Where to begin? Easy, at the start. Wednesday night I get a mysterious text telling me to go to the desk at the Dorchester up on Park Lane as there will be a message for me. I did not recognise the number, but when I received it my phone played the first four bars of 'Tijuana Brass' which I had not programmed on to my handset. Normally I can't be persuaded to leave the flat, but I could hear the scratching in the walls and the buzzing of the fridge and so I wandered out to find the note.
At the desk I gave my name; Monsterwork. "Ah yes," said the concierge because he has been trained to say "Ah yes" and "But of course" whenever appropriate. He handed me the note.
It had a delicate fig scent to it, and was the type of paper you paint watercolours on; thick and textured. The cursive text on it told me to go to to Victoria Station and ask at Lost Property about a pink Nokia 5610 with a Bad Batz Maru sticker stuck on it, that had been handed in around 1500hrs that same day. I thought whoever was running this bandit dance was way more trusting of The London Underground than I would ever be, but lo and behold and lo they had the phone.
My other instruction had been to speed dial #1 when I got the phone. I complied and got through to a recording made up from dialogue chopped out of films (I recognised Gabriel Byrne's voice, and Cesar Romero's) that said I should go home to my flat, get my passport and my toothbrush.
I did as it asked, in that I sat in my room with both items. I was concerned that my iPod had very little charge left on it. I suspected I'd be travelling, though the passport thing might have been misdirection, so I put a copy of Lawrence Block's Hit List and Ladies Man by Richard Price in my coat pockets and went and made some toast.
The phone rang just as soon as I'd put my Chestnut Terrine back in the fridge. It told me that 'my car' was waiting out front. I ate the toast on the fly and took a seat in the back of a warm and spacious Audi A6. The driver played the soundtrack to The Ipcress File, without the dialogue parts and there was a selection of Adam Hall's Quiller novels if I wanted something for the flight. I took 'The Scorpion Signal'.
At this point it occurred to me that I might have been kidnapped, and my passport used for any number of unsavoury purposes. I resolved myself to swallow my tongue if needed, but felt unnaturally confident that only good would come of this escapade.
The car pulled into Heathrow where the driver gave me a manilla envelope. Inside were all I needed to confirm a Virgin Atlantic flight to Miami. I busied myself with that for a bit before going on to the Clubhouse lounge there, where I had two Caipirinhas, a Hurricane and then, on the recommendation of Nicola from Girls Aloud, who'd I'd gotten talking to, I drank two Scorpions. I played her the Megadeth song of the same name on my iPod, which killed it. She gave me a kiss on the cheek when her flight to St. Lucia was called. I was a bit numb in the face when it happened sadly, but it meant I slept most of the flight. The three books went unread.
Touchdown in Miami. I was told on arrival that I had a connecting flight to The Bahamas, and I was hurried on to a private jet that I had all to myself (crew excluded). The stewardess had prepared pancakes and bacon for me, which I washed down with fresh orange juice. A package containing a charged iPod (set to a shuffle of unnamed tracks, though I recognised a few - 'Days Like These' by Matt Munro being the first song) a short-sleeved floral shirt, white vest, aviators and biege slacks in my measurements were presented to me and I was able to freshen up a little in the bathroom before putting on my new outfit.
We landed in Nassau and from there I was shown to an open top Chevrolet 1957 Bel air and driven along the coast.
Not ten minutes into my journey a motorcycle had pulled level with the car and the rider - obviously a girl, though her features were hidden under a crash helmet - was able to hand me a note written on the same thick paper as the one I collected from the Dorchester before putting some distance between us and vanishing round a corner. The note bore directions - 'first left, third exit' etc. I read them out to the driver and soon enough we were at a marina where I was able to complete the last instruction - 'Board the motorboat whose captain is wearing an I am your new landlord t-shirt.'
That's right. Hug it out.
As you all probably know, I'd have absolutely no problem admitting this, were it the case. After all, First Blood is better than girls. It's just it didn't happen. I spent Valentine's day in Nassau with Diora Baird.
And yes. I'm going to make this joke every single Valentine's Day that is shit until my hands get cut off.