The Good, the Bad and the Ugly....Chapter 3.
If you haven't read Chapters 1 and 2, they are just below this post, before the Superbowl post. It might be advisable to read them first before attacking Chapter 3.
If you haven't read Chapters 1 and 2, they are just below this post, before the Superbowl post. It might be advisable to read them first before attacking Chapter 3.
Island life went on as usual. The sun shone during the day, sometimes tropical rain fell through the night. My staff continued to party together up in their quarters, purchasing beer jugs full of “Orgasms” that they made themselves with absolutely no concept of liquid measurements; each jug for a princely sum of two dollars. G and his family stood on the outside looking in. It was as if an invisible wall prevented them or wouldn’t allow them to blend in with the rest of us. They faded into the background, living in their own created world of meditation, auras, vegetarianism, sobriety, purity, white shorts and white t-shirts. Libby was still very pregnant. Nothing had changed there, much to the curiosity of the rest of us. Her pregnancy seemed to be endless. When the family first arrived on the island, I was informed her time was close. It was not for me to ask further questions. The guru had made it perfectly clear the first time we met that he had everything under control. So why should a mere mortal such as I question his wisdom? G learned to keep his distance from me. He did whatever he did. I still had no idea what that was. I wasn’t really interested in what he did as long as he didn’t do it around me, or try to convert my staff to his “Orange-People” way of thinking. Like me, he was paid monthly, so I attended to that on his behalf through the Brisbane head office, other than that he went his way and I continued along my own way, the path I had tread since landing on the island.
The day had been long, followed by an equally long night, nothing unusual. Most mornings I was in my office around , sometimes before six, sometimes shortly thereafter. After locking the bar area, setting up the barricades to prevent the wallabies entering the restaurant while it was unattended , I strolled wearily, though pleased with the day’s events, back to the peace and quiet of my little haven; to my sanctuary and the privacy that I fiercely protected. Tossing my clothes aside, I crawled into my welcoming bed. It’s impossible to go straight to sleep after a busy day and night. It would be like going to bed immediately after one arrived home at the completion of a-nine-to-five job. It just doesn’t work that way. One’s adrenalin is still at a massive high, speaking for myself, anyway. However, I needed to be able to go to sleep as quickly as I could, because no matter what time I finished my day, I still had to rise early the following morning and do it all over again. I found a fool-proof method of lulling my mind as an aid in sending me to sleep quickly. In my green-grocery/health-food store in Noosa Heads, I also sold “
I’d arrived back home from the restaurant shortly before . To this day, I still find what occurred next very strange. I’m not certain what woke me; the orange-red flash of light or the screams. Later, I half-heartedly convinced myself that it wasn’t some kind of strange psychic phenomenon that, in fact, I had fallen asleep and had begun to dream. The sudden brilliant, though evanescent blaze was part of the dream. Whatever one caused me to waken I’m not sure, but I sat bolt-right up in my bed. In the first instance, I thought one of my female staff was in trouble when I heard the screaming. Quickly I realized it would be impossible for me to hear any noise from the staff quarters because they were far-removed from my house. With the generator shed and other work-buildings in between the quarters and where I resided, it was not possible to hear anything going on over at the quarters . These thoughts busily whizzed through my mind in a micro-minute, then I heard footsteps crunching through the leaves outside of my house and my name being called.
“Lee…come! Lee…come…Libby’s in trouble!” It was G, calling out to me.
I jumped out of bed, quickly throwing on some clothes. By this time, G had climbed my spiral staircase up to where my living/sleeping area was.
“Lee…can you come. It’s Libby…I need you to come straight away. Libby…I think she’s in trouble.” He repeated.
“Of course…the baby, G… ” I replied. “How’s the baby? Is the baby okay? I’ll ring the mainland.”
“No, no…don’t ring anyone…I want you to come now…the baby’s fine,” he answered quickly, as I led him back down the stairs. “Just come…it’s Libby…I’m worried about Libby.”
