Peter Wise’s career began in the Queensland Public Service and later in the Commonwealth arena.
He commenced writing eight years ago making Crime Fiction his genre. He retired to the Glass House Mountains area where he now writes.
CHAPTER ONE (Part Sample)
The missing persons report on the computer print-out outlined the following:
1. SHIMPEI Mitso, d.o.b. 20.11.47.
2. SHIMPEI Yuko, d.o.b. 7.12.51, females.
Reported missing by their father, Hirosho Shimpei, address: Unit 20, ‘Kaiken’, Peake Avenue, Main Beach, Southport, 14th instant. Their descriptions as follows:
The print‑out on the desk of Detectives Paul Glass and Dave House waited for their presence, as they entered the police station to commence the day‑shift at 8:00am. A journey for them would begin.
“Shit! We’ve got a job already.” House looked at his mate.
“There goes our paperwork catch up day,” Paul responded.
At the bottom of the page in the Detective Inspector’s writing: ‘Urgent attention’. “Fancy Joint. Has to be millionaires’ row.”
Paul Glass whistled as he stopped the unmarked Commodore outside ‘Kaiken’ in Peake Avenue, Main Beach. He and Dave House ambled up the path and into the atrium. The number 20 was clearly marked and Glass pressed the button on the intercom next to No 2 – Shimpei. Some seconds elapsed before the quiet voice of a male spoke, “Yes, who is it?” The English was a little dodgy. “Police here, come to talk to you about your two daughters.”
“Yes, please come up.” The buzzer sounded and the door to the entrance opened.
The two detectives walked inside and into the lift. A short time later they stepped out into the foyer of the penthouse and faced an open door. Standing there, a grey-haired little man with bushy black eyebrows dressed in a white shirt and black slacks with white socks only on his feet. Eighties, thought Glass.
The man bowed and said, “Please come in gentlemen. I am pleased to meet you. I am Hirosho Shimpei.”
The carpet they were standing on, thick, almost royal blue. The walls and the ceiling painted white. The drapes a pale blue colour. Mr Shimpei guided them through to the lounge room. It contained, amongst other things, two large black leather sofa chairs and four recliner chairs. What tickled Glass’s fancy – each chair had the initials HS in gold lettering.
“I have two other people here with me right now as you can see, and they are about to leave.” The old man indicated an elderly well-dressed man with a beer gut and a young woman about twenty‑five “A stunner,” as House would later say to Glass.
“They are private investigators.”
Detective House looked in their direction. “Any help from the public is always appreciated.” The old man looked concerned. “I hope you don’t mind?”
“I am Detective Glass and this is Detective House. We are from the Southport CIB, and you are?” Glass looked the ‘big fella’ directly in the eye and put out his hand.
“Sage – Peter Sage and this is my assistant, Bella Paise. Pleased to meet you both.”
Detective House directed his gaze at the female private investigator and then to Shimpei. “We will do all that we can to locate your daughters. Again, I say any help from an outside service will be appreciated.”
Sage looked at the detectives. “Yes, team work. That is what it is all about and I do appreciate that you understand we can sort the chaff from the corn.”
“You are an ex-cop?” asked House, a small smile playing on his lips.
“Federal Police, before that Customs and before that, your job.”
“How long all up?”
“You could say a thirty-year man.”
“Experience is what counts.”
Sage looked at Glass. “Yes, you cannot put a price on it.”
THE FALL OF SINGAPORE, 1942. AND THE JAPANESE. WORLD WAR II started and finished for Don Tiddy. Tiddy’s father, with a bullet in the head in the Changi Hospital in Singapore. Tiddy knew every grim detail. His mother, who never recovered from the death of her husband, sent away for all the files relating to him and to his death, held by War Records in Canberra. Her son became obsessed with the statements. She succeeded in obtaining a statement given by an eye witness to her husband’s death.
Tiddy’s daily ritual before breakfast consisted of reading part of the eye witness account relating to the murder of his father:
‘Beside me in the hospital were two Australian POWs, one I knew as Billie Smith. The other Don Tiddy, nicknamed, ‘spider’. Two British POWs occupied beds next to ours. I remember the day, a Friday and my birthday. The rain, torrential, and the humidity, stifling. The smell of men’s body sweat permeated the air. The commander of the prison camp, a Colonel Fucke walked into our bed area and accused us of ‘malingering’ and spoke to our doctor, a Major, and instructed we were to go back to work on the railway. Our officer told him we were too sick to work. The Colonel became enraged and pulled out his service revolver from its holster and began shooting. He killed the two British POWs with the first two shots, turned and shot Billie Smith and Don Tiddy. It happened so quick. Their lives taken by a murderous act of a madman. As long as I live, these murders will stay in my memory and haunt me. Why didn’t he shoot me, I will never know. I battle with my demons and when this happens, I wish he had killed me. In my opinion, the cruelty administered by the Japanese to our blokes and other POWs …, extreme, harsh and inhumane And for what it’s worth, I’ll never in my lifetime, eat rice again. A Japanese officer named Shimpei stood beside Fucke. He did nothing to stop the Colonel on this killing spree.’
