This third novel from Paul Frisby once again demonstrates the authorís ability to take the reader on a journey through the everyday scenery of the Australian social landscape. 

If your life has taken a turn for the worse you would naturally grab an opportunity that comes along to change places with someone else, wouldnít you?  

If you are James Macdonald, a former middle manager from a finance company, you find yourself out of jail and quite well off. 

But you also find that the identity you have stolen not only doesnít really exist but is also under the control of unidentified forces. 

With no choice but to ride out the exigencies of the life of your adopted persona you try to keep out of sight, but always with the feeling that someone is looking over your shoulder. 

And when you confide in your sister it only makes things worse ... for both of you! 

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ISBN:   978-1-922229-07-6
Format: Paperback
Number of pages: 160
Genre: Fiction

Cover: Clive Dalkins

Author: Paul Frisby
Publisher: Zeus Publications
Date Published: 2013
Language: English

Previous publications by Zeus Publications of work by this author: 


BLACK TIE (2012)



To all my past readers: 

For those of you who expected a third book about Maria Black and her friends I am sorry to disappoint you. I thought about it, but Black Tie finished with Maria on a high and the only way I could see was downhill, and enough was enough; particularly after the way my first book Black Comedy ended.

I could not do a Douglas Adams with Maria and produce a five book trilogy. So while using a bit more of the Corrective Services theme, and adding a dose of bureaucratic incompetence (rare as we all know that is), herein we meet someone new, a brother and his sister; people with an entirely different set of problems.

I did carry over one character for a role in proceedings Ė our favourite television reporter Ms Kylie Grey from Black Comedy is back, now working in the big city newsroom of your favourite TV network. The solicitors from Black Tie are also back, and like a good Englishman once again I couldnít resist a pun with their name Deight, Thyme and Plaice.

As before the characters are drawn from real life, as are most of the situations and locations; and as usual thereís the odd philosophical point made along the way in what I hope you will again think is a good read.

I havenít got the faintest clue about how the Australian Government goes about its business in regards to making new lives for worthy people at risk as portrayed in the fictional events in this novel. If I have accidentally revealed what actually happens, or anything like what happens, itís sheer co-incidence.

 To all my new readers: 

If you think this isnít bad, why not try the previous books Black Comedy and the sequel Black Tie.

Just get on line to Zeus Publications and order them. I am told by others they are quite good reads, and good value at todayís prices; and, heaven knows, I need the money.




Tuesday 14th January 

Dear Suzanne, 

Thank you for coming all the way up here again and visiting your evil-doing brother. While it was nice to see you we couldnít really talk in visits could we? And what do you talk about, you just sort of look at each other like stunned mullets. Thereís not much to say but you took all that trouble to travel interstate and make a visit to me in jail again since the trial. That was a terrific boost. Your coming was really appreciated and I understand with your work and family commitments how more visits are not easy. I also realise the odd phone call I make to you is not much, but what have I got to talk about with the other crims around me and the screws listening in!

So to expand a bit on whatís been going on I suppose I had better go back the beginning and start with the Court hearings. Thank you again for your support there. I really appreciate you being a character witness and all that. If I had known that what I think I still believe was doing the right thing by helping Mum into the afterlife was going to lead me to a jury trial with 12 good men and truly conservative, and a right-to-life Catholic judge who felt I should do a minimum of four years, I might not have done it. That was I suppose the reason for His Honourís sentence.

Yes I would do it again, you know. I could not stand by and see her begging for the suffering to end. I cannot see the point when all that is left is an extended period of pain and embarrassment as your body decays around your fully understanding mind. I heard a nurse in the home advise another teary son. His mother was a dementia patient. She said donít be upset, we donít know where your mother is but wherever she is we know she is comfortable. That I can comprehend. But Mumís mind was still working and she was never going to be able to live out her apparently almost endless cancer-filled days blissfully pain free in some kind of never-never land of her own invention.

Then again it wasnít too hard to organise. They got comfortable with me visiting all the time, and at strange hours fitting in my visits around work time. Besides their drug security was lousy.

Anyway, after sentencing they marched me out of court. I listened to my solicitor, Justin, and my barrister in the cells. They mumbled words about being surprised and sorry and getting an appeal underway and all that kind of thing. Then the screws put me into a prison van with all the other convicts from the day, and shipped me off to prison central at Wacol.

Those new vans arenít too bad by the way. Everyone has a separate compartment so they, sorry we, canít kill each other, and the seats are reasonable. You see I am now quite the connoisseur of prison transport.

As I said when you visited me; after coming to court in a business suit, an almost free man on bail, and thinking I was going to get a suspended sentence at most, it was quite a shock. As much of a shock to me afterwards was the amount of publicity the case generated. I suppose, on reflection, I should not have been surprised about the extent to which it was used by those who support the cause of assisted suicide. They broadcast the story in their own interest. They portrayed me as the victim.

While I was happy enough in what I had done, their splurging of my picture all over the front pages and television screens has been a great cause of concern to me. I wonder how long it will take for people to forget my face. Then of course the story was used by the other side as well. So I really was a well known character and in their eyes a very bad boy. The media really did create its own wave of moral outrage to match that of the judge. I hope people have a short memory for those photos. Itís going to be bad enough trying to keep a low profile as it is.

