With acknowledgement to Tom
Sharpe and especially his novel The Great
Pursuit; and of Ben Elton’s genius writing about the exigencies of living as
a sexual being;
And subject to the provocation of: Fifty Shades of Grey
Identity Theft left you, gentle reader, up in the air and with unfinished business. So, just as the tale of my first novel Black Comedy was necessarily followed by its sequel Black Tie, so Identity Theft is now followed by Tartan Identity. Just as before the sequel is a longer volume than the first book on the basis that if you liked the idea behind the story line you might enjoy more in the same vein.
While awaiting the publication of Identity Theft I read Fifty Shades of Grey, a best seller. I bought the book at Brisbane Airport anticipating blotting out lost hours waiting for a flight. It had not suffered from a lack of promotion. I found myself not wishing to read the sequels that apparently finish the story.
While I write because something in me demands that I do, and I have tested myself with trying different styles and approaches, I have also been concerned to write books with some small meaning or at least with thought starters. I also hope I have produced interesting story lines. I have not however previously indulged myself in the carnal. Although Motel gets it off twice, a virginal bridesmaid makes an unfortunate bet on a sexual theme, and Afa and Ilisapesi break the honeymoon bed in Black Tie; I left the all the detail of these encounters to the readers’ imagination.
I have also previously censored the language in my books. Writing about custodial themes would require the use of a naughty word at an overwhelming rate if one was writing with exactitude. My own language required substantial reform after working for over 7 years in the system. Indeed, it was with some trepidation that I used the C word once in Black Tie and then in an appropriate context. It is however in constant gratuitous use in the correctional environment as well as increasingly among the young.
This time I have not been so
restrained. You have been warned.
One thing I learned along
the way is that writing the sexy bits is not all that easy. What comes naturally
to hand, as it were, in practice is not always easy to get right in the writing.
The physical arrangements for coition are bad enough when one is trying to do
it, let alone when one is trying to describe it. It can be too easy to write the
detail as if everything happens smoothly and without the physical inconveniences
that for me have often occurred and threatened the mood or the moment.
It has been fun for me to write more of the story of James and Suzanne from Identity Theft. I know some readers were a bit annoyed at the way Identity Theft ended with James’ ultimate befuddlement as he continued his blind wanderings through the Bindfast identity. I hope you like this book for the sexy bits as well as it resolving the story line; and also enjoy it for some of its underlying themes and some of the issues raised.
I have as always taken some
of the plot and my characters from real life wherever possible. Many of the
characters are composites and several have invented life experiences to let the
fictional story happen.
- PART SAMPLE
- PART SAMPLE
The words “problem James?” were not what I had expected to hear from my sister when I rang the latest in the series of telephone numbers I had been supplied with over the last couple of years by the mysterious organisation into whose clutches I had fallen since stealing the identity of Marty Bindfast.
This was for two reasons. Firstly, there certainly was a problem and they knew it. There was a good chance that the enemies of Marty Bindfast were out to kill him; and so since he was already dead and I was pretending to be him; that meant kill me.
He had been someone else hiding his own past under that name following a notorious, if that is the best word for it, career. I was beginning to understand that his career had involved shooting people at long range on behalf of the British Government and its friends in various places around the world. Now there was an unacceptable risk, particularly for me, this fabricated identity into which I had opportunistically planted myself had been blown. That I believe is the technical term. It was certainly the one used by those who were in charge of looking after Marty.
Secondly, as far as I knew my dearly beloved sister was supposed to work for the Australian Department of Communications, and I had been sharing my troubles with my stolen identity with her by letter ever since I’d done the switch with the man called Marty Bindfast. I did not know that she was in fact working for the people who had a proprietary interest in that identity and that she had probably been betraying me every step of the way.
