Sex, snooker and family secrets

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The Independent Online
BEGINNING today - the airport novel to finish all airport novels] And it's called, simply, 'Flight' . . .

Brymon Plymouth was, according to some, the richest girl in the world. According to others, equally in the know, she was the most beautiful girl in the world. Those who said she was also the most selfish and arrogant girl in the world were not attended to and, anyway, there were very few people who knew her that well.

Her father had made all his money from an invention that turned dead vegetable matter into high-grade plastic. He was, said one expert, to compost what Paul Newman was to spaghetti sauce, a remark that meant nothing in Italy, where they have had perfectly satisfactory spaghetti for hundreds of years without Paul Newman's aid, but was well understood in America.

What matters is that by the time Brymon had reached the age of 18, she knew she would one day be a millionairess. Some women would have been made cruel and arrogant by this, but on Brymon Plymouth it had had no effect. She was cruel and arrogant already. The only person who could make her listen to advice was her best friend, Cathay.

'You must remember, Bry,' Cathay said to her one day, 'that being rich and beautiful is not everything.'

'I don't understand,' said Brymon. 'It brings me everything I want, doesn't it?'

'Of course not,' said Cathay. 'It doesn't bring you - oh, I don't know - the ability to play snooker, for instance.'

'Then I shall learn to play snooker]' said Brymon, her eyes flashing.

The best snooker teacher in the country was hired. His name was Braniff. He was young and handsome, and he played snooker very well, but what Brymon liked best about him was the way his trousers went taut over his rippling rump when he bent over the table to make a difficult shot. Soon the snooker lessons were forgotten and Brymon was engaged in a passionate affair with young Braniff. One day her father found them on the snooker table, embedded in a series of soft cushions, practising what was certainly not snooker.

'Brymon]' said her father, whose name, I forgot to tell you, was Qantas. 'Brymon] What the hell are you doing up there

on the snooker table? Don't you know those cushions are

irreplaceable?'

Five minutes later the snooker teacher was on his way, with a big payoff stuffed into his cue case, and Qantas Plymouth was beginning to realise that his daughter was growing up. It was about time, too, as unbeknown to him she had had affairs with all the young men who visited the house, including her father's accountant, Logan Eyre.

Notice to readers. You may have noticed that all the characters are named after airlines. This is not, as you might think, a literary conceit. It is a result of direct sponsorship - yes, every time an airline is mentioned in this great new airport novel, 'Flight', the cash registers go ringing]

'I am a man of the world, my dear,' said old man Plymouth to Brymon later, 'but even I find your behaviour hard to take. How it would have affected your dear late mother, Sabena, I dread to think.'

'I have always meant to ask you, father,' said Brymon. 'How did mother die?'

'I would rather not talk about it,' said old Plymouth, remaining tight-lipped.

The only memento of Brymon's mother was a portrait of a truly beautiful woman that hung in the dining room, where Brymon and her father took their cheerless meals. It was signed with the artist's initials, KLM.

'Ask your father about the artist,' said the old family servant, Alitalia, one day. 'That's the whole secret, that is.'

'You mean,' gasped Brymon, 'the artist killed my mother?'

'Don't be so stupid,' said Alitalia, with the familiarity that only old family retainers (and television interviewers) can risk. 'Your mother fell in love with him. Ken Mather his name was, and a lovely man he was, too. They ran away together.'

'How did she die then?'

'Die? She isn't dead. She is dead only to your father. He won't admit that he failed her. So she has become dead to him.'

In the next sexy, incident- packed episode of this wonderful airport novel we meet Logan Eyre's young brother Dan, the mysterious Irish adventurer Eyre O'Flot, and the woman whom everyone calls, for all the wrong reasons, Virgin. Don't miss it]

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