I revisited it after some more thoughts about self exposure ... self-immolation ... and how some stories, in the guise of true confessions, really point the bone at our own society.
I’ve been to two funerals in the last month. The first was a graveside ceremony for my dear friend Bob, with a delicious shaft of mid winter sun on the back of my neck and surrounded by beautiful and diverse people who loved the man absolutely.
The second was yesterday. Aussie and I stood at the back of the chapel, sunglasses on, arms folded, refusing any offers from the funeral director of a seat. We listened to the son of the deceased evangelise about rising from the dead and eternal life etc etc. We watched a brilliant blue wren batter itself to death against the glass, trying to get in from the garden.
Three years ago, I sat with a detective, discussing the now deceased.
"Yes," he said, "I’ve read the files on him. He’s a charismatic, serial predator of children. Your story stacks up love. Leave it to me. I’ll get him. Ring me in a week."
This detective was so hot. I mean, he was on fire. He was gonna save me just like a knight. No one else had ever stepped up to save me. I was impressed, I was in love.
A week later he sat me down and explained. "The Department of Public Prosecutions won’t play. He’s sick, he’s old you know. He's got a friendly doctor testifying. If I presented this new case to the DPP after they’ve rejected the complaints from all the other girls, I would be seen as vexatious."
Vexatious. We mustn’t have that.
The detective covered his ears and grimaced when I began caterwauling, "Then I’ll burn the f*cker's house down. I can be pretty vexatious with a box of matches, you know."
He backed away from me, from his desk. He lost his knightly gloss. He smelt like he’d been smoking tailor mades in the car and he had a name like a dog. Craters pocked his publican’s nose.
Months later I saw him in the supermarket car park and he saw me and bowed his head, defeated.
No one from the soul murderer's church wanted to talk to me. "He was a church elder, once" they told me, after the initial ghastly silence when they realised exactly what was on my mind.
He was still living down the road from me. He grew fruit trees. Last Thursday I had a wobbly day, when I read in the hatched, matched and dispatched section of the local newspaper that he’d died. I wondered how I would survive without the anger. It is the most perverse kind of grief.
I rang Aussie, my fellow nudist beachcomber and staunch bestie who has heard this story in installments as it unfolded, from our long walks together, to the front desk at the police station.
"Let’s bury the bastard," she said. "Come on, I’ll come with you."
Now that is a friend.
So yesterday I listened to the loving eulogies of the newly departed
We left after an hour of speeches, not out of disgust or pain, simply from boredom and feeling like it was time for lunch and a game of pool. We passed his heaped up hole on the way out.
"Do you want to spit in his grave?" Aussie asked me. "Now’s your chance."
"I don’t want my DNA buried with him," I told her.
It’s over. The old and grubby king is dead.