Friday 8:45 am

Sir Geoffrey Fender M.P. was feeling a bit fragile as he lounged in the spacious back seat of his Bentley. He would have stayed at home for the morning if it wasn’t for the breakfast meeting at No. 10 with the Prime Minister.

He only had two or three glasses of champagne at the reception the night before. “I must be getting old,” he said. “Gone are the days when I could put away two bottles of champers on my own... and drive home after!”

His driver nodded. The car slowed down to a crawl, and he was already late.

“What’s the problem, Mike?” He asked his driver.

“There’s something going on at Bartelli’s, and everybody’s slowing down for a gawk. The Old Bill are out there in force and there’s an ambulance outside.”

Sir Geoffrey sat up in the back seat and did a bit of gawking himself.

“Some bugger must have had a heart attack. I can’t stand that place, too pretentious. Give me a good old greasy spoon any day.”

“That’s right, guv,” said Big Mike, “I could never afford them prices anyway. Seven quid for a bloody coffee... and the cups are like bloody egg cups. Not that I’ve been in there, mind you. My mate told me that if...”

Sir Geoffrey cut him short. “All right, less chat and more driving. Put your foot down, I can’t be late for this meeting.”

The traffic got moving again and Sir Geoffrey settled back comfortably into the soft leather seat. He held the Financial Times in front of him, but couldn’t really concentrate on it. He had too many things on his mind, the least of which was the meeting with the Prime Minister.

He was impeccably dressed in a dark blue, pin-stripped, Savile Row suit, set off with his Radcliffe House old boys school tie. From his hand-made Italian shoes to his understated gold cuff links, he looked just as you would expect a Member of Parliament to look.

He was a man of great wealth and power. Sir Geoffrey was also the head of one of the most successful and prestigious law firms in London, Geoffrey Fender and Associates, a company that he had built up over more than twenty years. While he was first and foremost a very shrewd lawyer, he had always sought the limelight that politics brings.

The car made a sudden left turn. “What the .........! Where the hell are you going, Mike? I told you I was late!”

“I think we’re being tailed, guv. If that blue Merc. turns down here, then he’s been following us since we left the flat. Yeah, here he comes. I don’t know who it is, but I can lose him pretty easy,” Mike said.

Sir Geoffrey looked concerned. He told Mike to shake off the tail and get to Downing Street as quickly as possible.

He pulled out his iPhone and made the call he didn’t want to make. He had to tell the Prime Minister’s secretary that he was running late and would get there as soon as he could. He made the call, his whole persona changed. He was no longer the rough and tough working class man-made-good that spoke to Big Mike, but a typical upper class, aristocrat. He had the uncanny knack of changing his whole personality depending upon his audience.

He had been part of a trade delegation that had recently returned from St. Petersburg. In fact, he headed up the delegation, based upon his long relationships with Russian clients of his law practise. He was to deliver the delegation’s report to the Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary and other important members of parliament. That’s why he didn’t want to be late.

Luckily, the P.M’s secretary told him that several other people had called in to say they had been delayed because of the heavy traffic, so the meeting had been put back 30 minutes. Sir Geoffrey told Big Mike to slow down.

Big Mike knew every street and back alley in London. He knew his way around better than the most experienced taxi drivers. He was born in Covent Garden and spent his youth roaming the streets of London. He had easily lost the blue Mercedes and was now headed for Downing Street. They now had plenty of time, but Sir Geoffrey was still not happy. Somebody was following him. He thought he knew who and why, and it caused the normally cool and unflappable Sir Geoffrey to be worried, very worried. “Those bloody Italians,” he said aloud, “why did they have to be so fucking greedy?

4 thoughts on “Chapter 4”

  1. Tuesday, 05 October 2021 02:10

    Sir Geoffrey Fender been on a bender, eh?

  2. Tuesday, 05 October 2021 02:12

    Seven "quid" instead of seven "pounds" ?

  3. Tuesday, 05 October 2021 02:16

    Savile Row, not Saville Row

  4. Tuesday, 05 October 2021 05:53

    Thanks, Jeff - done. We don’t need a proof reader, we have your eagle eyes!