Jimmy was sat on the battered old leather sofa in the home, that he shared with Yuri in Camden Town. It was a two up two down flat, a stones’ throw away from the Black Cap. On Camden high street. An arrangement that was purely out of necessity rather than choice. The feeling from his flatmate was pretty much mutual. Jimmy needed to be fairly central to his work and both he and Yuri needed a place to live. The flat was surprisingly spotless for a house of trousers. Yuri knew that Jimmy hadn’t a clue, not even an inkling about Jordan. And he enjoyed having that knowledge. He may have need of it one day. He didn’t dislike Jimmy really. He doted on Jordan and Jeanette, he had a huge crush on Jeanette. It had begun the day she wobbled into Terrence Otters yard. Yuri could see that she wasn’t used to wearing heels. Yuri would do anything for the little boy and his mother. To him they were his family. To Yuri Jimmy was merely just a little insignificant. Like all the insignificants he fought with and often on a Saturday night, when he worked the doors of various clubs in the city. Give them a drink, other mind enhancing chemicals and they become superhuman.
Yuri too had a little bit of a secret that even Boris didn’t know about. And he was very keen to keep quiet it was Yuri. Jimmy stumbled onto it purely by chance a few days after he had returned from Berlin. Jimmy had stopped by the Black Cap for a drink. Unbeknown to Jimmy it is a gay pub. Jimmy had an obscure view of homosexuality. To him a gay pub would be something like pink flamingos. Full of muscled men with moustaches, dancing the tango. As there were women here too, to him it just seemed an ordinary friendly pub. The bar mans’ wink as he asked “so.... what will it be sailor” went straight over Jimmy’s head. He roared at the drag act Elizabeth Sandwich, along with everybody else. Jimmy made it his local. He enjoyed the atmosphere good food, live music and even made friends with a group of lads neither of them overtly feminine or aggressive. It wasn’t until one night late in the evening during a lock in that he noticed Yuri. Carl who had become like Jimmy’s shadow lately, questioned the looks that were flowing out of Jimmy. “What’s wrong?” Jimmy merely shook his head slowly and sipped his drink.
“That’s.....its....Yuri...look over there!” He indicated with a nod of his head. Carl didn’t seem at all bothered at the scene. “And?”
“What’s he doing here?” Carl placed a reassuring hand on his shoulder. Jimmy was staring in horror at the big Russian who was sat with his companion. “He’s supposed to be in .....Calais.” At that moment Yuri’s companion leant forward and kissed him. You could have framed the look on Jimmy’s face and sold it for a billion. “What the fuck...... is.... he doing?” Carl had moved his hand to around his waist. He was in the process of hugging Jimmy. “It’s ok he’s doing what we all do.” It took a little while for the penny to drop for Jimmy.
Carl had leaned in, smiling and making eyes at him. Jimmy could feel his breath on his cheek and struggled out of Carls embrace. He didn’t mind a hug from anyone once in a while. But this just didn’t feel right to him. Jimmy pushed him to one side, and blundered his way out of the pub. Shouting and swearing. As he looked back he saw that Yuri had noticed him. After all the noise and kerfuffle that Jimmy had made. The obscenities he had screamed at Carl, had gotten everyone’s attention. The next day Jimmy had tried to explain to a still hurt and upset Carl. That it wasn’t the fact he had discovered Yuri, was gay that was the problem. It was the fact that he wasn’t supposed to be there that was. Jimmy felt awkward buying a bunch of flowers for a bloke. But it was all he could think of. He had also bought the barman one too. And apologised to the pubs clientele, before the drag act took to the stage.
Alberta Plum was headlining that Wednesday night. Apparently he/she was a close friend of a Liverpudlian act. That was making headway in the tough club circuit. His friendship with Carl though, didn’t really change. But they saw less of each other. Carl was apologetic for trying to get close to him. He told Jimmy that he had misread the signals, that he was giving out. And they agreed to disagree on that fact. Yuri never spoke of that night and neither did Jimmy. Boris was fiercely homophobic, so Jimmy kept things to himself. Jimmy was watching the news event, that had gripped the world all day long. Cassandra was away at a fashion event in Edinburgh and Yuri was in Europe. Doing dodgy deals, with extremely dodgy and very dangerous people. At least that was where he was supposed to be.
Boris was sitting in the lazee boy chair. Smoking his pungent Russian cigarettes. In his left hand he had a bottle of vodka and was making a fair old dent into it. He was talking to Cassy on the phone. Jimmy knew it must be important, because he was animated and shouting in Russian. Jimmy hadn’t seen Cassy for a little while. Their meetings were always fleeting and passionate. Often at motorway service stations or train stations. Five minutes here, five minutes there. Never anything meaningful, but just enough to keep Jimmy interested. Boris had acquired the flat in a poker game. He wanted Jimmy close to keep an eye on him. Jimmy had a very loose tongue after a couple of pints.
