"Cheese has always been good to me."
Jim Friteuse

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Chapter 25: THE GARRE GANG

A hostile takeover of the Garrē Gang took place on the 15th October 1986. The five former members of the gang were replaced by a gang that were much more determined and ruthless. Fortunately, the police records of the five new members are still available for the public to see in the Orangatanga Police Record Museum. 

Martin Garre mugshot

“A wonderful museum. Walk around to the strains of Every Breath You Take, looking at all the police records of Orangatanga from 1899 to the present day,” says the Lonely Planet Guide to the Police Record Museums of New Zealand.

The now out of print Prison Record Museums of New Zealand
The police records of the new gang have not been published since the spectacular capture of Martin Garré and his more intelligent wife.

Name: Merrill, James
Alias: Nosher
Age: Unknown
Height: 5’10”
Hair: Yes
Eyes: Both of them
Complexion: Weary
Where Born: In Hospital
Occupation: Criminal
Distinguishing Marks: A+ in Religious Studies
Nosher Merrill seems to be the leader of the five-man crew that replaced the previous five-man crew that disappeared without a trace on a rainy night in Georgia. Despite his brutish appearance Nosher has a passion for bonsai. “For once in my life,” he is reported to have said to the warden, “I feel fine, but I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.” It was said that when he was in his cell on a previous conviction for dwarf rolling he had a whole forest of tiny trees which he nurtured with love and care. Nobody was allowed to touch them and, in fact when one inmate moved one of his precious trees, Nosher responded by saying, “That’s not the way – ah ha ah ha – I like them,” before knocking the inmate into the middle of next week. When he was not involved with his bonsai he indulged himself in the ancient art of bare-knuckle fighting where he fought only weasly looking men called Warren. 

Name: Bradley, George
Alias: Big Daddy
Age: Unknown
Height: Quite tall
Hair: Thinning
Eyes: Blue
Complexion: Worn
Where Born: Somewhere
Occupation: Criminal
Distinguishing Marks: Scar on Right Side of Cheek

George Bradley mugshot

Big Daddy Bradley has a history of explosives related crimes. He started blowing things up as early as the age of six when he placed a small explosive charge under the seat of the toilet and waited for his father to sit down. The charge worked on the weight of the subject and after a particularly spicy curry, his father sat down to do his business and as soon as the faecal matter left his backside and plopped into the bowl the charge went off, blowing his him off the toilet and out through the wall, where he landed safely (apart from the 1st degree burns to his posterior)into the next-door neighbour’s wheelbarrow. Since then Big Daddy has blown up buses, boats and many more toilets.

Name: Nixon, Claire
Alias: Flat Face
Age: Didn’t ask
Height: 5’6”
Hair: On Head
Eyes: Normal
Complexion: Soft
Where Born: In Bed
Occupation: Criminal
Distinguishing Marks: A Flat Face

Claire Nixon mugshot

Following an allergic reaction to an ant eater’s tongue Ms Nixon’s face inflated to three times its normal size. She came from a very well to do family in Wellington and indeed was already a published author before she turned to a life of crime. Her book Meals My Maids Made was an instant success amongst the upper crust of New Zealand. Abandoned by her family after her face looked like it was never going to return to its normal size, Ms Nixon wandered the streets looking for work. Several jobs in the circus were offered to her – lion tamer, target for the knife thrower and human trampoline, until she met and fell in love with Nosher Merrill. She specialises in poisoning her victims or hitting them over the head with metal objects, usually cans.

