This is the 54th Novella in the detective stories series dealing with the life and times of Detective Joseph Lind and his partner Detective Shelley Shields of the Murder Squad.
During the Christmas holiday break, Lind and Shields are requested to mentor a young Dee 2 whose partner was on holidays for the entire month of January.
The reoffending rate for criminals in Australia is around 60%. Society paying for these crims to sharpen their talents whilst inside. Incarcerated one, two or three times, they could only get better! The young blokes mixing with the hardened criminal element.
The statistics indicate that six out of ten criminals have it in their blood for various reasons, most dealing early in their lives with alcohol and/or child abuse and violence on a daily basis. At an early age they ‘hit’ the streets. The only way to survive is by illegal means for so many.
There is almost a gentleman’s agreement within the underworld of Sydney that ensures their boundaries for the distribution and selling of illegal substances remains intact. The people of influence within these areas are loath to kill anyone as a payback or a warning to others as this only brings down the wrath of the Law, upsetting the equilibrium that had existed.
Who then, is seeing life as cheap and expendable and how is marijuana of guaranteed quantity and quality being transported into the Newcastle and Sydney basin from hidden hydroponic farms in
the hinterland on the North Coast of NSW?
Who is behind it … and why all the killing?
His name was Lindsey Carlisle.
A seventeen-year old tear-away who left home for good when he was around twelve years of age. A street kid who had the cunning and nous way beyond his years. The local cops knew of his existence from the time the kid had turned twelve! Or even a little before that, so I was told.
Always running away from a home that never welcomed him. From a father whose hug was a bear-hug that hurt. A hug that made him cry which was what the old man wanted. Happy that he could make his son cry from a simple hug. He was a bully and sadist in the extreme, reigning supreme over a wife and five kids who were always on tender hooks when they knew the old man had been at the Pub for several hours.
Wondering what the old man might do in a drunken rage when he got home, no matter the time.
Home was where Lindsey was always nervous of what would come next. A back-hander that would throw him backwards across the room. Knocking him out when his head hit the opposite wall. Teeth shattering in his mouth with blood dripping down his chin, the slight metallic taste of blood dripping down the back of his throat. Lindsey gave up trying to protect his mother and his siblings…he got more when he did that…he figured after several beatings that it wasn’t worth it. He would wander the local streets all night when he knew that his old man had been drinking. He escaped the punishment but he felt bad in a way, knowing his siblings would be getting it…worse than if he took some of the beatings himself. He eventually drove those thoughts of empathy and sympathy from his mind. What he couldn’t change placed at the back of his brain…his thoughts of his mother and brothers and sisters gradually disappearing.
Self-preservation can do that to anyone.
He seldom went home from about the age of eleven, living it rough on the streets.
That was what the young Lindsey Carlisle remembered as home. Fear, hurt and punishment handed out for no sane reason. A mother who was always crying; always trying to hide the bruising on her face or body.
His young nick-name was Castle. Castle Carlisle.
Anyone’s guess, but he told me once that he had seen a show on television about Castle Carlisle. Over in England, he thought. It was impressive. It looked solid. It looked as though it could repel all invaders. All those who wanted a piece of the Manor land…as solid as that Castle…that was going to be him!
I had just completed my undercover days with my partner Barry ‘Bazza’ Holtz. He wanting more from his chosen career than the thin line we often straddled, many times requiring an illegal action to stay alive ourselves. After Bazza had been gone for a couple of weeks and I had no-one to watch my back, I picked up the young Lindsey ‘Castle’ Carlisle for having a saleable quantity of marijuana in his possession.
I confiscated the admittedly, poor quality grass for my own personal use. Kicked the guy up the behind, warning him that if I ever saw him again with a saleable quantity of weed, I would charge him. This time it was only a twenty dollar note. Knowing of his background, this looking the other way was my way of trying to help him. It would never work but it took me some time to come to that realisation.
I suffered from smoking the confiscated weed which was full of stem and very little leaf and buds.
It didn’t take long, maybe three weeks later, our paths crossed again.
Again, a saleable quantity of grass of reasonable quality thank God, as the last lot contained a fair amount of stem and lawn grass, I reckoned. I explained to him that he was lucky he was only seventeen and could not be charged and sentenced as an adult, which would have earned him jail time.
He shrugged his shoulders, looking up at me with a defiant expression.
“Jail? It can’t be that bad. Three square meals and a comfortable bed away from that bastard who dares calls himself my father…”
The same old story heard so many times you tended to close your mind to it, knowing you were looking at a repeat offender who would join the constant merry-go-round of aging crims. For some reason this kid made me look at him. I mean, really look at him. I didn’t have a clue why. Maybe it was his boyish looks…or his want never to buckle under any circumstance. He was on that early pathway to being a crim all his life. I wanted to help him get off the treadmill, knowing full well that such a life was in the blood of some. Hopefully not for him…my wishes for him leading a worthwhile life were based on emotion only. Not a realistic assessment of his life up until that time.
I could always hope, I guess.
I’d like to think he was different.
“Son? You, as a good-looking young bloke will find yourself as the ‘fresh meat’ that will be auctioned off for a fuck every day you are inside…and worse. Not even toothpaste will take away the taste, if you get my drift. Understand? Never consider yourself lucky to be given a jail term. It ain’t a holiday, not even close.”
His attitude was…so what! He had been fucked by his father at least twice a week since he was a young mite…the wrong attitude, I tried to warn him but I fear it went in one ear and out the other. Father role-models were not in his comprehension.
I hoped he would take my advice. After all, it was for free. And with a word from me to the local Magistrate, the lad was given a suspended sentence with a two-year good behaviour bond. He thought it was because of the spiel he gave on the habits and ways of his old man. He would never believe that I had put a good word in for him.