The Second Memorial
One of the major difficulties I faced concerning the validity of the Foundation Street memorial was that any doubts I harboured regarding its authenticity, in turn cast doubt on the veracity of Vic's testimony the previous Friday. I had been inclined to take Vic at his word, and still to this day prefer to regard him as genuine, yet it does not take a great deal of insight to realise that if the Foundation Street memorial was indeed a fake, then the finger of suspicion pointed squarely at Vic. He remains the only source to have mentioned Foundation Street, and it would have been the simplest of tasks to feed me this information and then create the 'evidence' to accompany it.
I am reluctant to fully accept this hypothesis, since I feel uncomfortable in ruling out Vic's testimony so sweepingly. I retain a degree of scepticism, of course, but Vic demonstrated enough to me in both his manner and his words, to suggest that he was no mere hoaxer. As stated previously, subsequent events would re-affirm this belief.
If I am to discount the suggestion that I was nothing more than the victim of a simple confidence trick, then it leaves me with two possible explanations. The first is that Vic did indeed fake the memorial, not through any malicious desire to deceive, but rather out of desperation for someone to take notice of the situation, and act. Vic made no secret of the fact that he was at his wit's end, and felt an overwhelming desire to reach out for help to anyone who would listen. Perhaps he feared that I would not take him seriously, and felt a need to plant some kind of evidence to back up his story. It is important to remember that should the Foundation Street memorial prove to be a hoax, it does not necessarily follow that Vic's testimony was untrue.
The alternative explanation is quite simply that the memorial is, after all, the genuine article. Some scepticism is undoubtedly healthy, but it can be dangerous to allow cynicism free rein. Ultimately I have no way of proving the authenticity or otherwise of the Foundation Street memorial, and for all my circumstantial doubts, the strong possibility remains that it is exactly what Vic claimed it to be.
The successful discovery of this second memorial had been easily accomplished, yet of course it had not been my sole motive for visiting Foundation Street. Of greater importance at the time was the issue of how closely Marlin may have been tracking my movements. My intention had been to make the trip, then simply to wait for some form of communication from Marlin himself, and some indication that he knew of my actions. This question was to be answered far more swiftly and decisively than I ever anticipated.
Having photographed the memorial, and briefly examined the layout of the car park, I left Foundation Street at approximately 6:10pm and began the drive home. My journey took me out of Ipswich along the A1214 towards Copdock and the A14/A12 junction. Naturally at that time of evening traffic was heavy, and proceeding at slow speed for much of the time. This was especially true approaching the Copdock Interchange adjacent to the Tesco superstore. As I pulled out onto the roundabout above the A14, and gathered speed, I immediately became aware of a problem with my vehicle: a lack of steering control which suggested a possible puncture. Travelling directly across the roundabout and onto the A12 heading south, I quickly pulled into the first lay-by, a distance of some five hundred yards down the road.
Having stopped and climbed out of my car, the problem was immediately apparent: a puncture to the front nearside tyre, severe enough to have caused almost total deflation. Upon closer inspection, this surprisingly swift deterioration became instantly understandable. The damage had been inflicted not upon the tread of the tyre, but rather in the side, a short distance above the wheel rim, where a gash of approximately one inch in length was clearly visible. The likelihood of this damage being incurred accidentally seemed to me remote. Though I baulked at the idea, it bore all the hallmarks of a deliberate and malicious act.
As I stood in a state of some disbelief, I turned, and unexpectedly came face to face with the explanation for my sudden breakdown.
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