Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Jordan (Swansong)

Jordan was SO not happy. This was not how he wanted his life to be – stuck here in the wilderness at the end of the world, alone and friendless. Almost friendless – he had a few friends, a kid like him was never going to be totally alone.

But, apart from Kim and Bonnie there was no-one that he was close to, and they were slipping away as well. Kim was always way too busy with his music and his mate. Him and Jethro really did have it bad – when they were together, everyone else was all-but invisible. And, that Miss Clayton was a slavedriver if ever there was one!

Bonnie was okay, but she was a girl and she was no Cat. There was no-one like the Cat, she was the greatest girl ever – really pretty and delicate looking, but metal all the way and brutal with it. He was not the only one who thought that too. Though he didn't like to talk about it, Gene had a huge crush on the Cat and he had had for a long time.

It was all a one-way thing though. The Cat wasn't interested in Gene like that, he was just her mate, apparently. Silly Girl! Putting two and two together, Jordan suspected that the Cat was more interested in Ashton. Dammit! How Ashton felt, he did not know and he was not about to ask him because he was afraid of the answer he might get.

Ashton and the Cat were spending a lot of time together. They'd even been away for a weekend together, tramping in the hills and sleeping under the stars. Ashton! In the great outdoors! Who ever thought that could happen? Good for them, but where did that leave Jordan? Alone, dammit!

Lucas and his family had moved away, to Christchurch where there was plenty of work for builders – they had a city to rebuild. But the other three were still there in Brownsville – the Tight Three now. Funny, he'd known them all of his life and they were good mates, but now that he was stuck here and not with them, he was getting more and more obsessed, especially with Ashton. He wished he could be with him like Kim was with Jethro!

Ashton was his best mate, or, he used to be. Lately he was not so sure. He'd known him all of their lives. Ashton was not as good-looking as Gene, not as sharp as the Cat and not as strong as Lucas. But there was something about him, something special, and not just his music either, fantastic though that was.

Ever since he'd had to move here, to bloody Okarito, Ashton had been strange, distant, like he was trying to cut all the ties. Why? Jordan might be stuck here for now, but it wouldn't be forever and as soon as he could he'd be going home.

It was true what they said, you don't know what you've got until it's gone and absence really does make the heart grow fonder. He loved Ashton, really loved him. He hadn't realised that before, but now he did – now that it was probably too late. Damm and Buggrit! He really had to get back to Brownsville, even if it was just for a few days. When that was going to happen, he didn't know.

The school term finally ground to an end and the holidays were on them when his mother dropped a bombshell. He was hoping to go to Brownsville, but that was not going to happen, not these holidays, maybe next time.

Sharron was going up to stay with the grandparents in Paraparaumu and there was simply no extra money for him to go anywhere. Besides, she needed him at home. She was working long hours, she was tired and she couldn't do it without him. That was so not fair!

Why couldn't that Bloody Steve get off his butt and do something around the place? It was his house after all and he was doing nothing since he'd lost his job. He was sacked because of his drinking, and now that was all he was doing – drinking beer, blobbing-out in front of the TV and feeling sorry for himself.

'Well, Boo-Bloody-Hoo. Cry me a river!' That idiot was all on his own there, no-one else felt at all sorry for him, no-one at all and especially not Jordan. It was all his own bloody fault. No-one poured the booze down his throat, he did that himself.

And, what sort of monster gets half pissed and drives a dirty great truck on the open road? It was not just stupid, it was criminal and it was a miracle that he hadn't killed some poor innocent out there. What a cheek, sitting around, still drinking and feeling sory for himself. They should lock him up and throw away the keys!

So, here was Jordan, stuck in the house with no decent company. Sharron was away, swanning around at the grandparents', his mum was at work and that Bloody Steve was in his lazyboy chair (appropriate really). He was not in a good mood and the horrible wet and cold day wasn't helping either.

He was on his knees on the kitchen floor with his head in the cupboard and cleaning the bottom shelves. It was a disgusting mess because someone, probably drunk, had knocked over a bottle of tomatoe sauce and the gunk had run down through the cupboards. A call came from the next room.

“Oi! You, Jordan!”

He pulled his head out, sat up straight and sighed. 'What now?'

“Are you listening to me? Where the hell are you?”

“I'm here. What d'you want now?”

“We need some wood for the fire. The basket's empty – time you filled it up.”

He usually kept his mouth shut and didn't grumble, not out loud anyway, but not today. He was sick of this, being treated like an unpaid servant. “Fill it yourself. I'm busy here and you're doing nothing. You want wood, you get it.”

He bent back to his cleaning. He couldn't hear the reaction from the next room, but there was no mistaking the sound of protesting springs and mechanism as that Bloody Steve hauled himself up out of the chair.

'Wow', Jordan thought. 'He's going to do it. Miracles never cease!'

But that was not what was happening. There were stamping footsteps, and then he was booted on his upraised backside, slamming him forward into the cupboard and hitting his head, hard.

“Fuck! What did you do that for?” He rolled out on to the floor. “That hurt.”

“It was meant to,” Steve snarled. “Get up and fill that woodbasket now or you'll get what's coming to you.”

“Steve! What the hell are you doing? You leave him alone. He's just a kid, you Bullying Bastard!” Jordan's mother was back from work and she was shocked and angry at the scene she'd walked in on.

“You can butt out of it!” Steve turned on her. “It's nothing to do with you and if he did what he's told, when he's told, there'd be no trouble, would there? We need firewood in and he's refusing to do it.”

“Would it hurt you to do something for yourself for once?”

“I do plenty around here. The only reason you and your useless bloody sprog have got a roof over your heads is because of me!”

“Bullshit! We've got a roof because I work and pay to keep it there. Who pays the bills? Who puts food on the table? And the beer in the fridge? Me – that's who. I don't see you doing stuff-all to help out.”

“Not my fault. I'm between jobs and you know it.”

“Between jobs? Yeah, right. How're you ever going to get another one when you won't get out there and look for it? They're not going to come around knocking on the door, not with the record you've got. You leave Jordan alone. He's a good kid and he's my kid, not yours.”

“A good kid? He's a lazy, mouthy, good for nothing little shit, and he's queer too. He's bloody useless and you're doing nothing to fix him.”

“Fix him? Jordan doesn't need fixing. He's fine as he is. The only useless bloody lump around here is you, Mister!”

“Useless am I?” Steve was roaring now, totally out of control. “I'll show you who's useless, Bitch!”

He hit her. It wasn't the first time; Jordan had never seen it before although he had suspected it was going on. This was no light slap, this was a full-on punch to the face with all of his enraged strength.

There was a sickening 'smack' as his fist connected and again when she flew back and slammed into the wall behind her. She slid down the wall and sat, stunned, crying on the floor.

He stood over her, sneering, as he unbuckled his leather belt and pulled it out of the loops on his trousers.

“Not so cocky now, are we? I'll show you who's Boss around here with a lesson you won't forget.”

"You leave my mother alone, you Rotten Bastard!" Jordan came up from the floor roaring. "Hit her again and I'll kill you. I swear I will, I'll fucking swing for you!"

"You? A half-arsed shrimp like you is going to tell me what to do? I don't think so."

Steve swung the belt. Jordan ducked back and he almost missed, but not quite. The doubled end hit his face with a vicious 'slap'.

That hurt, but it didn't scare him off, all it did was make him even madder. That Bloody Steve was twice the size of him and way stronger, but he was too wild to be scared of him.

He attacked and punched him in the gut, in the head, (which hurt his fist), and in the guts again, over and over, as hard as he could.

It was a total waste of time. Steve just sneered, "Like being attacked by a bloody kitten. Fuck off, Midget!" He swatted him away, knocking him backwards into the sink bench.

That knocked the breath out of him and he stood doubled over and gasping. But he couldn't stop now, this was far from over. He grabbed a carving knife from the draining board and brandished it.

"Bastard. I 'll kill you!"

"You reckon?" Steve swung the belt which wrapped around the knife and jerked it out of his hand.

"Kill me? I'll bloody kill you!"

He grabbed him, wrapped both hands around his throat and lifted him off the floor.

He was choking and couldn't breathe. Everything was turning black. He fought and struggled to get free, trying to pull the hands away and kicking frantically.

Steve swung him around and slammed him against the wall, blocked the legs with his body and grunted as he squeezed. "Die, you Little Fucker, die!"

Jordan was on the edge of blacking out when suddenly there was a loud noise, the hands let go and he crashed to the floor.

He lay there gasping and shaking his head, trying to clear the dizziness. He sat up and Steve was lying still, face-down on the floor and his mum was standing over him with a heavy cast-iron frypan in her hands.

"Mum? You downed him. Is he dead?"

"No, still breathing, worse luck."

She dropped the frypan , took Jordan's hand and pulled him to his feet. "Come on, Jordie. We're out of here. Quick, before he comes around."

Sounded good to him, he'd never heard a better idea. They staggered out of the house, out to the street and ran, laughing, away down the road. Free.

Around the corner and out of sight of the house, they slowed to a walk, then she stopped and sat down on someone's low front fence.

"You all right, Mum?" Jordan asked worriedly.

"Never been better," she looked up and smiled. "Just give me a minute, I'm not as young as I used to be."

"Who is?" Jordan grinned back. "Thanks. I thought I was finished there."

"Finished? Not likely! Thank you, my Beautiful boy."

"Anytime. So, where are we going now?"

"Going? I don't know, but I know we're not going back there."



"Can we go home then - back to Brownsville, where we belong?"

"Brownsville sounds good to me. We'll do that, we'll go home to Brownsville. I should have listened to you weeks ago."

"Yeah, you should've. So, how're we going to get there? It's a bit far to walk."

"Far too far. Have you got your phone?"

He patted his pockets and shrugged. "I haven't. I must've left it back there."

"Mine is back there too. Oh well" She stood up."never mind. Come on, we'll go to the Diner and ring from there."

"Who will we ring?"

"My brothers of course. Dennis or Dave, doesn't matter which one. They'll come and get us."

"Cool. Let's go ring the uncles."

