As we all know ghosts can go anywhere including the bedrooms of the unwary. As a ghost-writer one of my most interesting encounters was with a lady of the night. Well, to be honest a lady of the day and night; when you sell your favours the time, place and identity of the hooker’s client is an irrelevancy.
Barbara was once a respectable English civil servant until she became hooked on prostitution. Dividing her time and much else between English urban life and Mediterranean Spain’s eclectic atmosphere Barbara’s services tended to raise eyebrows in addition to raising much else. One of the lady’s encounters was with James Hewitt. The Household Cavalry British Army officer was no doubt dashing but whether or not he was gallant we leave to others to decide.
Barbara says she was going about her usual domestic routine when the phone rang at her Costa del Sol home. Taking the call she took little notice as the caller chatted with her husband. “Someone named Tom will be visiting. He wants a threesome.”
“Is he okay?”
“He sounds okay,” her husband called out.
Barry added that the caller was English. From the caller’s cut glass accent Barbara’s husband surmised that he was public school educated. He jokingly added that her client might be aristocracy.
The visit by the hooker’s posh client was financially timely and welcome. Barbara says, “Because it was quiet at the time, my memory, which is good anyway, is perfectly clear of the encounter. The day of the arrangement arrived and right on time the doorbell chimed. Barry routinely answered the door and he did so on this occasion.
Having prepared myself for the amorous encounter I was in the lounge and pouring a drink. In the background the radio was playing easy listening sort of stuff. There was nothing really to set our home apart from anyone else’s. Moments later, I felt the presence of Barry and our visitor.
Turning around from what I was doing I smiled in anticipation of meeting a complete stranger. My beam immediately went into deep freeze as I recognised the face.
The familiarity was not from an earlier encounter but from the stories I had read in newspapers and magazines. Afterwards I found myself praying that my recognition of him had not been too obvious to our caller. On the other hand, he of all people, would I imagine be well used to being recognised.
What was new to me would have been an everyday occurrence for him. Perhaps being recognised creates a buzz of sorts for celebrities. Today’s visitor never had to smooth talk a concierge or headwaiter. My client’s identity would certainly open doors and would get a table even at the fully booked restaurants.
Inaudibly I whispered, ‘Oh my god’ as my client put forward his hand. The handshake, whilst firm, was hardly more than a gesture. Thinking about it afterwards I thought it difficult to tell if he liked or felt anything towards me at all. Did we click? I doubt it but that is not the nature of what I do anyway. That is not the road I want to travel along.
“Hi… Tom,” I said softly and in what I hoped was a convincing greeting. I added, “I hope you haven’t had to come too far?”
My middle class accent was perfectly suited to most social environments. However, this gentleman’s accent was very public school. I knew instinctively that he had lived a life of some privilege of which I had only a magazine familiarity with. With hardly a word spoken and with little else to go on except his expensive attire, my mind was now drawing pictures. I do not have an avid interest in society gossip or current affairs.
I knew this gentleman’s natural habitat was the army. I am not talking about a squaddie or a blanket stacker. This man was cavalry; he was horse guards’ parade, that sort of stuff. My visitor had a remarkable air of self-assurance about him. It is such a strange feeling when you are in the company of someone whose familiarity comes from magazine images. Other than that our encounter was stepped out of a magazine sort of stuff but he was pleasing enough.
My client told me he was ever so pleased to meet me and the agreed €50 fee changed hands. This was done as casually as he might hand it to a person at the supermarket’s checkout counter. From there on we three chatted amiably and for all the world there was nothing that set the occasion apart from any other unremarkable visitor calling in for a chat.
After a while, when we were in the best of humour and felt more like old friends, we three went through to the bedroom. That dat the tantric massage was the preferred option for hors d’oeuvres. What followed I suppose is best kept this side of the bed sheets.
The kick that I got from that encounter was not so much my visitor’s standing but from his having chosen me. I could not get out of my mind that until recently my client had been front page news across the world.
Friends later asked me if I could have been mistaken. No, I had not been mistaken as there had been instant recognition. There was no doubt about the identity of my caller. Besides, before I had even mentioned the client’s name Barry had said to me, “You know who that was, Barbara?” I nodded. There was little to say.
It was well known that my client that day had moved to this region of Spain. Here, he had extensive business interests and an eclectic circle of highborn or otherwise successful friends who gravitate around the Marbella scene. In fact, such patronage made the region much of what it is.
I knew that at one time this client had considered taking his own life. I knew too that his erstwhile falling on hard times left him with a difficult choice. His choices were to kiss and tell or choose hardship via business collapse. I could well understand his dilemma and it must have been a difficult choice. In fact he did kiss and tell yet still ended up as poor as a Church mouse.
As a hate figure my client was ostracised. Marbella provided a sort of exile as it was the last refuge of the scoundrel. After all, wasn’t it home for so many others who had fallen foul of convention and disgraced their standing? Here on the Sol circuit was life in a golden cage. That day I was in the golden cage too. In a way, I felt sorry for my client. For five years he had fixed his tie in the mirror of the boudoir of one of the Twentieth Century’s most famous and beautiful women. Does man ever aspire to such high but dangerous heights?
Meeting such personages is always an experience. It comes with the territory and I thought little of it. This encounter was different and brought with it an additional élan. Yes, I felt a frisson. Were there any special recollections? Yes, there was an ordinariness of that scandalous and some would think degrading encounter. I cannot recall the exact wording but there is a saying that goes something like this. ‘The colonel’s wife and the sergeant’s daughter are both the same under the sheets.’
I thought about it afterwards and it occurred to me that it wasn’t me who had pulled the short straw, how often I have thought to myself that a one-night stand with this man was far preferable to a five-year one. Okay! You get what you pay for but I could still flaunt it. On that memorable occasion I was the chosen one rather than England’s most iconic princess. The encounter, for a short while, rekindled my enthusiasm for carrying on my trade.
Windsor Castle Dinner Party. Hewitt was unlikely to be a guest.
Today, James Hewitt at 58 years old presents a sorry figure as in faded clothing he trawls for a second-hand car. The otherwise homeless and unloved former Household Cavalry officer now shares a two-bed apartment near Exeter with his aging widowed mother.