Who is Jack Winter ( Part 3)
He straightened his tie and looked at himself in the mirror. There was a slight trace of some white powder around his left nostril. He rubbed his nose violently to make sure it was gone. There was only so many times he could pretend he’d just been eating doughnuts. Okay good to go.
Charles Winthorpe, the Foreign Secretary, wanted to see him in ten minutes. He always felt a sense of anticipation whenever he was summoned to his boss’s office. He hoped it was good news, but if it wasn’t he was always prepared. Jack Winter was a survivor.
He wasn’t a big fan of his boss and he was certain that the feeling was mutual. They had nothing in common. Charles was a tall, thin, silver haired man in his early sixties who went jogging everyday to keep fit. He’d been married for over forty years to his wife Margaret. They had three grown up children. He was an old school politician. He came from a wealthy family, went to Eton, then on to Cambridge. He’d never done a proper days work in his life. His father was the retired Chairman of a household name insurance company.
Jack, on the other hand, was tall but overweight. They only exercise he took was when he was pumping away at a four hundred pound a night hooker. He had two failed marriages behind him and no children. He was from a working class family, his Dad worked at the local Gas Works, his mum was a housewife. He’d gone to a grammar school in Stratford, not Shakespeare country, but Stratford in East London. He went to University, but it wasn’t Oxford or Cambridge but Essex in Colchester. Their lives couldn’t be farther apart.
There was one thing in particular that Jack hated about Charles Winthorpe. He insisted on being called Sir or Foreign Secretary. This grated with Jack. It reminded him of being back at school and Charles Winthorpe being the Headmaster. He hated his Headmaster. That cunt caned him once a month for four years.
Ten minutes later he was knocking on the door of Charles office. He didn’t wait to be called in. He knocked once and then entered.
“Ah Jack, Jack, good to see you. Come in and take a seat.”
“Thank you Sir, good to see you as well.”
Charles was sitting behind his over- sized mahogany desk in a large leather chair. Jack sat down opposite him in a chair much smaller.
“Good work with the Chinese Ambassador this morning Jack. Who the hell do they think they are even thinking of proposing embargoes on our exports? Anyone would think they ruled the bloody world!”
“I think you’ll find they probably do sir.”
“Yes, yes, quite. I expect you’re right their Jack. Anyway, that’s not why I asked to see you. The PM is having a re-shuffle in a couple of weeks and has asked for my opinion on a few appointments. I just wanted to tell you myself that I won’t be recommending you for promotion to the front benches. I think you’re doing a splendid job where you are as Minister for International Affairs. Besides you’re still young Jack and still learning. I was well in my fifties before I got into the cabinet so you’ve still got plenty of time. Hope you’re not too disappointed Jack but that’s just the way it is.”
He stood up and put out his hand for Jack to shake. As far as he was concerned the meeting was now over and Jack Winter was being dismissed.
Jack continued sitting. The trump card that he’d been saving was about to be played.
“Ever heard the name Raymond DuPont sir?”
The Foreign Secretary removed his hand and sat back down. He looked as though he was about to have a heart attack. His faced drained of colour and went a funny shade of beige. He seemed to have lost the power of speech.
“You see sir, unlike you, I didn’t go to Eton. I went to Stratford grammar school. It was there that I met Shaun Roberts. Me and Sean became best mates, still are today. Shaun now works as a reporter for the Daily Mail. He has this story that he ran by me a short time ago. Want to hear it CHARLES?”
The Foreign Secretary didn’t say a word. He just nodded his head slightly.
“Good. It seems that there is a MALE senior cabinet minister having an affair with a young French art student called Raymond DuPont. He visits Raymond at his flat in Highgate twice a week. My friend Shaun has a number of photographs of these two men in various compromising situations. Nothing wrong with this of course in this day and age but the problem is this MALE senior cabinet minister is married and has three grown up daughters. He is also very close to the PM, and, as we both know, the PM is very big on FAMILY VALUES. We were both there when he gave his speech about sleaze, corruption and scandal. I remember him being very specific about the consequences of ANYONE on our side being caught in anything that was even slightly dodgy. He even said those same words in his latest Party Political Broadcast on the television just a few days ago. Wouldn’t it be a travesty if it came to light that a very close and trusted friend of his was cheating on his wife with a young man forty years his junior?”
The words came slowly out of Charles mouth.
“Yes I suppose it would.”
“I have the power to make that story and the photographs go away and never come back CHARLES.”
The only words that Charles Winthorpe could think of saying at this time were “Thank you.”
“Now then about that promotion. I would be very pleased to get on the front benches at last. What position I’m given is, of course, up to the PM but I would expect a glowing recommendation from you CHARLES old son.”
Jack stood up and put out his hand to The Foreign Secretary. It was grabbed quickly and shook firmly.
Jack turned and walked away. As he got to the door he turned and looked at Charles Winthorpe. He looked at least ten years older than he had when Jack first walked in.
“Just one more thing. From this day on I’ll be calling you Charlie. Okay?”
Charles Winthorpe's head nodded like a toy dog in a back of a car.
“Yes Jack. Of course.”