They walked up the main street because it felt safer with people around. Outside the Royal Hotel, Miss Clayton was standing, frowning, looking at them coming towards her.

“Hey, Miss Clayton. How's it going?”

“Better than with you, by the look of it. Good Afternoon, Jordan, Mrs. Houston. What have you been doing?”

“Doing?” he shrugged. “Fighting, I guess.”

She looked from one to the other. “You've been fighting with your mother?” Her eyebrows raised.

“No. Not with Mum, never with her.” They exchanged a wry grin. “We were fighting with her, ah, her boyfriend – that Bloody Steve.”

“Ex-boyfriend,” his mother nodded. “That is over. We're out of there and we're not going back.”

“Probably wise,” Miss Clayton nodded. “Steven Mulcavey was a nasty piece of work as a boy and has never improved.”

“Got that right, Miss Clayton.”

“Don't I always? Where are you two going now?”

“We're going to find a phone, to ring my brothers to come and get us.”

“From Brownsville? That will take some time. I think that you had better come in here with me. You can telephone, clean yourselves up and we'll have a nice cup of tea and you can tell me all about it.”

“Sure thing,” Jordan nodded. “We can do that. Thanks, Miss Clayton. Come on, Mum. We need help.”

“We do,” she nodded. “Thank you, Miss Clayton.”

“Come and sit down in the kitchen. It will be quiet in there right now.”

They went through the hotel to the kitchen at the back. As she said, it was quiet in there; there was no-one there at all. Jordan and his mum sat at the table while Miss Clayton made a pot of tea. She bustled around, putting out cups, saucers and all of the fixings while the tea was brewing.

She put the teapot on a heat-pad on the wooden table and sat down at the end.

“Now, Mrs Houston, how do you have your tea?”

“Milk and one suger, thanks. Jordan will have the same.”

“As will I. That's simple then.” She poured and passed the cups. “Now then, tell me what happened – blow by blow until you finished-up here.”

Mrs Houston told their story, with plenty of interjections and comments from the irrepressible Jordan. Miss Clayton sipped her tea and listened quietly, apart from admonitions about Jordan's coarse language.

She finished their story, Miss Clayton sat thinking quietly, and then pulled herself together. “Very well. First I will make a telephone call, and then you can ring your brothers.”

She brought the mobile land-line to the table and dialed. “Good Afternoon, Okarito Police Department. Who is speaking please? Ah good. Hello Jeffrey. This is Isadora Clayton and I have got a job for you – a domestic violence case involving serious assault and threatening to kill. I want you to go to 49 Main Street and take Steven Mulcavey inyo custody before he does any more damage to himself or the property.

When that is done, you can come here, to the Royal Hotel and interview his victims, Mrs Houston and her son. I shall have Doctor Julian Rodden come here to examine and record their injuries. Is that clear?”

“Crystal clear,” Jeffrey replied. “It'll be a pleasure, Miss Clayton. Time something was done about Mulcavey. I'm on my way and will be there soon.”

“Very good. Thank you, Jeffrey.” She smiled as they disconnected.

“Wowee!” Jordan was impressed. “I didn't know that you can even order the cops around too.”

“Some of them, Jordan, and only sometimes. Jeffrey was a local boy and I taught him for many years. Besides, he thinks that he is going to marry my great-niece, so he won't want to get on my wrong side.

“Nobody does!” Jordan grinned. “Definitely not.”

“And don't you forget it, Jordan Houston. Ring your brothers now, Mrs. Houston,” she passed the phone over. “Do you need to look up the numbers?”

“I know their numbers, thanks.”

“Good then. Get that over with and you can both stay here, in the Royal, overnight or as long as it takes for them to come and get you.”

She made a call and spoke to Dennis. It took more time to calm him down than anything else. Finally, she thanked him and disconnected with a sigh. “You were wise getting him taken in. If my brothers got their hands on him there'd be murder done!”

“And we don't want that. I will ring Julian now. Help yourself to another cuppa.”

"I will, thanks. Is there somewhere where we could clean up?"

"All in good time. It's best if Julian sees you as you are. You can clean up afterwards. Are your brothers coming for you?"

"They are. They'll borrow the truck again and should be here by lunchtime tomorrow."

"Fine. You can spend the night here then."

Miss Clayton rang the doctor and hung up when she'd finished. "He is on the way."

"Of course he is," Jordan grinned. Is he going to marry your niece too?"

"I hope not - he is my nephew after all."

"I keep forgetting that you are related to half of this town."

"Maybe not half, but quite a few."

"And they all listen to you?"

"If they know what's good for them, they do."

"I think I'd better make one more call," Mrs Houston said."I need to let them know that I won't be coming in to work tomorrow, or any other days."

"Yes. Do that now and get it over with. Relax, Jordan. No-one is going to interfere with you while you're here with me."

"They surely are not!" Jordan sat down again. "Thanks, Miss Clayton, you're brilliant."

"We do what we can."

Mrs Houston finished her call and handed the phone back. "Sorry, Miss Clayton. Dinah is on her way here now."

"As she should. It's not a problem, just relax."

The doctor came and examined and photographed them both. Jeffrey arrived before he'd finished and he interviewed them and took their statements.

He had taken Steve into custody and should be able to hold him for 24 hours, so it would be quite safe for them to go back to the house.

Neither of them was interested in that though, they'd stay where they were, thank you very much!

Miss Clayton installed them in a twin room and they cleaned up, at last. They got no rest for several hours as so many people were coming in as word got around.

They had both made far more friends than they had realised, but that didn't change their minds - they were going home.

Late next morning, Dennis and Dave arrived in the pantithecon again. They made short work of loading up all of their possessions, including Jordan's still-unpacked boxes of junk and treasures, and they hit the road - to Brownsville!

Jordan travelled with his mum in her car and the uncles followed in the truck.

When he had reception, he spent the time texting and telling people that he was coming home. He didn't text Ashton though, for some reason, he wanted to see his face when he told him.

They arrived in Brownsville, at last, and after much pleading and begging, Jordan was dropped off at the end of Ashton's street. (Yes!)

She drove away to Dave's house and Jordan walked up to Ashton's house. He was really nervous now, but it had to be done and the sooner the better.

He banged on the back door, it opened and he was greeted with a big smile and a hug, which hurt his still-sore ribs, but he wasn't complaining.

"Jordan! It's so lovely to see you, boy."

"Hey, Mrs Morris. Good to see you too - really good."

"How long are you back for?"

"For good. We've come back home!"

"That is good news. Ashton will be delighted."

"I hope so. Is he here?"

"Yes, of course he is. He never goes anywhere these days. He's out in his studio."

"His studio?"

"He has taken over the shed at the back of the garage for a studio for his music."

"Coolness. I'll go and see him then."

"Yes, do that. He'll be very pleased to see you."

"I hope so. Laters, Mrs Morris."

"See you later, Jordan."

He as insanely nervous now, but it had to bed done. He went around to the back of the old gargage, there was guitar music coming from the shed there.

He took a deep breath and banged on the door, loudly because he knew that Ashton would have his headphones on, he always did.

The music stopped, the door opened and the very gorgeous Ashton stood looking at him. "Jordan?"

"Hey. I'm back! Did you miss me?"

"Were you gone somewhere?" He shrugged.

"Come on, Ashton. I know you missed me. Didn't you?"

"Yeah, I did - a little bit. How long are you back for?"

"Forever. We're back for good and we're going to live in Dave's house for now."

"Really? That's good, I guess. Are you going to be hanging around annoying me again?"

"Of course I am - umm, if you want me to, that is."

"And you won't go away again?"

"Not if I can help it. I love you, Ashton. I've always loved you, I just didn't know how much until I thought I'd lost you."

"I wasn't lost. I've always been here and I always will. It's good that you're back and I did miss you really, I missed you a lot."

"Cool. Does that mean that you love me too - even a little bit?"

"I don't love you a little bit," Ashton frowned.

"You don't?" Jordan's heart sank and his face fell.

"No, not a little bit. I love you a lot - more than I thought I'd ever love anyone - more than my music even. I love you, Jordie. Welcome home."

"That much? Really?"

"Yes, really."

He kissed him.


Monday, July 1, 2013

Okarito, Tyler & Lorne (again)

(Okay - here it is, finally! Last one for now )

The boy really did have a fine body -young and fresh, smooth, hairless, long and lightly muscled. Looked like he worked at it and he looked good.

Shame they didn't have time to get better acquainted, but a boy like this would never be interested in him anyway. He usually got his sex from boy-whores, but didn't always pay them, of course. He didn't often get the chance but sometimes he did and he just took what he wanted and to hell with what they thought about it. Now was one of those times!

This luscious boy was all his to do with whatever he wanted and he did enjoy showing these sexy little tarts who was the man. The power was what it was about – the power that he had over them. He was older, stronger and better than any kid anyday and he liked showing them that.

Should he grease him up? There'd be some KY in his bag, somewhere. The lube made it easier to get it in and without it the little tarts got torn sometimes. Nah. Not his problem. He liked the challenge of a dry-run and if it hurt them, well it hurt them. Too bad, how sad, nevermind.

He'd better stop mucking around. He didn't know how much time he had here. He dropped his trou, and the undies, to his feet and got down on the ground between the lovely boy's legs.

Best to keep the knife handy in case he needed to use it, so he stabbed it into the ground, next to the kid's chest. He lifted the boy's hips on top of his own bent legs and wriggled forward.

“All right, Me Darlin' You heard of hillbilly foreplay? 'Brace yourself, I'm coming in.'”

He bent over him, used his hand to position his dick, took a deep breath and – Yeow! Some bastard kicked him in the head!

He was spinning and seeing stars but he didn't give in that easily – he was no sissy wimp.He grabbed his knife and came up snarling.

There was just one, another blond kid. He'd make short work of him, and then get back to what he was doing.

Tyler started towards downtown, then changed his mind and turned around. Something about that smoke was worrying him, it wasn't normal. He went back to the track and went in there. It'd only take a couple of minutes to check it out, and then he could go eat.

He up the hill, on to a terrace and – Whoah!

