anthony murphy, aratula, bail, barbara, barbara mcculkin, basil hicks, bellino, billy, billy stokes, bougoure, brick, brother, charge, charges, committal, condon, coroner, damian, damien, deprivation, estelle long, evan whitton, farm, federal hotel, forno, framed, garry dubois, gary dubois, gerry, greg early, hearing, innocent, jail, james finch, jim finch, john stuart, john wayne ryan, leanne, liberty, manhattan, matt, matthew, mcculkin, mick dowie, murder, o'dempsey, pat glancy, peter hall, pinocchios, police, prison, prosecution, rape, robert chan, ron redmond, roxy, steve bishop, swan creek, terry lewis, tony, tony murphy, torino, torinos, verbal, vince o'dempsey, vincent o'dempsey, warwick, whiskey, whiskey au go go, yallora, yangan
Billy McCulkin, having spotted Vince O’Dempsey’s distinctive Valiant Charger parked on the opposite side of the street as he traveled along Lutwyche Road, orders his driver Norman Wild to stop, which the obliging Norm does, and Billy get outs and begins walking around, thinking that O’Dempsey might be in one of the shops.
It’s an odd thing to think without first checking the Polonia Brothel, outside which Vince’s Valiant is parked, for Billy knows that Vince runs the knock-shop and has told his police statement-taker, the Commissioner-in-Waiting Ron Redmond, this fact early on in the work of fiction posing as fact, at about page 8.
As has rapidly become the norm, Redmond does not quiz Billy about this oddity, and as both men are presently deceased we can’t either, but suddenly Billy sees O’Dempsey walking across Lutwyche Road and bails him up beside his car.
This of course is odd too, because Norm’s parked on the inbound side of the main Northside thoroughfare into town, presumably outside the soccer supplies shop or nearby, and Billy’s pacing the pavements on that side of the street, poking his head in and out of shops and looking here and there for Vince here and there, while O’Dempsey has now crossed to the other side of the road where his car is parked outside his knock-shop, but Billy makes no mention whatsoever of crossing the road – he just suddenly appears beside Vince’s Valiant.
There are still beds in Vince’s old brothel – just of a different kind these days
Billy bowls up to Vince and asks him if he has seen Barbara, telling his old mate and criminal associate that she is missing.
O’Dempsey replies that he had heard that from Cheryl, the hooker in his parlour that Billy for some mysterious and unexplained reason phoned last night looking for his snack-bar worker ex-wife, but that he hasn’t seen Barbara, which of course isn’t quite true, because of course he’s seen Barbara – he used to live with she and Billy for crying out loud – but we have to assume that when Billy asked and Vince allegedly answered both understood the meaning to be ‘have you seen Barb in the last couple of days’, although this construction of the question is not at all stated.
Billy then tells Vince that the kid across the road has said that he was ‘there on Wednesday night with Dubois’.
Now Janet Gayton has not said that at all, what she said – according to Billy’s own words – was that ‘Vince and Shorty were here’, but Rocket Redmond doesn’t think to explore this point (he’s probably asleep, or reading the race form).
Setting that aside though, Vince doesn’t reply, probably because Billy’s made a statement, not asked him a question, and Billy must realise this because he then asks him ‘Was Shorty with you?’
Vince doesn’t give a yes/no answer, but instead asks Billy ‘Have you seen Shorty?’
Billy tells him that he has, and that he’s just come from his place, and then asks Vince again if Shorty was with him, without asking when.
Once more Vince doesn’t give a yes or no answer, but just goes ‘Oh, er, er’, according to Billy anyway.
So the Mouse puts it to him again, and I’ll let Billy tell you how he says the conversation flowed directly rather than me acting as a vermin’s interpreter.
And off they go back to Shorty’s place, which is really Shorty’s Mum’s, and when Norm and Billy arrive Vince is already there, which is no surprise given that he was parked in the lane headed toward Kedron and that they had to do a U-turn or go around the block. Either way, they couldn’t have been more than a minute or two behind him, because it’s only 1o minutes away tops, and there is no mention of flat tyres or long waits at red lights contained in Billy’s statement.
At the time they arrive it cannot possibly be any earlier than Midday.
It’s apt, because Billy enters Mrs Dubois’ house – for some unexplained reason Norm stays in the car outside, but probably so there’s no witness to the nonsense that Billy is now telling Rocket Redmond and avowing to be true – and sits down at the kitchen table with Vince and Garry Dubois.
