Temple’s Job: Chapter 9


What’s next?  Joe Wigram and Ian Temple have Dr Alvin Taylor, alleged violent and vicious killer, in their control….read the next instalment of Tauranga author Nick Scott’s Temple’s Job.    Not read the earlier chapters?  You’ll find them in our ARTbop WORDS/Puha – words from the land, archives.    Now read on…

Trying to be the voice of reason Joe said, “I’m taking him to the police and he’ll probably end up in prison for life”.

“ You said “probably” and that’s not good enough. I’ve been in prison. I know that he deserves more than life behind bars. Not that it’s actually a life or for life”.

The continuing stench from Taylor was more than Joe could stand. There was no way Taylor would be getting in taxi. In the end he rang 111. There were no flashing lights, no firearms just a large sanitary seat cover as Alvin Taylor was driven away.

“Now what about the man responsible for Taylor – the man who ran the experiments?”

“I actually knew him as a student at University. I remember his name.   Mark Liston(M.Sc) A very intelligent young man with a God complex. He thought he was God, or a God at least”.

Both Temple and Wigram were physically and mentally drained by the afternoon’s events but they continued with their quest.   The two of them agreed to meet at the University the next day, hoping to dig up information on “Mr. Liston”.

Hinting that they should see the Vice Chancellor Ian said, “Well, let’s start at the top, shall we although he may not want to see me, after all, he fired me.

Joe said, “I’ll do it alone this time.” Feeling strange as he thought about what it meant – Ian had become like the brother he never wanted.

Michael Brewster, he current Vice Chancellor, was Michael Brewster, a former student who been a huge commercial IT success.   In his call Joe spun the fake line created about wanting to financially sponsor some students. Brewster’s secretary accepted that story and a meeting appointment was made for 12pm the following day. That sorted, Joe consulted with Ian to decide what to wear and what (or what not) to say.

Dressed in appropriately formal clothes, Joe traveled to the University, taking the bus like so many students. He arrived half an hour early and, as he walked around the campus, he thought about how to tell the Vice Chancellor that he had lied to get the appointment.

At the “official” entry to the University, he asked directions to the Vice Chancellor’s office.   Wigram coughed to attract the attention of the secretary at the desk opposite the doorway.. “I’m Joe Wigram. I have an appointment with Mr Brewster”.    “Mr Brewster’s expecting you Mr Wigram, I’ll just let him know you’re here”.

In the Vice Chancellor’s office Wigram immediately confessed to his deception. “I have to admit that I deceived your staff with my phone call to get this appointment but I do have something important to discuss with you.”

Remaining relaxed in his chair Brewster looked at him and said, “So what do you want?

“You had a student here named Liston, Mark Liston. A post graduate student doing a Science Masters.  

Brewster visibly swallowed, almost gagging, as if he’d just attempted to eat a large, tough piece of steak. From one of his desk drawers he bought out a sheet of paper, which he handed to Joe. “This is an official press release that we gave to the media after knowledge of Liston’s work became known.  After watching the decline and then death of his beloved grandparents, he decided that there was a way to cure Alzhiemers. Mr Liston was our own Frankenstein.”

Joe read the press release. The university denied any connection with Mark Liston. Any authorised study he had undertaken at the University was confined to research on water conservation for irrigation across Canterbury.

As he left the building, Joe felt there was something more behind Brewster’s eagerness to get him out of his office. A feeling intensified by the contents of the strange press release.   He’d need Ians’ help. He was not a genius but he was paranoid, and that might help. He called Ian and arranged to meet at the Pomeroys on Kilmore Street.

Walkng into Pomeroys Old Brewery Inn, Joe first went to the bar and ordered a glass of a locally brewed craft beer, a very dark ale, full of the hop-fueled flavour that he enjoyed.  After tasting the beer, Joe chose an empty table and spread the press release out in front of him. It seemed like that this document was an easy way out of a relationship that had recently become unwanted.

He had read the press release about ten times and was convinced that there was some hidden meaning among those words. A feeling of incompleteness nagged him, like a single grain of sand under his tongue. Maybe Ian could help. Or he could get frustrated and destroy the letter completely.

Well it was too late now. Ian temple entered the bar and ordered a drink before walking over to Joe’s table. He seemed strangely happy and the positivity showed on his face which was most unusual.

“Why are you so happy?” asked Joe with a worried look.   Good news for Ian Temple meant bad news for someone else. “The university just returned a lot of my books I had stored in my office.”  Joe quietly breathed a sigh of relief. This was the sort of good news that would be treated as good even for an intellectual psychopath.

“Have a look at this press release from the University concerning Mark Liston. A quick look at the document was enough for Ian to say. “The University didn’t write this, Mark Liston wrote it and then gave it to the VC to give to anyone who came looking for him. I can tell that it’s his. He was once my student and I had to mark his barely passible essays.”

“What do you make of this signature at the bottom. It says Tyger 17-20?”

“That would be his favourite poem and one of mine too. Tyger, Tyger by William Blake. The numbers indicate the last four lines of the poem.

When the stars threw down their spears,

And watered heaven with their tears, Did he smile his work to see?

Did he who made the lamb make thee?

I gave a lecture on this poem and shared my own view on the meaning of these words. Mark would have heard them and hopefully remembered them”

“So, what was your viewpoint?” asked Joe, who’d never been interested in poetry.

“If you look at it from a western point of view then it is obviously talking about God.” At this point he pointed his forefinger toward the ceiling and circled it around while he remembered. Then he continued. “The other view is that Blake is making himself the creator, because he had previously written a poem called “The Lamb.”

“So Blake saw himself as God?” asked Joe. “It’s just my interpretation” replied Ian humility in his voice.

“The one thing I’m sure of is that Mr Liston sees himself as being God-like. He started out trying to seek a cure for Alzheimers but then found that he could make a person become something different. He created me, and Alvin Taylor. Now that he has a way to change peoples’ personalities, I think he could make great deal of money, using this technique for high-paying customers. This sort of thing would be repulsive to the University as well as most people, but potentially a way of earning huge amounts of money. Not to mention an interesting reputation in the scientific community”.

Much to his chagrin, His cell phone began to ring. It was moments like these he wished he’d chosen a more subtle ring tone than the opening bars of Beethoven’s 9th.

A distinctive ring tone.  Who is ringing?   What new information or pathway will it take the now bonded Wigram and Temple down as they endeavour to avenge the deaths, personality distortion and destruction…..?  

The next instalment of Nick Scott’s novel will be published on the first Saturday of March 2021.   You can also find film reviews by Nick on ARTbop.   Nick is a published author who has a number of creative projects “on the go”.   Nick is a Tauranga resident.

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.



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Walk the slope of Mauao

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