Lady Vanessa Bixby is in the office. She has just informed Private Investigator Joe Malone, that Lord Bixby, one of the main Remainers in the country, a high profile politician and activist, peer of the realm and moneybags, had recently disappeared without trace.
That’s why I asked about a EuroVisa. If he was fleeing or hiding, Europe was the place for him. With the situation as it stood these days, Bixby would be a living God to Brussels. They’d do anything for him.
Any Euro non-job he craved, he would have.
Maybe even appoint him President of one of the smaller and less desirable Euro nations. Bosnia. Latvia or Italy.
But he’d have needed a EuroVisa if he had gone legally.
“Is there any reason Bixby might have gone away somewhere without telling you…..?”
I didn’t know whether to call her Lady Bixby. Mrs Bixby. Mizz Bixby -Or whatever her per-married name had been, Or just call her Vanessa.
Elites used a whole raft of different last name conjunctions to describe themselves. Especially the women. Trying to virtue signal their own name, they rolled themselves up tighter than wantonly removed knickers.
She might be gender impersonal obsessed. Or gender reversal obsessed.
She may have preferred to be called Mister Vanessa Bixby. Or ‘Vinnie.’
Jack Monroe is a female chef. Kellie Maloney is a boxing promoter. Yvette Copper is really Yvette Cooper-Balls. And no one but Ed knows for sure if she is a man or a woman or something else entirely.
Hillary Clinton looks like an old man. Hillary Benn like an old woman. As Millennials like to change their facebook relationship status to when they’ve been photographed banging their neighbour… It’s Complicated.
“Call me Vanessa,” she said.
So she was an informal. Or wanted to appear so. Fine by me. Pressure to remember conflicting pronouns was off.
“Bixby was supposed to be doing some event.” She thought briefly and explained further, “A ..…political speaking engagement to..explain..the current…..difficulties. The readmission to the European Union amendment.”
She meant he was doing a Project Fear on the networks. The latest round of scaremongering was running at hysteria MkV. The Bercow-Chukka amendment was the political equivalent of the mind wipe pen in Men In Black. Just pretend everything that occurred in the last ten years, never happened. Total Reset.
“It’s not like him to miss a televised engagement,” Vanessa added thoughtfully.
Too Right. Bixby would turn up to the opening of a door if it was for Remain.
I realised she wasn’t using his first name.
Like I said, I’m no good with their ages. But she was certainly no more than thirty. Probably twenty five, twenty six.
I knew Lord Bixby was old enough to belong in the Lords. Not an actual fossil. But at the Cretaceous end of the dinosaur period. He might have been as old as 65.
This wasn’t the time to ask the young and beautiful Vanessa Bixby what first attracted her to the, twice her age, socially connected, multimillionaire Lord Bixby. That could wait until the first Europound transfer of her cash into my account arrived.
But she was certainly ringing the motive bell.
Lover. Lust. Loathing. Lucre…or irrecoverable Viagra failure. Ringing like a French fire engine on the way to a lorry full of English sheep.
“Why do you think he is missing, Vanessa? He might just have taken a few days off.
Clear his head. Do some skittling?”
“He would have called me. He never is out of contact. He always says where he is.
He likes me to know wherever he is.”
“Maybe he doesn’t want you to know because he’s with someone else?”
She gave that cool look again. Not haughty. But assured.
“Then I would definitely want to find him, Mr Malone. I believe that sort of thing is very much in your line of work too.”
“I need to find him, Mr Malone. I asked the police because that was proper. I knew they wouldn’t help me. They never help anyone any more. I want to find him, but discretely, if possible. You may recall that Bixby had a lot of accusations against him at one time. All were disproved, of course. But I’d rather if he is doing something, ..slightly…colourful.., that I could find out first. And take the appropriate advice.”
She brushed a blonde strand away from her face. The e-cig between her gloved fingers of a hand that rested on her crossed knees. That gave me a decent look at her fine legs. Curved calves and small ankles. Leading to those high-heeled, tiny shoes. She must have been a size 3. she could buy children’s shoes. Though no children’s shoes had heels and points like these sensuous stilettos.
