This Novella introduces Murder Squad Detective Joseph Lind.
He sequestered into the Murder Squad after many years as an Undercover Officer in the Narcotics Branch and then in the Vice Squad. A brief sojourn in Burglary and a two year stint off on rehabilitation grounds. During the period of uncover operations, many things were conducted not in accordance with the Policy and Procedures Manual of the NSW Police Force.
When in a life and death situation, it always came down to survival of the quickest, regardless of the scenario or the right or wrong of the situation.
It was whispered that a few bodies were buried in shallow sandy graves. Most living on the wrong side of the law and unluckily, encountering Joseph Lind and his then partner, Barry Holtz at the wrong time and in the wrong set of circumstances.
Now transferred into the more sedate surroundings of the Murder Squad whilst his mate and former partner Barry Holtz climbed the ladder of promotion, Lind was having trouble retaining partners for any length of time. So much so, he was on shaky ground with his tenure within the Squad in jeopardy.
Some ten years previously, Lind's wife had been shot to death. Her Killers known but insufficient evidence existed to commit the two Bikie members to Trial.
Some may call it a serendipitous moment while others may hint at masterful manipulation, but Lind has the opportunity to repay the debt for his wife's death some eleven years previously. How-ever, it meant that Lind would need to step to the wrong side of the Law once again to achieve retribution for his wife's murder.
The Detective would be the first to admit that Vengeance is indeed Sweet...at that moment!
I was knackered. Wasted. Dead tired. F**ked.
I'd just completed a double shift with a twelve-hour surveillance operation tacked onto the back.
The two worst professions for doing this type of thing when they should have been the last to carry out this insane practise, were the Cops and the Medical fraternity. Young, eager Medical Students straight after completion of last term exams thrust into enforced 72 hour continuous shifts in Hospital Emergency Wards with sleeping on the job permitted.
Catnaps between car accident victims hurriedly transported in. An unused gurney the usual catnap base!
An absurd situation when life and death decisions and a clearness of mind are of paramount import.
Immediate reaction times.
Clear and concise actions.
The right decisions made, not blurred by lack of sleep for over 72 hours! Or broken sleep over that period or longer!
Fortunately, my young partner for the elongated surveillance shift was an enthusiastic, young Probational Constable not that long out of the Academy wanting desperately to strip off the uniform and wear mufti as a plain-clothes Detective in the Murder Squad as first choice. Very few achieved this goal, but it was not for the want of trying by so many. My young partner agreed to let me sleep two four hour shifts on the back seat of the Unmarked, hoping that this larger than life, legendary figure of many a homicide, an undercover Vice Officer and Narcotics Officer of some repute, would somehow be able to manipulate his leap into plain-clothes duties.
How? I ask you.
I have no idea and neither did he when pressed on the point.
It's purely a cop thing, but I wasn't going to permit myself from doing the honourable thing by refusing his offer of me obtaining merciful sleep. We were somewhat better off than the other half of the surveillance team. They were tenting it in the backyard of the house lot directly behind the subject house of our operation. It was bloody cold, windy with squalling showers for the duration of the job. They took turns in 2 hour lots peering through some knot hole in the paling fence looking at the rear of the house.
Not one bloody thing!
I think even the ants were hunkered down for the duration.
A day after we decamped, worried relatives who lived across the street from said house became concerned at the non-appearance of their loved ones living so close. They opened the front door of the house that our covert attention had been organised on, and assaulted by the very acute smells of human death and decay.
Murder/suicide was the verdict handed down. Too much of a good thing in dabbling in their own product, so it was believed. A huge bundle of money, a cache of weapons and enough Ecstasy tablets to make the worries of the world disappear for the entire 7 billion! The climbing down from the high would be a precursor to World War Three!
This murder/suicide act committed only hours before our surveillance shift began so the Forensic Pathologist-on-scene informed us.
How's that for bad timing!?
I only found this out after I returned to work after a 96 hour 'off in lieu of overtime' plus the normal week-end downtime.
I ribbed and cajoled about the incident for months after the event. My very surveillance techniques drawn into question. Just as well no-one ever learnt of my sleep patterns during that 12-hour shift.
I could have been in real strife!
For all I knew, that enthusiastic young PC could have dozed off too...no, somehow, I don't think so!