The only way I got out of the media was due to them having a new scandal to move on to; the case of Father Duncan, who I actually did meet in cells in passing. Thereís nothing like a paedophile priest to catch the mediaís interest, even if they canít publish his photo for legal reasons.

So anyway, we get to Reception at Wacol and get put into individual little holding cells. Each in turn we got dragged out and had to strip and shower and change into prison clothes. My own $1,200 pure wool Italian business suit was bundled up into a linen bag and stored on the shelves just like everyone elseís jeans and trackies. They hold them for our eventual release. It has occurred to me since whether prisoners find their old clothes still fit on release. Particularly as prison food is quite fatty. The nearest thing I could compare going to jail to from my previous experience was the first few days at boarding school.

You get photographed for an identity card, fingerprinted all over again, and have a chat with a nurse and get any medication you are on documented. They then haul you up to a more senior officer from a section called Sentence Management. He or she checks your identity and your sentence and tells you for what part of the system you are destined.

Given I was nothing out of the ordinary I didnít need to go into protective custody of any sort. There was one ex-copper in our batch who was frightened shitless. He went straight into what is called Segregation to be consigned in due course to where they keep all the bent coppers, screws, pollies, lawyers and judges so they donít get killed in the first week.

An amusing aside. One young thug covered in tatts was a car thief. He found himself being interviewed by a boss type who was being shown a lot of courtesy by the staff about the place. The boy seemed a bit surprised by the rank of who he was talking to. He was, I later found out, a regular offender who would have been familiar with the routine. The officer, who we subsequently discovered was the Deputy General Manager no less, asked the lad if he ever met any of the people he stole cars from. He said no. The Deputy General Manager said well you fucking have now. I donít think the boyís custodial disposition was going to be a pleasant one somehow!

Anyway as you know, given my middle age, tertiary education, middle-class social standing and previous clean record, they would have classified me as low security straightaway and sent me out to the bush to the prison farm where you came to see me. However, I had killed someone and they had to make sure I wasnít going to kill anyone else. So I spent three months in a city jail cell before I found myself, a middle ranking administration officer from a finance company, milking cows. It was quite a change from trying to work out how to get the unsuspecting public to take up more credit, traders to increase their floor plans, and thus increase my annual bonus.

The only stimulating activity I got was that, due to my administrative skills, I was put in charge of doing the production records for each cow and that kind of stuff. The average educational standard of my fellow prisoners was about 7th grade. Many of the officers werenít much better. The job is obviously one that can attract people who can do nothing else. However, there are other officers I have had a chance to observe who are different types. There are some really decent people trying to do their best against the odds. Theyíll listen to what you ask and try to run things with a bit of straightforward common sense. If you donít go overboard with them theyíll try to make life bearable for everyone, crim and officer alike.

Then thereís the ones who are full of the theory and on a mission. They really want to turn us crims around. They have all the theories about corrections and recidivism and tend to be a real pain for everyone it seems to me. I think itís particularly hard on those officers who are just doing a job as best they can and taking their pay to finance what they have going in the rest of their lives. Theyíre concerned about their mortgages, spouses, kids, etc just like the rest of the world.

For the first few weeks it was a bit of a holiday. A change is as good as a rest as they say. I started to relax into my new way of life. I grew a beard and let my hair get longer. Yes Ė thanks for your sarcastic comments on that when you visited me! God some of those crims give lousy haircuts. Frankly, after the strictures of years of finance company office work I let myself go a bit hippy, as you noticed on your visit. However, if nothing else it got me to fit in with the rest of the crims. My age has helped me to be seen as something of a father figure and no threat to anyone. Being a so called murderer didnít do anything but enhance my status, and I generally tried to cope.

As I told you on your visit to me I have been seeing my solicitor and sorting out my affairs while on bail, just in case. After my conviction we discussed the pros and cons of an appeal. The alternative was that I should just do the time and look for an early release for being a good boy. Anyway I got my solicitor to sell everything up. I didnít think an appeal was going to get anywhere. While I pleaded not guilty to the charge and made them prove it, everyone knew I had done what I did. I reflected that the sentence could have been much worse. I decided I didnít want to face the possibility that it could be increased on appeal!

Anyway, with all the publicity from the case I thought I would want to start afresh somewhere else if it were possible after I had done my time. Thatís why I tidied things up, thinking I would have a stake and no encumbrances that would stop me going where I wanted to when I came out.

Young Justin from Deight, Thyme and Plaice was just the right sort of bloke for that kind of job. You met him at court didnít you? Well Justin did everything outside for me that I couldnít do for myself from inside. For example I got him to make sure my private health insurance kept being paid up. He made certain I had cash sent in regularly in the small quantities that allowed me to buy those little extras that make prison, if I was going to be in for a while, a bit more bearable. With his help I liquidated everything, even sold the flat.

Well there is another reason for me writing this letter. My waterworks have started playing up. One of those problems that men get as they get older. Iíll let you know how I go in due course. Iíll try to ring.





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