The now out of print Meals My Maids Made
Name: Orlovsky, Peter
Alias: Brains
Age: Undetermined
Height: 5’10”
Hair: Brown
Eyes: Blue
Complexion: Pale
Where Born: Paddington
Occupation: Criminal
Distinguishing Marks: Wears glasses

Peter Orlovsky mugshot

Mr Orlovsky is definitely the brains of the new, improved Garré gang, as he is the only one with any formal qualifications. Being British he naturally thinks he is more intelligent than the rest of the gang and he is not averse to showing his colleagues in crime his treasured B grade GCE Certificate in Geography. Orlovsky is a key member of the gang as it is he who puts together all the plans for any future activities, like the time when they raided the local Amusement Arcade in Nikkinakkinori and got away with a number of one-armed bandits (who have recently been recaptured) and several hundred dollars worth of small change. Police said that it was “a daring raid but they didn’t hit the jackpot” as there were several million dollars in a nearby safe that had been left open by a disgruntled employee.

Name: Dickinson, Emily
Alias: Kick Ass
Age: Undetermined
Height: Quite small
Hair: Black
Eyes: Brown
Complexion: Tanned
Where Born: New Zealand
Occupation: Criminal
Distinguishing Marks: 20

Emily Dickinson mugshot

Coming from a family of martial arts experts, Ms Dickinson won the coveted High Kicking and Origami Championship in Wongawonga in 1975. She was hired by a number of dodgy characters who ended up on the wrong end of her high kicking shoes. Eventually she began working for the legendary safe cracker, Fingers McCoy, until he was arrested on several counts of armed robbery, unarmed robbery, legless robbery and window licking. Alone and without any moleskine notebooks, she drifted through the following year eating pizzas and drinking salty water. A chance encounter in an amusement arcade put her into contact with Peter Orlovsky and eventually with Nosher Merril. She has continued to be the strong arm of the Garré gang.

With the new gang in place, Martin Garré and his more intelligent wife were set to take over the entire cheese smuggling operations in the whole of New Zealand.

Unbeknownst to them, however, forces were at work that would put a stop their criminal activities forever.


Saturday, March 9, 2013


What follows is an article written by William Wordsworth from the popular magazine Feathered Freaks.

The August 1985 issue of Feathered Freaks
Since the prohibition of Trivial Pursuit, the crime busting team known to themselves as the Unteachables, led by Eric ‘Loch’ Ness have been involved in an ongoing investigation into the possible criminal activities of Martin Garré, owner of the Triveasy Casino Royale-With Cheese, and his more intelligent wife. They seem to have been implicated in the wholesale smuggling of inferior Australian Bitey cheese into New Zealand where it is being passed off of Mature Cheddar.

Martin Garré denied any involvement in the smuggling operation. “I’m just an ordinary businessman trying to make a living,” he said. “I couldn’t possibly comment on the business, obviously, as my more intelligent wife handles all the administration, financial and legal stuff.”

“This is just the thin edge of the wedge,” Eric Ness was reported to have said, “if this continues New Zealanders will have forgotten the taste of Mature Cheddar and it will be the inferior Australian product that has replaced it that will be remembered everyone’s taste buds.”

This was all before a member of the Unteachables was linked to a bizarre sex scandal involving a pigeon, a condom and a blowtorch.

Since their inception the Unteachables have courted controversy with a cocktail of needless violent behaviour and unusual questioning techniques but this latest incident seems set to rock the entire criminal justice establishment in New Zealand to its foundations.

Miss Ernestina Cook, who is a permanent resident of the Wongawonga Rest Home, claims that she witnessed the sordid sex act taking place between the unnamed member of the Unteachables and the innocent bird.

Miss Cook was concealed in a pile of old tyres, watching the popular television soap opera Shortarse Street through her binoculars when a strange noise made her look across the road. The Rest Home overlooks the house of the Unteachables operative in question and it was there that she spotted the unfortunate pigeon fluttering in its cage.

“Some people call them doves,” she told this reporter, “but they’re not – they’re vermin – rats of the sky – and they should all be exterminated. Saying that, it did have a beautiful plumage and it seemed happy enough in its environment . . . well, that was until a rather tall gentleman came out of the house and stepped into the cage with it.”

When asked if she could describe what happened next Miss Cook claimed that an indescribable sex act took place.

“After he had finished with that poor bird he threw the condom into the bin and put his clothes back on. Before leaving the cage he incinerated the bird with the blowtorch, to prevent it, I can only assume, from giving evidence against him. He then drove off in the direction of Orangatanga in an Austin 1100.”

