‘Right Garry--- lets not have the shenanigans today eh?’
‘Oh God—does she ever let off--- I’ve just walked in the door. It’s bad enough that I have to look at the cow. Damn, it wasn’t like this with Fran. We got on just fine. She intervened rarely and I have to say, appropriately, but this woman--- well--- I don’t know what her problem is--- she seems to want to control every moment that I’m on air.
‘Now look Garry--- we don’t have to fight. I’m just doing my job. We’re supposed to be a team you know.’
That tone--- it drives me nuts. ‘No—you look Jean. You’re supposed to encourage the smooth flow of my show and comment when needed, but that’s it--- when needed. Got the picture? You talk too much and I’m bloody sick of hearing your voice in the middle of my chats. It interrupts my chain of thought. You don’t understand the subtleties of talk back. If people get upset by what I say--- that adds to the appeal. That’s why people listen--- it’s a bloody show!’ Ooops--- I’m shouting. Good—her face looks red—maybe she will get it.
‘You’re so wrong Garry. Yes it’s a show, but it is an informative one, where people get to discuss their views in a safe and rationale way.’
‘Give me a break Jean. What the fuck are you on?’
Please don’t use that language to me Garry. I won’t take it.’
‘Then get the fuck off my back you silly cow.’
‘You’ve gone too far Garry. I am going to take this to the manager. You haven’t heard the last of this. Now – please get to your place--- the programme starts in a few minutes.’
‘Show--- Jean--- it’s a show. Programme my arse.’
‘Damn--- I think I have gone too far this time--- but she gets me going. Oh well—it’s not the first time the boss has needed to see me. I better get the latest ratings--- that usually shuts him up. Two minutes to go--- better get in. I set myself up--- I have my favourite chair--- fits me like a glove, but speaking of gloves--- they are off if she speaks to me like that again.
‘Garry---we have breaking news---- stand by please.’
She said please--- Oh my God. ‘Ah---- OK Jean.’ Mmmm—that’s wasn’t so hard.
‘Good morning everyone. Hey we have breaking news--- be back to you in a few minutes.’
‘A body has been found at the lagoon near the old port. Police report that a group of walkers and their dogs found the body hidden in a flax bush. One of the dogs alerted its owner, who immediately called the police. The identity is unknown at this stage. Police are not saying at this stage if foul play is involved. The ladies who were walking are unavailable at this stage for comment. Victim support is talking to them.’
‘OK Garry--- you’re on.’
‘Wait Jean--- that’s the ladies I walk with after work--- give me a moment please?’
Shit--- I wonder if that was Cecelia or Marge—maybe it was Shirley. Hell--- they must be pretty messed up. Better text them.
‘Garry--- you look terrible--- are you OK?’
‘Can you play some music---ah---I think I know those ladies--- that’s where I walk.’
‘Just take your time Garry—I will play a back-up interview we have been meaning to air for quite some time--- mind you it may generate a bit of traffic too--- it’s about an unsolved murder--- you know--- that girl who disappeared last year--- the ten year old?
‘Yes I remember that--- thanks Jean.’ She is being nice to me.
I texted Cecelia. ‘Was dat yu hu found body?’ I waited a minute then—‘yip--- bloody awful—talkin to vikt suprt.’ I sent back----‘R u going back there later?’ She said---‘see ya then—bring a bottle--- joke’ I said---‘Right—bye—back on air..’ I sat for a few minutes thinking. Shit, those poor ladies. I know they’re pretty tough but that’s terrible. I hope they didn’t know the dead person.
‘Garry--- are you OK to continue? The interview has nearly finished.’
Where’s the tone? I’m not sure I can cope with this. The light came on.
‘Talk to me people. Yet another murder in our fair city. At least it’s not a kid this time.
‘Bad tastes Garry’
The bitch is back--- Oh well--- I knew it wouldn’t last.
‘Bad news--- the real bad thing is that I walk in that park. Makes you feel unsafe I reckon. We have John on line one. Hi John—how’s your day?’
‘Morning Garry. I suppose they’ll catch the bugger and give him a few years so he can come back and do it all again. I’m so sick of----‘
‘We all are John--- but lets catch him—or is it a her?’
‘Course it’s a man. Women don’t do that. Anyway—is the body a man or a woman?’
‘Wait John--- something’s just coming through.’
Police have just announced that the body found in the lagoon was that of a male aged in his early twenties. From all appearances, the body was dumped but shows no signs of injury. The police are interviewing several women who regularly walk in that area. Victim Support is also talking to the women. As yet, the victim has not been identified. The police are appealing for anyone who may have been in the vicinity of the lagoon late last night to contact the following number.
‘Still there John?
