Events are moving along in Tauranga author Nick Scott’s episodic novel “Temple’s Job”. The unlikely team of Joe Wigram and Ian Temple are hot on the trail of Dr Alvin Taylor whom they believe to be a vicious murderer…
“Hello, can I help you at all?” The question came from the nurse who opened the door of the staff room at Christchurch Hospital. My name is Kylie Thompson. I was told that a detective was eager to question me. My job is so boring that I counted our upcoming conversation as the highlight of my week.”
“Well I hope you enjoy yourself” said Joe. “My name is Joe Wigram, a Private investigator trying to find the killer of Angela Redheart”
“Oh, you mean that poor homeless girl killed outside the Art Gallery?
“Yes. That’s the one” Joe was not surprised she knew of the crime. The media had been all over the story like bees on honey. “There is a man associated with our investigation; Doctor Alvin Taylor. I’ve heard that you knew him.”
“Hmm” she hummed while looked out the window at the passing clouds, as if trying to recall some pleasant memory. Then she suddenly turned her head away from the window as if she had come up against something unexpected in her mind. “No! “ don’t remember him, well, I’d rather not recall that man.”
Joe thought of telling her that someone had said they were close but he knew when someone was trying to hide something. Perhaps from them, perhaps from herself. They had obviously been in love. Joe could see it. Ian looked at Joe and nodded slowly as a sign that that he knew this too. He looked at Ian expecting his usual poetic reaction. Temple did not disappoint him.
“The fountains mingle with the river and the
Rivers with the ocean.
The winds of heaven mix forever
With a sweet emotion
Nothing in the world is single
All things by a law divine
In one spirit meet and mingle
Why not I with thine?
Joe felt like being smart and recalled his own poetry reading “It’s from “Loves’ Philosophy” by Percy Bysshe Shelly”
“Very good young Wigram,” said Ian, in the kind of voice he had used as a university lecturer.
“So you wanted to be in a long-term relationship with Mr Taylor?” asked Joe.
Ian stared at Joe with his mouth half open “What the hell are you doing,We’re not therapists and if we were, it is not the time for it!”
“Just you wait for her answer.”
“I thought about, it but one day I found a picture of a young girl in his wallet “ she replied, her tone sorrowful
“Very good young Holmes” said Ian with a touch of sarcasm.
“Did he mention the name Angela?” asked Joe, watching the nurse’s face carefully. The nurse paused as if thinking hard of a way to hide something. “Oh yes, the photo was of Angela, his niece.”
Ian looked across at Joe and shrugged, as if he was saying “do we tell her the truth?” Kylie Thompson looked like a very fragile soul, and the two men had no desire to produce a flood of tears. Well, not Joe Wigram.
Ian could see one sure way to get around the problem of being the monster. He looked at Kylie with soft pity. Using his nicest sounding voice, he asked “do you want to know the truth about Alvin Taylor?” Then he changed his voice and body language to that of a game show host about to give away the big prize “Well we want to know too!” He leaned over toward Joe and whispered “follow my lead.” “We are TV journalists, looking to find some worthy local souls, to feature in our new documentary. Tell me, does Dr Alvin Taylor spend all his time in the clinic, seeing to peoples’ needs?”
“He’s a real humanitarian, and quite often goes out to bring medical help to those who can’t afford it.” Said Kylie Thompson, enthusiastic now about her lost love.
“And last month on the night of July 10th – did he go out?”
“Oh yes, he said he would be a long time –“there’s a poor homeless girl called Angela who needs some help.”
“Tell me Kylie, now that Alvin is no longer working at the Medical Centre, how does he get money to live?
“Oh, that’s easy. There is a local businessman, Matthew Black who helps to fund those working for the homeless.”
“Good grief, thought Ian, even I would have trouble pulling off that scam.”
“If you don’t mind, we’d like to set up an an interview with this worthy gentleman. Joe was having trouble keeping up his happy façade now that he knew Alvin Taylor was guilty. He looked up into Ian’s eyes and said quietly, “I almost felt sick describing that scum as a “worthy gentleman” “Heck, neither of us are worthy,” said Ian, trying to remind his companion of their own human nature.
They spent five minutes talking to Kylie. She called Taylor and they organised to meet him at the Sign of The Kiwi on Summit road. “It’ll provide some magnificent backdrops to the interview.” said Joe, amazed how easily such crap came from his mouth – he knew nothing about filming anything.
They took a taxi up Summit Road. Both men had always been amazed at the way the hill dropped away so steeply on one side There was a spectacular view out over the city towards the airport in the distance. The Sign of the Kiwi was originally one of a number of staging-posts built for early settlers travelling over the hill. It was now a popular café.
At The Sign of the Kiwi they waited in the carpark for the arrival of Alvin Taylor. They waited and waited. After an hour, Ian, always the less patient, opened the door of the taxi and got out, slamming the door behind him. Then he turned back to Joe and said in a loud angry voice, “that was the most useless idea. How could we think that he would show up so easily?”
“Wait a moment” said Joe with hope in his voice “we appealed to his vanity to get him here. What is stronger than a mans’ vainity? “His greed” responded Ian. “So let’s put a little icing sugar on our first offer”
Joe checked to see that the last number he dialled was still in the phones memory. It was, so he redialled Alvin Taylor. The phone was answered and he said, in a very business-like voice, “this is Joe Wigram from Wigram Films. I just realised, I forgot to tell you that any profits made from sales of the documentary featuring yourself, will be split between you and the company. If you are still interested then come to the Sign of the Kiwi now.”
In half an hour, Alvin Taylor drove his red Mazda sports car into the car park. As he got out of the car, Ian thought he doesn’t look like a murderer. In fact I’m sure I’ve met him before.
“So which one of you wants to interview me?” said Alvin Taylor, as though he was on the verge of the biggest treat of his life. Joe was going to step forward, but as soon as he did, Ian put out a hand to hold him back…….to be continued.
What happens when Alvin Taylor, Joe Wigram and Ian Temple finally meet? You’ll need to wait until the first Saturday of January 2021 to find out! ARTbop hopes you have enjoyed Nick Scott’s episodic novel “Temple’s Job” during 2020 and looks forward to continuing publishing monthly instalments in 2021!
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.
We’ve a new Nick Scott film review in the works and checkout his archived reviews. ARTbop has recently published a short opinion piece on post election events in the USA Preferential Silence: the way to the White House”.