Bristol Airport 4.45 am. Flavia, our private, taxpayer funded, Romanian driverette drops us at departures.
4.50am. Airport Security. Some ghastly antechamber, where those with stained and less than perfect souls queue in sick grey light to see if their names are on the guest list for the last gig in heaven.
5.15 am. Through security into a special kind of purgatory where small groups of the damned stare mute and glum into pints of lager as they prepare themselves physically and spiritually for the next seven or fourteen days of mutely and glumly drinking lager in hellish places designed for those with few needs and even less imagination.
5.30 am. Surrender to harlots embrace of WHSmith who promise cut price cerebral stimulation by way of chic lit, bodice rippers, shoot em ups, shopping and fucking novels, misery lit, property porn, armchair travel with titles such as Driving Over Lemons/Olives/Aubergines/Badgers/Refugees etc etc, and, god rest her soul, Jackie Collins. Pick up early work by Jackie Collins entitled, coincidentally, ‘Jane Takes a Plane’
6.30 Board plane, take off and fall asleep reading Jackie Collins and have following strange and feverish dream in which Jane seems to be in the Jackie Collins story.
‘ Row after row of shiny glittering bottles and black silver and gold packages smiled and winked knowingly at Jane as she swung past tall and free, in cool crisp linen and sheer silk, a new type of woman, a woman of the modern 1970s, on her own in a fast modern world, living life and doing it her own way.
Jane Straddleton knew all their names of course, Gucci, Lancombe, Dolce and Gabbana, Paco Rabane etc etc and she knew their fragrance, the musky, arousing stink of money and she wanted in.
And soon they would be learning her name too, Jane Francesca Straddleton because what Bristol Airport Duty Free said to her was that she was of their people, this was her rightful place, “You have arrived, even though you are only just leaving, live it darling”
And Jane nodded in accord as she sauntered through the winking bottles and the stick thin sales girls who readily unzipped their red gash smiles for her and she said to herself ‘yes, I’m so here, so now, so absolutely carpe diem darling. I am going to seize my time in Bristol Airport Duty Free and take it for everything its got because I am a fabulously beautiful modern woman and thats what fabulously beautiful modern women do, they shop and they buy fabulously beautiful things.
And they look so sexy, but so cool and unattainable to all those ordinary men, oh yes Jane had seen how those men at security had looked at her with their smouldering stares of desire, she knew that she turned them on, just like her chunky jewellery kept turning all the alarms on, but they couldn’t have her because she was going to find the special man, the sensitive, handsome, solvent, caring, heroic, solvent, dependable and assuringly solvent one, and then she was going to fuck him senseless.
But that was for the future and, right here, right now, was Bristol Airport Duty Free where the assistants smiled so fetchingly and offered her their gorgeous things; Gucci, Dolce and Gabbana, Lancombe, Paco Rabane etc etc, and she was so nice to them in return, because they were sisters, modern woman like her, only not as fabulously beautiful, and she didn’t have to work in a shop.
‘Because I have left all that behind me’ Jane told herself, as for a dark moment she remembered the back streets of Bolton, the children all dressed in rags, all filled with a burning ambition, to shake off their lowly born tags, yes they were, yes they were, la la la…
Jane was sometimes surrounded with these thoughts, when alone in her bed, but decided they belonged in another novel, a misery lit, and that on the whole she preferred shopping and fucking novels in which she was going to have the best of everything, Dolce and Gabbana, Gucci, Lancombe, Paco Rabane etc etc and she was going to do whatever it took to get it.
‘Yes’ said Jane to herself in breathy excitement. Because thats what fabulously beautiful modern women do, they seize life in both manicured hands, sink their red painted talons in deep and slash and tear, raising the bloody parts to their ever ready gaping maw and devour life until the gore drips from their sated, grease slicked chins!
My my, thought Jane, vodka and red bull on top of prozac, valium and HRT is quite a cocktail!
And then Jane saw him. Something about the way he walked. Purposeful, with a strong, unsmiling but somehow vulnerable, boyish face. Uniformed, maybe a pilot, private jet perhaps?
Then he was suddenly by her side, his strong hand grazed the sheer silk of her arm. She felt his warm breath fan her cheek as he leaned in close and spoke quietly to her. “You seem to have something in your bag you haven’t paid for madame. Why don’t we just take a quick look.”