Lorne, it had to be Lorne, was lying stretched out on the ground, tied to some tree-trunks. He was nude from the waist down and that greasy long-haired creep, also half naked, was between his legs and bending over him!

Tyler didn't know much about Lorne, but he did know that he was in a relationship with Logan Greene and he sure-as-hell wasn't a willing partner here. This was rape, pure and simple and he was putting a stop to it!

If he was wrong, well, too bad. But he didn't think he was.

He ran forward and booted the guy in the head, knocking him off Lorne. That was not the most intelligent thing to do – he was barefoot and that probably hurt him as much as it hurt the other guy. Just as well he didn't use his toes!

The guy came up snarling and with a wicked-looking knife in his hand. Things were getting seriously serious now.

“Get the fuck away from him,” Tyler snarled back. “Lorne, is this creep a friend of yours? I'll go away and leave you if you want me to.”

Lorne couldn't talk with the duct tape over his mouth. (It was over his eyes too!) But he had no trouble getting his message across. He struggled and fought against his bonds and shook his head emphatically. He was definitely not a willing participant here.

“Like I thought. You're in big trouble, Mister!”

“Not half as much as you are, Kid!” He shuffled forward, slashing with his knife, but he was hobbled by the pants around his ankles and Tyler easily dodged him.

“Is that the best you've got?” He kicked him again – in the face this time and using his heel.

The guy was harder than he looked and even that didn't stop him. The knife whipped around and slashed across Tyler's thigh. Bad move on the creep's part. That hurt, but not enough to slow him down and he was mad now – really mad.

As quick as a snake, he grabbed the wrist holding the knife and twisted until the knife dropped, and then twisted some more. Then he went to town on him.Fists and feet, knees and elbows – in the face, in the guts, in the nuts and everywhere he could land a furious blow.

The guy fell backwards across the fire, rolled away and didn't get up again. He lay there, hurting, bleeding and whimpering. The fight was gone out of him and he was finished. He had no show – he'd never run into anyone like Tyler before.

“All right then.” Tyler looked around, found the knife and used it to cut Lorne's hands and feet free. He looked at the battered creep lying there and didn't feel even a little bit guilty.

He stood up and threw the knife, as hard and as far as he could, into the bush. Next move was to get that tape off Lorne's face.

He knelt in front of him, put his hands on his shoulders and said, “It's okay, Lorne – it's over and it's going to be all right. I'm going to peel this tape off your eyes, okay?”

Lorne nodded quietly and sat still while Tyler did that. When he could see, he looked at the wreck lying there, looked at Tyler, nodded and hugged him hard.

Tyler hugged him back, then sat back and looked. “You can breathe all right? C'mon, let's get out of here.”

He helped him to his feet, looked down at Charlie and said, “As for you, you should be locked up for a long, long time, you Bastard! That's not going to happen, this time. We're not putting Lorne through all the trauma of a courtcase and I can't be bothered with all the drama.

I'm only going to say this once – listen carefully. Get up. Get out of our town and if I ever see your face around here again, I will kill you. Understood? Come on, Lorne – we're gone.”

He put his arm around him to lead him away. He saw Charlie's old bag lying there and scooped it up aas they walked pased it. There might be something in it they could use to cover the boy's bare butt before they went out onto the road.

At the bottom of the hill, before they left the bush-cover, he stopped, opened the bag and looked inside. “Holy . . Whoah! Damm, Lorne, this thing's full of cash. Look at it all! There must be a fortune in here.

Well, he's not getting it back. It's yours, I think. This'll be a bit of compensation for what he did to you. There's not much else in here – no clothes we can use anyway.”

He took his sweatshirt off and tied it around Lorne's waist. “Wear this until we get over to the shed on the wharf, okay?”

Lorne nodded and they crossed over the road.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Okarito, Lorne & Tyler

(so far - more to come but am having serious trouble getting motivated)

Tyler went inside and closed the door. It'd been a good day, fine and clear, but it was going to be a cold night. Sometimes it seemed that a blanket of cloud across the sky helped to hold the heat in. It didn't really, but it seemed like it.

He put a couple of chunks of wood on the fire to keep it going and opened the doors to his room out at the back to let the warm air flow through there.

He checked the cupboard in the kitchen to see what he was going to have for his dinner – it was not going to be much. His stock of food was getting low. It was about time he went shopping for more. So, what could he have?

There were plenty of noodles, a whole unopened 12 pack of individual servings. He could do a couple of them with a packet of mixed veges and a can of tuna. There was still plenty of tuna too, mostly because he didn't like it much.

When he was on the road, food he bought had to (a) be cheap, (b) be high in energy and (c) it had to keep and travel well. Whether he liked it or not was the last thing he considered. Now he could and he had a fridge. He could buy what he liked, as long as it wasn't too rubbishy, it didn't have to travel anywhere. Also, he didn't have to worry too much about the price. But he probably would – old habits die hard.

He put some water on to boil and reached for the noodles. Bits of noodle-cake scattered everywhere. 'What the? Oh.'

The back of the pack was half gone and individual packets had been eaten into. Mice! The little sods had been into his noodles. They'd even been eating tunnels through the packs. He hoped it was mice and not rats. He hated rats. No, it was mice – they'd left their calling cards. Rat-crap was bigger than that. 'Dirty little shits!'

No noodles for dinner then. He didn't fancy just tuna and vegetables – no thanks. What then?

Oh yes! He still had the vouchers from the new pizza place. That'd do nicely. Pizza would be great for a change.

He tipped the water out and put the pot away. It wasn't dirty. He found the vouchers and walked outside. Did he need a jacket? Nah, not that cold. It was going to be but not yet.

A car was going passed when he walked out to the road; he stopped and waited. The track into the bush was directly opposite. Should he have a look in there? Lorne was probably fine, if he was still there, but would it hurt to make sure?

Or, should he go and get his pizza first? He was a bit hungry now.

Lorne was bent over the fire, placing chunks of wood on it, when a weight landed on his back and something wrapped around his neck. He was dragged upright and the arm clamped around his neck tightened. He fought to get free but whoever it was, was too strong for him. He couldn't breathe. He got weaker and giddy and saw lights before his eyes. Suddenly, everything went black and he collapsed.

That was easy! Charlie looked at the long, blond boy he'd lowered to the ground and he grinned. A nice juicy boy – just what he wanted! Of course, once he'd had his fun with him he'd have to get the hell out of here, but that was okay, he was going anyway. This'd just be like his parting gift.

What was he going to do with him now? The kid'd blacked out real easy, but he wouldn't be out for long and, by the look of him, he wouldn't be that easy to take without a surprise.

“Lucky we've still got the duct tape in my bag, isn't it? Pretty much my lucky day all around, but not yours, Blondie.”

He got the tape out and, working quickly, wrapped the kid up, tying his hands and his legs together. He wrapped it around his head a couple of times to gag him and, for good measure, put some over his eyes as well. He hadn't been seen so far and that was a good way to keep it.

Okay, so he'd secured him and he wasn't going anywhere. What now? He looked around and, yes! There were three small trees growing at the end of the clearing, the perfect shape and size for his purposes.

Some days just click and everything went smooth and right. He had some lengths of nylon cord in his bag too – damm, he'd make a good boy scout – always prepared.

He got them and dragged the kid over to the trees and laid him down, face-up, in between them. He tied one cord around the kid's wrists and tied them, above his head, to the first tree. So far, so good.

Now he'd have to cut the tape off his legs, pull them wide-apart and tie them to the other two trees. Then he'd have him exactly where he wanted him. Piece of cake!

He sliced through the tape with his knife – carefully. He didn't want to hurt the kid any more than he had to. Not yet anyway. He tied the left leg to the left-hand tree, and then there was a problem. The kid woke up and started thrashing around, fighting getting to get free.

Whatever. He'd soon put a stop to that! He slapped him, hard, around the head a couple of times, just to get his attention, then he put his knifeblade, flat, against the boy's slender neck.

“Feel that, Sweetheart? That's a knife and it's sharp. Behave yourself and I won't have to hurt you. Fight it and I'll cut you. You'll bleed and you might die. You wouldn't want that now, would you? Nod if you're going to lie still and be good. Try to kick me if you're not and I'll stick you – your choice. So?”

He waited. The kid flopped. He was probably terrified and the fight was gone out of him. He nodded.

“There's a good boy. Be nice for me and I'll be nice to you.”

He pulled the legs wide apart and tied the right ankle to the other tree. The kid was trying to say something, but couldn't with the tape wrapped across his mouth. He slapped him a couple more times, so he wouldn't forget who was boss. It wasn't his conversation he was interested in.

“Now we've got a little problem. There was no time to take your pants off, so I guess we're just going to have to cut them off, aren't we? Lucky they're just school shorts. Looks like it's time you had some new ones anyway, these are getting a bit tight. Keep very still now.”

He started slicing up the outside of one leg, cutting both shorts and boxers.

“Like I said, this is a sharp knife. One little slip and there could be a nasty accident. You don't want to go home a girl, do you? Thought not.”

He cut one side, and then the other and threw the tattered remains into the fire. Not a good move – they should've flared up but they didn't and the smoke stunk!

“Now then, Nature Boy. What have we got here? Oh yes. This is nice. Very nice.”

He pressed the flat of the blade on his stomach, slid it across, back and down around his dick.

“Relax, Sweet Thing. Just relax, lie still and no-one's going to hurt you. I'm not into that shit – not unless I have to.

I could shave your dick and balls, this knife would be sharp enough to do that, but it looks like you've already been doing it. Or, did someone do it for you? Bloody kids today! No-one grows a decent pubic bush anymore because they all want to look like the shaved porn stars.

Still, you're so blond and fine, you probably wouldn't grow much anyway.”

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Okarito, Lorne

Lorne was not having a good day. As a matter of fact, it was stink! - the worst day ever.

It started off when he woke up alone. He was used now to waking alongside Logan. They had a temporary bedroom set up in one of the old barns. It was pretty rough, but they hung old blankets around the walls and it was a good bed – warm, dry and comfortable with plenty of room for the pair of them.

But it was way too big for one person and cold too, without Logan's warm body in there with him. It had been two nights so far, he missed him like hell and he hated being alone. And there was still two more nights to go. Dammit!

