By Peter Corris
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Extra resources for Burn and other stories
It had happened before I got into the private inquiries business and I’d read about it in the tabloids and magazines like any other voyeur. ‘Forgive me, Miss Ozal, but this is all old history. ’ The big eyes filled with tears. ‘Cliff, they were my Mummy and Daddy. She didn’t kill him and she didn’t kill herself. I was just a baby. ’ The whole story came out then over coffee and tissues. Madeline Ozal had been brought up by her mother’s sister who was married to a Turk. Hence the name. The name on her birth certificate was Macquarie, daughter of Ernest, whose occupation was given as ‘playwright’, and Josephine, nee Peters.
Let’s get on with it. ’ Kwaisulia rumbled angrily but the others seemed unconcerned. ’ Harkness grinned at him. Thirty years of pipe smoking had worn down the tops of two of his teeth, giving him a tough, don’t-mess-with-me look. ‘You’ll just have to take your chances, won’t you, sunshine? Now which eye is the bad one? ’ Kelo gestured to Leo and Kwaisulia to let me go. He took a pistol from his pocket and pointed it at me. ’ Sister Pali opened the door and Kelo gestured for me to go out. Harkness was looking grim.
I went out through the kitchen, across the patio and down onto the grass. Wishart couldn’t have weighed much more than forty-five kilos and in my adrenalin-rushed state he was no burden. I made it to my car and folded him into the front seat. I took a look back at the house before I drove off-Brian needed more than an extinguisher now, he needed four brigades. The place was burning like Dresden. * * * * I got the story from young Wishart as he sobered up on the drive back to Sydney. He hadn’t torched the school, but he had been in trouble earlier as a member of a graffiti gang that had broken into one of Scammell’s properties and caused some damage.