I had taken the chance of changing places on the spur of the moment when Marty was a correctional officer escorting me, a convicted criminal, through the Brisbane Airport Domestic Terminal. I was a convict because I had taken the opportunity to give my old mum an easy death and release from her terminal pain with a massive overdose stolen in the middle of the night from a less than secure drug safe in her palliative care ward. It would appear that my confidence in my sister’s discretion had been seriously misplaced. My admissions of my sins, if not an open book, had been subject to a much broader readership than I had intended; and some kind of official one at that.
Marty had been felled by an aneurism in an airport handicapped loo with me cuffed to the grab rail and I had made the switch and gotten away with it. At least I had thought I had gotten away with it until I found out that Marty Bindfast had a past, whereupon my life in his identity had become rather complicated.
When I thought about it I realised everyone has a past, a mixture of the good and the bad, the exciting and the dead bloody boring, the ups and downs of the exigencies of life, and I was bound to have inherited bits of Marty’s life experience. The trouble was his life experiences turned out to be just that critically more complex that the humdrum I might have reasonably expected.
In fact I was recently so fed up with it I had taken steps to get out by going back to being the real me. While I was not going to broadcast my apparent resignation from the persona of Marty Bindfast, I had enough evidence of my old identity to be myself again, as long as I stayed away from those who might think I was the dead person who had gone to his pyre carrying my name.
I had bought, in my real name, a little rural block and house on the urban fringe, where I was now hiding in fear. In theory I was renting it out to Marty Bindfast, in whose identity I was still hiding, with a view to my tenant vanishing in due course and leaving me as the resident owner.
“You bitch,” I said angrily to Suzanne over the phone. “You’ve got some explaining to do,” and immediately regretted it. But she came back calm as could be with, “Yes, I... we, owe you an explanation and we are also going to get you out of this. What I want you to do is stay where you are. Lock the doors, stay away from the windows and someone will come and get you tomorrow morning – early. Oh and put together an overnight bag and all the paperwork you have that says you are James MacDonald.”
I started to ask questions only to find myself speaking into a dead phone. Suzanne had terminated the call, and, thirty seconds later, right on cue I got a text on my mobile phone with a new phone number to ring if I had a problem. As usual I wrote it down on the nearest scrap of paper and shoved it into my pocket. Nothing had changed with that routine.
Well I didn’t do exactly what I had been told because I hadn’t fed the horses that morning and I wanted Marty’s guns from the car. As far as I was concerned they were still Marty’s guns even if I had put plenty of rounds through the Lapua. Notwithstanding, if someone was going to have a go at me I wanted to be able to shoot back. So I snuck quietly out and made the equines happy; and got the 410 and the Lapua, and some ammo for both, from the Landcruiser.
I then packed an overnight bag with a few spare clothes and toiletries, and my computer bag with my laptop and all the paperwork I had with me which supported the idea that I was my real identity, and settled down for the day in front of the TV. I resisted the urge to ring Justin Thyme, my solicitor and partner in deception. Have you ever been stuck at home, say on a sicky with a bad cold, and tried to keep yourself amused with daytime TV? It is not the most profitable intellectual occupation I can tell you!
I spent a lot of the time turning to the news’ channel half hoping that something serious would have happened and it would have warranted something more than the meaningless crosses to an ill-informed talking face in the outdoors; a politician viciously spouting the party line to point score on a problem that should have been solved with a bit of bipartisan common sense; or worse still a report on a court case with the judge’s decision under question when people weren’t there, hadn’t heard the evidence, and knew nothing about the submission made by counsel of both sides as regards to an appropriate sentence.
With my background I had a big thing about that: citizens being encouraged to make instant decisions about whether the judge or magistrate should have sent someone to moulder away in a destructive jail environment at great public cost without knowing all the facts. While I had no sympathy for my judge who quite naturally I believed erred in sending me behind bars, I don’t wonder why more of them don’t break ranks and tell the media and the public to get off their backs and if they want to assess how the system works come to the courts and watch what happens and hear what is said.
I then spent a sleepless night accompanied by the guns, with one in the chamber of the 410 and a full magazine on the Lapua, waiting to see what might happen the next day. I was, I have to admit, shit scared and wound up like a spring.
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