Ch 16 – Drinks and Disgust
Joe and Vanessa are at the Reform Club. To meet with Lord Bixby’s dinner companions. Something that he had arranged in his diary, before his sudden and unexpected disappearance.
I headed back towards Vanessa at the bar area. As I did, I saw her give up waiting for the barman to finish with his other order. She left her empty glass at the bar and walked back to sit down in one of the comfy leather armchairs, where we had been seated when we first came in. She was sunk a little low, and with a pouting a little expression,
I moved through the bustle of people to join her. At her table I sat in the chair opposite and looked around the opulent setting of the Reform Club. It was crowded with government looking people. Youthful, hopeful young Spads and ageing, waffle faced, MPs. Lots still had their HOC security passes around their necks. Wearing them like medals. Must have been a late sitting.
“Who were those women. In the toilets?” Vanessa suddenly asked me, with a little hint of annoyance, that I couldn’t understand. We weren’t dating. We were client and Investigator. I was investigating her husband’s disappearance.
“Just some women I know from a while back.”
“They looked…quite…worn,” Vanessa said, unkindly.
“They’re working girls. They put in a lot of hours.”
“I’m sure they put in… a lot more than just hours,” Lady Bixby said. Pursing her red lips. “I’m surprised they could get in here. You’d think someone would have stopped them. I should inform Henshaw.”
“Henshaw already knows. They wouldn’t be here if he didn’t.”
“Oh, you can’t be serious,” she said quite angrily. Whether she was annoyed at the thought of the working girls or the working class being in the Reform Club, I didn’t know.
“Henshaw, is simply providing a service,” I explained. “Someone wants something. Then its his job to make sure he can get it.”
“That’s ridiculous, Joe. Why would Henshaw allow those women in this establishment?”
I looked back up to where Henshaw was farewelling leaving guests, ensuring they had had a pleasant evening. I thought on what she had asked. Why would Henshaw allow Casey and her lovers in here?
Why would a small, unattractive, slightly camp, ginger man, who might fantasise a foursome of uninhibited passion, allow ladies of the night into such a conservative setting?
And probably beats him too.
With studded spanking paddles.
I decide to move her back to the reason we were here. Which had nothing to do with FFFMs. Worse luck.
“You want a drink?” I asked her. “What do they have in a place like this? I bet there’s no Spitfire Kentish ale, that’s for sure.”
“I’m sure I don’t know what that is, and I’m therefore sure they don’t. Let’s just have some wine, shall we.”
I signalled a waiter, who was taking someone else’s order. He nodded his acknowledgement.
“What were we discussing?” Vanessa asked me.
“You were saying what a lousy Inspector I must have been, to think Henshaw, ‘The Red,’ is a Red. I was saying, I was a lousy Inspector, but a good Investigator.”
“That’s right, we were. It’s not very reassuring, you saying you weren’t a good Inspector.” The white coated waiter came across to our table.
“Merlot alight for you?” Vanessa Bixby asked me. “Not too French for a Leaver?”
And she grinned. “Actually,” she said confidentially, “They do have a very good, secret, little red here, you know.”
“I do know. And he’s called Henshaw.”
She ordered two red wines from the waiter, giving only her name. She must have a tab.
There were rooms leading off the vast atrium that was a double height, galleried, architects dream palace. It was a marvellous building. Too good for Liberals. Some good old fashioned Fascists would be much more at home here. Arm waving on the balcony.
“There’s always such a beautiful fragrance in here, I always think,” said Vanessa.”They must spray some secret scent. I never know what it is, but it’s wonderful. Even…Sinful?” She arched a micro-bladed eyebrow at me.
“It’s the scent of money and the perfume of power,” I replied, as I looked around the room and at the Elites.
“Mmm..You might be right,” she murmured.“Does the fragrance have a name?”
“It’s called Elon Musk.” I took another look around this centre of the Liberal Universe.
This club was as restricted and exclusive as it was possible to be. If you don’t count my own Gentleman’s Club which was just around the corner. The Sapphire Mermaid.
That had an exclusive membership too. And only £25 admission and actually knowing where the neon sign pointed down too, could get you access.
The Remoan Club was the ultimate relaxation venue for all the people who laboured long and hard to ensure Brexit was never more than a fantasy of the populists. The referendum had shocked them to their very core. An unbelievable attack on the system of government. i.e. an attack on them.
Upstarts had dared to attempt to alter the liberal-consensus. Just because they got a bit trampled in all the globalism.
Once the Elite had got over the shock of their initial, unbinding, Brexit defeat they gathered in places like this.
The lawyers. The mandarins. The politicians. The business leader. Academics.
Celebrities. The wealthy. The heads of media and the social networks. They came to places like this to regroup and plot the overthrow of the overthrow. And they had been mighty successful in doing that using all their power and wealth and influence to subvert the will of the people.
This was Elite central. Even Prime Ministers were not safe from their plots. Several had fallen in recent times. Some had even been missed.
“The food is really very good here,” Vanessa told me.
“I should hope so” I replied. “Tell me, do the members have to take their Human masks off to eat? Or can their Lizard tongues flick through the latex?”
