I returned to the Paris apartment after a particularly turgid day of exams at the Sorbonne to find Bridget preparing the evening meal which she appeared to be saucing with her own tears. Being no stranger to tragedy myself I convinced her to come and sit down and tell me at once what ailed her.
‘Your father.’ She said.
‘What about him Bridget.’ An edge had slivered into my voice and she looked up at me worriedly. ‘It’s fine Bridget, you may have noticed I am no fan of my father’s so any negative thing you say about him to me will be met with sympathy’ I said placing my hand on hers in an effort to comfort her.
‘He was here this morning and he brought a man with him. I did not like this man….he was bad man Mister Foster.’ No matter how many times I asked her to just refer to me as Foster she still insisted on the prefix.
‘I see, is Shane OK’ I inquired rather dreading where this was leading.
‘He fine, Shane not like this man either, Shane in his room. Your father looked worried but man just smile as if he enjoy your father unhappy.’ Bridget looked miserable and I asked her whether he had hurt her.
‘No but he touch me on chest when he came in to kitchen for drink. Your father see this but look away. I push his hand away but this man frighten me Mister Foster.’
‘What is this man’s name? I said.
‘Your father not introduce’
‘Can you describe him?
‘He same height as you with black hair, he wear jeans and black coat. He very handsome but has evil eye.’
The Unction Corporation had become immense. My ubiquitously absent father had been busy as a bee building honeycombs for the holidaying middle classes. He caused temporary domiciles to break out of the ground like new shoots in Spring-time partnering with turbaned magnates in Dubai and severely brylcreemed Mafiosi in Milan. There was no end to his wheeling and dealing and the cash flowed like concrete from a pump truck to be cleansed on the pearly shores of the Canary’s to the blustery Bailiwick of Jersey.