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Ben Trovato

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

You want to get all upper-case with me?

My face could have been ripped off when the bank decided to freeze my account.

Let us, for argument’s sake, agree that I was having a business lunch at, say, Teazers on Tuesday. I am speaking hypothetically, of course.

Where I come from, business is best conducted late at night among rogues and reprobates and the eternally discreet Mr Jack Daniels.

Imagine, if you will, that I spent the evening sampling a range of imported beverages, while appreciating the assets of several fecund fillies fresh from the Balkans.

The bill is presented in a manner befitting the lickerish milieu. Perhaps it is written in curlicue on a pair of lace panties, or rolled up and constrained by a scarlet garter.

I produce my credit card with a flourish and a doe-eyed Ukrainian virgin takes the card away to be cloned so that her family in Sevastopol may survive another month, but then returns two minutes later with a gentleman who is 3m tall and has metal hooks for hands. He is there to explain that my credit card has been declined.

Even though he speaks Russian, I get the message, because he has me by the throat and is apparently planning to perform a rudimentary tracheotomy with the sharp edge of my card.

From my bed in the casualty ward, I use my one unbroken finger to e-mail my bank to find out what the hell happened. The reply is quick: “I have done an investigation and noticed that the account is placed on a Fica freeze.”

 

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