“Are you sure the baby is okay, G?” I asked again, receiving a hurried grunt in reply.
Few words passed between him and me as we ran through the 200 metres or so of trees and shrubs to his cabin.
Leaping up the four stairs to the cabin's entrance, two at a time, I stepped into the front room where I discovered Libby sitting on the floor, her baby in her arms. The two small children crouched on the floor with their poor little eyes as large as saucers, looked questioningly at me. I knelt down between the children and their mother, purposely blocking their views. I sensed in the pit of my stomach all was not well within this little household.
Libby, her lifeless baby clutched in her arms, stared at me, silent tears running down her drawn face.
Gently, I stroked her face and asked her, “The baby…is the baby all right, Libby?” I knew the answer. I knew it before I left my own house.
I turned to G, who was hovering around looking useless.
“Have you tried everything?” I could barely look at him.
I tried resuscitation to no avail. I thought later perhaps I should not have done that, but in the moment, I knew I had to try. I had to try to do something. There in front me in the arms of its grieving mother was a beautiful, fully-formed baby boy, who must have weighed around 8lbs or more. The young woman before me had carried this baby boy in her body for, I believe, well over nine months. To the side of me, G prowled around in the adjoining room, a man I had had little respect for and now I had none whatsoever! The well was dry.
The children still had uttered not a word since my arrival. I took their hands and led them to bed, tucking them up together, telling them everything was fine. I hugged both of them, holding onto the poor little babies for some moments before I pulled up their blanket, stroked their hair and their foreheads and kissed them. I made some stupid, silly joke, which brought a smile to their dear, innocent faces. They should never have witnessed what went on in that cabin that night.
After settling the children down, I urged Libby to move from the floor to a sofa in the other room. Meanwhile, “Mr. Squeaky-Clean” was washing his hands in the bathroom sink. I went in to the bathroom and stood beside him, quietly saying;
“I’m going back to my house now, G…I’m going to ring the police, Bob*, and whomever else I have to ring. When the police get here, I advise you to have your story straight. I also want you to know, as far as I am concerned what happened here tonight…is murder. So, I repeat…you had better get your story straight when the police get here!”
*(Bob was the skipper of the Reef Cat…the contracted island powered catamaran)
I felt cold. I felt hard. I felt an anger I had never felt before.
Checking that Libby was comfortable, I said nothing further to G before heading back home to make the necessary telephone calls. G knew exactly where he stood with me.
It was when I made my first call. It was to the police in Cardwell, the small town directly across the waters on the mainland. I knew the policemen stationed there as they visited the resort a couple times purely for reasons of pleasure. This time there would be nothing pleasant about their visit. I told the constable what had occurred, as much as I knew of the situation. The mutual disgust felt was clear in both our voices. He informed me he would have to get in touch with the coroner on Innisfail. Innisfail is a sugar town, approximately 90 minutes north of Cardwell. After we finished our discussion, I then rang Bob, the skipper of the “Reef Cat” the boat carried guests and provisions to the resort. This, remember, was all happening around . Everyone was sound asleep, of course, until my telephone calls. I quickly showered and changed my clothes after I made those first calls. Then I left my house to go back across to G’s cabin, mainly to check on Libby and also to let them both know what I had organised. I advised G to stay by Libby’s side as she needed him there as did their two small children, who by now were sleeping, thankfully. I definitely didn’t want him near me in my office.
I sat by the telephone. Bob and I liaised back and forth. He was very helpful to me, advising me as soon as the coroner arrived from Innisfail, the boat would be on its way with the coroner and police on board. His wife, Bonnie, would telephone me upon their departure. En route, Bob always kept in contact with me by sea-radio so I would be kept in the loop.
