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 (6 page)

BOOK: Wasted Lives, a Detective Mike Bridger novel
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He had
continued to walk, hour after hour, until the sky had grown
lighter. He did not want to go home, but he did not want to stay in
the cold. He was at a loss; the image of the man with the ugly red
hole in his back kept running through his mind, the girl looking at
him, accusing him with her eyes. He could not shake the feeling of
shame he felt when he saw those eyes in his head.

He had
bought the Vodka in an attempt to numb his senses, but all it did
was make him feel even more depressed. Why did he let Tama talk him
into this? He knew Joseph was an arsehole. It was always going to
go bad.

He wondered
for a second how Tama was feeling, he could just about see the
corner of Tama's house from where he was standing, it looked cold
and uninviting in the early morning greyness. He could not quite
see his own house, but the need for sleep drew him closer. He would
have to suck it up and go indoors.

Opening
the door as quietly as possible, he walked into the hallway, the
smell of stale cooking fat invading his senses. He could hear him
snoring in the lounge room but he knew he would not wake. He would
still be out of his head, high on whatever he had managed to get
his hands on the night before. If he were in the lounge then his
mother would still be at work, doing the night shift in the nursing
home, it was always the same.

It had been a
few years now since he had felt afraid to be in the house on his
own with him, but he always felt the shame. He had never told
anyone what happened, especially not his mother. It was something
he had learnt to live with, but it was always there between
them.

He saw the way
he looked at him, a sort of guilty challenge in his eyes. They did
not talk anymore, not that he had ever said much to him in the
first place. Martin patted the money in his pocket.

It's a start;
he knew this was his ticket out of the shithole he lived in.

Closing the
door of his bedroom, he lifted the corner of the frayed carpet.
Underneath he prised a loose board up with his fingernails. It
revealed a small cavity in which he put the money before replacing
the board and covering it back up with the carpet. 'It's enough to
get me started' he said to himself as he lay down on his bed, not
bothering to undress he closed his eyes, dreaming of the new world
he would inhabit.

 

"Martin, wake
up man, we're in the paper bro". Martin opened his eyes with a
start to see Tama standing at the foot of his bed moving from side
to side. "We're in the fucking paper, have a look, how fucking cool
is that man, we're gonna be legends".

"Tama shut the
fuck up, he might hear you. You dumb shit".

"Who
will? Your stepfather? That deviant prick is still passed out on
the couch in the lounge, he ain't hearing shit". Tama carried on
moving from side to side.

Tama
looked wired, as if he had not slept. His eyes were bloodshot and
his pupils dilated. The way he was fidgeting Martin could tell he
was on something.

He looked out
the window and saw a bright cloudless sky, the sort of spring day
you look forward to when you were young, full of promise.

Not today
though, he thought.

"Forget about
him, have a look at this", Tama shoved the paper in his face.

He
thought he could see the headline screaming, 'We know who you are
and we're coming to get you'. However, it was only a small quarter
at the bottom of the front-page reading, ‘North end dairy robbed at
gunpoint'. It went on to say the male proprietor was in a critical
condition at Dunedin Hospital. It went on to say, the Police had
only a few lines of inquiry to follow up in relation to the
shooting. The image of the old man came back to him; he did not
bother to read any more.

"What are you
so happy about Tama; you shot a man last night. He might die".

Tama's
face was incapable of emotion in his heightened state. "The gun
just went off..., but I don't care anyway. I stopped J man from
getting the bash. You could see he was impressed, that fucking
little piece of shit came out of nowhere man, but I took care of
it".

He could
almost hear a sense of pride in Tama's voice when he spoke, Joseph
bloody Kingi must have been bigging him up all night, making him
feel like a real star. Martin did not bother to mention to Tama
that he had run out and left him at the store. It was not Tama's
fault; not really, he would kill for attention from the gang. He
just about did. Nevertheless, Joseph had put him in that
position.

"Where's
the gun now?” He asked.

"It's in this
bag", Tama said, picking up a blue sports bag off the floor. "J man
said to hide it someplace safe then come and get you. He wants to
see you Martin; he didn't say what it was about".

Tama opened
the bag slightly revealing the ugly presence of tarnished grey
metal sitting side by side on top of a mottled and splintered
wooden stock. The ends of the shortened barrels showing the silver
of recently cut steel still rough around the edges; there was
obviously no care taken when modifying the benign but evil
object.

He
started to get an uneasy feeling in his stomach, a summons from
Joseph Kingi usually did not end to well, and it looked like he was
going to distance himself from last night by making Tama dispose of
his gun. He got himself off the bed and looked at Tama who was
still hopping from side to side, an excited but serious look on his
face. The boy had no idea what he had done. He and Tama were the
same age but he saw Tama as a boy; his mental age had never
progressed past his first year at high school. He lived in a world
where respect came from the wrong type of actions and the people
whose respect he craved would never give a shit about Tama. He was
always going to be expendable.

"Well we
had better get that bag hidden then T, and get round to your mate J
man's house". He tried for a smile, only half managing it. There
was no way he wanted to panic Tama in his state; and he did not
want to let him take them both down by doing something stupid.
"We'll dump it over in the Golf Course, I know a good
place".

"You're a
fucking legend, Star".

 

Martin
never understood Golf as a sport, old men and their little
trolleys, and their little balls. Rugby League, now that was a
sport for men. They were warriors, hard men that played hard.
Nobody gave any quarter and none expected in a sport like
that.

