Lizzy Beachwell reclined on her sofa while her husband Tom fed her slices of pizza. Lizzy had been such a svelte thing when she wrote for The Face magazine in the early ‘80s but the good life had taken its toll and she had more recently earned the nickname Lizzy Beached Whale.
‘Tintin Quarantino?’ said Lizzy. ‘Oh, he’s just Jim Jarmusch for thickos.’
‘Yes, but the paraphernalia from his films goes for a song on eBay,’ said Tom. ‘If this is real, it could pay the bills for a few months at least.’
Lizzie grimaced. She hadn’t been this short of cash since she was a teen. Her controversial views had been courted by many media for years. But the cacophonous din of internet trolls had all but drowned her out recently. They were obnoxious for free, after all. Her novels were now out of print, too, and she refused to lower herself to the grubby level of self-publishing or eBooks.
Lizzy took the battered, bloodstained wallet from Tom.
‘And you say you just found it in the pub?’ she said.
‘Yep. Some old soak staggered out of the toilets and it dropped out of his raincoat pocket when he bumped into me,’ said Tom.
‘You do drink in some dives, darling,’ said Lizzy.
‘It’s research sweetie. You know that,’ said Tom.
‘I don’t need research. I have my imagination.’
Tom was tempted to say that was why she hadn’t written a decent novel this century but, as usual, he bit his tongue.
‘So, shall I phone Joolz?’ said Tom.
‘Ok. But don’t bring him here if you have to meet him. He’s such a piss taker.’
Hello Mrs Pot, I’d like to introduce you to Mr Kettle, thought Tom.
• • •
The players walked off the football pitch talking about which pub they were going to for the Sunday afternoon drinking session.
‘Jammy bastard,’ said the goalkeeper, grinning. ‘That was one of the luckiest goals I’ve ever seen.’
‘Divine intervention, mate,’ said Joolz Stroud.
Joolz showered and changed. He checked his iPhone and saw a text message and a missed call from his Tom Beachwell. He put on his black leather biker jacket and headed out of the changing rooms.
Joolz could see the stream of traffic heading in and out of the new Ikea car park. Ignoring the Sunday shopping zombies, he strolled down to the river. He stopped outside The City Barge, checked his watch and went into the crowded pub. He’d already slurped half of his pint of London Pride when Tom called him back.
‘Yeah,’ he said. ‘What’s the story, old glory?’
He listened for a few minutes and a smile crept across his face.
‘I’ll be there in about an hour,’ said Joolz.
He hung up, grinned and reminded himself that although he didn’t believe in fate or karma, a window of opportunity had just opened wide.
• • •
Joolz looked so much like his late father, a best-selling thriller writer, that it made Tom uneasy. Young Julian hadn’t inherited his father’s ability to churn out money making potboilers, however, and had decided to try his hand at film production. Which is where he had made his Hollywood contacts. Tom and Joolz were leaning against the bar in The French House.
‘Naw, mate,’ said Joolz, with a mock cockney drawl. ‘It’s a phony for sure. There’s loads of them out there. Sam Jackson has the original. Never lets it out of his sight.’
‘But there’s a certificate of authenticity,’ he said.
‘And they’re even easier to fake.’
‘Oh, well. At least there was a ton in there. It’ll get us a few drinks,’ said Tom.
Joolz picked up the wallet.
‘Decent quality this, mind you. I could do with a new wallet. Mind if I pilfer it?
‘Feel free,’ said Tom ‘It’s no use to me.’
Joolz pushed the wallet into his pocket. He’d email Sam’s agent about it once he got rid of Tom and arrange a meeting to give it back. Hopefully he could interest the actor in the new action film he was putting together. He might even get a nice finder’s fee from Mr Jackson, too.