Roy was a superb mechanic, a methodical master of his trade. For an hour I respectfully watched him work to try and learn something of the mysteries of the internal-combustion engine. I saw instead his oil-blackened fingers pluck away the veil to reveal that there was no mystery, only simplicity.
Job done, I invited him up to the house for a meaningful drink. He didn’t need asking twice. Invited to sit, he conscientiously placed yesterday’s Daily Telegraph between his oily backside and the sofa cushions. I made the fire up then went to the kitchen and poured us each a monster pastis with one ice cube and a squirt of tap water for the sake of decency. It was Burns Night so I proposed a toast to the lassies. Roy’s features expressed humorous resignation as we clinked glasses. I proposed a secondary toast to Virginia Woolf, whose birthday it was. Roy was reasonably happy to clink glasses to that too. Then, for good measure, I said, ‘The Queen!’ This unfortunately set him off on another of his astonishing, monomaniacal, conspiracy-theory rants, this one about the royal family.
Earlier in the day he’d stopped work and bored me senseless for an hour with an impassioned speech about a secret cabal operating at the heart of the world’s financial institutions, which effectively runs the world for its own diabolical ends. He had divulged the identity of one of the cabal’s members: none other than our former prime minister, Sir John Major. For a man who was once turned down for a job as a bus conductor, it was an astonishing leap by any standards. But that revelation was nothing compared with the one he now proceeded to unfold concerning Her Majesty.
What, he asked me, was the royal family called before they changed their name to Windsor? ‘Pass,’ I said. They were called Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, he said. Prince Albert, for example, was a Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. And what were the Saxe-Coburg-Gothas? ‘Pass,’ I said. They were Jews. European aristocracy at that time was almost entirely Jewish. Every great aristocratic family had at one time or another defaulted on a loan from a Jewish banker. That debt was invariably settled by the acceptance of one of the banker’s daughters into the aristocratic family by marriage.
If the Queen was Jewish, I said, I was sanguine about that. I told him that my great-grandfather had married an East End barmaid called Sarah Samuels, which by his reckoning made me as Jewish as Her Majesty, if not more Jewish. But the Queen being Jewish wasn’t the end of it, apparently. Did I also not know that the woman we see on the telly on Christmas Day is a body double? The real Queen is rarely seen or photographed, he said, because she looks so evil. And she looks evil because she is evil. It is a well-known fact, he said, that she and the Duke of Edinburgh are lifelong Satanists with a predilection for child sacrifice. Did I not recall when their visit to Canada coincided with newspaper reports that 50 Canadian children had gone missing? I searched my memory, found nothing, shook my head. According to Roy, Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh had scoffed the lot.
I’d never heard anything so ridiculous. That a Canadian government should have gone to such obsequious lengths to satisfy their royal visitors’ unusual dietary requirements seemed to me beyond belief. Neither did I want to believe it. I love and revere Her Majesty the Queen: she is my chief. A cursory check of my heart told me that if Queen Elizabeth II really turned out to be a Jewish Satanist cannibal lizard hiding behind a body double, I might presume to pray for her, but my allegiance would remain unswerving. This I stoutly told Roy. But even his elastic credulity wouldn’t stretch that far and he assumed I was joking. He laughed — we both laughed — and for a few moments it was understood that of the two of us it was I who was bonkers.
But Jewish infiltration of global power was as nothing compared with that of the Catholic Church, which, of course, is essentially a Satanist organisation. How could I not know that! Call myself a journalist! Of course it was! Did I not know, for example, that the freehold of the City of London was held by the Vatican? Or that the English bar was essentially a freemasonry organisation?
Now he was really warming to his theme. I was pinned to my chair by his volubility and rising anger. Nothing, apparently, was as it seemed, and nothing, not even the most beautiful phrase in the English language — ‘Same again?’ — could stem this superb mechanic’s flow.