I’d met Anne while researching a piece for “Tonight’s News on 7”. The premier news and current affairs program that bravely ignored soap detergent comparisons and social security scare campaigns while presenting interviews and investigative journalism at it’s finest. Well, at least that’s what the station promoted. The story was loosely based on the group counselling dynamic and featuring benefits the inmates gained from the sessions. Law enforcement profilers also learnt from the tapes, the often hidden meaning of the conversations and revelations.
It turned out that Anne was very keen to guide her family out of the line of work in which they’d excelled and live a so-called normal existence. I didn’t know any of this as our relationship developed over time. I thought it was a natural openness and trust but I later found out it was planned. She literally stumbled into me during a group counselling session, held in the prison’s cafeteria. After sharing our reactions during this deeply personal session, with me as an invited witness, we discovered a mutual level of respect and friendship. One that grew. Anne was an articulate, passionate, loving mother and wife and had realised that her family’s best interests lay with the family business closing down. Now, of course, you can’t just shut up shop and pull the doors closed. The clients believed with some good reason that as long as you’re in the game, secrets are safe. Once out there may be a temptation to capitalise on snippets of wrongdoings, name names, make a pile of money and enjoy immunity from prosecution.
“Alan” … Anne asked with a confidence that surprised me… “can I offer you a deal that may have serious risks but would be a sure-fire ratings winner, maybe a book, TV and even a major motion picture.”
“Of course, what have you in mind?” … I was intrigued and as keen as.
Anne has a backstory I’d love to develop into a story or more. Money would be thrown in bucket loads at the revealing of how a mother and the wife of a man running a successful country farm meatworks would be caught with dissected pieces of a family oozing like saturated plastic bean bags in the back of a van in Paddington. She was well-spoken, educated and glamorous in a countrywide sort of way. In fact, if she wasn’t in prison and deeply in love with her husband I would have made my interest clear.
“What is it? … is it to do with Paddington, or something going on in here?”
“It’s complicated, firstly Charlie, Sally and I will need to negotiate with the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP). Our lawyer has the gist of it and is waiting to hear from you before dropping the scenario on the CDPP. It has some serious blowback and everything needs to be clear, signed, watertight with no loophole for any of us, even you.”
“You’d have to be a vital part of the process Alan” … Anne was laying out the broad brush strokes in a way that might convince me that this was a good idea and that I’m driving it. I know I’m not but the ride’d be worth it.
“You would effectively be monitoring daily life on Mupps Farm, meeting and dealing with Charlie, Sally and in some way with Robert, while gathering all the background, details and conversations from a date we choose, should the lawyers get their shit together. Charlie and Sally are aware and have set up a system for you to gather this info and just need to hit the go button.”
“So Alan are you in without knowing what the “it” is?”