Chapter no 82



She was funny. And sweet. And cool. I met her at a restaurant with some mates, months after Chels and I had gone our separate ways.

Spike, this is Flack.

Hi. What do you do, Flack?

She was on TV, she explained. She was a presenter.

Sorry, I said. I don’t watch much TV.

She wasn’t taken aback that I didn’t recognize her, which I liked. She didn’t have a big ego.

Even after she explained who she was and what she did, I still wasn’t certain. What’s your full name again?

Caroline Flack.

Days later we met for dinner and games. Poker night at Marko’s flat, Bramham Gardens. After an hour or so I stepped outside, disguised in one of Marko’s cowboy hats, to speak with Billy the Rock. As I exited the building I lit a cigarette and looked right. There, behind a parked car…two sets of feet.

And two bobbing heads.

Whoever it was didn’t recognize me in Marko’s hat. So I was able to stroll casually down to Billy and lean into his police car and whisper: Bogey at three o’clock.

What? No!

Billy, how could they have known? Search me.

No one knows I’m here. Are they tracking me? Are they getting into my phone? Or Flack’s?

Billy bolted from the car, ran around the corner, surprised the two paps. He screamed at them. But they screamed right back. Entitled. Emboldened.

They didn’t get their photo that night—small victory. But very soon after they papped me and Flack, and those photos set off a frenzy. Within hours a mob was camped outside Flack’s parents’ house, and all her friends’ houses, and her grandmother’s house. She was described in one paper as my “bit of rough,” because she’d once worked in a factory or something.

Jesus, I thought, are we really such a country of insufferable snobs?

I continued to see Flack on and off, but we didn’t feel free anymore. We kept on, I think, because we genuinely enjoyed each other’s company, and because we didn’t want to admit defeat at the hands of these arseholes. But the relationship was tainted, irredeemably, and in time we agreed that it just wasn’t worth the grief and harassment.

Especially for her family.

Goodbye, we said. Goodbye and good luck.

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