the witness, the first interview.
The three of them sat on a wooden bench inside the detectives room of the Ulladulla Police Station, waiting.
Terry McCorquodale, his wife Ellen and their little boy Toby. They had been bought into the station three hours ago, after the robbery at the TAB, and were now waiting for a couple of detectives to arrive from Batemans Bay. The local senior constable, redheaded and obscenely fat, laboured away at a filthy keyboard and from time to time he flicked a glance at Terry, and every time they caught each others’ eyes he silently mouthed ‘ Faggot.’
A couple of drunk tanks stood empty against the far wall, ready for the night’s intake, their glass doors smeared with dried spit and crusted here and there with residue vomit spatters. The whiteboard roster that hung above some filing cabinets had only a menu from the local Thai takeway sticky-taped to it.
The room felt abandoned, and the stale air that hung there had been breathed in and out a thousand times.
Terry McCorquodale, unshaven, barefoot and tired, looked like a surfer right out of his share of luck, which is what he was. His young wife sat with her head back against the wall and her eyes closed, well used to this type of waiting room, and their young son Toby – only six – was trying to decipher the words scratched into the benchtop.
A sudden commotion erupted when two uniformed policemen burst through the door using the body of a dark-haired youth as a battering ram. They marched him quickly through the room towards the drunk tanks and gave him an extra shove when they reached the open glass door. The youth hit the cell wall hard, he turned, and in the instant before he fell and they were able to slam the door shut he let loose with a torrent of beer, bourbon, and sweet and sour chicken.
The two detectives arrived just as the stench reached all corners of the room, and without glancing at the family waiting for them walked over to the interview room and let themselves in. The senior constable levered himself to his feet and after taking a couple of manila folders he had already prepared, followed them through the door.
‘Get your arse in here Terry,’ somebody called out and the young man got to his feet, and with his broad shoulders slumped, he left his wife and son on the bench.
Here we go again.
The bigger of the two detectives was sitting at a cleared desk in the small interview room, and the other man, sallow faced and wiry, stood by the wall reading a couple of sheets of foolscap print taken from the folders. The senior constable was inexpertly wiring up an old audio recording system.
The First Interview.
‘ You’re a bit of a fucken maggot aren’t you McCorquodale,’ the bigger detective said, ‘locked up in Sydney for wholesale drugs and being a bit of a knuckle artist, and now you’re down here in God’s own country giving strife to honest working folk.’
He took the record sheets from his partner.
‘Well, look here and fuck me if you weren’t a professional surfer for a couple of years, have a look at this Mick, this maggot won a competition in where? G-land? What sort of poofter’s paradise was that you low piece of dogshit? Some little boy’s g-string beach in fucken Thailand?’
Terry sat silent, knowing that this was only a warm up.
Mick, the wiry one, moved over from the wall and sat on the desk beside Terry.
‘Ok, let’s talk about the robbery Terry,’ he began, ‘we have a young girl been seen going into the TAB over there in the shopping centre in town about five this afternoon, she’s been seen grabbing about $5,000 from some poor fuckwit punter who’s just had all his Christmases come at once courtesy of two very long tri-fectas come home, and then she’s bolted with the loot, got onto a bus or something, nobody knows nothing of course, and look who we find in the carpark, you, the King of the Malibu Waves, and with a record like a bundy card – just shopping your old lady says.
Our lucky fucken day, or what?’
Terry waited as the two detectives told the senior constable to fetch them a couple of cups of coffee, ‘ nothing for you eh Tezza, you’re right aren’t you mate?’
He went on. ‘ Now the funny thing is, is that the the young bloke who was robbed says he wasn’t, never mind the six fucken eye-witnesses, and the girl who robbed him was grabbed going home on a bus with only a bunch of grapes on her person. And to clinch the whole thing together just perfect we find that they are both in love and live together out the back of Milton in some tin fucken shed.’
That said they all sat and waited, the two detectives and Terry, with only the slow rasp of the ancient tape machine disturbing the peace.
The big copper slammed his hand hard onto the table, and he bored his eyes into those of the young man.
‘We ARE going to interview your Missus sport, and your fucken slope-headed kid; just because you were there and no other reason required, and just because we don’t like you Sydney mugs coming down here on the bones of your arse with all your fucken prison baggage. Now fuck off outside and wait before I find something about you that will get me upset.’
– continued here
Part one of three, previously published in Kurungabaa