The bag with the tart was handed to him gingerly and he took in the twitching, scowling face of the counter-bimbo who stepped back and called, in an arcane language, to the girl in the back-kitchen; she crept out and gave Arthur a quick, nervous perusal. She shook her head and said, “I don’t know, I don’t think so. His face was covered.” Arthur asked, “What’s going on?” and they both shook their heads, they had nothing to say, he was dismissed and he sauntered out of the shop thinking, “What a right pair of dimwits”, and then forgot about it as he wandered up the street.
The wannabe trendsetting pig had witnessed the accolades from the freak set and possibly winced over Arthur’s charisma, a hip cachet he’d never in his corrupt detective’s life achieve, no matter how many glamorous gangsters he bumped off in his Armani suit. The hysterical bitches at the cake-shop had rung the cops and given them Arthur’s name as a likely perpetrator, with his smart-arse Nazi inferences, and the Nazis had looked him up on their computer file, discovered his many aliases and civil disobedience stunts, possibly with a red light flashing the instruction, “Get This Bastard!” Detective Blockhead possibly connected him with the uppity film fag ruling Jellyheadz that wild night and thought they had a right patsy for the cake-shop caper.
Coming through the building’s grand entrance-way, the department store windows often held tastefully arranged displays of the wonders of the Aussie Penal System, scare-crow paintings and crooked handicrafts by life-term inmates, or opened books of law purporting to be Holy Writ. Most memorable were the costumed window dummies lined up in various tableaux, like in the antiquated Mark Foy’s Christmas dioramas, except this refurbished citadel of punishment had contrived a wicked depiction of convict-era days, perhaps to convince the public they had hit on better times, but they better watch their precious arses. In many windows were numerous mannequins dressed in ragged convict garb, chained and bleeding, breaking rocks, building walls, tied to cross bars and being whipped by red-coated overseers while slatternly women grovelled in the mud, and Arthur’s brave resolve was ruffled by the warning innuendo contained therein.
(In the ensuing prosecution of the State’s most rotten cops, it was found that many had been actively taking bribes from heroin dealers, planning armed robberies, distributing drugs, robbing prostitutes, fabricating evidence, assaulting innocent patsies, even the safe at Central lock-up where they kept all the confiscated drugs was called “the tuck-shop” by the gangster cops, because they could march in at any time and take what they wanted, half of the huge stash disappearing.) Two worlds with two sets of rules, Arthur in the powerless, cash-strapped one.
Phillip believed Arthur’s account of events, especially after interviews with Michelle and Amiria, who both assured him Arthur was no junkie, capable of finding work if he needed money and incapable of committing such a stupid, nasty crime as cake-shop robbery. Even his famous film lawyer, Owen Tremblebath, was willing to go witness for him, a check for ten thousand dollars was in the mail after they’d finalized a Marketing Loan from the Film Commissar, and he knew it, not needing to steal a mere seven hundred dollars from his favorite chocolate éclair supplier.
Throughout his own proceedings, Amiria would run in and out of the room to witness the action next door, and later on, breathlessly, she related how she had stared Milat down and examined his goblin face, intuiting his aura, and swore she sensed intense evil radiating from his glowering brows. Arthur was befuddled and astounded at the ongoing, surreal content of his existential nightmare, a three-ring circus of a freak-show, he had the ghastliest of serial killers as co-billing.
He then reeled off an interminable reprisal of the entire case, long as a Charles Dickens novel, and repeated his summation and judgement seven times over to make sure the roomful of simpletons got the message, and somewhere during the recital Arthur realized he had been acquitted, he was free and innocent, and could walk from the courthouse with his head up. He couldn’t tamp down the elated smile beaming from his heart, his legal team shook his hands in victory and Amiria gave him a warm cuddle, his trial was over in one morning, not the exasperating two weeks the rotten cops had threatened. As they walked out into the foyer, Detective Hoon scurried over and hissed into their unimpressed faces, “Look what you’ve done to those poor girls, you made them cry. What kind of monsters are you?”
With all the misadventures encountered in these tales, of punch-ups and sleaze-bagging, foul cursing and villainous hi-jinx, the reader might reflect that Arthur deserved his eventual come-uppance, something of a good thrashing for all the smart-mouthed insults and stupid, clownish stunts he'd perpetrated. His much harped upon defense would probably be scoffed at: that working class paupers are grease for the cogs of the State machinery, they exist merely to be worked to death, and that everything he’d ever produced had been ripped off, his films, (by Trauma in New York), his artworks, (by galleries across the nation), even this writing will eventually be stolen, by plagiarists and publishers once he’s been bumped off. Yet he was determined to put up some kind of resistance and here it is.