A LIFE IN THE WEEK OF RICHIE MALONE

WEEK THREE.

Amigos, Richie’s Facebook page seems to have been deleted and he has asked me to share his blog with you on my website because, while he’s great at many things, technology is a bloody nightmare for him.

UNDER STARTER’S ORDERS AND WE’RE OFF.

So it’s Monday and all is well in the world of Richie Malone.

It’s another glorious late June day and I’ve had a productive morning, albeit reluctantly wading through the over-zealous edits that are threatening to choke the life out of my next novel, Dead Brides.

I’ve just eaten a light lunch of gazpacho andaluz and an acceptable Waldorf salad prepared by Isabella, my housekeeper.

I have a housekeeper I hear you asking? Of course I have a housekeeper, amigo. You surely don’t expect a hombre with my hectic schedule to cook and clean? Anyway, Isabella’s a gem. She comes in every weekday morning, and weekends if I’m entertaining, and she’ll even dress up in the stereotypical maid’s outfit for dinner parties.

She loves ironing and cleaning as much as I enjoy beer and sex. She’s coy but endurably pretty – possibly even beautiful – if one were to remove her bifocals and let her hair down …

I know … I know, that’s such a cliché; but it’s actually true in Isabella’s case.

She acts as if she has absolutely no idea how attractive she is; and that, amigo, is what turns a good-looking woman into an absolute stunner.

But reluctantly I’ve had to place her within that subset of women who you do not, as a matter of principle, have sex with.

Anyway, I’m finishing lunch on the pool terrace and pondering what justifiable deviation I can come up with to avoid returning to Dead Brides, when my phone rings.

It’s a number I don’t recognize and I’m about to ignore it when the challenge of a valid distraction from my task in hand wins and I answer it.

‘Richie Malone?’ A woman’s voice – Scouser accent – smoky, borderline sexy, and claret deep, which suggests she’s almost certainly more mutton than lamb.

‘And may I ask who you are?’

‘You’re a cagey fucker, aren’t you?’ she says with a vocal smile. ‘Or so it’s said on the grapevine.’

‘Okay, so now you have my full attention, carino’ I reply, I’m tempted to fight fire with fire, but women who cold call can occasionally have a use. And soon it transpires I’m not wrong. Anyway, I can’t think of a good comeback so I don’t even bother trying.

‘I be he,’ I reply. ‘What can I do for you … Mrs—‘

‘It’s “Ms” actually, but you can call me Dolly, chuck.’ Pause for a fruity cough. ‘And it’s more as to what I can do for you, Richie.’

‘Okay Dolly.’ Dolly – who the heck is called “Dolly” I think? Unless, of course, it’s her pornstar name, but from the nicotine-tinged timbre of her voice, I’d wager that accessible porn wasn’t even available to the masturbating classes when she was christened. ‘What can you do for me then, Dolly?’

‘I’m having a ladies gathering tomorrow in Banus. La Sala. You know it pet?’

‘Of course,’ I reply. Everyone knows La Sala. It’s an upmarket fleshpot where East Meets West in terms of organized crime and where you can also get a decent steak and – if you’re so inclined – a waitress’ number for laters. ‘Go on?’

‘Well, we’re having a little fashion show, for charity you know. It’s Ladies’ Day at Royal Ascot, and the guests will be dressed … err, appropriately.’

‘How interesting Dolly. And this involves me, as in … how? Do you need a Jockey for the Gold Cup? I’m not sure I’d be up for two miles and a few furlongs, unless you feed me sufficient Vintage Dom Perignon.’

‘Oh, there’ll be plenty of that pet, don’t you worry.’ She pauses, cackles, lights a fag.

‘No, what it is, chicken, is I had a guest speaker, but he had to cancel. I know it’s short notice but could you fill in for me? You know, talk about your books, do a bit of reading, tell a few tales – nothing too raunchy – you know, that sort of thing. Give the girls a good time.’

Amigo, if you don’t know me, giving girls a good time is part of my personal specification.

I’m tempted to tell her to work it out with Hal, my agent, but the prospect of a free lunch, a bottomless trough of Vintage Dom Perignon, and as many nags as I can saddle up and get through the starters’ gate wins the day hands down so I accept.

