At the early
age of fourteen, he began employment in an iron foundry. At twenty-one, he
enlisted in the Regular Army for six years, serving with the Royal Australian
matriculated and joined the Australian Public Service, rising to a management
now lives a quiet life with his wife, Lyn, on
The writing bug then hit him and he has been busy ever since. He now has eight completed manuscripts, ranging from political thrillers to a wartime family saga. Double Imperative is his first published work.
one-thirty a.m., the twenty-storey building that provided office space for
Sydney’s federal parliamentarians was in complete darkness, apart from a
solitary torch light moving about within the private office of the Honourable
Robert Dunstan, the Federal Minister for Minerals and Energy. An almost full
moon illuminated the white interior of the contemporary office setting as a man
dressed in dark clothing attempted to break into the powerful politician’s
private office safe. At his disposal, the intruder possessed the latest device
for cracking even the most sophisticated combinations. He’d done it all so
many times before. He smiled with satisfaction when he remembered the time
he’d examined the contents of the Indonesian ambassador’s private safe. A
number of political decisions were thus made as a direct consequence of his
the third time his surgical-gloved hand spun the dial, his face breaking out
into a smug smile as the safe’s thick metal door clicked open.
the torch, the man briefly examined the safe’s contents, selecting certain
documents relevant to the matter in which his organisation was vitally
interested. After a few moments, he retrieved a miniature camera from his pocket
and quickly photographed the documents. Once the task was completed, he
carefully returned the documents to the safe, ensuring every page was placed in
the same order it was removed.
was in the process of closing the safe’s metal door when he heard a distinct
sound. He felt the hair on the back of his neck rise.
door to the office had been opened. The light to the Minister’s office was
switched on, illuminating the room. He spun around to face the three men who had
just entered. A man holding a revolver was well known to the intruder. He was of
average height and build, immaculately dressed and groomed. He looked at the
intruder contemptuously, then smiled his most charming smile. The gun, however,
remained steady in his hand.
The voice was cultured, the tone sarcastic. ‘What a surprise to find you here.
I thought all our dedicated staff had gone home.’ He chuckled. ‘But you have
two occupations, don’t you?’
two individuals who accompanied the well-groomed man were both large, thickset,
middle-aged men. The bald henchman’s head shone under the fluorescent light. A
large crooked nose gave the impression he’d been a fighter at some previous
time in his life. The other man was heavily tattooed, with dark greasy hair. A
pronounced paunch hung over his belt line.
trapped intruder looked from one to the other, desperately trying to think of
some way out of his predicament. He was well aware of the gravity of his
situation, especially where the immaculately dressed man was concerned. This was
an unscrupulous individual, presently in a position of power, but who was
operating on the fringe of the law. His greasy-haired henchman, who remained
near the doorway, removed a cigarette from the packet in his shirt pocket and
slowly lit up, while his bald colleague moved further into the room to be closer
to the man with the Beretta in his hand.
even think about it, Geoffrey.’ The well-dressed man’s tone was almost
friendly. ‘I’d cut you down in a second. But you know that, don’t you?’
the intruder spoke. ‘What are you going to do, Andrews? Call the police?’
man called Andrews laughed out loud. ‘I’m sure you’d like that. Then your
friends at ASIO could come and get you, couldn’t they?’
Higgins lifted his shoulders in a pronounced shrug. ‘I don’t know what you
are talking about.’
don’t? What a load of rubbish,’ Andrews chuckled. ‘What were you looking
for in the safe?’
Andrews laughed, which prompted his bald-headed henchman to join in. ‘He
thinks we’re fools, boss. We know he wants something else besides money,
up, imbecile,’ Andrews ordered curtly, the rebuke immediately silencing his
Andrews turned back to admonish his assistant, he momentarily removed his eyes
from the intruder. This brief interruption provided Higgins with his only
chance. Grabbing a heavy glass ashtray from the Minister’s desk, he hurled it
in the direction of Andrews who just had time to duck out of harm’s way. The
object flew across the room, finally connecting with the bald man’s shoulder.
He screamed loudly, gripping his upper arm in pain. Before his opposition had a
chance to recover, Higgins shoulder-charged the other thickset henchman,
knocking him sideways, off-balance, before sprinting from the Minister’s
private enclosure to the outer office. He desperately needed to reach the front
entrance to the politician’s suite and, hopefully, the darkness of the
building’s interior. This would provide him with temporary shelter. To his
dismay, loud footsteps were right behind him, the sharp crack of the Beretta
coinciding with the sharp pain of a bullet entering his right thigh.
