Back to the grind and murder most foul. At the end of part 13 I had hit the road on a quest for – something. I found out that no matter how far you run you cannot outrun your problems. Luckily I had a few weeks leave owing and tried to repair my home life. There weren’t enough patches to cover the marital blowouts, so I floundered on. I couldn’t face going back to work and took some sick leave. My Inspector visited me and we talked about my returning to work. I had to go to Sydney to give evidence in a case and needed to be on the ball. The case involved me locating and apprehending, with the timely assistance of two ‘go get em’ Detectives, three men wanted for attempted murder and armed robbery when I was stationed in Fortitude Valley on the beat. They’d robbed ten banks and shot a drug dealer in Sydney and weren’t at all happy when arrested. I went to the Supreme Court trial and did my bit, they were sentenced to twenty years.
This inspired me to get back into it, however I was placed in the Inquiry Office where the Inspector thought I would keep out of trouble. I did, for a little while. Late December 1982 my offsider a senior constable, who I’ll call Ernie and myself, had been seconded to general duties for the Christmas period. Who knows what universal forces are at work when deciding on a person’s fate? All I know is the fates had me in mind again. It was my birthday and I didn’t want to be at work. We were patrolling a suburb that had been getting some attention from thieves when we received the call,
“Go to number 54 …..Road, shots fired.”
Lights and sirens on Ernie hit the pedal. He was a nice bloke but the worst driver I’d ever come across. Another call,
“Received a phone call, a woman says her son has killed his wife, we can’t be sure if he’s still there.”
Great, just what we didn’t want to hear. The house was situated on the corner of a main road and there wasn’t a person in sight when we pulled up. Ernie decided he would go around the back and I took the front door. Some things never leave your mind and the feel of the weatherboards on the house against my back is one of them. A typical summer night and the air was heavy and damp, like my shirt as it clung to my skin. Back pressed hard against the wall I slowly climbed the front steps. There was a rugby league match on television; it could just be heard over the howling of several dogs. Revolver held tightly in my right hand I slowly pushed the front door open, four tiny dogs fought and scrambled their way out and down the steps. (be still my beating heart)
The only light in the front room came from the television, a door opposite opened and Ernie appeared out of the gloom. My heart skipped several beats; this was my job so I moved towards the room with a light on, the kitchen. We’d called out that we were police, all quiet, no reply. I inched along the wall and took a quick glance, I really wished I was at home. My radio crackled into life,
“Another crew has him in custody, they found him hiding under his mother’s bed.”
One problem solved, now secure the crime scene. I will let your imagination work here, a woman in her twenties sat at the kitchen table, obviously dead. She’d been shot at reasonably close range with a shotgun, one in the chest and another to the face. The remnants of her last meal were scattered around her. A little brown terrier dog attacked me from under the table, defending his mistress to her last. He kept rushing at my legs whenever I got close. The Detectives came and took over, I manned the door, keeping a running log. She was removed to the morgue after midnight and I accompanied her remains. This is where things get a little spooky. You entered the morgue cold room via a large stainless steel door, being the holiday break it was a full house. When bodies are placed in there they are put in the row on the left, feet against the wall. Then a tag is put on the wrist. Bodies awaiting pickup are on the right side as you come in. I signed her over to the attendant and returned home. I needed to be back there at 7am for the autopsy.
My head had no sooner hit the pillow and I fell into a deep sleep. I’d had an out-of-body experience before but nothing like this one. I found myself hovering in front of the door to the morgue’s cold room. The door disappeared and I stood next to the woman. Looking around I could see misty blue forms hovering above each body, however there was only darkness were the bodies awaiting pickup were located. She stood next to me, terrified, lonely asking questions I couldn’t answer, I could offer nothing but support. My alarm clock rang and I felt myself being pulled away but not before I noticed that another gurney had been put next to hers. It was head first against the wall.
A quick breakfast and I drove the squad car back to Brisbane. The coroner was ready to go and I went to the cold room to wheel her out. I nearly fell over when I went in to find another body next to hers, head first against the wall. I won’t go into the autopsy other than it was a fascinating experience to assist the coroner. The end result, her husband was sentenced to life, he’s now out on parole. His excuse for killing her was that she had a nervous disorder and he wanted to put her out of her misery. The facts were she was having an affair and he didn’t want to divorce her. I seemed to come back on track, finished my stint in Inquiries and went back on patrol. Life at home went on and I put everything into my job, at least there I knew who I was and what was expected of me. As they say – the fun has just begun. I wrote this verse last year as my way of getting the anger out.
LOVE NO MORE.
scared dog’s howling,
no love here.
Goodbye, My Dear,
a fatal ending.
He took your heart.
No love from me,
my heart’s unbending.
Shot to head.
It’s time to part.
The bitch is dead.
A coward-from the start.
Frightened dogs, pies on floor,
gun straight out go through door,
I see her there, my heart’s racing.
Gore, blood running, tracing,
lines of red on face, defacing
lumps of lead-a life have taken.
Aim was true, a shotgun-no mistaking.
For her – Love no more.
Laying open a heart destroyed,
I count the pellets that did void.
Weigh the heart-
That loves-no more.
Face demolished-death’s head grin.
Pellet shining, in light’s harsh glare,
Tongue so pink-it lies on skin,
like Oyster’s flesh, a pearl lays there.
Cut and carve, weigh it all,
Death is here, He casts his pall.
There’s none for her in ground so cold,
Lying there-she grows not old.
Love did fail on that hot night,
A shotgun’s blast can’t make it right.
Copyright. Laurie Smith 2011.