The final chapter of Nick Scott’s crime novel “Temple’s Job”. The long and winding story of crime, heartache, scientific experimentation and revenge. Read on to find the final fate of the participants.
The journey back to Christchurch was uneventful, and Ian’s mind drifted back to the beatings he received from his father. His father’s idea of suitable discipline for almost every act that he thought was unwanted. In his father’s eyes that had covered a wide range of normal childish behaviour.
Mark Liston needed something to show him the extent of what he had done and what he’d intended to do. There was one aspect of the punishment that Temple had already thought of. Something that would have almost seemed cruel to him, but to the average onlooker, would have seemed like nothing. He would like to see Mark behind bars for at least a year, with absolutely no access to books of any kind, especially poetry. Books had been something which made Temple’s prison stay bearable. Mark did not deserve to have that comfort.
Temple realized after much discussion with Joe that the most probable charge and conviction young Mark would face was conspiracy to commit murder and possibly criminal intent. Joe could not guarantee any specific sentence would be imposed but he had friends at the Department of Justice and would check out the potential sentencing bands and recent convictions and sentences.
Ian decided to suggest to Liston that he confess as it would save everyone the complication of a fully defended trial. Temple told him he could serve the sentence, be released and get on with his life. He was not expecting such an enthusiastic response. It turned out that Mark Liston had an uncle who’d been charged with theft of a vehicle and gone through a fully defended hearing. . The whole thing had ended up as a complete mess and turned his mother(the sister of the thief) into a nervous wreck.
Liston did confess to conspiracy to murder. Following conviction he was sentenced to five years in Paparua Prison. Temple suppressed his overwhelming urge to write anonymously to the Prison Governor to recommend the removal of books and the serving of distasteful foods to Liston. He knew the system wouldn’t stoop so low. But….
Retribution didn’t take long. Temple was called by the prison. Mark Liston had been badly beaten – he hadn’t wanted that. But Liston had apparently fallen foul of a more seasoned and dangerous inmate. White, middle=class and educated Liston had been sensible enough to keep his head down and try and avoid contact and association with obvious harm. But somehow this one knew Mark’s love of books. Mark was told there was a delivery of new books to library. The result was quick and painful. He’d waited just inside the library for Mark to arrive before inflicting the damage which saw Liston now a resident of the prison hospital.
Ian experienced remorse; even his father had not put him in hospital – nearly but not actually. He decided to get a Visitor’s Pass and visit Liston. He took the bus out to Templeton, it was almost empty, not surprising as there was not much in Templeton except the prison and this wasn’t the usual time for visitors.
Some of the corrections staff recognised Temple as he made his way to the prison hospital. His first view of Liston almost made him sick, knowing that he was in a way responsible. Mark’s arms had both been broken and his face was severely bruised and he’d need a dentist.
He walked up to Liston’s bed and announced, This is from a poem by Ted Hughes “The Jaguar”, I’ve adapted it for you.
Those who run through the prison arrive at a cell where the people stand mesmerized like a child in a dream at a nan living through prison darkness after the shine of his eyes on a short fierce fuse
Not in boredom, the mind satisfied with intellect. The workings of his mind deafen the ear
He turns from the bars, there’s no cell to him
His stride is fields of freedom
The world rolls under the thrust of his heel
Over the cell floor the horizons come.
Mark looked up at him and smiled through painful muscles and broken teeth.
Ian reached up and undid the latch holding the cross he’d been given. He held the cross in his hand and put it around Mark’s neck.
I’ll tell the staff it’s a personal religious item. Heal well, my boy. I’ll see if I can get another pass and be back tomorrow with another poem.”
THE FINAL STANZA
Ian had eaten “broken his fast”. He opened his laptop; the laptop which Joe Wigram was allowing him to use. Wigram – his current landlord or “jailer” as he occasionally called him. He recalled something he said he’d do for Joe if he was to stay in his basement instead of a prison cell. He would teach Joe how to write poetry.
Temple went upstairs and asked Joe for a scenic photo of an area around Christchurch area. He called to Joe to come to his desk and put the photo on the desk in front of him
“Now” said Ian “What do you see?”
“That’s easy” said Joe “It’s is the base of the Port Hills with a tree in the centre of the image. It must be winter, because the tree has no leaves. The tree looks as though it is dying but it is still living and just looks old and haggard.” “Right”, said Ian “that is the beginning of your poem. Now, how does it make you feel?”
“Well, the tree looks like it is dying and so it speaks of mortality or hopelessness but the coming of winter brings new hope.”
“How can that be?” asked Ian.
“Well, once winter is gone, there is a spring and then summer.”
“Very good Mr Wigram.”
Joe went on to write one the best recently written poems that Ian had read.
“I’ve got an Idea for a job for you” said Joe, smiling. “The Riccarton library used to have a very strong poetry group with a very strong reputation. It was visited by New Zealand poets such as Sam Hunt”.
“”Wow, thought Ian, a New Zealand poet that he really liked.
“Well, continued Joe, “their tutor recently retired – worn out by trying to satisfy so many students. I think you could take that position”.
“Sounds good to me”, said Ian, happy at the chance to teach again without having to go back to the University, were he would still be on a black list.
Joe was curious about something, “you’ve written a lot of poetry, why not try writing some prose?”
“I have nothing to write about” said Ian.
“What about your life:” asked Joe, “not all people have experienced life in prison followed by a time of trying to get someone else arrested. Why not share that with the world?”
“I’ll admit that I have thought about it, I just hope my readers won’t mind my vanity.”
“What do you mean?” asked a puzzled Joe. Ian had never had trouble being vain before.
“I want to give it the title ‘Temples Job.’ Said Ian, looking down at his hands.
Nick Scott Nick Scott has a B.A from The University of Waikato where he studied film under Sam Edwards. Nick has retained a keen interest in cinema. He studied Te Reo Maori at Te Wananga O Aotearoa part-time for 3 years and then from 2014 to 2016 Nick collaborated in writing “The Traveller’s guide to Maori Place Names”. Nick is a regular Film Reviewer on ARTbop. Check out his film reviews on ARTbop. 2021 and Nick has several new projects on the go…….
Christchurch Men’s Prison, also known as Paparua, is on the outskirts of Christchurch and one of New Zealand’s largest prisons Security classification: Minimum to high security men
Year established: 1915
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