“I can look around if you like, “ I told her. “Check out some of his haunts. Use some contacts to examine some data. I’ll need information. Credit card numbers. Phone numbers. Email. Twitter. Gab. Access to his bank statements.”
“Do you really need all that private information, Mr Malone?”
“Please. Vanessa. Call me Joe. And yes, I do. There are thirty five million people in London alone. You don’t really think I’m just going to walk around Piccadilly and hope to bump into him, do you?”
“I suppose not. Alight. I will arrange those things.”
“And I’ll need access to your home. I need to look around. And access to your personal safes. Including the secret one the His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs doesn’t know about.”
“How do you know I ha..…” she began. But then stopped. She knew I was former Department. The cream of the churn. We knew everything.
“Ok, I suppose..if I must.. “she said, slightly warily.
“Don’t worry. I won’t take anything. Besides, you’ll be there to make sure I don’t.”
“Oh I wasn’t think that at all..Me Malo….erm..I mean..Joe”
Wasn’t she? Heck, I was.
And I didn’t need his bank accounts really. Just the last few months. But I did want to see where he was funnelling his cash these days. I might be able to coat-tail on some share tips of old Bix.
“I’ll get you a standard form to sign now, hiring me for unspecified work, for a two day period, at standard rate. That I get regardless of progress. And my secretary will send you another personal one over. Fees and expenses. And legals and generals. Tees and Cees.. Ok?”
“That will be quite appropriate … .. Joe.”
She hadn’t asked how much all this would cost. Which was a good and a bad sign. It either meant I was going to make a really fat profit or I wasn’t going to get paid at all.
“One thing though, Mr ..er..Joe.” she added between a long drag on her vape. “I will be accompanying you.”
“I don’t work that way, Vanessa. I work alone.”
“You’ll need me so you can into certain places. Those clubs and restaurants you asked about. They are private.”
“I’m a private eye. Getting into private is my business.”
“Not these places, Joe. The House of Lords? The Department of Brexit? The Mayfair Club? The BBC Green room hospitality?”
She had a point. With all ‘The Troubles’ and the far right, far left, and Islamic terror, some of those places were sealed tighter than a new jail inmates buttocks at first shower. And she was Elite. She could get in a lot easier and quicker than I could. And then there was the clincher. She looked like Venus and smelled like strawberry cinnamon. So being around her a little longer wasn’t exactly a hardship.
“OK,” I agreed. “But I keep odd hours and do odd things. If you are with me, you do as I say and don’t get involved unless I ask. Okay?”
“Good. Anything else, you now think you should tell me, Mrs Bixby?”
“Oh.” I was surprised. Normally ‘no’ was a given.”What’s that.”
“That beeping from your drawer. It sounds like a Super-Fit_byte 3000.”
She was right. It was. I’d put it in there just before she came in. “If you swipe up.
Then diagonal left-right, then circle your finger, the silent mode will activate. I have the 5000XD.”
She puled back the cuff of her glove to reveal a rose gold wristwatch and lifestyle assistant. It was very chic. A thin silver square about the depth of a penny. “I couldn’t help noticing the noise.”
And she smiled brightly. And for the first time the beam reached her eyes. She really was extremely beautiful. And bright. And perceptive.
And probably very, very dangerous.
“Marmon has that 3000 still,” she said.
“Great. When I find him we can do sit-ups together. One extra thing for you, Vanessa.
I voted Leave. I thought you should know.”
These were the defining relationship lines these days. Could you kiss a leaver? Could I ever kiss a Remainer?
“I was just told you are the best for this work, Joe. And I only ever have the best.”
It was bullshit. But still nice to hear.
“I will be along later to see you at the house. Where is your house?”
“Stanmore. I’ll message the address to you.”
Stanmore – London. Jubilee. End of the line.
Hope that wasn’t a metaphor.
* * *
By mid afternoon the lingering scent of her E-cigarette and her high end perfume had faded and I had shut the windows against the increasingly heavy rain as I did some background research online.
