December 29, 2012

On the Road

When things get rushed, details get missed.
Sounds plausible. Sounds almost innocent - of cause things were going to get 'missed' when you had to rush a wedding, locate an available J.P at such short notice, organise a honeymoon, celebrate a birthday, confirm a Police report, and catch a flight back to the UK - but the truth be known, we knew exactly what we were doing: committing bigamy.

We had both been previously married. PB (AKA hubby) had his divorce through, finalised, but me? I hadn't planned on marrying again so divorce kind of never came up. I just figured I'd get some papers through the mail one day and learn hubby-one had moved on. That was the plan. 

But now I had to come up with a new one - we both took a deep breath, confirmed neither had married before, and just hoped like hell no one found out. Good plan.

On the wedding day I was visited by the local Victim's Support Group. I'm not altogether sure what a stuffed toy lion was supposed to represent but I was given one anyhow. I decided to call him Leo. My long term friend Mina was my bridesmaid - turns out she was my Bride of Honour as she was happily married with two kids. I didn't know much about marriage protocol - I'd never done it properly before. PB's best man was my Bride of Honour's husband. It felt more legit and even if they'd only meet minutes before the ceremony, they still had enough time to banter which football team was the best - Liverpool or Manchester United. I didn't give a shit. 

My mother was in her element. She had a reason to party, to invite family members she'd not seen in years and have them respect her as an honoured guest. She stapled fake flowers to the trees outside where our vows would be spoken and took to refilling anyone's glass with whatever came to hand. Her second husband walked wistfully through the house not sure where to put his feet. It was the first time he'd met me. The first time he'd seen any of our relatives and we weren't too sure what to make of him either. Aside from the fact that he had an assortment of machetes hanging on the back of the guest bedroom door, he appeared calm and forgiving of such an intrusion, and besides he seemed to tolerate my mother so maybe he wasn't that bad.

The vows were simple. PB mentioned some funny comments and I said "Ditto." On the surface of it all, we appeared to be a sweet, funny, couple, and even I started to buy into the charade. It's not like I didn't want it to work and it's not as if I didn't have feelings for PB. We just had history, bad history, one that involved other women, infidelity, a mistress, a diamond ring, and me caught up in the midst of it all. It was also the reason for my blasé reaction when PB gave me a one-carat diamond solitaire engagement ring - the same one he'd kept in his bottom bedside draw for someone else.

I used to try it one, back in the good old days when we lived with each other in England. I'd steal it from the purple casing and once I even made a trip to the local store, fanning my face all innocent-like, just so I could see it sparkle. I'm sure I looked like an epileptic. But now? Now that it was legitimately on my finger, it seemed to have lost all of its charm. 

Things went from bad to worse. First of all, the JP didn't turn up - his embarrassed wife explained he'd forgotten and had already left to go fishing so we were left rummaging through the local phone book for a replacement. Eventually, I relented and Mrs Thorpe arrived. To this day, I don't think anyone cottoned on to why I was so mortified - for me, it was such a cruel twist of fate that this was the same woman who witnessed her 'much older than me son' suspended from school because he gave me a  hideous large love-bite while on school camp. Maybe she didn't remember or maybe she did, and she was just pleased to see the back of me, all legally married and soon to be living on the other side of the world far away from her son. 

PB and I spent our wedding night in the machete bedroom, taking turns describing useful if not macabre uses for all this man's armoury. 

"Maybe your Mum's just into some kinky shit," PB reasoned.

"Nah, he doesn't seem the type."

The following morning, we left for Rotorua. It was the start of our honeymoon and my birthday. A strange day. I expected to feel different, to feel married and I also expected to feel older - I felt neither. PB kept referring to the countryside as something out of a horror movie and once, when we did stop at a small country gas station, where there was only a gas station and restaurant and nothing or anyone else, he asked me to keep the car running while he went in to pay.

He does't handle stress well, does PB, Never did and most probably, never will. It's no wonder, when the English Embassy called us at our hotel, he just ran to the bed, hid under the blankets, and started singing a random tune to block out reality.I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. 

"There are some inconsistencies with your paperwork," she said, "mainly the status prior to your wedding." I knew, even though PB couldn't hear what was being said (hell, even I couldn't hear over his moaning)  that he knew only too well that we'd been caught out. Seven years. That's the only thought I could think of - the term of imprisonment for bigamy, and now it looked like we were on the run. 

I stole a glance towards the bedroom and secretly loathed my partner in crime. He was not going to make it, I decided. The stress would kill him first. Suddenly, I heard her apologise. "Look, I don't know how to tell you this but it seems as if your husband was married before."

Oh the relief. It was PB's shit she's uncovered. That was okay. He'd not broken any New Zealand Law. Just an English one and we were heading back there anyhow - I'd turn his butt over to Authorities when we arrived. That was what I would have said only I was so relieved that all I could blurt out was "Oh, I know that!"

Although surprised, she professionally summarised our options: Get his secretary to fax over his decree nisi, redo the paperwork, and hopefully you'll make your flight. Sure, sounds easy but it meant packing up right there and then, heading back to Wellington, some five hours drive away, doing what was required, and then legging it back to Auckland, another eight hours drive, to catch our flight.