As it
was though they saw no one on the golf course this morning except
for someone driving a tractor mower over in the opposite corner,
although it was too far away to bother them where they were going.
He looked around at the green space; it was so vast and empty. They
were nearing a stand of pine trees, turning his head back behind
him to check for anyone following, he could see the view over the
city and all the way to the Pacific Ocean. It's funny he thought,
the view seems so perfect out here in the rich man’s domain, but
step off the green of the golf course back into the estate that
surrounded it, the place they called home, and the view changed. It
was the same view but seen from the wrong perspective. Instead of
being something to admire, it was something he could never hope to
be part of, stuck in the shithole he lived in, trapped in a life of
poverty.

They
reached the right place and stopped. Crouching down he pushed the
pine needles away from the base of the tree revealing a small
cavity beneath. Grabbing the bag from Tama, he shoved it as far as
he could into the hole before covering it with the pine needles.
Standing, he looked over towards the road, less than a few hundred
metres away, obscured by the trees, was 'The Pad'. Joseph Kingi
junior’s domain, his seat of power, barricaded from view by a high
fence.

He
preyed on the weak to feed his lifestyle, backed by a crew of thugs
who were loyal to the patch. Joseph’s coveted patch came to him as
a birthright. He did not need to earn it, but it did not stop him
leading by example. When Joseph's father had been in charge, the
patch had stood for something in the community. They did not offend
against their own, but they made sure people knew who were in
charge; they commanded respect with a fear in people that they did
not see themselves.

That had
all changed just before Joseph senior had gone to prison; he had
lost his way in life. The drugs he was using made his leadership
untenable. A violent man by nature with a quick temper he would
lash out without provocation and for any reason. The drugs
intensified this behaviour and a spiralling habit led to more and
more risk taking to feed the habit. Eventually Kingi Senior had
lost control and everything had to come to a head. The Police
caught up with his behaviour and arrested Kingi and jail was the
obvious outcome. He went away for various offences leaving his then
eighteen-year-old son in charge. The fear remained in the community
but for a different reason. The new blood had started to rise up
through the gang, bringing with them the horrors of their
upbringing, the effects intensified by Methamphetamines and heavy
Cannabis use passed on by the elders. These were a new breed of
gang member, young men not in control of their emotions, living for
today and not caring who they hurt in the process. They were all
high on the power that fear and intimidation gave them, and right
at the top of that pile was Joseph junior.

The older
members, still loyal to Joseph senior had distanced themselves from
the day-to-day activities of the gang and hardly ever came to the
pad. The young Turks had control, and like a twisted sequel to
'Lord of the Flies' they were all jostling for position amongst
their peers, a hierarchy in an anarchic world of chaos.

He could
see the bottom dwellers on the fence now, the lowest ranking
members always found themselves on sentry duty and their heads were
constantly popping up over the high fence, wired looking eyes
scanning for potential threats. To Martin they were no more than
glorified doorman. They were only there to vet, and then let any
potential visitors through the barricades. Hardly worth having in
Dunedin, the only real threat they faced was from the Police, and
then they were hardly likely to ask nicely to come in.

As they
neared the fence line, he could tell Tama was getting more and more
excited.

"J man
was really pumped last night, he couldn't stop talking about it,"
he was saying, his voice slightly higher in pitch than usual."Man,
he told me he might get me a patch for what I did, how fucking cool
would that be".

He
looked at Tama; he was smiling through wired eyes, it was one of
his biggest dreams. He had been going on about it ever since he had
known him. At one time, it would have been his dream as well,
getting a patch in his world meant you had made it, that you were
someone that people could look up to, and that was
everything.

Unlike
Tama, he no longer wanted to be a big man in his world; he wanted
to be any man in a new world, somewhere his memories would be free
of where he came from and what he had experienced.

The
sentries must have seen them coming as the large wooden gate swung
open in front of them without having to knock. Inside, the two
young men on sentry duty said nothing as they walked through. They
were looking at Tama with jealous expressions, eyes that betrayed
envy and awe in the same instance. Tama's posture had taken on a
confident swagger as he walked through the yard, parading his
newfound status to those that cared. One of the two sentries
recognised Martin and flicked his chin in the air as a greeting.
Martin returned the gesture; he knew the face, but he had forgotten
his name.

"What were you
doing over in the trees Star?” The sentry asked.

The
question was innocent enough but he was not about to let on the
truth. "T needed to take a leak didn't you T". He looked at Tama
hoping he would realise what he was doing.

"Yeah...
that's right, hope you didn't see too much bro, don't want you
getting jealous or something". Tama grabbed his crotch with his
left hand and grinned.

"Yeah
right", the sentry replied, then pointed to the main building "J
mans in there".

Entering the
dark musty hallway of the building Martin saw Tama's shoulders drop
again, confidence seeping out of him.

The
smell of stale beer and Cannabis had permeated into the carpets and
walls giving the place a distinctive smell. He had only been in the
place once before but it was the same smell he
remembered.

Tama seemed to
know where he was going so he followed closely behind, conscious of
the doors he passed, partially open, glimpses of a twisted humanity
inside them.

He saw a
dreadlocked male with a belt around his bicep, in one room, needle
in his hand. There was a partially naked girl with dead eyes in the
next; a fat hairy man was taking her from behind on a bed with no
sheets, while another male had passed out in a chair beside them,
oblivious. Two women were in another, crying onto each other’s
shoulders. Music was pumping out of the room at the end of the
hallway. He could feel the heavy beat and heard crass lyrics that
spat out of the speakers with the angst of the oppressed. The party
from last night had not stopped.

"Star…, good
of you to come". Joseph said looking up from the floor as they
entered the darkened room. His voice was only just audible over the
loud music.

BOOK: Wasted Lives, a Detective Mike Bridger novel
6.43Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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