Read Wasted Lives, a Detective Mike Bridger novel Online

Authors: Mark Bredenbeck

Tags: #thriller, #detective, #crime fiction, #new zealand, #gangs, #dunedin

Wasted Lives, a Detective Mike Bridger novel (10 page)

BOOK: Wasted Lives, a Detective Mike Bridger novel
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and I am pleased that you are just about to release him, I was just
about to suggest the same thing. You have absolutely no evidence to
suggest that my client was involved in anything other than drinking
in a public place. Last time I checked there is no 'liquor ban' at
Unity Park, so it’s not against the law". Jane Little was back to
being all business, "And as for using the guns and dogs when you
went looking for him...” Jane shook her head a little, "Don't you
think that was a little over the top?"

regarded Jane's challenging look she was giving him. Was this all a
game to her? He realised that they both lived in very different
worlds and he did not really know much about hers at all.

"We did what
we did for the safety of all those involved this morning...,
including your client", Bridger replied stonily. He was about to
continue when he saw Tama standing behind Jane in the doorway
making lewd sexual gestures behind her back. He wanted to reach
over and grab him by the throat and beat a confession out of him.
Teach the little shit he could not hide behind his Lawyer who he
obviously had no respect for either.

"We'll that's
all academic now", Jane said "I'll be speaking with my boss, Tama
may have a case to take this further, now if you'll excuse me".
Jane Little turned and let herself out of the door without even
acknowledging her client. Three sets of eyes following her

"She got you
there Mike", Steve said, his cheeks had a slight flush on them.

just stood there shaking his head. "Let's get this done", he said
angrily, turning back to Tama Wilson.


the fuck were you thinking Junior?", Joseph Kingi senior knew the
use of the name Junior would wind his son up, "Going shopping with
two losers like that, what have I always told you, keep it in the
fucking family". Word had reached him quickly, even through the
thick concrete walls of his world.

you, you old prick, if you didn't have such expensive tastes I
wouldn't need to would I.... Maybe it is time you stood aside....
There's not a lot you can do about it right now is there". Joseph
junior spat out his reply but it lacked conviction.

senior was not stupid; he knew the screws would be monitoring the
phones. Nothing was secret in prison, but as soon as he heard what
had happened he needed to get his son a message, the business
needed protecting. If Joseph junior lost control on the outside it
would make his position on the inside untenable, he had pissed off
to many people to not be the 'king pin' anymore.

"This is your
issue, you need to sort it. I don't care how..., just do it."
Joseph senior cut the connection before his son could reply. He had
said enough to get the message across but had been careful not to
say or do anything illegal. That will keep the screws scratching
their heads, he thought grimly.

the phone back on its cradle he turned and took in his
surroundings. He saw the same sterile painted concrete walls, the
same smell of desperation and despair leeching out of them. He had
been here for three long and arduous years and he had at least
another eight to go. If he had to be in this shit hole he wanted to
retain his position at the top of the pile, but his son was out of
control and that scared him. If Joseph junior did not look after
things, it opened up an opportunity for those trapped inside with
him to make a move. Without the threat on the outside keeping them
in line, some of those men scared him more than anyone had before.
He was getting to old and tired to have to assert his status
continually as a way of protection.

between desperate men caged together changed on the slightest
whisper of vulnerability and he was starting to feel vulnerable for
the first time since he was a child. A few tame screws on the
inside did nothing for his confidence either.

He had hoped
that his son would be able to step up and take care of business
after he went inside, unfortunately Joseph junior was just like the
rest, arrogant, dumb and full of his own importance, but with a
violent streak that would lead him straight to hell.

He did not
particularly like his son, but he was blood and that counted for

Rule number
one if you wanted a long and successful criminal career, never do
anything to warrant extra attention to yourself. Killing someone
outside of the world you lived in got you sent down faster than
anything did. The Police did not care if you blew each other away,
gang on gang, lender on defaulter, they would put in just enough
effort to show willing, but kill a civilian and they came down
hard. They poured all their resources into finding out which
subject of the underclass dared to take out one of their kind.

Joseph junior
had crossed a line even if he had not pulled the trigger.

needed to do something, but he could not let anyone see it coming
from him, that was not an option. With this in mind, he picked up
the phone and made another call. This might work to his advantage
after-all; maybe he could kill all the birds with the one stone. It
needed to work; he could not afford it not to.






was feeling a bit defeated as he sat on the table at the front of
the office shared by his squad. Looking out the window, which
afforded a great view of the city and up into the hill suburbs of
Dunedin, he could see people going about their day without a care
in the world. The sky was blue and the hills were green with early
summer growth. The town planners had made one good decision in
their design of the city; they retained a green belt that circled
the city on the lower hill suburbs, just above the Octagon. It made
it a beautiful city to live in.

What a pity it
does not stop us spoiling it though, he thought bitterly.

Maybe he
had jumped the gun a little in his rush to arrest Tama. He looked
about the room at the faces before him. There was more room now
they had it to themselves again and everyone was at their
respective desks, but the mood could not have been more different
from earlier. Anticipation of a quick result had reduced itself to
disbelief in a system that did not allow them to hold someone long
enough while they gathered evidence. Everyone has the right of
being promptly charged or, in the absence of evidence, be released
without charge... that was the rule. However, it was a rule that
gave them problems today. Tama was guilty, that was the consensus
within the team but the rules were against them. You should ideally
gain evidence before arresting someone because once you did the
clock started ticking, if it was not there after a certain period
then the suspect walked out the door without charge. Bridger had
played with the hand he had been dealt and now Tama knew the gamble
he had taken, Bridger would now be playing the rest of the deal
with a handicap.

