My sister J was completely unfazed when I admitted at the restaurant table that I had taken up smoking. She confessed that she had done the same, then leant over and cheekily helped herself to two cigarettes from my pack. Meanwhile our primary school friend NC pretended that he wasn’t listening and stared at his salad a little longer.
Our table was sandwiched between the two factions of the Cruise-Holmes family, with Mr and Mrs Holmes senior and their daughter Katie on one table, and Tom Cruise with a rather over-weight and sulky teen-aged Suri at the other. Suddenly Tom Cruise stood up from his seat, turned to me and started a conversation about his ex-girlfriend Olivia. This was very confusing. Did Tom Cruise go out with Olivia Newton-John at some point? How did I miss this? I could only respond with the apology that although I was a fan of his work, I regretted that I knew little about his love life, nor anything specific about his many girlfriends (or even boyfriends for that matter). To make up for this, I wrapped my arms around him in comfort and was quite surprised to discover a bony frame beneath his smart suit jacket.
Tom then led me away from the dining area to a small room at the back of the restaurant where he requested “a word”. I had a feeling that this would happen: he was going to attempt to convert me to Scientology. When I refused he screeched that I was “a redhead and a whore”, then changed form into a evil-looking little old lady with a shock of faded ginger hair. I ran back into the restaurant and she followed at speed. I had to escape her, so I turned around, grabbed her by the waist, and flung her into a chair. We all watched in awe at this last phase of the transformation as Tom Cruise was turned into an tiny inanimate rag doll.