It was as I said. Bixby. Nobody to somebody. To bad boy and now good boy. Former marriage to a Ishtarlia Benoiun. Divorced some ten years back. No kids. She’d had her share of the assets and moved to India. That was back when Bixby was doing just so-so by Elite standards. Or a 5% by the rest of our standards. She was married now. To some Bollywood hotshot producer and by the looks of their Facebook pages, they certainly hadn’t done anything to old Bixby for money. They had pots of it. Actual pots. Facebook pictures of scores of cooking pots, filled with gold, at a daughter’s wedding.
Bixby. Marmon-Herrington – Wedded to Vanessa Audrey Penneljoin. She was now…
twenty seven years old, well done me.
She was editor of Le Mizzz. A trendy, upper class version of Cosmopolitan with the 25 pictures of penis shapes, and how long and thick is too long and thick articles, replaced by 25 cuts of diamonds and how much money is too much? Society pages but with a breezy approach. For the woman who is just about to have everything.
She was still the editor. And on a salary that even a Guardian regular columnist would envy.
No kids. No known troubles. Lots of society pictures. Though recently a lot more of just him, than both of them. But he had his hobby horse. Remaining in the EU forever. And Le Mizzz had naturally, as a young and fashionable society magazine for the youthful Elite, also been for Remain. Nice pics of her too. Good one in a swimsuit.
Lots of houses here and there. Property investments. Honours. And awards, pensions, shares, company directorships by the skip full. A few Quangos and she had a few of her own charity appointments.
Prevention of plastic.
Foodbank healthy eating
Help Mine Organic Coal.
Amazing that coal had made a reappearance, now as a green energy. But in Retro-Metro-Land, anything could make a comeback. I’m telling you. Magnetic tape and video shops are just a summer’s fad away.
She didn’t appear to take much of a salary from the charity lobbying movements.
Which was unusual. The wives of the Elites normally gouged these cash taps for all they were worth. So she either believed in them, or it was good PR for her regular, media work. Or both.
Recent movements for Old Bix. Newtube and iBBcPlayer had him appearing on the BBC just four days ago. Three live, or short to camera early pre-records, for that day.
At 10am, on Henry And Friends with Henry Dimbleby;
Lord Marmon-Herrington Bixby, – politician.
Sue Pollard, – actress.
Nicholas Anelka, – footballer.
Yasmin-Ashbuni-Al-Quon, street poet.
Owen Jones, – cretin.
Their brand new Flagship news programme, With Kate Dimbleby.
Pebble Mill Katz One.
Booked on were; Lord Bix.
Paul Nicholas,- actor.
Ruud van Nistelrooy, – footballer,
Leroy le Baskette, – street poet.
Owen Jones, – cretin.
And at five pm, on the semi reality show, Celebrity homes under the hammer, abroad, in the sun, factor.
Presented by, Liza Dimbleby.
With Nicholas Lyndhurst. – actor.
Dion Dublin, – footballer.
Santosh Mudaliyar, – street poet,
Owen Jones, – cretin.
Is it just me? ..Or..,,..ahh, …forget it. Lets move on.
So he was alive on, the tenth. Alive and in country. In London.
But after that, nothing. Bixby was a three interview or appearance a day man. He would have done as many as they asked him to, And as we see, they asked him a lot.
I called my secretary, Dacia and gave her some details to chase down. Friends and associates list. Pull the companies house records on his directorships. But most importantly send and receive back from Lady Bixby the signed contract.
“What scale, Joe? Is A?” She asked. Meaning which tier of pay scales were we charging at.
“’A’ scale, times three.” Let’s have a ball.” Lady B was paying. “When she was here she made a mental pause when discussing his friends. She hesitated on political ones. Search online for any gossip of any recent spats with his Remainer friends.”
“Ok. Which Remainer group he with?”
“He’s THE Lord Bixby, Dacia. Don’t you know him?”
“No. I not know.”
“He’s on Newsnight, like, every other day.”
“I do not of know him. Or this Newsnight. Why you not ever investigate people I know?”
“I’ll see if I can get someone to murder Taylor Swift. Then we can check out her place.”