She ignored me and asked, “Why didn’t you want Henshaw to take your I.D, Joe? Or even to know your name? Victor Maitland! Honestly! What kind of name is that.”
“Victor Maitland is my business man, slash, art gallery owner, go-to name,” I explained to her. “Its my classy pseudonym.”
“I hardly think so,” She said, giving her half laugh again. “Sounds like an accounting firm.“
The waiter returned and she stood to take the wine glass and her E-cigarettes from the bronze tray. She perched on the edge of the table as I’d noticed she liked to do when she had drunk a certain amount. Showing her legs.
“So, why didn’t you want to be known as Joe Malone?””
“No real reason.” I told her. “Might be handy to be someone else. Well done for that pantomime with Henshaw by the way. You catch on fast.”
“I’d have caught on a lot faster if you’d simply told me what you were going to do before we came in.”
“But that wouldn’t be so much fun, now, would it?”
She wetted her lips. And said with her breathy voice,
“No, It wouldn’t.”
She looked back up at Henshaw at his podium. Smiled widely and waved the cigarette at him. To acknowledge her thanks that he’d remembered to send them down to her. She’d got over her mild annoyance at the hookers being here.
Note to self. She’s quick to anger. Fast to cool. Maybe Lord Bixby had spilled coffee on one of those fancy exotic bird plumage cushions at her house.
And she’d done him in with a toasting fork.
She put her glass down, looked at me directly and asked, “Do you want to know who my husband is supposed to be dining with, here tonight? I saw the names in the E-register when we came in.”
“You don’t think Marmon Bixby is about to show up then?”
“With who he is dining with, if he was coming, he’d already be here.”
I looked at my phone. I’d taken a picture at her house of Bixby’s diary page for today.
RC. – ?? arranged~ Poss PM. NC.OR. AS. 8.00pm.
These could be anyone. I had no idea. “Do you want to tell me who’s in the dining room waiting?” I asked.
“Its the Coffee Room, Joe. The dining room here is called the Coffee Room.”
“Oh, I see. We have a similar set up round the corner at the Sapphire Mermaid. The pole viewing area is called The Bar.”
“Never mind. You want to tell me who’s here? Or must I work it out by sneaking around looking for people who look like they are die hard Remainers. People who appear socially connected, have pots of money and enjoy being in the company of members of the House of Lords. Because to be honest, in this place, that does pretty much describe everyone here, so it might take a while.”
“I thought you were a detective? A top..top..detective.”
“I was an Inspector. A top, top Inspector. For The Department. So if I wanted to shake this place down, it would have been easier for me to do than getting a pizza here.”
“You would never have dared!” She said, actually shocked at the very idea.
“I might. Its a piece of cake to do..Literally a piece of cake.”
She still looked shocked and surprised. So I explained.
“Henshaw won’t have a dedicated Panettone knife in his kitchen for his Italian cake.
Nobody does. Its an absurd expense for a kitchen. Even one in a place like this.
But, under the health and hygiene laws, he must have one. In case some of that over the regulation amount of creamy Italian butter, contaminates, say, a Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
And some poor innocent member of the public is unwittingly served a smear of butter.
He needs the knife. The case. The separate dish washing sink and the certificates.
He also needs to have a working GPS tracker in the handle, in compliance with the Tory MP, Scott Mann, directive on pointy objects and controlling knife crime.
Henshaw won’t have any of them. So he’s breaking the law and faces immediate closure under the catch-all section 7N/v. Unfit for food preparation.”
Her eyes widened and she looked even more surprised that such a thing could happen over something so trivial as a missing piece of administration and an item of cutlery.
Well, her husband was one of those responsible for the never ending political chaos and over the top regulation of just about everything.
He was a main moan. One that had actively sought to make disaffected backbench MP’s superior to cabinet government. And so he had helped to hand power to some of the dimmest, dumbest, most tribal, venal, spiteful, self promoting people imaginable.
Welcome to Britain. Don’t stand on the left or you’ll be fined. Or stabbed. Or both.
“It would be career suicide, of course,” I continued. “The heads of half London’s most senior public sector officials and ministerial department chiefs are probably in here right now. But it could be done. Easily.”
“It sounds like a very poor way to harass people into doing what you want, Joe.”
“It is. But I don’t make the laws. Parliament makes the laws. And I can see the minister of defence from where I am sitting. That muppet over by the large fern. See him? The one with no chin?…. That idiot introduced a bill to ensure that all soldiers take pacification classes to curb any violent impulses and prevent another Bloody Sunday. And then when the Paras were deployed to Ukraine in the EuroNato occupation War, they sat around playing
guitars and making paper chains for peace.
“The King’s Own Quakers,” She said. “I remember that. Though I also recall that King Charles was very pleased with their deployment and peaceful approach.”
“They were all captured in the first Putin push,” I said angrily. “Surrendered their ipads and lifestyle watches and were held until the war’s end. Which was about a day later. And the sad thing is, of all the EuroNato troops, our Peace Paras performed the best of the lot. I, like millions of other public payrol people, have to implement the idiocy of those virtue signalling morons.”
“Don’t sound so bitter, Joe,” Vanessa admonished me. “Someone has to make the laws, don’t they?”
