This excerpt is taken from Simon’s book An Everyday Warrior (a true story) and tells of one of the first times he truly had to answer for his father’s sins when at the age of just 17, after a gig with his band he received a chilling late night call to say men were coming for his dad. Simon writes as he remembers the incident some 23 years later when in an almost identical situation, he is told people who his dad has upset are on their way to the family’s factory to deal with the situation. Simon sits alone in his office and recalls the encounter from many years ago.
In the hour that I did wait, fear and I sat together again, and we looked back at the amount of times this kind of event had happened to me. And then I remembered the first time I had picked up a baseball bat with the sole intention of using it to protect myself and my family. I reminisced as I sat there, waiting;
I was seventeen years old and was becoming more and more aware of how my father’s world worked. I wanted little part of it and was happy spending my days working and my nights drumming in a local band. On the evening in question, we had played a gig at a local nightclub and it had gone well.
It’s fair to say I was happy arriving home late that night, a couple of pints inside me and the accolades of a small crowd ringing in my ears. The next set of ringing I heard would stop me dead in my tracks and send a cold shiver up my spine.
It was about 11pm and the house was quiet with my dad being away on business, and my mum in bed having left me some supper out. As I waited for it to reheat, the phone brought me from my daydream. Given the time of night, I was surprised to hear it ring and answered it with trepidation. After all, does a phone call at that time of night ever bring good news?
Immediately my instincts were proved right as a rough, aggressive voice barked down the receiver, “Is Peter Morrell there?”
“No I’m sorry. He’s away.” I realise now that this was bad information to give out, I should not have let anyone know who was and who wasn’t in the house; but what did I know? I was a seventeen year old drummer in a rock ‘n’ roll band.
“Don’t fuck about son, we know he’s there and he’s about to get the hiding of his life. We’re in your town now, at a phone box near your street. Tell him to come outside to meet us.”
Sheer panic took hold as I tried to convince him that my dad was not around but they would have none of it.
“We’ll find out in a minute won’t we? Chicken shit he is. Ripping people off all the time. Well he has picked the wrong crowd this time.” With that the phone went dead and I became aware of my mum standing at the top of the stairs.
“What is it Si? What’s happened?” I just looked at her and it was as if she knew what had been said. She called the police and to be fair, it took them just minutes to get to us. After being told details of the call before they were dispatched to us, they had taken the time to check the local phone boxes and reassured us that there was no one around.
You could cut the tension with a knife and so it was no surprise that I nearly jumped out of my skin when the phone rang a second time. An officer motioned for my mum to answer it and then stood next to her so he could listen in. There wasn’t much he could do or say as he heard the caller tell my mum that my dad ‘wouldn’t be forgotten’ and that ‘things would happen soon.’ With that the phone went dead.
The officer could see we were terrified and tried to put our minds at ease. Turning to me he said, “Listen son, he sounded drunk to me. Given the time of night he’s probably had a few and will wake up in the morning with a sore head and a guilty conscious. We will be around all night so will drive past and keep an eye open, but try not to worry. Lock up the house and get some sleep. It’ll all be forgotten in the morning.”
I did as he said, but not before grabbing the baseball bat that was in the house and putting it by the side of my bed. I was taking no chances but prayed the policeman was right and that the guy was just drunk. Both my prayers went unanswered; the policeman wasn’t right and the man on the phone hadn’t been drunk…
The following morning as my mum and I tried to eat breakfast, the phone rang again and the same voice simply said, “If you think that was just a drunken phone call last night, think again. We are coming for your dad.”
I never found out how this issue was resolved, but I do remember the look on my father’s face when I told him of the matter. He tried to laugh it off but he caught my eye and we both knew the same thing; he was afraid.
And so, many years later, here I was in the office he used to occupy, with more bad men coming to see us. The only similarity here was that he had caused the problem; the only difference was that I was going to resolve it.
I was shaken from my reverie by a loud, hard bang on the door; they were here…