Did Monica Lewinsky go down and out? Or did she put her mouth where the money is? tells all
am a charitable sort of person. Just for the purposes of writing this column, I've given six copies of Simon Bates's autobiography to a local hospice, and attended the London Oyster and Seafood Fair dressed as a haddock in order to raise cash for the Fisherman's Mission. So I know a good cause when I see one.

That's why, for this mission, I wanted to help a troubled young woman called Monica, a Beverly Hills princess who - thanks to the machinations of a sex-crazed president - now owes her lawyers over a million dollars.

So the challenge is to help Monica back into the black. When she cashes my cheque, I'll enjoy the rosy afterglow of knowing that I've helped someone in need.

A month later, I'm still waiting for our accounts to get intimate, waiting in jittery anticipation for the Co-Operative Bank to tell me that the cheque has been drawn. But it hasn't. And I now realise that she has all the power in our relationship.

Monica and I met on 3 March in Borders bookshop on Oxford Street in London. There were piles of nasty looking self-help books and unauthorised film star biographies, and not much else. Andrew Morton's Monica book is in good company here. The place is a treasure box of Mills and Boonisms: "It was the smell of the eucalyptus wafting along the powder- blue corridors that first seduced Monica." That kind of thing. I managed to get through the bulk of it as I waited in line. I soon saw that not everybody had turned up for as good a motive as mine. There was a freaky, Brueghel-and- sawdust element to the event.

Nobody seemed to be there because they liked or admired Monica. My fellow queue-members fell into three categories: journalists foraging for a column- filler; big-bummed American college girls who'd come to call the kettle black; and hare-eyed Englishmen who looked like your better class of flasher. After an hour of shuffling, my section of the line neared the finishing post. "You can go down now," said the shop assistant, without a flicker of irony. And suddenly I was standing in front of Monica.

She has a big-boned, slapped-up glamour, like Pansy Potter the Strongman's Daughter after a Just Seventeen makeover. But she was cheerful. And more composed than most people would be during a public appearance as the world's most famous exponent of fellatio. "Hello, there," I said weakly, feeling stupid for being there at all.

"How are you?" she beamed, as if some invisible drama coach was whispering: "Eyes and teeth, eyes and teeth."

"Listen," I ventured, "I've brought you this because I wanted to make a small contribution to your legal costs. I think you've had a pretty bad deal from all this."

I held out the envelope, which was immediately whipped out of my hand by a well-manicured man standing at her right shoulder - Andrew Morton.

"Well, thank you. That is soooo kind of you," Monica exclaimed, genuinely surprised. And I was ushered away from the table by another shop assistant.

That was a month ago, and the money is still in my account. Perhaps she's waiting until the end of the tax year. Perhaps the bank has refused to honour my cheque. Or perhaps Monica has deliberately foiled my mission, and is sitting on a sun-lounger somewhere, looking at my signature and exclaiming, "Nice try, but no cigar"