Books: Brrm! Brrm! — Chapter 15 |
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Suzuki sat in the back seat between the two bodyguards. There was so much room that he did not need to make contact with them. He was surprised to notice his briefcase and suit-bag on the floor beyond their outstretched feet. How had that been managed? Far in front of them sat the driver among lights and instruments. There was no sound. The floodlit Houses of Parliament went past on the left. The floodlit Tate Gallery went past on the right. Suzuki had been to all these landmarks and centres of historical interest. But he had not been inside the new tower that rose beside the river. It rose so high that when Suzuki looked East through one of the glass walls of Sir Ernest Papadakis’s penthouse he could see the fabulous historic son et lumière of the London night all the way to the Thames Barrier.

‘Bit flash, I suppose,’ said Sir Ernest. ‘But I think it’s important to be able to look down on Jeffrey Archer. That’s his place over there. Practically ground level, wouldn’t you say?’

Except for its acreage of window space, Sir Ernest’s penthouse looked in no way modern. They could have been in Kenwood House, waiting for a concert to begin. There was a plaster ceiling, of the type based on a design by the architect Adam, whose work Suzuki had come to admire extravagantly. He had clippings on the subject in his filing system. What would happen to his clippings? How would he get them home?

‘I’ve got nothing against Japanese buying property in Australia,’ said Sir Ernest around a large cigar. ‘Your money is at Least as good as ours. But I can’t buy property in Tokyo.’

‘Because it is too expensive?’ Suzuki was having difficulty with his own cigar.

‘Because there’s a law against it. If you want smoke to come out of that thing you have to suck.’

‘Yes. It is unfortunate. But Japan is very crowded already.’

‘Japan is very clever already, but let that pass. When I do business in Tokyo I need a discreet little place to stay. Not a hotel. Just a quiet little apartment. like this one.’


‘But I can’t own it in my own name.’


‘So I want you to take home about half a million in cash and buy some little place in the middle of town. Somewhere you’ll enjoy, because I’ll only be there about ten days a year. You’ll be there all the time. Your cigar’s gone out.’

‘You are going to trust me with the spending of half a million dollars?’

‘Don’t be a dumb-cluck. Half a million pounds. We’re going to need something with its own toilet. And when young Lilian prances through you don’t see her sleeping on a futon, do you? Or perhaps you already have. I suppose you’ve seen her at every angle.’

‘You don’t mind about that?’

‘I doughnut what?’


‘I mind intensely, my friend. But a man of my age who wants to keep a woman like that has to know when to let her go. Not that it hurts to get you out of the road for a while. Have you got a ticket home?’


‘I don’t expect it’s first class.’


‘Jesus. I suppose you were sent to Earth to remind me of when I was young, but I can’t remember ever being that poor. My office will be in touch. OK desu ka?’

‘You speak our language?’

‘Only a few words. But I’m betting you speak mine. The boys will see you home.’