It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
“Your mother is dead Barry,” he said with stony faced callousness. “The British consulate has organised for you to attend the funeral on compassionate grounds. It is unprecedented. Frankly, I am amazed. Cocaine smuggling carries the death penalty in Thailand. It seems your wife's family is very well connected. You will serve out the rest of your sentence at Her Majesty’s Pleasure. ”
Talk about bitter sweet readers, I’d just secured a one way ticket back home and out of the very jaws of death. But at what cost? She was gone. Probably the only woman that I have ever truly loved.
I’m not sure what I would have chosen if it were presented to me as a choice like in that thriller The Box starring Cameron Diaz. Push the button and you can go home, but your Mum’s life will be cut short on the streets of Lincoln.
I say short, it wouldn’t be cut short would it? She’s already had her life. A full and frankly wasted life, the latest folly of which was marrying away my inheritance to Roger bloody Leache. I would have pressed the button readers, I would. At least I am man enough to admit it. It’s only the same as those people who take their Mum to Switzerland and have them put down isn’t it? Only my life isn’t a badly made Cameron Diaz movie based on an episode of the Twighlight Zone. Even if it looks like it might be a bit.
It turns out Mum was hit by moped while she was crossing the road coming back from Aquagrans (it’s a swimming pool-based aerobics class for geriatrics), coincidentally Steve’s dad, Steve, was the only witness. She was killed instantly apparently. Although quite how Steve’s dad knows, I’ don’t know. Now I’ll never see her smiling face again. Or drink her tea. Or hear her laugh. Or taste her Cinnamon Sponge.
Oh Mum, how could you? I know we all need to go in the end, but not this way. Not a hit and run victim caught under the wheels of 125cc Cobra Scooter of all things. Not Mum. Nooooooooo!
I was oblivious to all of this walking up to the check-in desk with Tia. We’d be travelling back as man and wife. Barrington Enoch Newsdesk and Tia Maria Yodsowen Newsdesk. I realised that I might have to put up with a few jibes back home, but I knew that underneath it all Tia was twice the man than most of those idiots in the pub.
Only we didn’t get back home. We got through check in and I was fingered by security the moment I passed through the metal detector. Just like Gary suggested I’d been to see some of his friends and I had packed about a dozen Apple iPads into my suitcase. Only I didn't realise the iPads were packed with grade A toot.
I was whisked off to some shit sodden prison cell, where they stripped me naked, then poked me and prodded me. They were looking for more gear up my bum readers. Up my bloody bum. Nature's pocket. I honestly don't know how much they expected to find up there. It seems illogical, why would I go to the trouble of packing a dozen iPads shells full of charlie, then stick some up my anus for good measure.
The amount they poked me you'd think they thought I might have some sort of secret compartment. Maybe they thought I had a plastic arse like Joanna Lumley. Dave the roofer said that he knew Lumley back in the 60s when she did an awful lot of cocaine (maybe that's why she like the gurkhas so much?). As a model and actress, Jo was wary of the damage the coke would do to her nose. She therefore started doing it up the bum, like Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac is rumoured to have ordered her PA to help her do. However, Ms Lumley did so much that she corroded her bottom and so has a plastic anus. Allegedly. A lesson to us all, I think you’ll agree.
I looked back over the bare table at the man in the grey suit with dead eyes. He was looking for a smile. Judging me. He was unblinking. He was reading me. Or trying to at least. When I was at uni I went to see a stage hypnotist. He couldn’t put me under. I was too strong then and I’m too strong now.
“Tell me what you know about Gary and Roger Leache,” he said offering me a cigarette.