As the sun began to peep over the horizon, I couldn’t sit still any longer. All was quiet on the island except for the birds greeting the dawn. I wandered out onto the timber deck overlooking the beach and ocean. I don’t know where my mind or heart was. Both were spinning around in turmoil and anger. My staff and guests were still asleep in their beds. The only life that stirred around the restaurant area was me and “Mr. B”, one of the resort wallabies. He fluttered his eyelashes at me, acknowledging my presence before hopping on his way.
I had to do something rather than pace up and down waiting for the boat to arrive. I grabbed the large outdoor broom and began furiously sweeping the deck. I think I was trying to sweep away all the hurt, the disgust, pain and fury. Graham, my brother was first to appear around . With a surprised look on his face, he said to me, “What are you doing that for at this hour? That’s my job!”
I looked at him. All that tumbled out of my mouth was, “The baby…”
He knew immediately from the sound of my voice and the look on my face what had happened.
“The fucking bastard!” He growled. “That fucking sanctimonious bastard!”
I crumbled, bursting into tears for the first time. My brother, who wasn’t normally demonstrative, put his arm around my shoulder, removing the broom from my hands.
“Leave this shit alone,” he said, meaning the sweeping. “Let the fucking deck rot!”
He did have a way with words.
Together at one of the deck tables, we sat quietly until I got the call from Bob on the radio, telling me he was about five minutes away from the jetty. Graham and I went down to the jetty to meet the boat and its occupants. This time, there would be no cheerful ‘greet and meet'.
To the day I die, I will retain the vision in my mind of the coroner as he stepped off the boat, a small creamy-white coffin in his hands. It was a sad, serious party of people who walked up to the resort that morning. The time was . I left Bob with Graham. Then, I led the police and coroner over to G’s cabin. After the initial introductions, I parted company, leaving them to it. I returned to Graham and Bob. The three of us sat, dazed, sipping on coffee, talking quietly amongst ourselves until the police and coroner returned. G came with them, leaving Libby at the cabin with the two children. I spoke briefly with the police and coroner before they departed for the mainland. I walked with them back down to the boat.
“See you soon,” said Bob.
He was due back again for his regular visit with provisions and any guests at .
The rest of the staff began to stir, arriving down to the restaurant bleary-eyed for their breakfast and daily work-sheets. I gathered them together to inform them of what had occurred while they were sleeping. It was a difficult morning, but they reacted marvelously, going about their business with quiet dignity.
Just after , I received a call from Bob, saying he had a surprise on board for me, also advising me that the boat was almost ready to pull into the jetty. I really wasn’t in the mood for any more surprises. Because Bob also advised he had no guests or day-trippers with him, I didn’t go down to meet the boat, something I always did when guests were on board. I was in my office when I looked up to see Q standing at in the doorway. He hadn’t warned me of his pending visit. Q had been overseeing one of his construction sites in the North and decided to make an impromptu visit to the resort. Bob, of course, couldn’t contain himself and had filled Q in on what had happened that morning.
Q and I went outside to sit at a table on the deck away from people. I think we just made small talk for the first couple of minutes until I swung the conversation around to G, Libby and the baby.
The moment Q opened his mouth and said, “Well, it’s life, you know. Life has a way of finding its own level. In time, the reason will…”
That’s as far as I allowed him to go before I turned on him.
Furious, I jumped up from the table.
“Don’t you dare start sprouting any of your fucking philosophies of life at me!” I spat out at him. “You weren’t here! You didn’t carry that little baby in your arms! I did! You didn’t see the coffin…the tiny, little coffin! I did! I don’t want to hear any of your fucking bullshit, Q!”
Yes, I was my brother’s sister! There are times that certain words depict exactly what and how one is feeling. I have no hesitation in using them.
Storming off, I turned. “I’m ringing David to come and get me! I’m out of here for the day. You can look after yourself. You can go and share wisdoms with G. He’s over in his cabin! You both can go to Hell, as far as I’m concerned!”