Logan didn't care. If he did he wouldn't have gone off on his stupid football trip and left Lorne like this – home alone.

It seemed like he'd spent most of his life alone, and here he was back there again. Stuff Logan! He hoped that he was as miserable as he was, but he doubted it. Logan liked football, Lorne didn't.

He was happy to train with him, running up and down hills, lifting weights, swimming and biking, but when it came to actually playing the game – no thanks. He was useless and couldn't be bothered trying.

Rugby was all muddy and grubby and who wants to stick their head between others' butts?

So Logan played and he got to go away on school-trips. Lorne did not and he didn't. That didn't worry him, but he missed his mate when he wasn't there. Today was Friday and he wouldn't be home until Sunday night, which was stink.

Grumpy before he even got out of bed, he wrapped-up in his big dressing-gown, something he never had to worry about before Karen and her boys moved in, and went into the house to get a shower.

The 'House' – that was a joke. It was nothing but an old shack. It was, just, big enough when it was just his dad and him, but now Karen and her boys had moved in too, it was way too crowded. Seemed like he spent half his life these days waiting for someone else to get out of the way.

Sure enough, when he got inside, somebody was already in the shower, so he had to wait – again. He sat and scowled at the fire. Jack was the smallest kid in the place and he always took the longest in the shower. Probably just trying to hold everyone up. It was not like he had a lot to wash anyway.

Brad came in, with an armload of wood, and rudely shoved Lorne's legs out of the way. “Move it will ya!”

“Don't talk to me like that, you little shit!” He didn't kick him, but he felt like it. He just put a foot on his knees and pushed.

Brad staggered back and dropped the woods with a mighty crash. “Now look what you done, ya Ignorant Pig!” he yelled.

“It's your own fuckin' fault anyway!” Lorne yelled back.

Brad picked up a bit of wood and swung it at him. Lorne ducked, then grabbed another bit and fended him off Neither of them was backing down and they cursed and swore at each other.

“I hate you, Lorne. I fucking hate you – Faggety-arsed Prick!”

“I hate you more, you Little Bastard!”

“That will do!!!” Karen yelled at the top of her voice. “I'm fucking sick of this. Stop it and stop the bloody swearing!”

“Well he started it,” Lorne protested.

“I don't care who started it. It's over. Lorne, go and get in the shower. Brad, pick up this wood and clean-up your mess.”

“Not my mess, it's Lorne's. He shoved me and made me drop it all.”

“What? He just pushed you over for no reason at all? A likely story! Pick it up, Brad. Lorne, go.”

“What's all the yelling about in here?” Dan came in from out on the deck.

“Nothing new. Just these two fighting again.”

“About time you started acting your age, Lorne. You're far too big to be carrying on like this.”

“What about him? Am I supposed to just sit and take whatever this Little Shit dishes out, am I?”

“If you've got any complaints, you come and see Karen or me. Keep your hands to yourself.”

“I will when he does!” He stormed off to the bathroom.

Damm. He was starting to feel like a second-class citizen in his own home! His dad always took Karen's side and she always sided with her boys. He had no-one to support him, except Logan and he wasn't there was he? Damm and bugger the lot of them.

He finished in the shower, dried and dressed and went back for his breakfast. Had to get his own, of course. Karen was far too busy to worry about him. He sat down at the table, finally, and scowled at Jack when he grinned at him.

“Not having a good day?”

“Shaddup, Jack. Mind your own.”

“Don't start again,” Karen growled.

“Sheesh! Not even allowed to talk now. Can I breathe?”

“Can you not?” Brad retorted.

Dan said, “That's enough from the pair of you. Not another word! And hurry up. The sooner everyone's finished, the sooner we can go. I've got a big day today.”

He sat eating quietly and minding his own business. Brad and Jack were both trying to get a rise out of him, pulling faces and grinning at each other, but he didn't react. He wouldn't give the little swine the satisfaction.

Damm, he missed the days when it was just his dad, his granddad and him. He wished that Karen had never moved in with her tribe.

Not Logan though, he was okay. It was just his annoying little shits of brothers who were hard to live with.

He finished, went back to his room for his schoolbag, then sat out by the car to catch up on his texts. Nothing! There were a couple from others who he didn't care about so much, but the one he wanted to hear from was Logan and there was nothing from him, not a single bloody one.

Screw him anyway and screw his dumb-arse football mates too! Why Logan would ever prefer them to him, he'd never know. But he did, didn't he? He was with them and not here, at home, where he belonged. Fuck him anyway!

Logan didn't like him using the 'F' word. He said it was rude and crude and showed a dumb lack of vocabulary. But sometimes, like now, it was the only word that fit. Fuck him. Fuck his family and fuck the horse they rode in on. Did that feel any better? Not really.

Dan and Karen and the others came out, so he had to ride in the back with the brats. At least he got a window. He was not going to sit in between them.

Jack said, Are you working in town today, Dad?”

(Lorne wished he wouldn't do that. Dan was his dad, not these two's.)

“Just for a couple of hours. I've got a few things to take care of, and then I'll be coming back home.”

“How are we going to get home,?” Brad asked.

“You're not,” Karen replied. “You're going to your dad's for the weekend. Go to Gran's after school and he'll pick you up from there.”

“Me too?” said Jack.

“Yes, of course you too.”

Dan said, “I'll be back to get Karen at 4.30. You be there waiting at her office, Lorne, or you'll be walking home.”

“I'm just supposed to hang around until then, am I?”

“Of course. It's a nice day; it won't kill you.”

('Would you care if it did? Probably not – you've got these brats to call you 'Dad' now.)

They dropped the kids off outside their school and Lorne had to walk from there. It was only a couple of hundred meters, but that's not the point!

He arrived at the school and his rotten day didn't get any better – it got worse.

He walked in from the steet and passed a group of giggling, gossiping girls. They were like a coven of witches standing around a cauldron, except they didn't have a cauldron. They looked, he frowned and Alison Doyle reacted. “Who bit your bum today?”

“Probably nobody. That'd be his problem, “ Janie Hines chipped in.


Usually he'd grin and shrug-off remarks like that, but not today. It rankled and he was so not in the mood for this. “Fuck-up you dirty-minded bitches!”

He probably should not have said that, too late now. He walked past them and into school. But they weren't letting it go and they all followed him.

“Who the fuck d'you think you are? We're not the ones shacking up and screwing every night of the week!”

“No. And don't you wish! Maybe you need bigger dildoes, then you wouldn't be so jealous.”

Okay, definitely he shouldn't have said that, but – whatever. He was not in the mood to be nice. They weren't being nice either, and they weren't going to. They all followed him, spitting insults and abuse all the way.

He tried ignoring them, that didn't work. It just carried on all day and others were joining in too. Mobs of kids can be just plain nasty when they've got someone to pick on. Today he was the someone, worse luck.

This wouldn't be happening if Logan was there with him. But he wasn't, was he? Damm him.

By lunchtime he'd had enough – more than enough. He threw his books into his locker, left the school and he wasn't going back. 'Screw the lot of them!'

He went down the road, avoided the main street where Karen's office was, and went through the park to the beach. There were people there, surfing and surf-casting, widely separated of course. Didn't they have jobs to go to?

He sat,out of sight, uder the flax-bushes below the dunes and promptly went to sleep in the sunshine.

He woke, sat up and stretched several hours later. School would be finished for the day, which was good. They'd probably all be gone home by now and that was good too. He didn't want to run into any of them; he'd had enough for one day.

He checked the time on his phone and – whoa! He was going to have to hurry if he was going to get a ride home. Karen's office closed early on Fridays. He stood up, then had second thoughts and sat down again.

Stuff them. He wasn't hurrying for anyone. Actually, he was not going home. If he did, he'd be the only kid there and guess who'd be doing all the chores?

No. He was going to have the night and be by himself for a change. It was weeks and weeks since he'd stayed in his little whare in the bush. He hadn't missed it, but there didn't seem to be much point in having it if he was never going to use it.

So, that was that. He'd sit there, out of sight, for a while. His dad wouldn't wait if he wasn't there. He'd bugger off home and Lorne'd be free for the night. Good job too. They could do their own chores.

He checked his pockets. Yes! He had cash – more than enough to get a feed of fish and chips. He hadn't done that for a long time either. He liked fish and chips, but never seemed to be able to eat a whole order.

So, he'd do what he'd always done. He sit on the beach, down by the rivermouth, and share his chips with the seagulls. They were always good for a grin.

It took ages to get served in the shop when he went there. Friday was not a good day to buy fish and chips because so many people did it. His granddad said that this was a hang-over from the old days when catholics weren't allowed to eat meat on Fridays, so all they had was fish and chips. Now they could eat what they wanted but fish on Friday was how the older generations were raised and it was a tradition.

Anyway, he finally got his order, wrapped in newspaper to keep it warm, and he went down to the rivermouth to eat there.

It was a funny sort of river really. Sometimes the water ran out to sea, sometimes it came back in again. That was because it was tidal and the only outlet for the huge lagoon. Biggest in New Zealand, people said.

He sat down on the stones, opened his parcel and tossed a small handful of chips out for the gulls. It always took a while for them to get the idea, probably because not many people fed them.

It's a different story in Christchurch. Sit on any beach around there and the little sods are everywhere and screaming for food. Even when you've got nothing to give them. Who said we don't have beggars in New Zealand?

What would Logan be doing? He was in Christchurch, but probably not sitting on a beach feeding seagulls and not alone at this time of day. Damm him!

The sun was getting low by the time he finished eating and the temperature was dropping. It was going to be a cold night, but that was okay – he had a warm place to go to.

He threw the rest of his food scraps out, bundled-up the empty coke bottle in the newspaper and went back to the main street to drop his rubbish in a bin. What a tidy kiwi he was!

Satisfied with that, he walked up to Wharf Street and his whare in the bush. The sky was lit-up in spectacular sunset colours, so it was going to be a fine day tomorrow. Excellent! It'd be way too far to walk home in the rain.

