They Win. You Lose.


Chapter 35


Leticia Antoinette Talofa was on a high. She had a golden opportunity to promote her new show, and one of the airport’s concourses was the perfect place to do it.


She wasn’t going to do the whole show, of course - just the highlights. Getting into her husband’s casino and watching her version of The King and I would cost a hefty $200 a seat, so Leticia reckoned the airport audience ought to be damn grateful to see a few minutes of her in action, for free.


This was going to be a classy show. Far classier than the shows her grandfather used to organise, which usually featured hooded men and burning crosses. She’d regarded those shows as a complete waste of time. Christ! What a putz! He didn’t even charge entrance fees.


Leticia’s husband had managed to get permission to put the stage in this prime location, right across the public concourse, after guiding the authorities through a massive number of health and safety laws, fire regulations and the unpleasant things that might happen if they were ever alone in an underground car park, late at night.


It was a big stage, a simple, square platform about three feet high. Leticia dominated the space. She was a large, muscular woman, wearing a purple crinoline, which hid most of her bulk. Around her, sat the King of Siam’s children, wearing beautifully tailored, golden robes.


She was just getting ready for her first number, when a man in a black suit, a thin black tie and sunglasses leapt onto the front of the stage, obviously intending to run across to the back, and carry on up the concourse.


He wasn’t a very polite man.


‘Out of the way, you fat old bitch!’ he shouted.


Leticia swung round and stared into his eyes. Mr Green went deathly pale. But only for a split second, because Anna, the new arrival at the court of the King of Siam, delivered a vicious punch square into his face.


He fell backwards off the stage. Blood spurted from his nostrils all over his white shirt. He stood up, unaware that it was, probably, this sort of incident which must have inspired the young Quentin.


He staggered back to Leticia, who was rubbing the knuckles of the hand that delivered the punch. The king’s children had scattered and the five other Tarantino lookalikes had sprinted across the stage in hot pursuit of the English wimps.


Mr Green, however, was not in a running mood.


‘I’m so sorry, Mrs Tallota. I didn’t realise it was you.’


‘Course you didn’t darlin’. You just called Leticia Antoinette Talofa, wife of Don Talofa, head of the Talofa family, a fat, old bitch. How long you think you got left to live?’


‘One hour, twenty minutes?’


‘Hm! I like optimistic men.’


Leticia moved in close and spoke in a low voice, full of menace.


‘Let’s cut the crap! I don’t tell anyone about what’s just happened, if you buy a hundred tickets for the production. That’s $30,000 in my account by tomorrow. And the seats had better be filled.’


‘You got it,’ said Mr Green, ignoring her mathematics and wiping the blood from his nose with the back of his hand.


With the negotiations over, Leticia gave Mr Green another enormous blow to the jaw. He went down again, but somehow struggled to his feet.


‘Dank yoob derry mush, Mrs Tallota,’ he slobbered, and spat out a broken tooth, before hobbling off to catch up with the rest of the Tarantino team.


Leticia turned and burst into 'Getting to know you' to a crowd who looked as bemused, as they were impressed, by the recent on-stage action.


A few people who thought this new adaptation of 'The King and I' was going to feature lots of explicit violence and bloodstained clothing, immediately began making enquiries about buying tickets for the full show.


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"Fantastically funny book, with some superb and totally unexpected moments. Vivid, entertaining, and quite brilliantly absurd, I highly recommend it."


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