“And someone does. In Brussels.
These idiots just rubber stamp them and add another layer of gold plated, extra thick, annoyance on top.”
I nodded towards the defence minister who was with a group of colleagues, enjoying an evening among The Elite.
“That cretin was also the same one who began Historic, Posthumous, criminal prosecutions against British Paratroopers, for Dutch Civilian deaths at Arnhem. I’ve no time for these morons.”
I was a little on edge, in the presence of so many of societies most duplicitous people.
You couldn’t throw a silver spoon in here without it landing in the mouth of some superior, smug, self-puffer.
“Now, you want to tell me who is here that we need to have a conversation with? Or shall I just hassle Henshaw until we get some answers and free champagne, like I did in the old days?”
She could see my annoyance. I really didn’t much like this place here. And would prefer to be gone.
“Fine. Do it the easy way! Spoilsport! Well..When I looked on the register, NC and OR have NA by their names. So I assume that means Not Attending,” she told me.
“But PM and AS are here.”
She pointed a finger over my shoulder. Towards the Coffee room. “See the table about three along from the wall. That pair could be people you recognise.”
I turned to look where she was indicating. Counted along the tables to the third one Two men sat there. One with his back to us, so I couldn’t see his features. But the other one was immediately recognisable.
A good looking man. Thick, reddish, hair and green eyes. Very red lips, as if he were wearing lipstick, gave him a feminine look. Though his eyes were kindly and his manner friendly, his bulk couldn’t be disguised. He looked like a man permanently wearing a suit of armour. A Brian Blessed boom in his voice helped cement his actor’s persona.
He was, in fact, only tangentially an actor. He was in reality Sir Alan Stuart. Well known media personality. Journalist. Author. Former sex addict. Chain smoker turned anti-smoking zealot. Fierce bully and also best known as Tony Blair’s unofficial consigliere.
Not the Alistair Campbell, wartime consigliere. Ali C having been found naked, drunk, and in possession of a pair of Napoleonic Cuirassier’s long barrelled, wheellock, pistols, in a fountain in Trafalgar Square, shortly after the May Brexit deadline expired.
The first one. The one people actually thought meant we had left the E.U. forever.
Before we knew better.
Alistair was still under almost permanent sedation for his own safety.
Sir Alan Stuart was former Prime Minister Blair’s peacetime consigliere. The reasonable face of reasoned debate and persuasive argument. Of expansive advice and wise counsel. Always willing to listen to any point of view. Providing he could talk over it and smear it. Rubbish it and imply the owner of an opposite view was a moron. Or a fascist. Or a Corbynite paedophile.
Only the very best interviewers could contain him.
Sir Alan Stuart had no official role for anyone. He wasn’t directly connected to anything. Not to any of the myriad of Remain groups. Not to the EU fifth column parties. Not to any particular English political party. Not one of the Extinction Rebellion groups. Not even to the new, mysteriously well funded, Tigg-Dems.
He was one of those people who is found in the finest places, with the finest people, eating the finest food, and living a fine life. All without any obvious job, income or role in society. I couldn’t say I was surprised to see him here. He probably lived here.
Alan Stuart was Blair’s media fixer. Guido had once exposed his influence in a stitch up where he was offering huge sums of money to C.B.I. types to declare their companies close to bankruptcy and in need of EU state aid.
The recording had gone up on the other place blog. Been denounced as a fake. And then mysteriously disappeared from all archives and records of anyone, anywhere.
Then Mr Staines had had a visit from Interplod about a twenty year old outstanding warrant for minor drug offences.
Now Sir Alan was seen on the fringes of the EU’s fifth, sixth, and seventh column, as they tried to tip the stateless UK back into their permanent orbit.
He was often known as’ the velvet glove.’
One wag columnist had described him as a “Velvet thug inside a velvet thug.”
He had risen from nowhere to be the unofficial word of the Great Tony.
Whatever he ‘suggested.’ Or ‘indicated.’ Or ‘welcomed’ on the airwaves, you could be sure those were the very words and thoughts of Tony Blair and the Elite-Elite of Europe.
He was one of the very last people on earth I wanted to be involved with in any way.
A.S. in Bixby’s diary. Alan Stuart.
I looked at the list of intials again. Was P.M., the other initials in the diary, the actual UK Prime Minister? I thought to myself. I’m not sure I was ready to meet The Honourable Sayeeda Warsi just now.
“Cheer up Joe,” sang Vanessa, brightly, seeing my suddenly serious face. “It could be worse.”
“Could it?” I inquired. “Worse than Sir Alan Stuart. Enforcer to the rich and powerful?”
“Yes,” she said. “It could. And..” she added, taking a sip of her wine,.. “..It actually is.” And she motioned towards Stuart’s table.
Sir Alan’s table partner had just turned around to call a waiter. I recognised him at once. The sharp, yet quite glum, features. Fixed and sinisterly threatening, yet maintaining a quite forlorn expression. He was flashing his well known warm, charming, but ruthless smile to the waiter, as he ordered something.
If Sir Alan was one of the very last people I wanted to meet, here was the actual last person.
was Peter Mandelson.
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