He could smell woodsmoke when he was going up the track through the trees. The air in town was often smoky when everyone was getting their fires going in the late afternoon, but not here. There was no house up here. There should've been one, but it never happened.

He came up over the lip onto the terrace where his hut was and it wasn't there! The remains of it were – a sorry-looking little heap of rusty iron and ashes. His whare, his home away from home, had burnt to the ground. It wasn't much but it was his and it was all that he had.

Where was he going to sleep now? Under a tree? He guessed he'd have to. It was going to be cold, good job it wasn't raining as well.

There was a small fire burning in the circle of stones on the ground too. Who had done this? He couldn't think of anyone who would've. It was basically only him and Logan who knew about this place.

Well, he decided, he'd better keep the fire going anyway. At least there'd be some warmth from that. Bending over, he picked up a couple of bits of wood and placed them on the fire. This had been one horrible day right from the time he woke up and finding his hut gone was the worst thing yet.

Then his day got worse.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Okarito, Tyler.

Tyler was late in to work next day; Bevan hadn't been home all night either. Cassie didn't ask where they'd been or what they'd been doing. Some things she didn't need to know.

“Morning, Gorgeous,” she smiled when he walked in. “I wondered when you'd appear.”

“I've been busy,” he grinned back. “Are there any bookings this morning?”

“Nothing that you need to worry about. You'll be wanting this.” She held out a piece of paper which he took from her.

“What's this? A bank draft for $800.00?”

“Of course. Off you go – get the cash and put it in Mrs Dale's hands this time.”

“I will for sure.” He looked at it again. “Thanks, Cassie, you're brilliant! I'll pay you back as soon as I can.”

“Of course you will. I wouldn't expect anything else. Don't worry, we'll take it out of your wages. A couple of dollars a week should do it.”

“I can afford more than a couple. Cassie, how did you know I'd be wanting this?”

“I knew because I know you and Jeffrey told me that Mrs Dale's money had been pinched. He spoke to you about it last night.”

“He did, but I didn't think he'd tell you about it. Shouldn't he keep that sort of thing to himself?”

“Jeffrey? Not likely. He tells me everything. He's a cop, Tyler, not a friggin' doctor. Now go and do what you've got to do.”

“I will. Thanks, Cassie. You're the best!”

“Yeah, I am, aren't I? Go away now.”

He did.

He ran downtown to the bank where he drew the money out, from the teller on the front counter this time, and then he went around to Mrs Dale's home.

She was kneeling, pulling weeds out of the small herb garden by her front door and she smiled when she saw him coming. “Good morning, Tyler. It looks like we're going to have a nice day today.”

“Yes – hopefully.” He looked around, and then said, “How's that teapot going, Mrs Dale?”

“Teapot? Would you like a cup of tea?”

“I'd love one – thanks.”

“Well, we will then.”

They went inside, she filled the kettle and switched it on. “Would you like a sandwich, Tyler? I don't have any biscuits.”

“No thanks. Just a drink.”

“Just a drink. I must get some coffee next time I go shopping. They have it on special now.” She got cups and saucers and sugar from the cupboard.

“Mrs Dale, I think your days of worrying about what's on special are just about over now. Jeffrey came to see me last night.”

“Constable Jeffrey? I asked him not to bother you.”

“He didn't listen. He had to question me, that's his job. So anyway, here's another attempt at paying you.” He laid an envelope on the table and pushed it across.

“Tyler, there is no need for this.” She pushed it back.

“There is every need for this. I insist that you take it, Mrs Dale. If you don't, we can't be friends anymore.”

“I don't want that, but I don't want the money either. You have already paid, very generously, for your shares. It's not your fault that it was stolen.”

“More my fault than yours. You are not the one who left cash in an unlocked mailbox.”

“True, but . . .”

“But nothing. I'm serious, Mrs Dale. I can afford this and I want you to have it. If you won't take it, then our deal is off and you can find someone else to run your mine for you.”

“Then you would be left with nothing.”


“Very well then, Tyler. I will take it but I still don't like this.”

“When we've got millions in the bank, we'll look back and laugh at $800.”

“Millions? Do you really think so?”

“I think it's possible, yes. Am I still getting a cup of tea?”

“Yes, of course you are.”

He finished the drink and stood up. “Thanks for that. Time I was moving – things to do today.”


“Yes. I advertised and I've got several people to follow-up on.”

“Miners, do you mean.”

“Yep. Experienced goldminers. Actually, there were lots of replies from dreamers who'd had no experience at all. But I've weeded them out and it looks like there's some good ones left.”

“That sounds promising. Do keep me informed of what's going on, Tyler. This is all very exciting.”

“It is for me too. Now I'd better go. Have a good day, Mrs Dale. Go downtown and waste some money – enjoy yourself.”

“I just might do that. A little anyway. Goodbye, Tyler.”

“'Bye.” He left, running again.

Back at the wharf, he got on the landline and started making calls. Cassie snorted and said it was about time he got himself a cellphone.

The new guy, Martin George, was out with a boatload of tourists and he was late back so there was a crowd of schoolkids milling around, waiting for their turn to go. They were inside and talking up a storm, so he took the phone outside and sat in the sunshine.

The Lady was on her way back in, he could see her in the distance, coming down the lagoon. Which was good – that noisy lot inside would be gone soon.

The first guy he called sounded promising. The second guy was not, he was all bullshit and bluster, so his name was crossed off the list. The next one, if his email was to be believed, was exactly what he was looking for – recently retired after a lifetime in the industry and bored silly and looking for a new challenge. He rang him and talked for a good half-hour.

Cassie was going to have a fit when she saw the phonebill!

While he was sitting there talking, the Lady berthed, people got off, the kids got on and they left.

There was a bush-covered block of land over the road, at the foot of the hill. He could see a shady-looking character lurking around over there – a skinny figure in a long dark coat. Was that Mrs Dale's nemesis? Maybe.

He didn't know everyone in town, far from it, but there weren't that many hanging around and up to no good in the middle of the day. He kept an eye on him while talking on the phone.

After a couple of minutes there, the stranger disappeared up the narrow track into the trees. 'Hmmm?'

Charlie got thrown out of the pub. The bloody cheek of it! He wasn't doing anything wrong, not really. He was just lying on the bed in his room when the old battleaxe of a housekeeper came banging on the door and told him to leave.

What the hell? It was only an old dump anyway, it'd be no great loss if it did burn down. He had the window open. The Old Cow! Stuff them and their 'no smoking in the bedrooms'. He'd paid for the bloody room, didn't he?

He left quietly. It always pays to pick the times for your battles. But they hadn't seen the last of him, not by a long shot. He'd be back, like MacArthur, but when no-one was looking.

The old pub was not exactly a booming business; there were more regular boarders than guests upstairs and the bar was dead quiet, as most of them are these days. But, they'd converted a couple of downstairs rooms into a pizza restaurant and takeaways and that was always busy – they must be making a fortune in there. He'd find a way to get his hands on some of that.

Anyway, he left quietly, for now. They might think they'd seen the last of him, but he'd be back for sure. Maybe late at night when no-one was watching.

He paid at the front-desk, paid with nice, crisp and new twenty dollar notes and he wandered up the street carrying his old black bag full of the good stuff – booze and cash, lots of cash and a change of clothes. What more did a man need? Well, a juicy boy'd be nice, but he didn't have one of those.

It was a nice sunny day for once, but where was he going to go now? There was a couple of other pubs, but he was sick of living by other people's rules. In any case, the old baggage had probably warned them about him. Those people stuck together, like flies on dogshit.

Stuff them all anyway. He'd just about had enough of this one-horse town.

There were plenty of empty buildings around, most of them two-storied. There'd be empty flats up above some of them. He could hole-up in one of them, it'd only take two minutes to break-in somewhere.

But he decided against that. The way they were all jammed-up against each other, he have to keep real quiet if he wasn't going to be noticed and he couldn't be bothered with that.

He needed somewhere where he could relax and not worry about some old bag coming and chucking him out. Ah, yes! There was a line of old shanties, fisherman's cribs, along the riverbank on the side of the lagoon, below the road on the way out of town. They were all sitting empty, it wasn't the season for Whitebait for months yet.

He went up there to check-out the possibilities.

No, there was nothing there that appealed. They were all-but invisible from the road but wide open on the water side. With all the kayaks and boats passing out there, there wasn't enough privacy. He didn't want to have to keep worrying about being seen. He have to find somewhere else.

Back on the road, he saw a narrow but well-used track into the dense bush and no buildings close by. Why was it there and where did it go to? He stood there for a couple of minutes to make sure he wasn't being watched, then quickly ducked off the road and into the scrub.

The track was rough and boggy in places, but it was well-defined and easy enough to follow. It went up the hill to a small terrace – just a big ledge really. There was a little shack there, nestled amongst the trees. A very small creek, a rivulet, ran out from underneath it and there was a funny smell in the air, like someone farted. It wasn't him and there was no-one else around.

The shack was locked, but that didn't slow him down for long. Using a rock, he whacked the lock off the door and looked inside.

It was dark in there. Apart from the door, the only light came from a sheet of novalite on the roof and that was half-covered in old leaves and shit. The hut was as rough as anything he'd ever seen.

It was basically made out of junk – bits and pieces of second-hand iron and mismatched bits of wood. He could do better himself and he was no builder.

But, it was a private spot, dry inside and surprisingly warm. The fart smell was even stronger in there. Was something dead? No, that wouldn't be it, it wasn't that sort of smell.

Rotorua! That's what it reminded him of. Rotorua stinks to high heaven, or maybe the other place – a sulphurous, brimstone smell. You soon get used to it and don't even notice it when you're there. Until you leave and go back again. It smells from all the hot-water springs, geysers and boiling mud in the area.

There was a thought. He backed out, went over and dipped his fingertips in the little creek. It was friggin' hot!

Hot water was bubbling up out of the ground underneath the shack. 'Look at that! This old place has got geothermal central heating!'

The hut was just a single room with nothing in it except a couple of old wooden boxes and an old couch, for a bed – there were two sleeping bags and a pillow on it. There was no other heating in there, but it didn't need it.

