Joe Malone is finishing up at the home of Super-Remainer, Lord Marmon-Herrington Bixby. He has discovered papers, passports, and a pistol in Lady Bixby’s safe. And a box of polished diamonds.
Lady Bixby has changed from her designer black dress.
She stood and smoothed down a narrow , long navy skirt over her hips.
“Did you see everything you wanted?” She asked of me.
“Almost,” I said. Remembering the brief glimpse I’d had as she rolled up her stocking.
“Good. Then let’s go back down, shall we? More comfortable in the living room.”
Ch 11 – Guess who’s coming to diner?
I thought her flirtatiousness had dialled itself down a degree now she had changed outfits. Probably remembered she was a married woman with a single man, a stranger, in her bedroom. Looking at her unmentionables.
Diamond and gun metal unmentionables.
But as we went down the staircase she gripped the bannister tightly enough to steady herself on the down steps. The wine still having an effect.
From the large hallway she led me through double glass panelled doors into a grand living room.
“Make yourself at home, Joe. ‘ll just get that diary. I’ll bring you another beer too.”
I looked around this very sumptuous room. Three large sofas arranged around a glass coffee table that was big enough to be a dining table in the home of an average leaver.
Bigger even than that. Big enough to be the actual dining room.
A large fireplace with a trendy Frack-Free gas cannister was part of the far wall.
The Frack-Free was an ugly metal container, like a BBQ gas refill. But the prominent Frack-Free logo meant this virtue signalling bottle was supposed to be on display.
Frack-Free gas cost five times as much as regular gas.
Tall windows ran along the other walls. Covered by more of the silver and grey curtains. This was a big room. A baby grand Yamaha looked very small all by itself at the far end. Just a few photos on some side tables. Mum
and Dad Vanessa in a country garden in the sunshine. Vanessa had her mum’s eyes and mouth. An even more elderly couple, probably Ma and Pa Bixby, with an insert frame of an old black and white wedding of a much younger version of the same elderly people.
An urban church that could be a European setting. Rice being thrown over the couple. That would be an offence today. Multiple offences. Littering. Desecration.
Poisoning wildlife. I could probably have that smiling bridesmaid banged up for public order crimes. Religious insensitivity. The bride’s veil was certainly a case for cultural appropriation. But I wasn’t in the policing kill-joy business any more. I was in the investigation business. Time to get investigating.
My phone beeped. I saw Dacia, my assistant had texted me the upload patch for the Handshake. I downloaded it to my phone. Dacey had included an instruction for me.
“Is Self seek program. You upload. Mimic Fit_Byte. Get near her watch. Data will transfer. Is easy! Idiot.”
We were going to have to have a boss and worker and talk sometime. The upload was just an app. But it was glowing, so I guess it was working.
I sat on a very fashionable, very uncomfortable silver grey sofa. It was piled up with the latest fad. Cushions, filled with exotic feathers. The transparent cushion covers allowed the different plumage to be seen and admired.
The scripted thread embossed on the fronts explained it was all done as part of the world bird protection program. And no beaks were broken. No crests pulled, in obtaining the finest and most colourful exotic stuffing for one’s cushions from sustainable aviaries, around the globe.
Lady Bixby was saving the earth!
As long as you ignored the carbon footprint of shipping feathers around the planet.
They did look nice though. Even if they were as poking and lumpy and thin as a flop house mattress.
“This is his diary, Joe,” Vanessa said, entering the room with the diary.
“Bixby still keeps a desk diary as well as an electronic one. You can see his appointments.”
Vanessa handed me Bixby’s page-a-day. A solid book. Light blue in colour with gold Eu stars embossed around a map of europe. Golden engraved skyline of the Berlaymont above the year date.
So this is what people who have everything give each other for Christmas.
Personally, I would have preferred some socks.
“I don’t know anyone else who still uses paper diaries,” she said. Bixby is quite an old fashioned, dear.” First time I recalled her using any affection for him.
“I use them,” I told her. “Not as fancy as this though. Mine are Letts.”
“Quentin Letts?” She asked archly, over the shoulder of her sleeveless top. “That little waspish Leaver columnist? He has his own range?” She gave a little laugh, as she turned away and walked out of the living room.
Swaying just ever so slightly. She was back on the wine again.
“I’ll get the rest of the things, Joe. Did you want that other beer?”
“I’m good, “I called back to her.” I checked my phone. The SuperFit_byte app was now glowing red. I hope that was good. It must have picked up something from her Fit_Byte.
I flicked through the recent appointments. As expected there were his last known interviews at the BBC. On the 10th. And his appearance fee for each. Which looked a bit stingy for a Top Remoaner. I’d have thought the BBC showered him in gold.
But then he was on the BBC so often they probably negotiated a discount with him.
After that interview he should have gone on to have “dinner at the “RC.”
Oh dear. That was probably what I thought it was. If RC was what I suspected I would need Vanessa to come with me if I was going to get in there without scrutiny.
Dinner at RC with NC, AS and PM.
“Vanessa!” I called out to the hallway. “Where or what is RC?”
“The RC is everywhere..” she called back. Sounded like she was in the kitchen Which was the size of my apartment. Who am I kidding. Her pan drawer was the size of my apartment. Her kitchen was the size of the whole block.
And her home’s interior square metre footprint,, the size of the entire estate.
I heard her heels clacking on the marble hallway and the image of her dainty feet in her blue stilettos in my office, rose in my memory. She had different black cut-out heels on now. But just as stylish and even more sexy.
I wondered if I had developed a fetish.
“The RC is the Lord. I’m RC,” she said. “Roman Catholic. I can be forgiven my sins.”
She swayed her hips ever so slightly as she spoke from the open glass panelled double doors that led into the living room. She grinned and took another sup from the cup.
“Is Bixby also catholic?”
“No. Bix is Jewish.”
That was news to me. It had been fine in the old, New Labour, party to be Jewish. But since the Corbyn faction had taken over Labour, that was a toxic thing to be.
He had kept that much more secret since Momentum was running the place.
“Jews and Catholics,” she said. “Between Bixby and I, we are responsible for all the problems in the world, “And she giggled a little bit. “Don’t you think so, Joe?”
“Don’t ask me. My parents were Mormons.”
“..Er..no…They were Morons, though.. Its so easy to confuse. Do you know what RC means. Its here in his diary as an appointment for the evening of the tenth.” I turned the book towards her so she could see Bixby’s rather small and neat writing. But she didn’t look. She just said,
“The RC is the Reform Club on Pall Mall.”
“The Remain Club?”
“That’s what it is now. Though they still call it the Reform Club. The members just call it RC.
The Remain Club.
The Heart of Darkness.
Just my luck.
* * *
So Bixby had been going to a meeting at the Reform Club. The old Liberal Club on Pall Mall. Historically it had been a place for Whigs to meet and politic. Then,
Asquith’s Liberals. With the demise of Liberals and the rise of socialists, the Reform Club had changed to being a comfortable gentleman’s club much favoured by politicians and financiers. But that wasn’t the main customer
for the club. As it was so close to Westminster and Whitehall, and all the ministries of state, the Reform Club had become the venue of choice for civil servants.
The Elite of The Elite..
Those people who were,
Not as rich as the bank directors.
Not as famous as the celebrities.
Not as aristocratic as the nobility
Nor as pious as the Bishops.
Nor as industrious as the business leaders
Nor as learned as the judges or as educated as the academics.
But more powerful. More influential. Connected. Elevated and destiny manifesting than all of them.
The British Civil Service.
Unaccountable. Unelected. Immovable. Unchallenged.
The EU had modelled itself on this arcane system of secret government. Elections only for show. Politicians drawn from the low fliers. Non entities. As replaceable as a light bulb. The senior ranks of the Common Purpose
Civil service decide all.
And they had decided they did not like Brexit at all. And had spent every second since the referendum of 2016 in preventing it.
They used their place-holder appointments in every branch of the Qunagocracy to aid them in their desire to rid the nation of the Brexit virus. Ensuring key sub-committees were stuffed full of compliant MPs. That all public
sector agencies had a sensible remainer at the helm. And once time was up on these jobs, moving into a directorship of an influential charity or an NHS trust.
The electoral commission that only ever targeted leave agencies.
The Information Commissioner’s Office even once went as far as fining Vote Leave £40,000 for deleting emails that they were required, by the ICO, to delete.
It was a crooked system. And the masters of the system came to the RC to socialise and network and unwind.
The Permanent Secretaries came to the Remain Club to thwart change of any sort.
And to forge closer links to the EU. Brexit was a horrible shock. A reversal of fifty years of policy. And it was unthinkable that such a thing could ever be allowed. It was worse even than a thorn like Israel appearing in
the Middle East. Worse even than Trump!
The mandarins could never be removed from office. Could only ever be promoted upwards. Whatever was attempted to control them, the Bureaucracy just spawned more bureaucracy.
If the rich and influential were the beautiful people, then the Civil Service were the faceless people.
I looked at the diary page for today. In his neat hand, an entry,
RC. – arranged~ Poss PM. NC.OR. AS. Booked for 8.00pm.
8pm? Gave us about an hour to get there. Could do it if we were fast.
“Vanessa? Are you sober enough to drive your car?”
Her voice echoed in from somewhere in the house. “Yes, of course. Why? Where are we going?”
“You need to put your good frock back on. We are going to the Remain Club. Right now.”
The Goodnight Vienna Audio file