*

Tuesday afternoon and I rock up at La Sala. My friend and part-time chaperone Maria is with me because she knows everybody that’s anybody and that includes Dolly.

Not only that, she knows how to get me out of shit before I even think about immersing myself in it. Besides which, I intend to get totally trollied on Vintage Dom Perignon so I will need a driver.

If you don’t know Maria, she’s the senior traumatologist at the Costa del Sol Hospital. A traumatologist is what the Spanish call someone who puts nearly dead people back together.

She’s a looker all right. Tall, brown hair, hazel eyes, slender, full-breasted – her own, she claims; but why should I care, as from a semantic point of view, once you’ve paid for them, ownership is indubitable? Think Marta Etura with a smaller nose, add ten years; although, to be fair, she looks less than the sum total of her fifty-four summers.

So, one night we came to within a fag paper’s width of doing the wild thing and then I nuked the moment by referring to her as the sister I never had, and as a consequence she wouldn’t talk to me for ages.

I throw the keys of the 911 to the valet parking hombre.

‘You break it amigo, you fix it,’ I say.

‘Señor, I have parked significantly more expensive cars than yours.’ Good comeback, I have to admit.

I think about telling him that his twenty-buck tip has just gone south, but he might as well be holding my balls as holding my keys and he knows it.

And as if to emphasise this a black privacy-glassed Maserati SUV pulls up behind the 911 and out hop two massive, shaven-headed thugs-slash-security hombres wearing Aviators and black suits, one of whom greets me with as cheery a wave as is feasible for a Russian mobster.

‘Hey, Malone,’This ain’t your ‘hood, man. What you doing here?’

Let me introduce Boris, who now heads up security for Alexei Nikolaev. Boris has a soft spot for me because he was appointed by dint of my involvement in the arrest and subsequent incarceration of his predecessor, Vlad The Bad.

Vlad was fortunate enough to be arrested for trafficking his boss’ drugs via a Colombian cartel he ran together with Inspector Jefe Mateo López of Malaga Policia Nacional before Nikolaev could put a bullet into him.

And if you don’t know who Alexei Nikolaev is either, perhaps that’s not a bad thing, because Nikolaev is Head of the Russian mafia in Andalusia and one of most evil bastards I have ever come across; he’s also a good friend of mine. The reason I know him is that he had sex with Sam – who is now my wife – around twenty-three years ago and the outcome was Natasha, the raven-haired beauty, responsible for the day-to-day running of his legitimate import-export business, who now steps out of the back of the Maserati.

So Natasha air kisses me and tells me – as if I needed telling – to behave myself.

So, we’re under starters orders and we’re off.

The fashion show which, truth be told, wasn’t the total nightmare I’d been expecting, is done and dusted and I’m tucking into lunch and my third flute of Dom Perignon – not the vintage stuff, but drinkable – when two things occur to me.

The first is that I have never seen so much Botox and silicon in one room. Extract it and put it together and you’d have enough to form a significant stretch of the Great Wall of China, and one that would be visible from space.

And the second is that I’ve not got a baldy about what I’m going to read or what I’m going to talk about.

Of course I’ve brought around fifty copies of Losing The Plot (if you’ve not read it, buy a copy and do so. In fact buy ten) and Maria has arranged them into a sort of phallic looking pyramid. Or maybe that’s just my overactive imagination.

So then an idea strikes me, which in retrospect wasn’t one of my better ones: I will simply open the book at a random page and read from there. Simples.

Glasses charged, Dolly bangs her spoon on a glass in true North of England style, and introduces me.

A stick insect of a crone with skin like a lizard’s scrotum says she’s never heard of me and can we do the raffle and the prize giving now as she has to go soon?

I take a gulp of fizz and get to my feet, emboldened by a smattering of applause and a few wolf whistles which I assume come from Natasha’s cohort, which represents the small demographic of those present born after Elizabeth had come to the throne.

‘Ladies,’ I go, surveying the room, ‘the pleasure is all yours.’ This opening is usually greeted with whistles and hoots but today it earns a stony silence.