As far as I know that energetic and enthusiastic young Constable is still in uniform on street beat.
I occasionally think back to that event and think perhaps that there was a conspiracy of sorts to ensure that two surveillance teams did not need to face the Standards and Ethics Committee to explain why they had failed to hear the gunshots...but then, my imagination can play havoc on my anxiety levels at time.
Getting back to the night in question, I felt as though the sleeping in the rear of the Unmarked on a dark suburban street had never happened as I climbed laboriously from the vehicle at my place just after sunset. The young Constable volunteering to return the Unmarked to the Central Police Carpool that night which was the 'rule.'
Officious little bastard he was!
He knowing that I was having the following six-day period off.
Another thoughtful gesture that remained unrewarded.
I silently opened the side gate and slipped through, making the back deck without a sound. The decade year stint as an undercover Drugs and Vice Officer had taught me to be very light and silent on my feet. That had helped me to remain alive for that entire period while several undercover Narc officers lost their lives due to their heavy-footedness.
That's my theory and I'm sticking to it.
The rear concertina doors out onto the rear deck closed and locked but the Laundry door facing said deck was not locked. I again slipped through silently, careful not to make a sound as I closed the door behind me. I crept through the galley type Laundry and the adjoining Kitchen. The lights were off in the rear Family Room but dim lights showed through from the front Lounge Room. As I headed in that direction I removed my jacket and Kevlar Vest. I began to undo my shirt wanting to ease off the harness that held my trusty stiletto knife in position in its sheath between my shoulder blades.
I leant against the door jamb as I took in the sight that affronted me.
There kneeling at the glass-topped coffee table was my nineteen-year-old son Billy and his mate Ben, cutting into a large pile of dry weed with a safety razor blade each. A set of Kitchen scales in the middle of the table surface. There were three or four nap-lock plastic bags already filled with the green stuff that looked to have a high proportion of heads blended into the mix.
They were giggling like school girls, having obviously already sucked on a toke.
They both seemed to sense that some-one was standing there simultaneously.
"Dad, arr... Dad??!! What are you doing home? I thought your message said that you'd be on duty until to-morrow morning... didn't it?"
"It is obvious that you thought so. There's a difference between 12 hours and 24 hours, you dingbats! That would have given you three whole days uninterrupted time to blow your minds, wouldn't it now? Good shit, son?" I added sarcastically.
My son looked down at the pile of dry plant and the pile of nap-lock plastic bags.
"Arr... Dad. It's not what you think, honestly. Fair dinkum."
"It never is, son. All the crims in the World seem to know that little statement.... and the Prisons of the World are filled with innocent people!"
"No, Mr. Lind. We don't smoke. Don't take drugs or smoke shit. This is not what it looks like, sir."
"Oh? I'm obviously missing something here." I really didn't need this.
All I wanted was a quick, warm shower and straight to bed!
Reinforced, Ben looking crazily at Billy, at the coffee table then up at me.
"No shit. Neither of us do drugs, sir."
I walked into the room from the doorway taking the knife and harness from between my shoulder blades. I unclipped my belt holster, removed the clip from my handgun and checked that the barrel was clear as I headed for my Office.
A built-in wardrobe that faced into the Lounge Room was all it was.
My own invention and workmanship that I was particularly proud of.
The concertina doors of the Office were fully open. The computer and all the associated wizardry all on. The desk top a mass of printed paper that centred around the various sizes of a 'deal' of 'J'. They had obviously researched their subject topic for some time.
I knelt at the small safe bolted securely to the floor, spinning the combination as I unbuckled the ankle holster that held the small .22 handgun. My throw-away. Handy to have, if it was ever needed. Totally illegal even for us Cops, but those several years in Undercover Narcs and Vice still had not left my system.
As I stood and closed the door on all those horrible tools of my profession, spinning the tumbler to secure the door, I turned to them both.
"You two have got to decide whether you want to tell me the truth or not. Either way, both of you are up to your balls in shit with your whole life's direction now mapped out for you depending on which way you want to go. I'm going to take a quick shower to wake me up a bit. While I'm doing that, I suggest you make up a tumbler of coffee. I fear that it may be a long night."
Clem 'Lofty' Hills Series:
Murder Squad Series: