Grey. The sky was decidedly grey. It was the kind of sky that you would not take home to meet your mother lest it suddenly decided to make a horrible mess on the carpet without warning. It was the kind of sky that simply oozed the threat of cold, wet, miserable rain. There would be none of your light, refreshing rain here. No, sir. And the rain would be grey too: matching its apparently endless source with the kind of lack of imagination that is usually only shown by manufactured boy bands.
Grey. The road was grey. Grey tarmac lined with scattered grey boulders that wound its way through the hills. Although covered in grass, the greenery seemed to have its colour leeched away by the grey sandwich of road and sky. The hills themselves had many small outcrops of grey rock poking through the surface, as if they were desperately trying to shed their emerald coat through sheer embarrassment at adding colour to the scene.
Grey. The Bentley was grey. A very tasteful metallic grey but grey nonetheless. On the back seat, as if one with the grey leather interior, sat a grey man. A dark grey suit was worn over a light grey shirt. His eyes, grey-green. His hair, steely grey. His well-trimmed moustache, grey like a ship in Her Majesty’s navy. Beside him, sat a grey briefcase. It was open. Inside were many bits of paper, typed with a grey letter header.
Grey. Sir Henry Montague Ponsenby-Brown lived in a grey world. The casual observer* might speculate that Sir Henry’s greyness was a reflection of a boring, humourless personality with all the charm of a mouldy peanut, of a man who distrusted colour and noise as the outward manifestations of the impetuous, uncontrollable urges of youth. Of life. Colour was wild. Colour was messy. No, worse, colour was untidy. (*A casual observer, being one who had not encountered Sir Henry Montague Ponsenby-Brown in a professional context. Sir Henry did not approve of casual.)
The reality of the situation was that Sir Henry Ponsenby-Brown was completely colour-blind. He simply could not see colours at all; his world really was grey. The fact that all those other things happened to be true about him was just coincidence.
Despite the fact that he lived in a world full of shades of grey, Sir Henry very much preferred things in pure black and white. A place for everything and everything in its place. His place. Everything tidy. It was for this reason that his brow furrowed as he read the faxed report in front of him; the information it contained was far from tidy. Ponsenby-Brown looked up over the fax. “How far now, Smithers?”
“Not long now, sir,” answered his driver, Alec Watson. “And it’s Watson, Sir Henry. Not Smithers.”
“Don’t be ridiculous, man. Do you think I’d forget the name of my own driver?”