There’s a major celebration going on as I arrive at the Brooks mansion. It seems as though branches of the family from all over the world have gathered together for this special Sunday lunch. Mum Elkie is singing and playing the piano (standing up for some reason), her American cousin Avery is tossing a baseball from hand to hand and Rebekah, the woman I’m here to profile, is at the centre of it all. “What’s the special occasion?” I ask her.
“Things are just going really, really well at work,” she says, smiling tightly. “I’ve got some exciting new opportunities coming up and I’m just really happy with how everything’s turned out.”
As if by magic her dad Ray appears. I ask if he’s proud of his daughter. “She’s a terrible disappointment to be honest,” he says in a warm voice. “I used to tell her she could be anything she wanted when she grew up, but —”
“Dad you were always getting me to dress up as a knight, or a deep sea diver, or a clown!” scowls Rebekah.
“They’re good steady jobs! And I had the costumes lying around.”
“You substantially and deliberately misled me. You’re fired.”
“Big deal,” says Ray, slouching off.
Mum Elkie hands Rebekah a glass of a pale purple drink. “Never mind, love, have a swig of this. It’ll make you see what you want to see, and be what you want to be.”
“Well I don’t have any difficulty with that,” Rebekah snaps. “Things are going really well!” Just then there’s a knock at the door. It’s cousin Mehcad, back from the shops. “Have you got my shredder from Argos?” shrieks Rebekah excitedly.
“You said eggs!” smiles Mehcad handsomely, proffering a basket.
“It is inconceivable that I knew about or worse, sanctioned these appalling eggs,” snaps Rebekah in reply.
I spot great-aunt LaLa from America in the corner, sipping from a crystal goblet. I walk up to her and ask her if she wants to dance. She declines, so I ask her about Rebekah’s romantic life.
“There was a guy once,” she says. “Somebody told me that his name was Bill. They had a disagreement about her stance on domestic violence though.”
We’re interrupted as Rebekah raises a furious toast to her own success, forcing everyone to join in while glaring at them.
“What do you think the secret of your success is, Rebekah?” I ask afterwards.
“I learned everything I know from my grandad Mel,” she says proudly. I turn to the beaming old man and ask him what his story is.
“I don’t know,” he says slowly. “I had a good story once. An idea about someone who creates a piece of entertainment in the most cynical way possible, who deliberately embraces and celebrates evil, and yet somehow fools the public and their backers and ends up a great success. It was a silly idea really.”
Rebekah hands me a knife. “Time for the carve up!”
[continued on page 38]