“I used to conceal myself in a cardboard box and watch his attempts to reverse park his Austin 1100,” Miss Cook said. “He was a danger to the public. People used to come from miles just to see it and bets were often laid on his performance. What he managed to miss at the back, he was sure to make up for at the front. Bus drivers and taxis changed their routes just to avoid him.”

Unfortunately there were no other witnesses to the alleged sex act, but Eric ‘Loch’ Ness of the Unteachables will be sure to face angry questions from pigeon fanciers from every corner of New Zealand over this latest controversy.

For legal reasons we are unable to name the Unteachables operative involved. We can, however, say that he is married with two children and that his wife, Mrs Edith Molehusband, has refused to comment.

Miss Cook, who is 98, has a history of mental illness and has been a resident of the Wongawonga Rest Home since 1961, when failing health forced her to give up her chairwomanship of the Nikknakkinori Hiding in Unusual Places Soceity. She recently enrolled in Seal Clubbers Anonymous.

In 1960 she was at the centre of the notorious White Dove Affair when she attempted to bring a prosecution against the management board of the Office of Fair Trading claiming that sexual intercourse had taken place between them and a flock of White Doves.

In an unrelated incident, the Unteachables operative Buster Duran has been charged by the Justice Department of Animal Welfare (Seabird Division) with cruelty to animals. He was reported to the JDAW(SD) by a passer-by  after they witnessed him feeding bread to the gulls on the coast road leading to Nikkinakkinori.

“I thought he was either a regular person who liked gulls or just some raving nutter, you know, like the ones who randomly shout obscenities at trains and librarians. He was chuckling to himself as he threw the chunks of bread into the air,” claimed the passer-by. “Little did I know that the bread had been impregnated with bicarbonate of soda.”

The passer-by watched in horror as the gulls soared up into the air only to lose altitude as the bicarbonated bread expanded in their stomachs. Before they reached the ground the unfortunate birds exploded in mid air, showering their innards on the unsuspecting people gathered on the beach below them.

101 Impractical Uses for Bicarbonate of Soda by Buster Duran

Bicarbonate of soda can also be used to remove plastic bread wrappers from toasters and to scald chickens.

Mr Duran has been charged with crimes against seabirds and is being held at the Orangatanga Detention Centre pending further investigation.

With two members of the Unteachables out of action, it looks like Eric Ness is going to have a tough time ahead.

Buster Duran’s books, Ultra-violence for Dummies and 101 Impractical Uses for Bicarbonate of Soda or both available from Possum Books.

Ultra-Violence For Dummies by Buster Duran


Wednesday, February 13, 2013


In 1994, Shamus O’Flaherty McBond published a crime novel entitled The Long Gouda-Bye that turned out to be a thinly veiled account of his involvement with the New Zealand crime busting unit known as The Unteachables. The novel has been out of print for many years due to a lack of interest in New Zealand’s prohibition period. New scholars of social history and politicians have now agreed, however, that the banning of Trivial Pursuit and the Bitey Cheese smuggling rings that it created provided a turning point in the development of New Zealand as a world power. As a result of this, books like Eric Ness’s The Unteachables, George Bailey’s It Was A Wonderful Strife, Sheila Molehusband’s The Pigeon That Loved Him, Buster Duran’s Ultra-Violence for Dummies and Martin Garré’s biography The Man With The More Intelligent Wife are all about to be republished.

Now you can read, one month ahead of its publication, the first chapter of Shamus O’Flaherty McBond’s electrifying hard-boiled detective thriller The Long Gouda-Bye.


