-Your father seems to have received some arcane fiscal advice, says Mr Oetzmann without irony.
There are nine codicils to his will, each one tied with green satin ribbon. My sisters and I have been left some money. For them, it is quite straightforward. They are very pleased. My sister, Belinda, has a huge, unwieldy house needing repair, and my sister Cornelia has a huge, unwieldy husband needing rehab. These things cost money. It is a lifeline. For me, the situation is more delicate. My father, whom I'm almost sure loved me more than the others, has left my money in a trust to be administered by my oldest child, my daughter Joybells, the theatrical. I can scarce believe my ears. I ask Mr Oetzmann to re-read.
-It is quite plain, he says. Your father seems to think that his grand-daughter is better placed to administer this bequest, for some reason.
-How killing! shrills the Heiress to the right of me.
-He knew you'd piss it all away, hisses the Executrix to the left.
-Your father seems to think there might be malfeasance, nonfeasance and misfeasance, says Mr O. I think I can reference the Accumulations Act 1892 here. Mrs Pouncer, are you familiar with R. v Thellusson, or Faggott's Law of Purchase?
Mr Oetzmann is a nice man, he is a bright man, he is a kind man, but he might just as well be reciting chunks of the Cartularium Saxonicum. Nothing seems to make any sense.
-Why would he do this, Mr Oetzmann?
-It is hard to say, Mrs Pouncer. He leaves no clue. All I can say is that whereas and whereinunder, as, to and pursuant from whichever or whatever, for by and under, which said person or persons being or having been entitled, unless injuncted, disjuncted, rejuncted or double-juncted, the aforesaid without foreknowledge whosoever, shall or shall not be the sole accessor for and by the law of scriven and scroven, the which not proven.
Seconds later, we are across the Strand and into Joe Allen. My sisters drink Dubonnet with a twist; I have a White Russian, which I suck through a transparent straw. I feel a welling tide of misery, because I think I know why this has happened.
Back at home, my boy waits for me on the doorstep. I have taken away his key. This is he of the burning eyes, the hacking cough, the raccoon skin hat. He is skint, although next week he will be minted. He can be seen this weekend in one of the aspirational supplements, in a shoot for trenchcoats. He is living with a girlfriend in Marlow, but he comes home when she is too stoned to cook or there is no lavatory paper. They support a vigorous habit between them. My father knew about supply and demand. My son hawks violently into a paper handkerchief and says, I'm ill. I feel really ill and look at this.
He shows me a newspaper article about someone he knows vaguely. It is Jake Myerson.
My boy says, you wouldn't do that, would you?
And I say, no, of course not! Fuck, no. I would never tell anyone anything.
And then we stand on the step together and have a smoke.