“That will be all fine.”
Dacia had that Eastern European flat voice. Always down to business, with her. And not the good kind of getting down to business. Only Business, Business.
“He’s with almost all of them Dacia,” I informed her. “He’s the Main Moan.”
“Start with his own, People’s Vote. Then check New People’s Vote. Better off Chained. Young for Europe and New Europeans. He might be linked to the Tiggers too. See if there are any splitters. Euoogle it up Dacy.”
“I am not use Euoogle, Joe. They wipe the all negative personal data after twenty four hour. I use The Department search.”
Which I still had access to. Because, although The Department have more powers and men than Oliver Cromwell had, their I.T. is government run. And it’s as easy to hack as typing USERNAME: PASSWORD.
Euoogle was Google after the EU clamped down hard on the tech giants. Kept making laws to tie them down and tax them up. GDPR. GGDDPR.GGGDDDPPRR3.
Eventually the largest company on earth finally sold its European section off to Brussels, and let them get on with it. Which the EU loved. Nowadays going on Euoogle was like filing a tax return.
Purpose of inquiry. Reason for inquiry. Complete form b/34/p to acknowledge private or business use. Confirm with owner of original copyrights or any individuals or agencies, corporations or concerns contained within articles, images, news items or visual recordings, that they agree to allowing you use of their private intellectual property.
Euoogle was dead. The bureaucrats were delighted. And the dark web was now mainstream for everyone who wasn’t a total sap.
I knew Dacia didn’t use Euoogle. No one did. But its still an expression, Googling.
Only now it was Euoogling. Still an expression.
She hadn’t been born here and didn’t understand our old phrases, sayings, or idioms.
The Full Monty. Well Chuffed. A can of worms. When I once asked her to give me a tinkle on the blower, she slapped my face.
Her English was very good. Better than my Latvian “Es milu tev,” is all I know. ‘I love you.’
She had that straight, direct way. No shades with Dacy. Except in her two tone, red and brown, new wave, cut hair. Quite Punky, our Dacia. She was from Latvia where they don’t appear to feel the cold. She dressed in the modern style that could be described nowadays as “I’m an independent woman and if you objectify me or look at my body, its YOU with the legal problem.” Or Slutty as it was called in the old days.
I didn’t mind at all. She was thin as a stick. Ate only some Lidl brand soup called “Almost Borscht’ or something. Salad and soup. She didn’t mind one bit this current national obsession with trying to force the country to become Vegan. She was all for it.
Attractive and direct. She was willing, efficient trustworthy and most importantly, available at not far above minimum wage without union. Yeah, I know. I’m perpetuating the gender pay gap. And discriminating against minorities and women. And I don’t even shave my guilt away by using a Gillette Sensor-Sensitive -3, The Best a Soy can be. But my margins are thinner than their blades. So real world rules apply.
I’d picked her up on a search and seize when I was with The Department. She was just a kid then. Sixteen. Doing really illegal stuff. Selling Scented Candles, Incense Burners and Incense Sticks at an unlicensed street market in Putney. Plenty of Elite in Putney. They love that stuff. She was making out great.
But, since the Clean Air Environment Pollution act amendment 2019, selling a scented candle, that might murder Gaia, was worse than supplying heroin. Hefty fine and imprisonment.
I’d fixed the paperwork by giving half the contraband candles to the duty clerk. And Dacia had agreed to be an informer for me at The Department. And we did put away a nationwide outfit. Real bunch of creeps. A Log Burning Stove sales set up, down on the Roehampton estate. Kudos for me. Europounds for her.
Once I quit The Department, she came with me. And it was working out just fine.
“Tickety boo.” I said aloud.
“Huh? Tickle who?”
“Never mind, Dacia. Just get on it and if you find anything at all, call me.”
Now, time for home. Change into something moderately respectable and shave and soap. And then make my way to Stanmore to see Lady Bixby again. Which, oddly, I was quite looking forward too.
Usually a client is just a client. A job. A payment. A workload. But something about her still lingered in the memory. Not just the strawberry cinnamon vapour and Chanel perfume.