Walking out into the cold morning was like being hit in the face with a wet flatfish, something like a Flounder or a Halibut, or indeed any of the ray-finned demersal fishes. The pavement shone in the rain like the mirror of a princess that had been thrown onto the floor and shattered into a thousand tiny pieces and then each piece polished with the spit of a six year old Victorian chimney sweep and the shirt tail of an elderly house-bound former submarine captain. The streets were deserted like the weed grown yard of an abandoned farmhouse that had once been owned by a family of Donny Osmond impersonators, but who had since won the National Lottery and were now drinking cocktails and eating caviar off the naked body of a Bolivian stripper somewhere on a beach in Antigua.

I must stop using similes; maybe I could create a metaphorical image using idiomatic or rhetorical expressions instead.

It was 4am and no time for me to get out of my warm bed. I never knew there was such a time until I received the mysterious call from someone who for some mysterious reason called himself Mr Mysterious. He wanted to meet at my office at 5am and so I thought I’d get there before him in case he wanted to have the jump on me. I pulled up the collar of my overcoat and strode purposefully through the empty streets of Orangatanga towards my office above the pet shop.

When I got there I peered into the window to see if the penguin was still there. It was.

The door leading up to my office was to the left of the shop and I noticed that it was unlocked. Could someone have got here before me? Was Mr Mysterious or one of his henchmen waiting upstairs for me?

I un-holstered my pistol and made my way up the creaky wooden stairs, trying unsuccessfully not to make them creak. Through the half-pane window I could see that the light was on in my office. Whoever was in there was not hiding in the shadows.

There was no other thing for it. I had to get into the office and find out who or what was inside. I took a deep breath and then rushed at the door.

As the full force of my body hit the door it flew off its hinges and crashed to the floor. I immediately rolled across the room and ducked behind the red sofa by the window. I waited for a few seconds before I peered over the top of the sofa.

There was no one there, but as I looked around the room I surveyed the carnage that lay before me.

The window was open and the filing cabinets were broken and the files they once contained lay scattered about the floor. The contents of the waste paper basket were strewn across the room. There were indents in the wall that looked like bullet holes. The ash and old cigarette butts that had once been contained in the overflowing ashtray had been emptied all over my fake mahogany desk. The sofa cushions were ripped and the stuffing bulging from them made the sofa look like it vomiting and the rug in front of it looked like it had been burned and the fire extinguished with a mixture of water, acid, yellow paint and the remaining milk from a half-eaten bowl of Sugar Puffs.

I stood up, re-holstered my pistol and breathed a sigh of relief. Nobody had been here before me – it was just the way I’d left it.

I sat down on my black leather swivel chair, reached into my desk drawer and took out a bottle of Johnny Walker Red Label. I cleaned out the glass on my desk with my fingers, poured myself a large Scotch, propped my feet up on the window sill and leaned back in my chair. I took a large gulp of the whisky and felt its warmth making its way down my throat. It was a little early for me to start drinking; normally I don’t start until after 6am, but I thought, what the hell, what harm could it do?

I was roughly woken at 7am. My throat was dry and my vision blurred. “Wasssup,” I said.

“Mr O’Flaherty McBond?” a voice asked.

I looked up, wiping a quantity of drool off my chin as I did, and saw the shape of a human man standing before me.

“Huh?” I said. “Who’r’yoo?”

“Have you been drinking?”

“Nyshoo meechoo, Mr Hafubindrinkin. Are you an Ezhipshun zheentleman?”

“That is not my name, Mr Flaherty McBond. My name is Eric Ness and I seem to have caught you at an inopportune time.”

“Wha . . . ?” I said.

“I’ll come back this afternoon.”

“Who’r’yoo?” I said.

I watched through bleary, watery eyes as he left the room and then I sank back into unconsciousness.

When I awoke six hours later I saw that Mr Ness was sat on my sofa. He had his legs crossed and there was a briefcase by his feet.

“Good afternoon, Mt O’Flaherty McBond. I trust you are in better spirits than you were on our first meeting this morning?”

“Ermmm. Yeah. Sorry about that, Mr . . . ?”

“Ness. Eric Ness, but all my friends call me Loch.”

“Am I your friend?” I asked apprehensively.

“It depends.”

“On what?”