There neither any mention of where Mrs Dubois is at lunchtime on this Saturday afternoon, nor any mention of where her other kids may be at a time when most suburban seventies Brissy kids would be being called to the kitchen table for Vegemite and Cheese sangas on white Tip Top bread – the bread factory was just down the road, and still is, so the loaves would have been freshly baked – or mashed egg and lettuce if the family had chooks and a veggie patch, accompanied by a plastic pitcher of Golden Circle green cordial, or red cordial if the parents were keen for the kids to go crazy and run around the nearby park so as to give Dad space to punt on the races and Mum to get stuck into the Woman’s Weekly giant crossword.
Of course poor old Mrs Dubois was by this stage a widow with 4 kids, so she was probably just keen on a cup of tea, a Bex and a good lie down. But she would almost certainly have made sure that the kids were fed first, so either they had an early lunch, or they all kept their heads down until the heavy dudes Vince and Billy had gone.
Anyway, Billy tells Vince and Dubois that Barb and the kids are missing, and that he’s worried about them to the extent that he’s had to go to the ‘Bobbies’ – the police – about the matter, a most unusual thing for a hardened career criminal to do, but something Billy rushed off to do just hours after they didn’t answer the door early on a Friday night and he broke into the house and found nothing suspicious.
There is of course a reason that Billy hollered copper so early in the piece, and I’ll tell you all about it later in the piece, when we get to the right point in the sequence, but just as a little teaser let me tell you right now that Billy was a fizz.
A police informant.
A dog, a rat, and a lag. A canary, fink, snitch, stool pigeon, stoolie, stoolpigeon, sneaker, snitcher and a sneak. In other words, not the sort of bloke Mum would willingly invite around for tea at the Geebung kitchen table, or that Kevvie would serve a beer at the RSL, unless he’d first laced it with DDT.
And I have the definitive evidence to prove it, and copies stashed in 4 different places including two offshore, just in case anyone decides to channel the Mouse and break the glass on my front door to illegally gain entry to Casa Del Geebung and tea-leaf my sh*t-hot source material.
One step ahead of you sorry ladies and gents, damn shame about that hey what? And just in case anyone gets any ideas I’m a bit like an old lawyer turned hippy – I spread the love but make sure the releases from the confidentiality clauses are only triggered by certain specified events, such as my being hit by a car, or loaded up and arrested on manufactured drugs, sex or something else charges.
All for one, and one for all, and watch your bloody back, that’s my journalistic creed, which was borne from the lessons I learned as a young fella living on the streets and doing the best I could. Never trust any older bloke who offers you money, never trust a priest, and never trust a person dressed in a uniform of any description. And be honest, and always cover your cute as cute can be hot arse.
Young journo’s could learn a lot from that, but then young journo’s these days – with the exceptions of rising stars like Jorge Branco and Andrew McMillen – tend to dream of highly paid futures in PR working for sellouts like APN’s Bryce Johns, and wouldn’t know an investigative technique if it bit them on their Gucci-covered bum, so it’s probably a lesson wasted if the truth be told.
Back to the story though, and Billy asks O’Dempsey and Dubois to let him know if they find out anything about Barb’s whereabouts, and they assure him that they will, ad tell him not to worry about that. He then drills Vince, but the then young but highly-experienced lag isn’t fazed by Billy’s tough guy stare and assures him that he wasn’t there – wherever there may be – and that he and Garry know nothing, and the younger Dubois agrees.
Billy proceeds to tell them that he’s f*ckin’ blow the head off anyone that he discovers may have hurt his newly breast-enhanced wife and kids, and Vince and Garry tell him that he’s entitled to do so, and I reckon that’s fair enough too. If anyone hurts my wife and kids I will pursue them to the grave, and that’s a threat not a promise, especially coming from a mad, unhinged bastard like me.
I truly believe that Vince and Garry were genuine too, and heaven help anyone who tries to hurt either of their families, either then or now.
But I’m not so sure about Billy, and my well-honed, street-formed gut tells me that his threats were hollow, and that he was full of sh*t, cos I dead set reckon that Billy knew full well what had happened to his wife and kids, and given that he didn’t put a gun to his own head and pull the trigger, or set off a siege at a Brisbane Police Station, if you run with my as yet unexpressed theory the Mouse was well-named, because he had the same size heart as one.
That’s all to come though. For now we’ll just keeping on working through his police statement, and in just a minute the cat’s about to be thrown among the pigeons, for there is somewhat of a shock to come.
But right now it’s time for a cuppa Golden Circle Lime Cordial, cold water and ice.
Gee I wish Mum had a packet of Iced Vovo’s in the pantry cupboard.