‘Yes-----I bet it’s gang related---a deal gone wrong.’
‘Don’t you think we should wait John--- you know—until we know more?’
‘They should all be lined up against the wall and shot--- or stick them on an island and let the buggers kill one another.’
Right--- thanks John. That was John’s take folks. Let’s have a commercial break.
I looked across at Jean, behind the glass. She sits alongside a receptionist. They love to save space and money. God--- they’re so damn penny pinching. I would have thought with the great ratings we achieve that they’d be raking in the money. Perhaps she feels a bit cramped. She smiles, in that supercilious way that I am sure she has cultivated since she came here. It seems to say---‘just remember Garry--- I’m your boss,’ and ‘you need me.’
‘Ready for the next call Garry?’
‘I nod and turn away, looking at the clock on the side-wall.
‘Todd—how’s your morning going?’
‘Better than yours is gonna be Garry.’ What a God-damned awful voice, I thought. It’s one of those that you can’t get out of your mind.
‘And why would that be Todd?’
‘I killed him Garry--- right by where you walk every day.’
‘What---this isn’t something to be joking about Todd—someone is dead.’
‘Just think Garry. It could have been you and that little black and white dog you walk with.’
‘Keep him on Garry.’ Jeans face looked ashen. That smile was well and truly gone. I felt a sudden chill course down my back.
‘You think you’re so smart eh---- you and your lady friends. I bet they’re shitting themselves now, cause I know they listen to you on their headphones if they’re walking.’
He’s been watching me. I don’t believe him, but he knows I walk with Spot and the ladies. Pull yourself together boy.
‘So you know I walk my dog there. What’s that prove Todd--- if that’s your real name.’
‘Keep him on Garry--we are on to the police and they are trying to check out where he’s ringing from--- hang in there.’ She had a desperate tone in her voice, quite unlike anything I had ever heard before--- even when I swear at her.
‘Todd---- this is all a bit hard to believe. Heaps of people know where I walk. God--- it’s even on my blog.’ Don’t lose it. He’s full of crap.
‘Don’t bother to try and trace me producer person. You really think I’m so stupid as to ring from my own phone. I just broke into a house--- they got nice stuff here too. I’ll take that gold antique clock when I leave--- better go—catch ya.’
I’m sure I’m sweating now—its dripping down my back. I doubt the guys for real, but still--- I’m getting an uncomfortable feeling about this.
‘Garry—they got the address—but I bet he’s long gone. You did well. I think you better call it a day. Jim here’s gonna take over the rest of your shift.’
‘‘Thanks Jean.’ My God—the lady’s got a heart.’
‘‘The police are here Garry. They would like to talk to you before you disappear.’
Bugger--- that’s all I need. Picking Spot up and going for an early walk sounds like a much better idea. They better be here soon, otherwise they can see me down at the lagoon—I bet the ladies will want to catch up with me too. ‘I’ll drink some of that crap coffee they try to make out as top-shelf.
‘Garry Thompson’? ----- Detective Sam Hunter. I won’t take up much of your time. Pity we didn’t get to that guy in time. It wasn’t far from here actually—but he had gone, with his goodies and I suspect that the car he used was stolen too.’
‘What---- you got all that already?’ I thought I’d be nice to them. You never know if this all turns out to be true.’
‘It’s looking pretty much that he knows a lot, even if he didn’t kill the guy. His knowledge of you and your mates walking must be taken seriously. I would stay away from the lagoon if I was you though.’
‘Fat chance detective--- I think I am more sacred of my dog not walking than that creep.’ Shit did I really say that? ‘I doubt that the ladies I walk with will be put off too.’
‘Look Garry--- we can’t be putting a watch tag on you--- it’s your risk.’
‘Fine with me Sam. Now, how can I help you? No doubt the lady behind the glass can let you hear the caller--- we keep the recordings for quite a while.’
‘Did he sound familiar to you Garry? More often than not, these people are known to the victim--- well you’re not a victim--- yet.’
‘You trying to scare me Sam--- well it’s working but I’m still going down there—just as soon as I pick up my monster.’ I really don’t feel like I sound.
‘Suit yourself Garry, but here’s my card, if you notice anything or anyone, should I say.’
‘Oh--- right. I’ll be off then.’
‘Just one more thing Garry. The dead guy was pretty messed up. We’re dealing with something pretty bad here and we don’t have a clue as to who it is. When I came in here, I heard from headquarters, that there is absolutely nothing on the deceased that points us in any direction. We know who he is now. He lives at a half-way house--- he seems or seemed harmless to anyone--- wouldn’t hurt a fly from what I can gather---- so be careful.’
‘Will do Sam,’ I said confidently----not.