On the ground outside the door was a ring of fire-blackened stones around a heap of old ashes and half-burnt bits of wood.

He looked around and smiled. This would do him nicely for a day or two. He dropped his bag on the floor and bounced on the couch to try it out (and to make sure that there were no rats in it!)

Tyler finished his calls and took the phone back inside. That guy hadn't come out of the bush over the road.

“Cassie, there's a track that disappears into the scrub over the road. Do you know where it goes to?”

“Doesn't go anywhere, as far as I know.”

“So why is it there?”

“I dunno. Kid's stuff, I suppose. You know Lorne Beynon? - Tall, skinny and with blond hair.He lives way out of town somewhere and hangs around with Logan Green. He owns it.”

“Lorne Beynon owns the track?”

“No, he owns the bush-block that it goes into. It's about 10 acres, or something. There's nothing there, just bush – second-growth rubbish.”

“Ten acres? That's about 4 hectares. Why would he own a block of land with nothing on it?”

“His granddad owned it. He talked to Dad one time, about building a house in there, but he died and nothing happened. Lorne inherited it. I guess it's an investment for if the town ever needs room to grow. Why are you interested in it all of a sudden?”

“I'm not really. I just saw a shady-looking character going in there and wondered what he's up to? If there's nothing there, then he can't do any harm.

What's the best way to get to Brownsville? I need to go up there to see an old miner. I don't fancy hitch-hiking and biking would take far too long.”

“The quickest way there is by flying. The aero-club do charter flights, but it'll cost you.”

“That doesn't appeal.”

“Didn't think it would. Tell you what, give me a few minutes to get someone to come in and look after this place and I'll take you there.”

“You will? That'd be great, but isn't that a waste of your day?”

“Nope. It's only a couple of hours each way and I'll do a brochure drop while you're seeing your miner – time we got some more brochures up there.”

“Cool. Thanks. Love you Cassie.”

“Love you too!” She picked up the phone.

When her reliever came in, Cassie went home, got her mother's car and filled it with petrol, then came back to collect Tyler.

“You're not bringing Bevan along?”

“Nope. This trip is business and Bevan's at school anyway.” He got in and buckled-up.

“He is at school and I've noticed that he doesn't take time off these days. Is that your doing?”

“Partly, I guess.” Tyler shrugged. “We've got an arrangement, Bevan and I.”

“Which is?”

“He doesn't bunk school and I don't growl at him.”

“And that works? He's never listened to anyone before.”

“Maybe not, but he listens to me.”

“But why does he?”

“Because he loves me.”

“He surely does. He's a lucky kid.”

“Not as lucky as me.”

“Too sweet, my Friend.”

They drove straight up to Brownsville and didn't stop until they arrived. They had a late breakfast/early lunch at Maccas, which is always a treat when you don't have one in your hometown.

Then, Cassie dropped Tyler off at his contact's address and she raced around town, dropping brochures off at all the usual places.

He was standing outside, talking to a big middle-aged guy when she came back to pick him up.

“Hey, Tyler. Ready to go home?”

“Yeah, I'm ready. We're all done here. Hack, this is Cassie. She's my right-hand man and I couldn't do without her. Cassie is the boss really, it's easier that way. Cassie, this is Hack – Thomas Hacker. He's coming to work with us, to get the goldmine going.”

“Hello, Cassie.”

“Hello. Do they really call you Hack?”

“Usually. It's always been like that.”

“Okay then. Hey, Hack and welcome on board.”

They made a brief stop at the camping ground on the way out of town, dropped some brochures off there, and then carried on south.

“That's a very cool camping ground. Wish we had one like that in Okarito.”

“But we don't. Our little campground is pretty crummy. The council won't spend any money on it.”

“Maybe they will if the vistor numbers keep going up.”

“Maybe pigs will fly too. So you think that Hack is the right man for the job?”

“I do. I think he'll be just right. If he's not, well you'll just have to sack him.”

“I will? Why me?”

“Because he doesn't hit girls. Did you see the size of the hands on him? They're like meatplates!”

“Gee, you're so brave Tyler – hiding behind my skirts.”

“You haven't got any skirts. I'm not a wimp. I just like to pick my fights.”

“And you don't think you'd win against him?”

“Oh, I'd win. I just wouldn't like it. Hopefully, it won't come to that anyhow.”

They made a couple of stops in Hoki, where she got rid of the rest of the brochures, then carried on again.

“I always do that,” Cassie said.

“You always do what?”

“Run out of brochures. It happens everytime. I think I've got plenty, but it's never enough. Next time, I'll throw a couple more boxes in the boot.”

“I guess that everyone likes to think that they're getting something for nothing and you did put that voucher in there for $5 off per person.”

“Of course. It's a good scheme, or scam really – it costs us nothing. All I did was put the price up and then offer it back as a discount.”


“That's business. It's all a game and good when you're winning.”

“May you never lose. My granddad used to say, 'It ain't work if it's fun.'”

“He had that right!”

It was early evening by the time they got back to Okarito. The sky was lit-up in a glorious sunset. The kayaks and the Lady had finished for the day and everything was packed away. Cassie dropped Tyler off at the wharf, and drove away home.

He walked up the ramp onto the wharf and stood looking around. It was always good to see a sunset, not just because they looked good, there was also the promise of a fine day coming. It didn't always work out, but it usually did.

Sunsets never lasted long. Even though the air was dead still and the surface of the lagoon was like a mirror, the oranges, yellows, pinks and purples were fading from the sky. He always thought that the town looked at its best like this – Gleaming in the Gloaming.

There were some wisps of woodsmoke hanging around in the trees across the road. That was unusual. Maybe it was just noticeable because the air was so still. Maybe that stranger had lit a fire up in there.

He was about to go inside and get some dinner when he saw someone walking up the road. A long and blond someone. Yeah, that was him – Lorne Beynon, and he was still in his schoolclothes. He turned off the road and onto the track and walked into the bush and out of sight.

What was he doing in town, all alone, at this time of day? How was that any of Tyler's business. It wasn't. He went inside.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Okarito, Mrs Dale, 3

Business was insanely busy for a weekday, which is a good problem to have, but still . . . Tyler was wanting to get away all day but didn't manage it until late in the afternoon.

“Cassie,” he announced on the way out the door, “we have GOT to get some more help around here!”

“Tell me about it,” she replied to his back.

He went out to the street and met Bevan who was on his way in.

“Hiya, Handsome. Where've you been all my life?”

“Working mostly. Bevan, I can't stop. I've got to get to the bank before it closes.”

“Going to rob the joint? I'll come with you then.”

“Good. I need to talk to you, we can do that on the way. C'mon then – walking.”

“Yes, Sir!”

On the way along the road, he asked how Bevan's day had been?

“It's been good, I guess. Yes, I've been behaving, but that's not what you wanted to talk about. So, what?”

“So. . . Do you know Mrs Dale? She's a widow who lives in the Council Flats on Arthur Street.”

“No. Should I know her?”

“Probably. She's lived here all her life and so have you.”

“So far, yeah. But, what about her?”

“She came to see me this morning and she has offered me shares in her goldmine. Well, her potential goldmine. That's why I going to the bank, to get some cash out for her.”

“Oh yes? A little old lady with a goldmine? Tyler, I think you're being conned.”

“I'm not. I know it sounds way too good, but it's for real. Mrs Dale has given me all the maps and papers. The early miners never found the mother-lode, where all the gold came from. Her husband searched for it for years and he found it.

But by then he was too old and sick to do anything about it. He sorted all the legal stuff and left it all to her when he died, but she's too old to work it too.”

“Why doesn't she just sell it then?”

“I'm not sure, but she doesn't want to. She doesn't want some big business to get the benefit of her hubby's dream. She wants me to get it going and split the profits with her. She's sick of being poor.”

“I'm not too keen on it either. But, hold on – you're going to do all the work and she gets half the proceeds?”

“No. I'm going to find someone to do the mining and I'll get 80% of the profits. Mrs Dale will get the rest and she says that that will be plenty.”

“She might be right. Do you have any idea how much money a goldmine makes?”

“Quite a bit I imagine. But it's not all profit. Workers have to be paid, tools, machinery, fuel and explosives and stuff have to be bought and paid for, and it will cost to have the mined ore processed.”

“There'll be plenty left over. Tyler, goldmines make millions!

“Millions of dollars? No. Maybe great big huge ones do, but this is never going to be like that.”

“You don't know that. They all started somewhere.”

“They did, mostly with big money to finance them and they're worked-out in a few years. Here's the bank. Are you coming in?”

“Of course I am.”

At the ATM machine in the lobby of the bank, he checked on his personal account balance.” “Whoah.”

“Something wrong? I've got plenty if you need a loan.”

“Thanks, Bevan, but no. There's no problem. There's just way more here than I thought there'd be. I'm rich and I didn't know it.”

“Rich? Let me see. Okay, you've got a bit, but I wouldn't call you rich. Tyler, you've been working hard and money's coming in. Maybe you should think about spending some of it sometimes.”

“I spend some, for food and stuff. I didn't realise that there's this much. Well, I'm spending more now.”

He withdrew $800, which made a big dent in the balance. He scribbled a note on the back of the withdrawal notice and put it and the cash in a complimentary envelope, which he wrote Mrs Dale's name on.

They walked around to where she lived. Tyler checked the Flat number on her door and left the envelope in her mailbox. “That's that done,” he said. “What'll we do now?”

“You're not going back to work, are you?”

“Don't think so. It's too late in the day now.”

“Come for a walk on the beach with me then.”

“Sounds good. We'll do that.”

'Not a bad little town.' Charlie quite liked it in Okarito. He wouldn't want to live there, it was too quiet for that, but it was a good place to lie low for a time. He hadn't helped himself to too much, not wanting to call attention to himself.

But sometimes – well, sometimes you just have to! If the marks are stupid enough to leave valuable stuff lying around, well – they were asking for it, weren't they? It always pays to make the most of what comes your way.

Some days are better than others. Some are not so good, but some are brilliant. Take today for instance.

“Always be patient. Wait and watch and take your chances when the time is right.” That's what his old, not-so-saintly mother used to tell him and he'd always found that to be good advice.