Higgins stumbled to the floor, he grabbed his upper leg, writhing in agony.
Looking up, he watched helplessly as Andrews and his two burly companions slowly
walked towards him.
naughty, Geoffrey.’ The tone was again sarcastically friendly. ‘All that
blood messing up our floor. What will Mr Dunstan say?’
Mr Dunstan,’ was all Higgins could think to say as the realisation hit home
that he was finished.
nice, Geoff, not nice.’ John Andrews was enjoying himself. ‘Now we wish to
ask you a few questions.’
the matter, the naughty cat got your tongue?’ Andrews gave a short explosive
laugh, before his tone became deadly serious. ‘Right, the first thing we want
to know is how ASIO came to know all about our little project?’
think I’ll tell you?’ was the defiant reply.
thought someone like you might prove difficult so I brought along some truth
serum to help you.’ Andrews removed a hypodermic syringe from his pocket.
‘Hold him tight.’
two henchmen descended on the defenceless man, removing his black leather jacket
before tearing the sleeve from his shirt.
boys, not too rough now.’ Andrews feigned concern.
he knelt down, Andrews pointed the syringe towards a prominent vein in the
captured man’s arm.
the bloody hell did you know about me?’ Higgins’ voice was incredulous.
examined the furrows of pain on the brow of his captive. ‘And I thought we’d
be doing the questioning.’ He took a deep breath. ‘Oh, I don’t think it
will do any harm to tell you. After all, you won’t be telling any of your
friends, will you?’ He gave another small laugh. ‘All right, I’ll be
frank, our contact at ASIO told me.’
he exploded, ‘Birch was right.’
they now know we have a spy in the organisation, do they?’ Andrews raised his
eyebrows. ‘How perceptive of them. Funny, isn’t it, money will buy almost
anything, which doesn’t say much for society as a whole, does it?’ The smirk
left his face. ‘Now to the business at hand.’ Andrews carefully inserted the
needle in the vein and gently squeezed. After several moments, Higgins’ head
began to droop. ‘Just a little longer, boys. Then we’ll start.’
minutes later, Andrews checked his watch and nodded, before kneeling beside his
victim. ‘How did ASIO come to find out about our little project?’ he asked
… just through luck.’ The voice was slurred. ‘F … for security reasons,
we … we often eavesdrop on the conversations of our politicians. It was …
just luck that we chose to monitor one of Dunstan’s calls on … that
was he speaking to?’ Andrews asked evenly.
… French Ambassador.’
see.’ Andrews paused. ‘What did he say?’
Minister was … negotiating … a price for pure-grade uranium. An
extraordinarily large quantity. The Ambassador was acting as a … go-between
for a French energy conglomerate.’
the Minister, he can do that.’
was talking about … something on a massive scale. Something way beyond
your credentials were perfect, Geoffrey. Are you sure that this is all ASIO
knows?’ Andrews asked calmly.
I was photographing more information tonight.’
response brought a smug smile to Andrews’ face. ‘I’m sorry to say that the
information in the safe, which you photographed tonight, was just bullshit, to
use the colloquial. Not worth a cracker, I’m afraid, old chap.’ Andrews
silently took hold of the hypodermic syringe, inserting it into another vial he
retrieved from a pocket in his jacket. He then held it up to the light and
squeezed out a small amount of yellow liquid through the needle.
hold him again,’ he ordered his henchmen.
his hazy state, Higgins still knew what was coming. He drew in a sharp breath of
fear. When the two large individuals again descended upon him, he desperately
tried to fight them off, but he was too weak to mount any challenge. He watched
helplessly, almost in a dream, as Andrews plunged the syringe into his arm. He
looked into Andrews’ face, a face which showed no emotion as he watched the
life-force slowly ebb from the body of another human being. After a few moments,
Higgins lost his sight. In its place, there was just a dim light. Then there was
just blackness as he slipped into his eternal sleep. After a further minute,
Andrews felt Higgins’ neck, searching for a pulse. There was nothing.
dead.’ Andrews’ tone was matter-of-fact. ‘Right, you pair get the
tarpaulin from the car and wrap him up. Then you can dump him in the harbour.’
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