Evidence was
one thing they were scarce of in this case, Bridger had taken the
gamble and arrested Tama quickly hoping that he would catch him off
guard so soon after the robbery. The outcome he would have liked
would have been a full confession from Tama and the shotgun located
at his house. A nice neat little bundle all wrapped up and ready
for court. That would have allayed the fears of the public while
they gathered evidence on Tama's co offenders. It would also have
done wonders for his confidence after his last efforts let him down
so badly.  It did not turn out the way he had hoped and he
felt deflated in front of his colleagues.

"Don't kick
yourself Mike, we all would have done exactly the same thing in
your shoes, it was the right call", Brian spoke with sincerity "We
moved fast...., as we should have, in an ideal world we would have
had more evidence before we grabbed him and sure it didn't pay off
this time....., but tomorrows another day".

"I agree, this
might sound harsh but Mr Chen can't get any more dead", Grant said,
"We have as long as it takes to get these guys, this is only day

The rest of
the team grunted in agreement.

The support of
his team did not do much for Bridger's mood. Another thing that was
bugging him was the use of resources in the district. Tama was a
hot suspect for a murder and his movements needed to be monitored,
especially right after he were released. He had spoken with Stan
Walton, officer in charge of surveillance, who had told him that
the team was out of town. He could not even get a valid reason.
Bloody sneaky beaky types they are always so secretive. Matthews
had not shed any light on the reasons either just saying that at
this stage their job was priority. He would have to just suck it up
and get on with it.

"Right, let’s
work out where we go from here then", he said, "We need to work on
the assumption that Tama along with two others robbed that store,
although we can't rule out the fact that it may be someone else
entirely.  One of them pulled the trigger, but they were all
involved in a joint enterprise. We need to nail down Tama's
friends. Who would he do this type of thing with?” Bridger looked
around the room for ideas.

"I still think
the gang connection is where we should be looking" Becky chipped in
"As Brian said earlier, it would be a big step up for Tama, he
wouldn't do this without the encouragement of someone pretty
serious....,  Joseph Kingi would be my bet".

"And I think
we should take a closer look at Martin McLaren as well, it’s
possible that is where Tama sprang from this morning before we
found him", Brian added.

Brian, Becky, you work on Joseph Kingi.  Grant and John,
you've got Martin, and Jo and I will follow up on Tama and anything
else that may arise". Bridger looked at the clock on the wall "We
all had a late night last night, there's not much to be gained by
staying late again tonight, make a start and look at knocking off
at about six, be back tomorrow for a seven o’clock briefing".
Everybody nodded their agreement and moved closer to their
respective partners to put their heads together.  

Before Bridger
had a chance to say anything to Jo, his office phone rang on his
desk. Picking up the receiver, he listened to the caller before
hanging up with a slight frown on his face.

"Brian, do you
remember Big J?” Bridger said, looking across the room.

"That’s Joseph
Kingi senior isn’t it? What about him?”

"I've just had
the Governor from the Milton Hilton on the phone; he had a request
through from Big J this afternoon. Joseph wants to see me..., in
person... and on my own".

"I would have
thought he would be no friend of yours after all it was you who put
him in that place. He got about twelve years didn't he?” Brian

"I'm guessing
he doesn't want to just pass the time of day... Still he's Joseph
junior's father and junior is on our suspect list so I guess I will
have to go and see him tomorrow as requested". Bridger said, with a
slightly uneasy feeling.


He was limping
slightly as he walked up into the Octagon in the central city area.
They had taken his clothes, to look for evidence they had said. He
was dressed only in old sweat pants and top they had found in lost
property. He did not care; they smelt better than what he had given
them in return.

It was less
than a block from the police station but already he felt himself
relaxing again. He could see the blue sky above the trees
surrounding the grassy area that was a feature of the upper part
near the town hall and church. There were people playing a big game
of Chess with oversize pieces on the paved area of the bottom near
the bars and restaurants, the normality of life.

The drugs and
alcohol had worn off but the painkillers and feeling of excitement
was more than enough to sustain Tama's mood. They had let him go;
the police had nothing on him. They could not prove a thing and he
had kept his mouth shut just like in the movies. J man was going to
be impressed he was sure. This would show him how loyal he was,
what a good soldier he would make. He hoped it would cement those
thoughts in J man's mind and show he was worthy of a 'Patch'.

Tama shrugged
his shoulders and grabbed at an imaginary vest, trying to see how
it would feel to have the leather around him, the patch on his
back, the symbol of power and belonging. People continued to walk
around him unknowing or uncaring, they thought he was just another
dumb loser from up on the hill. Well that would change for sure,
once he had the patch they would take notice, people always looked
at the patch.

His father had
one, a long time ago, before he went to prison. Tama had only vague
memories of his father, a big man with a big personality. He always
had a beer in his hand and a smile on his face, and he always had
the patch on his back. His father was the protector in those days,
nothing touched his family while dad was around, although he knew
not to cross his father or he would take a beating.

It was
not long after his father went to jail when it started happening,
Martin’s stepfather started coming around with the pretence of
helping his mother. His mother was always too drunk to care. That
pervert just helped himself and when he got bored, it stopped, just
like that. It had left him confused at first, as if he was not
worthy anymore; he had grown so used to the attention he received
that it scared him to be suddenly alone. He could not remember
clearly, or what had happened exactly, as it was so long ago and he
was young, but he knew in his gut that it was not pleasant.
Fragmented memories fighting against his minds need to suppress

BOOK: Wasted Lives, a Detective Mike Bridger novel
6.54Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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