He was quietly minding his own business, admiring some eye-candy actually. The blond boy who was always busy working with the rental kayaks down by the old wharf, was leaving there, for once, and walking with another kid up the road to the main street.

Charlie had nothing better to do, so he followed them and watched where they went. Were they “partners” those two? Who knew? They were both nice-looking kids and seemed to be very comfortable with each other.

He wouldn't mind having a crack at either one of them, but especially the blond – he was a bit of choice stuff!

They went into the bank, to the ATM machine in the foyer and he hung back and watched. That was a fair wad of twenty dollar notes the kid was stuffing into an envelope. What was he planning on doing with it?

He stood and waited patiently. The pair of cuties came out and started back up the sidewalk, so he followed them at a distance.

In Arthur Street, they stopped at the mailboxes outside the Pensioners' Flats. The dark-haired one waited while the blond went over and checked the number on one of the doors. He went back and slid the envelope into one of the mailboxes.

'Interesting. What's he leaving cash for one of those old fogies for?'

The boys exchanged a few words. He'd loved to have known what they were saying but they were too far away to hear them and he couldn't lip-read. The blond draped an arm around the othjer one's shoulders and they started walking back towards him.

He turned around and started walking too -back to where he could get off the street in a tree-lined driveway. They walked past, oblivious to him and went back towards the main street, chattering away like a pair of lovebirds.

'Damm. If they're not screwing, I'll be an innocent virgin.'

Now he was undecided, should he follow them or should he go back to where the money was? Stupid question – always follow the money!

Back at the Pensioners' Flats, he quickly scooped the handful of mail out of box number 4. He went up the street, sorting it and dropping the junk-mail in the gutter.

There were four envelopes addressed to Mrs Dale. Three were obviously bills and who needs them? He discarded them too. He sat on someone's front fence, sheltered by an overhanging tree, and carefully ripped the last envelope open, savouring the moment.

Nice, crisp, new twenty-dollar bills – such pretty little things! He slid them out, crumpled and balled the envelope and held it in his hand while his spit-moistened fingers flipped the notes and he counted them.

Forty of them. Eight hundred dollars and all in ready and untraceable cash! That'd be more than enough to pay for his accomodation at the old pub he was staying at. A happy smile spread across his face, but it faded to a sneer when some old bat came out of her house and yelled at him.

“Hey you! What do you think you're doing? Get off my fence!”

“Ah, fuck off!” He tossed the balled envelope in her direction as he stood up and walked away. Interfering old bag! Did she think his bony butt was going to break her fence? It was made of bricks, for fuck's sake.

He went down by the wharf to sit and have a smoke and a drink from the half-bottle in his coat pocket. If he waited there long enough, he'd probably see the eye-candy coming back. They usually hung-out around the wharf.

Janice Corbett snorted her indignation as she strode out on her freshly-mowed front lawn. That villianous-looking man had thrown something at her when he got up off her front fence and left. The cheek of him! Some people have no respect for private property.

She scooped it up and went inside to throw it in the fire. On the way, she opened the ball a little to make sure that it was nothing valuable she was about to burn, and saw that it was an envelope.

She stopped and opened it fully – it was a torn-open envelope inscribed, 'With the compliments of the National Bank' and hand-written, 'to Mrs Dale, best wishes from Tyler R.'

Mrs Dale was one of the old dears who lived in the Flats up the street. She was the widow of one of Janice's old teachers. Tyler R must be Tyler Rodden, Bob and Kathleen Rodden's new grandson who had the canoe business down at the lagoon.

She'd seen him yesterday, walking in the rain with Mrs Dale and carrying something home for her. He was such a nice boy – you don't see many like that these days. What was he writing to her on bank stationery for? And what was that creature doing with someone else's mail? He must have stolen it!

The envelope was empty, but she opened it right up to check and there was a small slip of paper in there. It was a machine-printed withdrawal receipt with writing on the back of it – 'Mrs Dale, I know you said $80, but that really is not enough. This is not enough either but please accept and enjoy it. With my grateful thanks, Tyler.'

What on earth was he giving Mrs Dale money for? Maybe he'd bought something from her. It was fairly obvious that she didn't have a lot of money, perhaps she was selling something of her husband's. And that . . . that creature, must have stolen it! The withdrawal was for $800 dollars.

'Goodness, that's a lot of money, and he has taken it! Right then. We'll see about this.”

She went inside to put her jacket on, slipped her keys into the pocket and went out locking the door behind her. She didn't usually lock her door, but it seemed that there was a thief in the neighbourhood.

She went down the street, with the envelope still in her hand, and knocked on Mrs Dale's door.

Mrs Dale didn't want to make a fuss. She was disappointed that Tyler's very generous gift had gone astray but that was not his fault and she didn't want to worry him about it.

Janice disagreed. “The money, whatever it was for, did not get into your hands so he hasn't paid you, Mrs Dale. The theft was his loss, not yours.”

“But, no Dear. It was not his fault. He left it in my mailbox and it was stolen from there – stolen from me not him. Tyler made the payment in good faith, it's just bad luck that that horrible man got it before I did.

It must be the same man who stole my knife yesterday. There's not that many villians around here – very few in fact.”

“Yes, but more than enough, obviously. I don't agree, Mrs Dale, but have it your way, it's your money. Are you at least going to report this to the police?”

“Yes, I will be doing that. They have to know, don't they? I'll call in and report it when I go downtown tomorrow morning.”

“Tomorrow? It might be too late tomorrow.”

“It's getting late in the day and people have got homes to go to. Policemen have families too. I don't want to spoil anyone's evening.”

“You . . um. You really are impossible, Mrs Dale! You have to at least ring them. Someone will come around and take your statement. That's their job and they don't all work from 9 to 5, the station is open all night long.”

“All night? Whatever for? I can't ring them anyway. I don't have a telephone.”

“Maybe you don't,” Janice smiled, “but I do.” She took her cell out of her pocket and called 111.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Okarito, Mrs Dale, 2

Tyler took his coat off, spread it out on the ground and loaded her pathetic collection of groceries on to it.

“The bags are useless. We'll wrap everything up in my coat. Have you got far to go?”

“No, not far now. I live just up the road, in one of the Council Flats.”

“Let's get you home then and you can sort everything out there. The eggs are a mess, and these drinks are a write-off. The bread bag has burst, but some will be saveable. Is that a word – saveable? I think it is.”

“Yes,” she smiled, “That's a word. Thank you, Tyler. This is so good of you.”

“No worries. We can't leave you sitting here in the rain.” He stood up, helped her up, and then bundled-up his coat with the groceries in it.

They walked the few meters up the road to her little house.

“You are getting so wet!” she said.

“That's okay, I'll dry out.”

“That man – I think he cut my bags open. Why would he do that?”

“I don't know why, but yes, that's what he did – I saw him do it. Is there anything missing?”

“There is. My new carving knife! I've been saving coupons for it for weeks and weeks. It's gone and I didn't even get to use it. Oh, that nasty, horrible man!”

“I think you're right. We'd better keep an eye out for him, I think. Jeffrey says there's been a lot of petty thefts over the last few days. Maybe he's the one responsible.”

“He could be. I will be locking everything up from now on.”

“Good idea. Is this your house here?”

“This is it, my half a house. There are 6 units here, they're all little.”

“Easy to keep clean then. I've just got one room, in a shed at the wharf, but it's big enough for me and all that I need.”

“That's good. Very good if you're happy with what you have.” She put down the packages that she was carrying, fished-out her key and opened the door. “Come along inside, Tyler. This is what I call home.”

She looked at her kitchen/living room as if she was seeing it for the first time. It all looked sad and pathetic really. Not much to show for a lifetime.

Tyler kicked his shoes off, went over to the kitchen benchtop and started unloading the groceries from his coat. “Oh, wow.” He wriggled his toes in his sodden socks. “I'm all wet and getting water everywhere. Sorry.”

“There's no need for you to be sorry. It's more my fault than yours that you're so wet. You stay there and I'll get some towels.”

He finished stacking the groceries, leaving the damaged stuff to one side. Mrs Dale spread towels over an armchair and insisted that he sit down in front of the heater.

“Sorry I can't dry your clothes. My dryer died a while ago. I need a cup of tea. Would you like one, Tyler?”

“Sounds good, thanks. A hot drink will go down well. Would you like me to go and get replacements for the broken stuff?”

“No. No thank you. I'll sort something out.”

“You're sure? It's no trouble. Umm, I'm sorry, I don't know your name?”

“You don't even know my name and still you came to help me. You're a good boy, Tyler and thank you. My name is Dorothy Dale, or Dot for short.”

“Mrs Dale, is it?”

“Yes it is. I was married, but I'm widowed now.”

“Oh, I'm sorry.”

“That's all right – not your fault,” she smiled. “It was a long time ago, several years now. Tell me something about yourself. You're Kathleen Rodden's grandson?”

“One of them, yes.”

She was busy in the kitchen. Tyler said, “You could sit down and I'll make the tea.”

“No, you won't. You're my guest here and I'll get it. You own the canoes and rent them out to tourists on the lagoon?”

“I do, but they are kayaks, not canoes.”

“Oh. I don't know the difference, but you do own them all? How did a young boy like you get in that position?”

“It's a long story. I had some money that my other grandparents left when they died. With that and a lot of help from Granddad Bob, we managed to get things started. My cousin, Cassie, helps and Bevan does too, sometimes.”

“But you own it all yourself?”

“Well, yes. Oh, and we've started another venture too – taking guided tours out on a bigger boat. Cassie and Bevan's father supplied the boat and I own half of that, he's the co-owner.”

“Your business seems to be going well. There are always kayaks coming and going.””

“It's doing very well, even better than I hoped for, but I couldn't do it on my own. I've had a lot of help.”

“I'm sure they get paid back. So you're making a profit?”

“Yes, we're doing good, thanks. But there never seems to be enough money for all we want to do. Thank you.” He took the offered cup.

“There's milk and sugar on the table. Help yourself, I don't know how you like it. So, you'll be staying in Okarito then?”