‘Don’t flatter yourself, love,’ says the crone who demanded the raffle draw.

‘Okay, so have we all had a good lunch?’ Silence. ‘Right … so I’m going to start by reading a short passage from my recent novel, Losing The Plot, copies of which are–‘

‘If anyone’s lost the plot love, it’s you,’ goes the crone and I know she’s going to be trouble. I wonder how much Boris would charge to put a bullet into her, but like the true – unprepared – professional, I smile sweetly, ignore her comment and battle on. ‘What happened to the bloke who was going to talk about bird watching?’ The crone demands.

‘So, here we go then.’ I open a copy of the book at a random page, clear my throat, and begin to read.

She’s impressed with my villa, and we have a glass of wine on the terrace and engage in a little small talk. She says she’s a lawyer but I very much doubt this as a) she couldn’t find the street I live in, and b) when she leaves she can’t work out how to open the gate.

I tell her that I’m a writer and I’m doing this so that I can get inside the head of my central character, who spends much of his time in the company of call girls. She doesn’t, of course, give a flying fuck as long as I part with the cash, which is my next duty before the action commences.

I’m kind of hoping that she’ll stuff the three hundred euro into her bra, but she counts the wad of cash and puts it carefully into her purse. She then signs my receipt and that gets the business out of the way.

Now, you may well – or then again, you may well not – be wondering two things: is this legal, and what does she look like?

Firstly, it is legal. I am paying for her time, and should I choose to clean my apartment in a clown suit while she sits and drinks Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Champán con crianza on my terrace is no less legal than having sex with her.

Secondly, she is very, very good-looking. Let me tell you a bit about her. Lena – obviously not her real name – was built for sex. As I’ve said, she’s Brazilian – I was tempted to go Russian, but I’d decided I’d build up to that – around five foot six, olive-skinned with long blonde hair, green eyes and an arse you could land a helicopter on. If you’re thinking Gisele Bündchen here, you’d not be far wrong. Maybe a tad shorter and with bigger breasts?

It’s actually her skin – I kid you not – that I find most attractive. It has the feel of velvet; her entire body is unblemished, and it goes without saying that it benefits from the absence of ink.

‘Do we kiss?’ I ask, and she responds by pushing her tongue gently between my lips.

‘I only kiss men … or women I’m attracted to,’ she goes, and of course I buy this.

Now, amigo, I know this will disappoint, but I’m not going to go into the sordid details of our hour together. But let me tell you that it was one of the best hours of my life, and probably the best three hundred bucks I’ve ever spent.

Recent research suggests that eighty-five per cent of men engage the services of a call girl for oral sex, and I can now understand why.

For almost forty-five minutes this divine creature keeps me on the cusp of ecstasy. She is a pro in every sense of the word and controls the tempo of the engagement as expertly as Nigel Owens controls a rugby international, and I don’t even get penalised for a crooked put-in.

So when it’s over, she showers – she even asks me politely if it’s okay to piss in the shower … and no, amigo, I categorically did not want a golden shower – kisses me and leaves, and I’m left to reflect on my experience.

Do I have any regrets? NO. Do I feel any guilt or shame? A categorical NO is again the answer.There was no emotional connection; sure, it’s likely that I’ll book her again – which I do – because once you open a packet of crisps you don’t just have one, do you? And that’s actually quite a good analogy because I felt a heck of a lot more guilt after eating half a tube of Pringles before I went to bed that night than I did for having an hour’s sex with a hooker.

I’m suddenly aware that almost everyone in the room is looking at me in what appears to be a state of shocked silence. Not only that, before I can invite questions and talk about my writing style, the room empties quicker than a hall containing anyone over the age of twelve who’d accidentally strayed into a Justin Bieber concert.

Dolly, who is wearing a hat you could hide a sheep in, has a look of abject horror on her wizened face.

‘You know when I said “don’t make it too raunchy” chuck?’

Nothing more to say, really.

Natasha and her mates of course find it hilarious.

Maria packs up the unsold books in silence, I go to look for the parking wallah, and we depart.

So, the moral of the story is amigo, the next time I get a number withheld call, my phone stays unanswered.

Hasta pronto chic@s!

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