My Royalist-Jamaican mother would have been smiling down at me from her seat on the right-hand side of God as the taxi arrived to pick me up to meet the Queen at Buckingham Palace.
The idiot Eastern European driver parks his car at a bus stop two hundred metres from my flat, so I am forced to stride up to him, suited and booted with dreadlocks flowing in the cold evening wind. He looks almost straight through me just as I reach the stationary Mercedes and starts the engine to pull out into the street. I quickly knock on his window and manage to open the passenger door as he steps on the brakes.
“Are you the car for Buckingham Palace?”
“Hurry up and get in, man,” he shouts back at me, “I’m parked in a bus lane. It’s a fifty pound fine!”
“I didn’t tell anyone to ask you to park here. I told your controller exactly where my flat is.”
“I was looking at Beaufort Mansions,” he offers up as a feeble excuse.
“That’s your problem, mate, that’s not where I live.”
“My problem?” he says with a snarl. “If I had known there was a problem parking, I would not have accepted this job.”
Well, F***-off then, I wanted to tell him, but I didn’t want to be late to meet Her Maj, so I got into the car and uncharacteristically bit my tongue.
“Just drive on, will you!” I said in my most obnoxious tone.
He turned to look at me then and slapped me in the face with a breath so foul that I immediately had to open the window. “Damn!” I said, but even the chill in the air couldn’t kill the stench.
“What?” he said.
“Nothing,” I replied, “I’ll need a cash-point on the way.”
Had he been a little more friendly, I might even have offered him one of the mints in my pocket. However, by the time we reached our destination to be guided through the main gates of Buckingham Palace by the security police, he had completely changed his attitude.
“Are you a little nervous about meeting the Queen?”
“I am a little bit,” I reply…