“Yes, for at least a few years. If Bevan goes to university, I'll be going with him.”

“Bevan, your cousin. You must be good friends.”

“Very good friends.”

“That's nice. It's good to have a friend.”

“Mrs Dale, Bevan is my partner. Not just in the business, he's my life-partner, my boyfriend.”

“Yes,” she smiled. “I figured that. I might be old, Tyler, but I'm not completely green. I had a son who was gay.”

“You had a son?”

“He died a long time ago. He was about the age that you are now.”

“Sixteen? That's awful. Sorry, Mrs Dale.”

“Yes, I'm sorry too. My poor boy!”

They talked for a while. Mrs Dale told him that she'd lived in Okarito all of her life, she went to school with his grandparents! But she'd never been out on the lagoon. Tyler told her to come down to the wharf anytime and they'd arrange for her to join one of the guided trips.

She couldn't afford that – she didn't have to, there was no charge for his friends.

He left in a hurry, he had to get back because Cassie was taking time off to have her hair done. (“She wants to see if blondes really do have more fun.”) Mrs Dale thanked him, yet again, and he said, “No worries. 'Bye, Mrs Dale and do come down and take a trip out, won't you?”

“I'd love to. Thank you, Tyler. Goodbye now.”

She stood and watched him run off into the rain with his big coat flapping around him. Then she had another cup of tea and a long think.

The weather cleared later in the day and there was a glorious sunset which augured well for tomorrow. What a shame she hadn't waited one more day to do her shopping.

She was going out to the mailbox to collect the junk-mail, (there was never anything else, apart from the dreaded bills), and she almost stumbled over a supermarket bag on her front doorstep.

'What is this doing here?' She picked it up, looked inside and started crying again.

Back inside, she unloaded it on to the kitchen table - 2 loaves of bread, one sandwich-sliced and one toast-sliced, 2 bottles of sarsaparilla cordial, a pottle of margarine, one dozen eggs and a boxed carving knife!

There was no note or anything, but she knew who'd done this – that lovely boy! That lovely surprise more than made up for her bad morning. Bless him.

She sat down and looked at her gifts, smiled and nodded. She had already decided, but this confirmed that what she was going to do was the right thing.

Next day, after breakfast – two(!) eggs on toast – she cleaned-up, put on her still-damp coat, (the heater had been turned off as soon as Tyler left yesterday), and put her late husband's papers in his old briefcase. She left the flat, locking the door, and walked up to the old wharf area, carefully carrying the briefcase in front of her in case that horrible man was around again.

He wasn't, or at least she didn't see him, and she got there without incident. There was no-one around. Weren't they working? It wasn't a holiday, was it? No, of course they were working, they had signs out by the road.

She walked up on to the wharf and saw a boat coming down the river, so that was where they were. She sat down on the seat to wait.

A tall, thin girl came running up and stopped in front of her. “Hi!” she said. “I know my note on the door said, 'Back in Five', but I was held up at the bank. They're as slow as a wet week in there. How can we help you?”

“Hello, Dear. I just want a word with Tyler. Is he around?”

The girl, who must be Cassie, looked out at the water. “He soon will be. That's him, coming down there in the Lady.”

“The Lady? Oh, the boat. I'll just wait here.”

“Come inside if you like. It's warmer in there.”

“Thank you, but no. I'm quite happy here. This is nice.”

“Nice? Yeah it is. Way better than yesterday, that was foul.”

“It certainly was, but some of it was good.”

“I must've missed that part. Okay, I'd better go and open up. Catch you later.”

“Goodbye, Dear.”

The boat came in and turned and nosed into the bank so the people on board could walk off. Tyler came out last, his hands were full of lifejackets. He smiled when he saw her there and waggled his fingers. “Hey, Mrs Dale!”

“Hello, Tyler,” she smiled back.

He came up on to the wharf and said, “Just got to drop these inside. Why don't you come on in? The Lady will be going out again in another hour or so.”

She followed him inside. The old wooden shed had a big ranch-slider door and windows on the front wall.There was a plywood-lined office and waiting room inside.

Tyler stopped and said, “The lunch-room is through at the end there. Have a seat and I'll hang these up and be with you in a minute. Hey, Cassie – still having blonde fun are you?”

The girl behind the counter said, “Shut up, Tyler.” (And he was her employer!).

Mrs Dale sat and waited in the lunchroom. There was a nice view from the window in there too. Tyler came in and switched-on the electric kettle.

“I'm hanging out for a coffee. I've talked myself dry. Would you like one, or would you rather have tea? I think there's tea-bags in here somewhere.”

“Thanks, Tyler. A coffee would be nice – milk and one sugar.”

“Comin right up. The Lady's due out again at 10am, there's bookings for two groups of six. She seats 20, so there'll be plenty of room for you.”

“I didn't actually come for a ride on your boat today.”

“Oh? Something else we can help you with?”

“Yes, there is.” She took the papers out of the briefcase and took a deep breath. “Tyler, I am sick of being poor. I'm tired of scrimping and saving and worrying about every cent. I'm old and tired and I want to be well-off for once in my life.”

“Don't we all?” he grinned.

“I'm serious, Tyler. Very serious.I want to be rich and I want you to help me get there?”

“Me? But what can I do? Money seems to go out the door as fast as it comes in around here.”

“Sit down, Tyler. Sit down and listen because I want to tell you a story.”

“A story? Are you a writer, Mrs Dale?”

“No, that's not it. I did have aspirations once, but that was many years ago. Many people think they can write, not many are well-paid for it.”

“What then?”

“Shush and I'll tell you. Do you know anything about gold-mining?”

“Absolutely nothing.”

“I'll start at the very beginning then.”

“Right. I'll get these drinks, and then you can start.”

“Tyler!” she sighed. “I'm talking a lot of money here – a LOT of money.”

“A dollar is a lot when you've got none to spare.” He sat down and passed her drink across the table.

“Thank you. Now then, you know that there was a lot of gold-mining done around here in the early days?”

“So they tell me. That's why the town started. It was a rich field for a few years but it was soon worked-out. A few stayed on, scratching a living, but there's been no gold found for a long time.”

“Yes and no. That is not quite right.”

“Not quite?”

“No. The gold won around here was not reef-gold, it was semi-alluvial, dug from solidified black-sand deposits on uplifted beaches.

“Uplifted beaches?”

“The whole country was under the sea once. It is still rising up a few millimeters per year and areas miles away from the sea today were once beaches – beaches rich in gold.”

“Which has all been recovered.”

“Almost all. The point is that the gold did not originate on the beaches, first it would have been in one quartz reef which eroded over time.”

“So you're saying that there is a goldreef around here that has never been found?”

“Almost, yes. The old miners knew that it must've been out there and when the easy gold ran out, they searched high and low but they never found it.”

“Mrs Dale,” Tyler was looking sceptical now. “Are you saying that you've found what no-one else could?”

“No, of course not. I wouldn't know where to start looking.”

“What then?”

“My husband was not originally from Okarito. He first came here as a young man when he was appointed to a teaching position at the school. We met, were married, had a family and lost them and he spent his whole career here, finishing-up as Deputy-Principal in the school.

He was always very taken with the romance of the area's golden history and he became obssessed with the mystery of the missing mother-lode. That became his life's work and he spent many, many hours researching geology and searching for the lost reef.

In later years his health was not good, but he never gave up and he found what he was looking for.”

“He found the reef?” She had Tyler's total attention now.

“He did indeed, but by then it was too late for him and he died soon after he retired. Before he did, he bought the land, tied-up all the legalities with mineral-rights and everything, and he left the lot to me.

The long and the short of it is, I am sitting on a potentially very rich goldmine here, and I have not got the the money or the energy to develop it.”

“That's too bad, Mrs Dale. Couldn't you hire someone to do it for you? You wouldn't have to pay money up-front – just offer some shares, about 5 or 10 per cent. You should easily raise a loan to get it started.”

“See now, this is exactly why I have come to you. You are a good person and you're also an entrepeneur. I like the way you think. Tyler, I want to be rich and I want you to do it for me.”


“Yes, you. I can't think of anyone better. A sample of the reef has been assayed and it is incredibly rich – about 3 ounces per ton, which is far more than usual. This could be a very rich mine.

Jack, my husband, registered this company – South-West Mining Limited. So, what we will do is, when you can afford it, you will give me eighty dollars and that will buy you 80% of the company. I will keep the other 20% and be the 'sleeping partner' as it were.

You develop the mine, sell the gold , get very rich and make me rich too. Okay?”

“Okay? Eighty per-cent? No, Mrs Dale that is not okay! Not at all.”

“No? Do you want more?”

“I don't want more – eighty per-cent is far too much! What you have is really valuable and you can't just give it away.”

“I am not giving it away. You have to pay me Eighty dollars and that will make it all legal and above board.”

“But it's too much.”

“It is not too much. I have thought about this and it is a fair amount. It is no use to me as it is. I don't have the wherewithal to develop it – you do.

Left to me, it will sit there forever and I'll finish-up in a pauper's grave.”

“But if it's as good as you say, you could sell it for millions, maybe.”

“I don't want to sell it to a faceless big business. I want you to have it and I know you'll make good use of it.”

“Good use?”

“Yes. You don't waste what you've got and I know you'd like to see the town go ahead. I would like that too and I think the best way to do it is to put the money in your hands.”

“But Mrs Dale, I don't know anything about mining – nothing at all!”

“So find out. You're a bright boy and you can do it. You don't have to dig it all yourself you know. Find some people with experience, give them the tools and hire them to do it.”

“Well, umm . . I'm running out of excuses.”

“Good! Now stop thinking and sign here. You can give me the money when you've got it.”

“Eighty dollars is nothing!”

“To you maybe. The amount is not important, it's just to make the sale of shares legal.”

He signed on the line and grinned. “I guess we're in business. I'll get some money from the bank and bring it around later.”

“Whenever suits you, there is no hurry. Thank you, Tyler.”

“Thank you, Mrs Dale – thanks a million. Do you want to come for a ride on the Lady now?”

“Yes, why not. Let's make this day special.”

“I think it already is!”