By 1 a.m. the mushroom tea was kicking in with a vengeance and the lunatics were well and truly in charge of the asylum. Colum was stomping around his huge atrium like some latter day Caligula, his crazed eyes looking as if they might pop out of his vast blotchy face at caked with high quality cocaine and he was drenched from head to toe in toxic sweat.
Obnoxiously loud trance music was blaring out of his top-of-the-range Bang and Olufsen speakers and even though his feet seemed to be hitting the ground at fairly regular intervals it would hardly qualify as dancing – he looked more like someone directing traffic at Spaghetti Junction. If George Michael’s claim that ‘guilty feet have got no rhythm’ was correct, then Christ only knows what sort of depraved nastiness that drug-crazed degenerate had been up to.
John’s inability to dance was even more apparent. He was throwing shapes like a has-been newsreader on Strictly Come Dancing. Still, what he lacked in ability he made up for in boyish enthusiasm. His hands were whirling round his head like the rotor blades of a helicopter in a tailspin and he had such a gurn on that when he swung his head round we all had to duck his protruding chin.
If George Michael’s claim that ‘guilty feet have got no rhythm’ was correct, then Christ only knows what sort of depraved nastiness that drug-crazed degenerate had been up to.
Rachel was somewhat more understated and little betrayed the fact that she was buzzing like a fridge other than the vacant grin plastered all over her sweet face. Meanwhile, Fergus stood with his back to the wall surveying the scene with a contented smile, tapping his foot in a mildly self-conscious manner. For the first time in weeks, he looked at peace with the world . . . which was surprising considering the arsenal of mind-wrenching narcotics he’d gamely consumed.
The evening couldn’t have gone better. By about 8 o’clock we had all assembled at Colum’s Tudor manor house a few miles outside the West Sussex town of Petworth. Colum had pulled out all the stops for this particular shindig – a Michelin-starred chef had been hired to prepare our seven-course meal and the youngest wines we drank were still considerably older than the elegantly wasted guests who sat around Colum’s immense oak table.
We were served by two beautiful waitresses wearing preposterously short skirts and Colum insisted on slapping their pert buttocks whenever they came within reach. After our delectable dinner, we smoked the finest Cohibas money could buy and drank a vintage port that had apparently been Winston Churchill’s favourite tipple. Inevitably, a silver tray with dozens of fat lines of Colombia’s finest export was passed around after the cigars.
Colum had pulled out all the stops for this particular shindig – a Michelin-starred chef had been hired to prepare our seven-course meal
They were aggressively snorted by all the diners – most notably Colum who consumed two with each nostril and then started shouting insane gibberish at the ceiling whilst beating his chest like an enraged gorilla. For a moment I thought he’d genuinely lost it, but a sly wink across the table put my mind at rest.
A couple of important announcements had been made after dinner. First, Colum gave us his final calculation of our ‘winnings’. He said that each of us around the table had personally made £5 million from our scam...
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