Chapter Two of Tauranga Author and Reviewer Ian Scott’s novel, Temple’s Job. Ian Temple and Joe Wigram meet in person and so begins an unlikely professional association.
Ian thought for a moment. Did he want to carry out his revenge so soon? If so, somewhere dark and hidden from public view would be good. He would like to meet Janine. In the end he thought of a random place that both he and Joe would know from their childhood. He would leave his revenge for now.
Canterbury Museum was a stone monolith, attractive in some ways, but still monolithic. Beautiful in a gothic kind of way. Ian was taken here often by his parents, before that painful divorce.
His father was a violent man with a very short fuse. He was a lot like him, thought Ian. Though he’d never verbally abuse a woman like that. It wasn’t a just the occasional volley of offensive language. An effective and ugly campaign of negative talk that kept his mother convinced that she was less than worthless.
Two days later and he was sitting in the Museum foyer, waiting for his long-time enemy. As time passed he became bored and began looking at the advertising flyers for coming exhibits. Mainly all New Zealand based research, not that he minded; in a strange way, Ian Temple loved his country.
Joe didn’t know what to expect from the man that he had once dismissed as being evil and inhuman. As he walked through Hagley Park he looked around at the trees, just coming into their autumn colours. Taking a deep breath, he tried to clear his mind.
Before he’d left the flat to meet Ian, Janine had fiddled with his clothes, folding his collar until it was just right( in her eyes). She’d lifted the grey fedora hat off the hatstand and put it on Joe’s head. Janine had bought the hat last year to give Joe “more of a professional look”. It was yet to become one of Joe Wigram’s prefered fashions. In fact “fashion” was not a word used very often by Joe. As Joe approached the museum he remembered how, when he was a boy, he’d always imagined it to be a castle.
Ians’ voice had been enough to scare him, now Joe was about to see him face-to-face.
Ironically Ian had always been a handsome man; tall, with a muscular but slim build, short blond hair and a kind face. He’d apparently been the ideal prison inmate. So good that judges would often ask what such a nice man was doing in prison. ‘Nice’ does not mean innocent, thought Joe.
From some way off Jpe could see through the Museum’s front windows. Someone was lying down on the bench in the lobby. This could not be Ian Temple he thought. The man looked homeless and unwashed. He was wearing a long wrinkled duffle coat.
The man suddenly got up off the bench and walked across the lobby to the entrance where there was a coat hanger nailed into the wall. He took off the old coat and hung it on the hook. Under the untidy, probably smelly, old coat the man wore a casual dress jacket over a mauve shirt. Joe recognised him immediately.
“Ian!” he called out. “Are you really surprised or do you just enjoy shouting?” came the reply. “Same old Ian Temple. Never could bear to look ordinary, could you?”.”Why bother, my friend?” said Ian. Joe suddenly burned inside “I am not your friend Mr Temple.” “I can help you,” He paused to let Joe think about this statement.
Joe Wigram was turning over the posibility of working with a man he considered evil. He reached into the pocket of his jeans and pulled out a folded piece of paper and unfolded the form, documenting the crime Police discovered on March 9th 2016.
“It’s the crime I need your help with. You’ve knowledge of other criminals I don’t. I think you’ll find the M.O unique. It’s fairly gruesome reading. You may want to go somewhere private to read it. ” Ian grimaced, he didn’t like people assuming violence was a language he appreciated.
“Oh, what the..” whispered Ian in disbelief as he read the crime summary. A young girl had been butchered, literally. The intestine had been removed and used to spell the letters AT on the floor. A business card was beside the body- the stethoscope logo suggested a doctor.
Ian looked at Joe and sighed. “I’ve known some sickos in my day but this is disturbing even to me. I’ve decided to help you”.
He felt his anger toward Wigram cooling but his intention remained. He could find someone else to pull the trigger or stab with the knife . Besides- a terrible wound would be a more suitable revenge. Wigram didn’t have to die, just suffer.
There were times in prison he’d wished he could die. Joe would have to suffer before he passed away. Ian smiled to himself- “passed away” was the ridiculous euphanism. Then, he could go and break the news to poor Janine that her boyfriend was mortally wounded or dead.
His time for revenge would come. In the meantime he would have to play through this charade with Joe. The thing was, he was almost sure he knew who had butchered that young girl.
Joe looked at Ian Temple and remembered that this was the monster that he’d fabricated evidence about just to make sure that he’d be removed from society. Could he trust him? They had said at the prison that he was a model prisoner. Maybe too good to be believed.
“Well I’ve nowhere to start this investigation,” mumbled Joe. “Perhaps you…” “Okay” thought Ian. he could do this. The man he was about to assist was no friend of his but not a complete enemy.
“I used to know of a man named Alvin Taylor, Doctor Alvin Taylor. He is so foolishly vain, only he would leave his own initials at the scene of a crime, however grotesquely. .Unfortunately he dropped off the radar some time ago, and no-one seemed to mind. In fact some people were happy he’d gone”.
Ian remembered the man. So arrogant and self-consumed that he had turned to crime partly because he liked to see his handiwork in the national media.
Taylor was not an ugly man, but the ravages of time and poor diet had increased his weight; something he mocked others for and now found it hard to be the subject of his own gibes. Without question, a psychopath.
“It’ll be hard trying to find him. It’s been a while. Before the earthquake he lived in an inner-city apartment in the grubbiest part of Manchester Street. It could be rubble now. Ian had hated the earthquake. He considered it had destroyed part of his mind as well as the city.
Rather than walk around the city, trying to find information on an apartment that probably no longer existed. Ian suggested to Joe that their time would be better spent going over the council records on buildings in Manchester Street. It was raining lightly as they started to walk to the current council chambers.
Joe Wigram was as much a Christchurch local as Ian was. He remembered the city before 2010, when the first earthquake struck. He preferred walking around the city because it reminded him of the long walks he used to take around the CBD and beside the Avon River. In these memories the city was still a handsome, very English city. A part of England transplanted here on this island on the other side of the world. As they walked, the two of them looked around remembering buildings that once were there, before the second quake of 2011.
The apartment they were after had been owned by Bulldog Construction. It must be leased by them to Doctor Alvin Taylor.
Joe decided to contact the company to see if they could uncomver any lead on where to find the good doctor. As soon as he imagined that phrase “good doctor”, the image of the crime scene entered his mind. Suddenly feeling ill, he sat on a nearby bench.
“Are you all right?” inquired Ian. Though he secretly enjoyed the the look of suffering on Wigram’s face.
An hour later they were in the office of Robert Green, manager of Bulldog Construction. Green bore a similarity to the animal of his company name. He certainly didn’t spend his time worrying about physical appearance.
“Yeah, I remember Taylor” said Green at Joe’s first question. “He moved out just before the earthquake, said there were too many gang members hanging around outside.”
Ian piped up “You could almost say those gangsters saved his life. If he had stayed living in that apartment, the earthquake could have killed him.”
What was a doctor doing in the company of these men? Was he working for them, or them for him? Many questions had appeared. Ian thought of Blake’s question laden verse from “Tyger, Tyger.”
What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? What dread grasp
dare its deadly terrors clasp?
To be continued…..
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.
You can read Nick’s latest film review of “The Trip to Greece” Nick was able to view this film courtesy of the Rialto Cinema in Downtown Tauranga.