Tiddy would read through the other statements and records. They found Fucke guilty of murder and his fate – death by shooting. One hundred and eighty‑eight trials in Rabual were held by the War Crimes Australian Military authorities in relation to the offences committed by the Japanese under the War Crimes Act 1945. Three hundred and ninety Japanese soldiers accused and two hundred and sixty‑six convicted, eighty‑four hanged and a number executed by shooting. Tiddy believed in his mind, if Shimpei was still alive, he should pay the final price. Nowhere in the records and Criminal History sheets could he find the name ‘Shimpei’.
Born in Brisbane in 1941, Jim Tiddy grew up on some two hundred acres owned by his father at a place named Mt Mee, north west of Brisbane. The community there, close knit. His mother sold off a large part of the acreage when her husband never came home from the war. She kept forty acres and the family home, a small plain open-plan cabin.
The money she received from the sale of the land disappeared in time. Mary Tiddy chose not to marry for the second time. The country life, simple and private. She grew her own vegetables, raised goats and chickens. There were three large dams on the property and water in abundance. She kept to herself and her son lived with her.
Jim, a recluse and a loner, had grown up on the mountain. He, like his mother, chose to ignore the community that surrounded him. He attended Mt Mee School from 1946 until 1955, completing grade eight and passing the final primary examination called Scholarship. He rode to school on horseback and his schooling took up most of the week, two hours to school and two hours back home. There were the daily chores in helping his mother around the farm: cutting wood for the fire and feeding the goats and chickens and helping her in the vegetable garden with weeding and watering.
His relationship with his mother became close. She had nobody, no friends and no man in her life. He felt for his mother and saw how she had suffered these many years. Her life devastated after the death of her husband. At just sixteen she married – found love for the first and only time.
At fourteen, her son left school and worked as a farm hand on a dairy farm in Robinson Road at the top of the mountain. The work was hard and the hours long, the three quid a week he received for working seven days a week, he gave to his mother.
The opportunity to meet girls during his teens did not come his way. He rode everywhere on horseback, even to the Woodford pictures on a Saturday night once a month, which became the highlight of his life.
The year National Service came his way, it did not happen as it was then abolished. Perhaps that may have given him a broader view on life; mixing with other males his own age from all walks of life. In 1968 he served his country in Vietnam and that experience soured him. Now at sixty‑four years of age, he still worked six days a week at a pineapple farm. A first class shot with a rifle had seen him use this skill in Vietnam. At 180 cm, slim, suntanned and rugged, he appealed to some women. His mother had always told him, “Jim, you’re a good looking boy, those piercing blue eyes, just like your father, he had that colour.”
* * *
This conversion with Sage continued back at the unit and Sage couldn’t resist a reply to the detectives, “Stay in the job as long as you can. That’s sound advice. You know why? It’s tough out here in the jungle. Stay with the Brotherhood.”
The detectives had looked, listened and mainly perved on Bella. At twenty‑five and with the long black hair that extended down to the crease of a tight well-rounded bum, she stopped you in your tracks. She had the deep brown eyes and the Natalie Wood facial features and a smile that lit up the room together with the other asset – a set of perfect white teeth. She had a thick bottom lip, a gauge that Sage judged a woman by. He believed the thick bottom lip, in the physical appearance of a woman, indicated to a man that she has passion and hot blood running in her veins.
He knew he had won the lotto when she appeared on his doorstep wanting a job. He couldn’t refuse. She clicked with him right from their first meeting. She had two degrees, one in journalism and the second in business management. She had indicated a willingness to learn his craft and believed with proper guidance she could make it in this fickle industry, where the pitfalls were many. Sage had given the law enough time to digest the pleasure of looking at a beautiful woman. “Well gentlemen, we must go. Thank you Mr Shimpei. We will be in touch as soon as anything comes our way in regard to your daughters.”
“Many thanks, Mr Sage.” The old gentleman bowed as he walked them to the front entrance.
They had learnt from the interview with him that their client, a retired businessman and a millionaire several times over, had been born in Tokyo on 7 March, 1918. He had served with the Japanese Army in World War II. He had been at the fall of Singapore when the British and Australian troops surrendered. And after the war, he had returned to Japan, married and sold transistor radios. He came to the Gold Coast with his two daughters in the mid eighties and rode the gravy train in the exploding real estate developments that made him his millions. He had told them that Mitso managed his real estate portfolio and Yuko looked after him, doing the cooking and the cleaning.
As they rode the lift to the ground floor, Bella spoke first. “Seemed like nice guys, those two Ds.”
“Yes, I couldn’t help noticing that they never once took their eyes off you during the conversation. And one thing you must learn about all men is that at any age, they can’t help themselves. They walk around all day thinking about a beautiful woman and about one part of their body and what they would like to be doing with it.” Bella threw back her hair across her shoulders. “You men piss me off. I am starting to understand all that. Men’s balls are where their brains are.”