David lived in Tully, a sugar cane and banana producing town about 30 minutes north of Cardwell. He worked in the boating industry. We met after I arrived on the island and struck up a close friendship, a relationship that lasted a year or so.
I telephoned David. After telling him what had happened, I asked if he could come down to the island, pick me up and take me to the creeks that ran off from
I had quickly thrown together some sandwiches, fruit and cold drinks, mostly for David as I certainly didn’t have an appetite. Cruising up one of the creeks, we set anchor. The rest of the day was spent quietly, speaking only when necessary or when I felt like talking. David understood how I was feeling. His empathy was astonishing. He didn’t press me to talk. He was there…for me. By the time, we rejoined humanity back at the resort, Bob had already returned to the mainland with Q on board. I was relieved as I had no desire to see him. That evening I didn’t go into the restaurant. I couldn’t face people. I couldn’t put on a façade of cheerfulness. David and I sat out on the small deck at my house. I cried and cried. I sobbed.
G and Libby, with the two children remained in or around their cabin for the next couple of days. Hardly were they seen by any of us. He came to the staff room at meal times to fill plates of food to take back to the family. One morning G informed me that he and the family were going off the island for a couple of weeks for a break. I nodded, agreeing I thought it was a very good idea. He told me that they might return to the island by sea-plane as he had decided to spread the baby’s ashes over the ocean. I just looked at him. I had no comment to give. I did think, though, that it was strange they would do that as they had only been in the area for a couple of months. Each to their own, I guess. I never understood his way of thinking, anyhow. Why should I begin to do so?
Things fell back into normal routine. The family wasn’t missed while it was away from the island. Then one day I received a telephone call from G informing me that they were returning to the island the following morning and that they had made up their minds to come back for good. Fair enough, I thought.
G and Co., arrived the following day, settling back into the cabin and island life as if nothing had happened and they’d just been away on a holiday, which, I guess, they had been. G acted his usual righteous self. I wasn’t going to bring up the subject of the baby. It wasn’t my place to do so. My position and feelings had been made perfectly clear at the moment in time.
The police rang me one day prior to G’s return, asking, if required, would I be prepared to make a statement of the evening in question. Without hesitation, I agreed to do so whenever they needed me. Strangely, it never happened. I was never called upon to make a statement.
The day after G returned to the resort, his path and mine crossed. He walked into my office with something to say to me. Whatever it was, I forget. He placed his hand on my shoulder. Angrily, I shrugged it off and spun towards him, with my eyes blazing. If I’d had fangs they would have been bared and glistening!
“If you ever touch me again,” I spat at him. “I promise you here and now, I will ‘deck’ you. Don’t for one moment think that I won’t! You believe you have an aura around you. Well, so do I…and I do not want you infringing upon my space. Don’t you ever touch me…ever, again. I will say ‘Hello’ to you when I see you each morning, but other than that, I want no other dealings with you.”
He knew I meant what I said. He left my office and thereafter I had little to do with him, only when absolutely necessary.
It wasn’t long after that incident he told me he and his family were leaving the island, once again, but this time forever. I just nodded and asked, “When?”
The day came. He led the way down the jetty to the punt to carry them out to the sea-plane. I walked behind with Libby and the two children. She lingered back a little when G climbed on board the punt and reached for the children. Libby stood very close to me. I suddenly realized she had been doing so during our walk along the jetty. She paused and turned to me before climbing into the punt. We locked eyes. I could see sadness in her eyes, a sadness I believe will remain in her eyes for the rest of her life. I reached out to her, taking her in my arms. We hugged each other. I held her apart from me. Looking directly into her eyes, lowering my voice, I said to Libby, “You take care of yourself…take good care of yourself. Do you hear me?” Barely noticeable, she nodded her head. Libby understood what I meant.
I didn’t bid farewell to G. I did to the children and to Libby. To me he didn’t exist. He was nobody.
A few years later, I heard Libby had left G, taking her two children with her. I smiled. She had known what I meant.