“On whether or not you accept the proposal I’m about to offer you.”

“Right. And what proposal is that?”

“I’m putting together a team to bring down Martin Garré and his more intelligent wife and I’ve heard that you’re the only honest private investigator in Orangatanga.”

“Where’d you hear that?”

“Here and there.”

“Jack Here and John There? I’d trust them with my life.”

“No, no. I mean Round and about.”
“George Round and Phil About? Are they still in Orangatanga?”

“Oh . . . never mind. Are you interested in my proposal or not?”

“The thing is, Eric . . .”

“Call me Loch.”

“The thing is, Loch, I don’t go anywhere without my partner.”

“You mean Duran?”


“He’s too much of a loose cannon  . . . he’d be more of a hindrance than a help.”

“He does like a bit of ultra-violence, that’s for sure; but if he’s not in then neither am I.”

Buster Merryfield Duran had been my partner for the past ten years and he did have a tendency towards ultra-violence. His favourite holiday destination was Canada where he would happily spend a fortnight each year clubbing seals. For relaxation he would spend hours sitting on a bench on the coast road, watching the world go by whilst feeding bicarbonate-soaked bread to the seagulls.

As if on cue, Buster Duran entered the office. He was a strange looking man. He was short and squat with a round face and a bulbous drinker’s nose. He almost always wore a black and white stripy T-shirt with cheap blue jeans and black sneakers. This day was no exception.

“Not in what?” he asked.

“This fellah here,” I said, pointing to Ness, “is setting up a team to fight crime. He wants me to join them but he thinks that you’re too much of a loose cannon.”

“Really? Is that what he said?”

“They were his exact words.”

“I see. Anything else?”

“Yes, he also thought that your tendency towards ultra-violent behaviour would perhaps be a hindrance to his operation.”

“A hindrance, eh?”


“He said that – hindrance?”

“He did indeed.”

Duran turned to Ness and said, “Well, Mr Ness, if indeed that is your real name, I’ll have you know that I normally keep my ultra-violent tendencies in check until there is no other alternative but to use them. Now, what do you say to that?”

“Well, I . . .” began Ness.

Duran held his hand out and covered Ness’s mouth. “Now, Mr Ness, don’t say another word until you have answered my next question, which is: Am I or am I not going to be part of your team?”

“Mr Duran,” said Ness, “your threatening behaviour does not frighten me. I am a trained policeman with twenty years experience under my belt. The profile of you suggests that you have an unstable nature that manifests itself through bouts of meaningless ultra-violence and therefore I cannot . . .”

Ness didn’t finish his last sentence on account of the fact that he was unconscious. Duran had laid him out with a swift and solid punch between the eyes. He didn’t see it coming.

When Ness regained consciousness, Duran had him in a headlock and was about to give him a noogie.

Noogie (noog-ie) v. (origin unknown: first known use 1972) Sometimes called a Monkey Scrub, Hippo Handing or Russian Haircut, a noogie is performed when the middle knuckles of the fore and middle fingers are rubbed vigorously against the surface of the scalp, stretching the skin and pulling the hair. A headlock can be applied for more exact or prolonged execution. This will trap the victim. An open-hand variant known as the Dutch Rub is performed with the heel of the hand. Example: Buster Duran gave Eric Ness a noogie.

“All right! All right!” Ness yelled in pain. “You can be part of the team. Honestly!”


“Yes, yes, honestly!”

“Cross your heart?


“And hope to die in a cellar full of rats?”

“Yes, yes.”

“Say it!”

“I cross my heart and hope to die in a cellar full of rats!”

Duran released Ness from his vice-like grip. “Now, what was so difficult about that?”

“Right,” I said, clapping my hands together. “Now that’s sorted let’s go and meet the rest of the team.”

I grabbed Ness by the arm and dragged him through the open door. Duran smiled at me as we started to walk down the stairs.

“It looks like there could some ultra-violence in store for us in the day ahead,” he observed.

“It does indeed, my fine friend,” I replied, “it does indeed.”