“You’re a fiery little devil.”
“And you sometimes can be a grumpy old bastard.”
“Yes, I understand all that and you should remember the following words of wisdom that shall be imparted to you…”
“Well, hurry up and tell me. Don’t take all day.”
“It’s better to be pissed off than pissed on.”
“Good one. I like it. And I must remember that one, Boss.”
The fresh salted air of the Gold Coast entered their nostrils and sharpened their taste buds as they walked out from the building. The midnight blue 1966 Jaguar with the powder-grey plus leather upholstery stood there gleaming in the sunshine.
“I love that car, Boss. Tell me when you want to sell it.”
“Bella, take some sound advice from a grumpy old bastard, stay away from old Jaguars.”
“Why is that, Boss?”
“Like a mistress, they cost you heaps of money to buy and heaps of money to fix and keep on the road. My sound advice – stick to what you drive now, the Toyota Corolla. Great little car. And you have had no problems with it, is that right?”
“Yep. No problems. Yes, but the Jaguar, that Jaguar right there, it’s class.” Sage opened the front passenger door of the 420G and Bella sat on the seat.
“My arse is on fire, ouch, sun and leather, hot, hot and hotter!”
“Bella my girl, you’ll have to learn to wait just a little longer to sit down on these leather seats when the car is locked. Now you see why I sit on a sheepskin.”
“You’ll have to get me one when I ride with you. Anyhow, it’s cool.”
“Well, I always thought that you might be a hot arse and now I know it’s true.”
“I’ll ignore that remark. And what are we going to do now?”
Sage had this habit of putting his forefinger and thumb to the bridge of his nose when he thought seriously about anything and Bella watched him as he carried out this ritual for some seconds before he gave his answer.
“It looks like track work for starters. The restaurant where the two women were last seen is a good starting point and besides, it’s lunch time. Mr Shimpei gave me the name of the joint at Mermaid Beach – my shout.”
She wasn’t going to knock back a free lunch as they didn’t come too often with the old guy. He fired up the Jaguar and the E‑type motor with the three big SUs rumbled into life. It had a special note in the twin exhaust system that Sage had fitted some years earlier. The complete exhaust system had been constructed of stainless steel 2 inch system and included the two mufflers also constructed of stainless steel. He loved the old car and he knew what it could do on an open road.
How the Coast had changed in his lifetime! In the fifties, people had beach houses in and around Cavill Avenue. The Surfers Paradise hotel on the corner of Cavill Avenue and the main drag had a beer garden with a live band on a Saturday and Sunday afternoons and Stan Bourne and his band played. And in the winter all the ‘Penguins’ came up from Victoria and took over the place.
“You know Bella, I first came to Surfers Paradise with my mother and father in 1947 and there was nothing here. There was the pub, the movie theatre. I remember a zoo. Looking at the snakes and the birds. I remember the beach so well – sand so white and that smell of salt and clear air.”
“How old were you then?”
“I was just a kid, about six. I loved to swim in those days.”
“It must have been pristine then.”
“I suppose it was, I was too young to appreciate that – I never forgot its beauty.”
As he drove past the pub in Cavill Avenue it brought back memories of his life saving days and his brain cells recounted the memory of his initiation as a Cadet Lifesaver with Northcliffe, which was the next club south of Surfers. It was Friday night around 7 pm when the club captain and a group of three others drove him to Cavill Avenue at the pub and stripped him naked. His task was to get back to the club, which was a mile or so away, as soon as he could without getting into trouble. Sage was a fit fourteen-year-old and had developed early in life so what hung before him was something he was proud of even until this day. Fear engulfed him as his feet touched the bitumen and began running. There were people, families and singles looking at him not knowing quite what he was doing in the raw. He sprinted his heart out along Cavill Avenue to the beach and into the night he ran like the wind not looking backwards at anytime. He reached the club and the captain said, “You made it and we nickname you Rughead for as long as you are a member.” He had passed the test and was never to run naked in Surfers Paradise again.
“The bikini, created by Paula Stafford, has its origins here in this place. Did you know that Bella?”
“No I didn’t. I love wearing a bikini but haven’t had the desire to wear the G string.”
“I can imagine you in both. Drop dead gorgeous.”
“Flattery will get you nowhere. And when was all this happening?”
“In 1956. I joined the club as a cadet. One of three, I always came third in the cadet Surf race. The cadet from Surfers came first, the cadet from Nobby’s Beach came second.”
“Didn’t they have nippers then?”
“No, they came much later. I just loved those days and we had a great club and there were members then for whom I had and still have the greatest respect.”
“Did you ever rescue anybody?”
“Sure did, many times, even had my name in the front page of The Courier Mail. And it’s a funny thing they were so embarrassed about being rescued they just walked away without a thank you. People are strange creatures.”
The drive to Broadbeach went without incident and Sage turned left into Chelsea Street from the Gold Coast Highway and drove to the rear car park. The Japanese Restaurant came highly recommended. The address the cops had – 2763 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach had been close. The restaurant was at Broadbeach.
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