a row on each side and still no answers. Tyler took the shuttle back to the hotel.

Tyler walked to the concierge desk and asked if there were any messages for him as he was concerned about the Russians as well as if Shelley had reached out to him. Jorge replied that he had none but as Tyler was about to walk away, Jorge asked Tyler if he had lost him computer as a Macbook Pro just like Tyler’s had been found. Tyler was about to say no when he noticed the “” sticker on the cover of the computer and his heart rate just about quadrupled in a mere second. If this was Charles Buckler’s personal computer than his dilemma of whom to blackmail would soon be answered within the documents of this little gem. Buckler always had shit on people and Tyler was convinced that the computer in his hands would surely produce another ugly story that nobody wanted to be made public.

Tyler almost skipped from the concierge desk with the possession of his new best friend.

JAMIE CROMBIE is a retired professional squash player.

He captured 19 PSA tour titles and achieved a career-high world ranking of #32. More recently, Jamie reached the semifinals of the Canadian National Men’s Open at the age of 45.

He has been a lead actor in Cromski videos and is the owner of 03 Sports.


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