John Farrell has to be ‘ready for anything’ (Utrinque Paratus) as he is taken on a rollercoaster journey from his coalmining community origins in County Durham to Aldershot, the home of the British army, and to war torn Belfast; from London to the poverty ridden streets of Mexico City; from inside the infamous Wormwood Scrubs, to the South of France, to Glasgow, the Scottish Highlands, Berlin and Bangkok.
Along the way, influenced by the evil men do, inadvertently it seems, John kills: in desperation, in fear, in anger, in ignorance accidentally. Does that make John Farrell a bad person? You decide! Orphan, boxer, soldier, convict, writer, fighter, loyal friend, protector, loving family man and killer. Killing is something not only evil men do.
Excerpt from John Farrell Is Utrinque Paratus:
“So, what is it you want, Craven?” I say through gritted teeth.
“That’s better Farrell,” he says, and the atmosphere in the room relaxes somewhat again. “All I want is for you to do what you’re good at.” My face must have mirrored my bewilderment because he says, “Oh come on, Farrell! Don’t be so modest… You were once one of the infamous Red Devils and you were awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for single handedly killing thirty odd rebels. You were also, at one time, arguably the best, pound for pound, boxer in the world; you killed the famous Gonzalez ‘The Mexican Devil” Hernandez in the first few seconds of your fight. You heroically went to the aid of a gang rape victim and, in one foul swoop, snapped the neck of one of the rapists, killing him instantly. Thr–”
“Where’s this going, Craven?” I say attempting to cut him off, shifting uncomfortably as all eyes in the room burn into me.
“Hold on John, I’m just getting to the interesting bit… Three men armed with guns attacked you, and according to the one who ran away, you killed two of them in the blink of an eye – with kitchen knives. And last but certainly not least: you were one of eleven men to enter a gymnasium in Wormwood Scrubs and the only one who came out alive.”
“Two.” I correct.
“Ah, yes… but I don’t consider being a vegetable actually living.”
“The point, Craven; get to the point?” My patience is totally exhausted by now as I add, “And before you do get to it… I might as well tell you now: there’s nothing you can say or do to me, or my family, that would induce me to kill for you.”
A little worked up by this point, I’m trying not to alert the villains in the room to the fact that I’m getting ready to kill Craven and take as many of them out as I can. Connie and James will have to take their chances; I send up a silent prayer for them.
“No, Farrell. I think I know you a little better than that by now: I’ve studied you for two and a half years,” and shaking his head… “No… when I want someone killed I’ve got plenty to choose from,” he says gesturing around the room. “And there’s plenty more. No, Farrell… I want you to fight!… Mind you, you may, inadvertently, kill someone. Because, believe me, they’ll be trying to kill you.”
“What are you talking about, Craven?” and while trying to appear as compliant as possible: my movements slow and deliberate, I reach for a spare chair; stepping forward, I place it a couple of metres in front of his desk and slowly sit down, folding my arms with my hands inside my jacket. Inwardly coiling, I fill my fists with gun and knife; my mind calm before the storm. ‘You don’t know me as well as you think’.