Indeed, a week later, on a sunny afternoon, there she is, right there in their chic, French farmhouse-style, designer kitchen, the sister of Posh William, Fuscia by name.
Beckett is trying to shake from his head the remnants of the night before’s speed-twisted, psychedelic cobwebs, and accepts from Fuscia’s slim, tanned hand a decent cup of tea. But when he sips it’s all he can do not to spray the fould Earl Grey muck all over her. Like a mouthful of bleedin’ aftershave, being his general opinion of any tea flavored with anything other than at least five spoons of sugar.
He grins and nods, watching the rise and fall of the fair Fusica’s breasts as she gushes about some gallery opening she went to in Chelsea. He reckons she can’t be much over legal age, and makes a mental note to find out for sure before trying anything.
He’s already noticed the brand new SAAB and the vintage Porsche, sitting in the front driveway like some glossy car ad. He further notes within the house, which looks like it’s worth a bob or three itself, a careful clutter of museum-quality antiques, scattered here and there among the designer furniture.
Filled with lustful and larcenous intent, Beckett settles in their kitchen and spins tales in which he stars as jack-the-lad, but with a heart of gold, and not a few famous friends names to drop like breadcrumbs on the trail behind him.
Beneath Posh William’s callow, seventeen-year-old inbred prow, Beckett reckons the brat might have in him some feint spark of the rebel. Some fine strand of almost lost, genetically-coded behaviour, longing to just say bollocks to everything and everyone. To this likely candidate for a spot of the old parental disobedience Beckett represents an arch-fiend.
A couple of weeks later, Beckett decides to take the little twit to The Palace over in Crouch End. The spaswit doesn’t even known there is a place called Crouch End.
The Palace is in every respect an authentic Victorian London pub, to whit, it stinks. The air is a mélange of smoke and body odor, and there’s sawdust on the floor, to soak up blood, spit, and what have you. It’s a dangerous place to be unless you look like you can handle yourself.
For the most part, it’s punters are cowboy painters and decorators, electricians, roofers, plumbers, used car salesmen, other people’s cars salesmen, thugs with fists, bricks, boots, knives, and or shooters for hire. There you will find a geezer who knows this other geezer who can get you anything you might want if you have the dosh.
Pepper this with a smattering of old queens who somehow missed the sexual revolution, still camping around in Wildean fashion, and what you have is a place that shows what Hogarth was sketching was the future of London, as well as its past.
If the likes of Posh William ever strayed into such a place unaccompanied, there would be a small pile of aristo bones for the dustmen to pick up in the morning. Recycle that Jimmy.
Causes Luke James Supports
Doctors Without Borders