Days later, and exhausted from lack of sleep, the hunger drove me to finally emerge from my flat and go in search of food.
I peered gingerly into a nice, darkened Indian restaurant on Bateman Street in Soho and ordered a chicken madras. Halfway through my meal, my stomach started to hurt. So I scuffled to the ladies. Once inside, an itch took hold of my scalp and quickly spread like wildfire all over my body. Quickly I paid the bill and raced home. As I scratched violently at my skin, people in the streets of Soho stared in horror. Once up the three flights of stairs to my flat, I had energy only to knock on my door before I collapsed. Thank God that Honey, my Hungarian flatmate, was at home.
"MEG! WHAT HAPPENED? YOUR FAAAAAACE IS SWOLLEN LIKE A BALLOON! OMG! YOU'RE TURNING BLUUUUUUE!".
Sensible as always, Honey phoned the ambulance. When they arrived I didn't care that my pants were down as I whimpered on the bathroom floor. I had not a shred of dignity left at this point. They rushed me into the University College of London Hospital where I was given a strong Piriton injection.
The relief from that precious shot spread throughout my body. I was so happy to feel myself again and grateful to be alive...
The doctor told me I had suffered an anaphylactic shock. I had never been allergic to chili before and am not allergic to it today. At the same time, I had never experienced this level of panicked emotional upheaval in my life either. Standen had engaged in the worst Shakespearean type of treachery and betrayal. I had endured a severe emotional shock of life-threatening proportions at the hands of someone I thought I knew.
Hours later, after the weakened shell that was me, slowly made its way back up the stairs to my flat, I could see that a courier arrived with a package for me. It was an expensive bowl of fruit in a posh basket - the kind of useless thing someone sends when they have more money than sense. The note on it said;
"Everything will work out - Jules"
The irony was a further slap in the face. An overpriced bowl of fruit was in no way close to compensation for the theft of my income and future security. Needless to say, I was far from reassured. With my ownership agreement missing and no access to our servers and accounts, it was clear I could no longer rely on the words of my former best friend.
Charity requires an unequal relationship between the patronizer and the recipient. As an equal partner in the Gearslutz business, I didn't need to be patronized by someone who just stole my pension.
In the weeks to follow, and like a cornered animal in pain, I desperately sought legal advice. But I was out of my depth. As a creative person, I had a longtime phobia of business and very little knowledge of the law. Like many musicians, I was like a child when it came to business matters.
By contrast, Julian's wife had studied to be a Barrister. His mother was a head hunter in the City of London with clients and associates who were lawyers. My Dad died pretty much penniless. My Mom was a housewife who spoke broken English.
The cards were stacked.
I would have to act quickly to learn how to survive in this strange foreign land and how to defend myself from white collar predators.