At Melchior Manor, Lord Rhys-Penfound was hosting a benevolent dinner. For the Grenadier Guards Association and Jo was attending too. He was showing off his daughter in-law as he told everyone. In the large hall an eight piece band, on loan from the Army’s school of music was playing ‘in the mood’. The make shift dance floor, was full of couples dancing away enjoying themselves. There were certainly a few John Travoltas out there strutting their stuff. Jo had taken to the lifestyle really well and the twins were both very happy. Griffiths the butler carried an envelope on his silver tray, and whispered into the ear of Lord Rhys-Penfound. Who was being bored by the group of old soldiers he was with. Telling war stories that had been distorted, by the oodles of port they had drunk at the four course banquet. Every year for the past ten that he had attended these dinners, he had heard the same tales. And each year the story had changed. Rhys-Penfound didn’t really mind, he owed these men and their comrades they had left behind. A debt of gratitude.
He read the note and dismissed Griffiths with a nod. Sauntered up to the band and took the microphone. “My Lords Ladies and.......... gentlemen.....comrades and my dear, dear friends.” The buzzing noise gradually dampened down to whispers of anticipation. And all eyes were on him. He cut a very dashing figure, in his cherry red mess dress and chest full of shining medals. There was a whole mixture of suits, tuxedos and regimental mess dress. With all the women in ball gowns, or exquisite party dresses. The hall was lit by the three great chandeliers and tall lamps. Strategically placed about the huge room. Every circular table was lit by a lamp in the middle of a floral centrepiece. “I have here, in my hand notification....that the cold war has taken an interesting turn....the Berlin wall has come down....ladies and gentleman.....the Queen.” A hundred and seventy five voices, raised whatever glass was in their hands and returned the toast in one booming voice. “Fucksake bloody typical.” Jo said to herself, “there goes my free holiday with Jimmy.”
She was getting bored now, so made her excuses and headed to the living quarters. She didn’t know that Jimmy had returned to the UK. Jo was busy wrapped up in her new, Lady of the manor routine.
Jeanette was watching the news on television. It was sheer luck that they had gotten Jimmy out in time. Jordan was cutting his first teeth and grumpy, he was overtired and crying. She went to her son and picked him up. After a while of walking about the lounge, Jordan stopped sniffling and dropped off to sleep. “It’s a good job we got him out in time. Soon Jordan I promise.... you will meet your dad soon.”
Boris put the phone down slowly, took a deep breath and he stared at Jimmy for a while. He lit yet another cigarette before answering the phone that had started to ring again. Jimmy was enthralled by the coverage of the events at the Brandenburg gate. A peaceful revolution. Which started the domino effect of the opening of the iron curtain. Endorsed and cultivated by a certain Mrs Thatcher and the Russian premier. Jimmy giggled inwardly at the Iron lady bringing down the iron curtain remark. That the newsreader had said. Boris spat and swore in his mother tongue. Before hurling the now empty bottle of bootleg vodka at the television. Boris shouted “CHERT NA BLAGO!” Jimmy decided that it was time to leave and snuck to his room. Leaving an angry and tipsy Boris, threatening the person on the other end of the phone.
Lord Rhys-Penfound said goodbye to the last of the revellers at 3am. Tired and pleased at how well the dinner had gone. He retreated to his study. “Thank you for coming so promptly....please help yourself to a drink.” He poured himself a large whiskey and sat behind his mahogany desk. From one of the drawers he retrieved a package and threw it onto the desk. “Marcus is alive.....I want him home...” He held up his hand to stop Boris from interrupting. “He is my son Boris.....his behaviour has ruined him, however Whitehall will have use for him and I want him back...before things get tricky with your friends.” Boris downed his drink and picked up the package. “I don’t care for your whiskey...but your port is another drink altogether.”
“Everything you need is there Boris.” He stood and shook the Russian’s hand. On the Journey back to Forrest Green where he had a lock up, Boris called Jimmy. “Cassy will meet you at Tegel airport the day after tomorrow. On the one o’clock flight....no Jimmy travel light... you can pick up your tickets tomorrow and you will return in one of the lorries there isn’t time.... hurry.”
Whilst Jimmy was preparing to return to Berlin. A distressed Cassy called Boris from Edinburgh. The fashion show had been a success, but her dalliances with the male models had caught her out. She was about to be exposed by Gossip magazine, for the little tart that she was. “This was always an eventuality Cassandra....why didn’t you just be faithful to Jimmy?”
“Because he is still hung up on something.... you can lead a horse to water Boris....and that’s not all.....I have been stupid I’ve not been careful, I haven’t taken my pill.” Boris’s silence spoke louder than if he had shouted at her with a megaphone held close to her ear. “We can finally be rid of him then.”
“NO!! BORIS....I actually am ashamed...its Jimmy that I want...I at least owe him that.”
“He was paid well...we owe him nothing except our thanks....nemnogo pridurok.” The line went dead. Cassy worried for Jimmy’s safety, she had her freedom thanks to him. She needed him and Boris close to her. Just in case someone tried to make her disappear all of a sudden. Her career had just taken off in a big way, she was enjoying the lifestyle and her freedom too much to have it all taken from her again. Cassandra had grown up in repression she would not go back to it.