"there is no elite"
Jack sings along with the music. He’s driving a Bentley, as his own car is with the Pole running his business out of a lock-up near the railway station. It’s only an old Citroën 2CV, the ironic Bond Car from one of those jokey films that Dad’s always on about. There’s only one Bond and that’s DC, everyone knows that. But Jack needs that car, for creds, obvs. That’s why he’s plain Jack Jones to his friends, the Wymondham having been dropped like a stone for being too posh and – whisper it – plebian, at the same time. The Bentley is Dad’s: a classic car although it looks like a vintage. Dad (not Daddy, Pops or Papa, FFS! Not in public, or ever, really) says it’s as old as his own father would be now. If anyone sees Jack in it, he’ll say he was delivering it to pick up some extra dosh. Money for old rope, Dave will say. It will be nice to have something to blame for where the money comes from.
It’s quite an old song. It’s on one of Dad’s CDs. Jack received a lecture on the value of things, when he asked about the CD player on one of the trips back to school after the long vac.
‘Even a radio would not be authentic, John, so I chose quality of sound and music.’
‘It’s Jack, I’ve told you.’
‘The car is worth a thousand less, for having been improved, John, imagine that.´
‘It’s just not authentic, is it?’
‘What is, Jack?’
The name of the band is Sniff and the Tears. Jack thinks some of those old people’s radio stations play the song from time to time. Dad has said it’s a Top Gear type of song, so Jack knows he shouldn’t like it.
The car is difficult to handle on the B4022. It’s a strange route to take from Great Tew to Chipping Norton, but there’s less chance of being seen. Does it matter though? It’ll all be over soon. He’s had the gap year after uni, two years of real life. The way Dad says it that phrase has inverted commas included.
‘I mean it, John. It’s not like the old days. You’ll have to start the way everyone does.’
‘There is no elite, not now, not the same as it was.’
‘But… A poxy fucking go-fer for … ‘
This was only last week. An interview already.
‘Boris has put in a word. That’s a favour it cost me to ask, John.’
Jack parks the Bentley skewiff between the Chelsea Tractor and the Land Rover. The only other car is a ministerial looking Jaguar. Jack snorts, even he knows BMW owns that. He gets out of the car, pockets the keys: no point locking a drophead coupé, after all. He pulls the bell and waits. The butler answers. A butler! Jack colours up.
‘Mr Wymondham-Jones, is it?’
Jack stutters that it is. He looks at the floor, as if he might see the bottom of the famous greasy pole. Then he straightens his back, thinks maybe it is a dumb song after all.