But that's exactly what we did. 

I knew PB was stressed. He ordered a steady run of whiskey on the flight and neither of us spoke until our stop-over in Perth, Australia, some ten hours later. It was only then that I felt I'd got away with it. It was only then that I thought, maybe this might work. 

Only then.


Running... away?

"Go to Australia," the Police said, "make a fresh start." But what is a new start and just how close is it to running away?

I was in Australia around twenty years ago. I was on my way back home. Actually, that's not altogether true - I was stalling my trip to New Zealand. I wouldn't call myself psychic but I did have an overwhelming sense of dread. Turned out, I wasn't that far from the truth. Within 24 hours I was in Auckland's ICU beaten to a pulp by my brother who took exception to me not wanting my father at my upcoming wedding. I don't know, I just thought it would be a little too much to attempt a traditional wedding when I'd not that long ago requested the Police look into my father's past on the basis of historical child sex abuse claims. 

I blame my mother for that night's events - she's always had her own agenda and I will never be able to completely understand it and now, I don't truly care to know. 

In any event, she thought my brother should walk me down the aisle. "It's the least you could do," she frowned. I'm not sure of all the psychological dynamics that little judgemental comment made on my older brother or why it sent him into a dark place where the only way he could escape his own demons was to try and kill the one standing before him - me. 

All I remember was how he had the strength to rip a door from its hinges and the sound of cutlery rattling in a draw still sends shivers up my spine - turns out, he had me in a chocker lock, my head like a rugby ball under his armpit while he fished in the nearby draw for a knife. I remember scrambling on all fours to a the neighbours house, across the road, banging on the door, falling into their laps. I remember seeing Police arrive and then seeing nothing. I hadn't blacked out. The blood vessels around my eyes had imploded and my eyes had 'shut up shop' in an vain attempt to heal.

I couldn't explain to them why 'things got so out of hand' but my mother could. "It's her father. He always does this. It's his fault, his fault I tell you!"

Kind of ironic since he was nothing more than the mere subject of an incredibly brief conversation but how do you explain the dynamics of a toxic family to the Police? They want things simple:Someone did something wrong and we need to know find the culprit, quick smart.

I was held in the hospital under Police protection until they could ascertain I was well enough to be released. "He's been arrested and won't be out any time soon," they assured. Taking their lead, I allowed them to drive me back to my brother's house to collect my belongings before attending my first-ever night in a Woman's refuge - mother and all. 

To this day, I will never forget the shocked look on their faces when I ran back out of the house to tell them that, not only was my brother inside but so too was my father and step-mother and all the kids, like it was some collective support group that had gathered around whom they thought was the victim - my brother. 

Like any kid, I wanted to run to my father, lay blame squarely at the feet of my sibling, and stand back to watch the wrath of his paternal protective instincts inflame like nothing on this earth.

I always was a dreamer, a hopeless romantic through and through. My father did nothing. In fact, I swear, the moment I ran from the house - he laughed. I could hear him. I yelled at the Police that he was laughing and they took in turns to run into the house and ask damming questions, none of which I was privy to - I didn't care by then. All I knew was I was a joke. The last laugh was on me.  

For a fleeting moment however, as I stood (gob-smacked) before my brother, I swear he questioned me visually, as if to say "who the hell did that to you?" and for a moment there, I wondered who as well and almost started laughing, not in a funny haha moment but in a Jesus Christ, I have really seriously lost my mind! 

Embarrassed, the Police regathered outside my brother's house. There was talk of miscommunication and connections and maybe something else - I didn't listen, I didn't care. To say I had lost faith in the Police would be an understatement. One of the Policemen, however, whether fuelled by his own upcoming wedding or the fact that his Fiancée was English (who knows) too it upon himself to call my very own Fiancée in England and encourage him to make the trip, bring the wedding forward, and take "this poor woman out of here."

So I got married - five days later.

I didn't have any photos. I was still to badly injured but I had something else no one else has at their wedding - a full blown police protective service circling the premises - rumour had it (albeit this information came from my mother) that my father was "around" and it "was bound to get ugly."

It never did - get ugly, that is. 

My husband and I returned to England... and that's when things got ugly. 

December 28, 2012

2013 - Starting Over

It's been a while since I wrote on my blog. A lot has happened. My best work buddy quit his position as the Manager when Receivers walked through the door and I was offered it instead. I thought it would be a great work opportunity but instead, I was used as a go-between, a source of inside information for the old business owner and the Receivers who were looking for a new prospective buyer. Upshot: Within three months, the old business owner regained control over the company and for thanks, he made me redundant - well that's a nice way of putting it. 

As I hastily packed my worldly possessions and moved out of the on-site accommodation, I left a few telling artefacts for him to ponder over: a raw, rotting piece of chicken in a desk draw and a week's supply of puppy pooh all over the patio. Chicken Shit - that just about sums him up.

Two weeks later, I had up-sticks and even moved to a new Country. 

And so here I am. 

No more fighting with ACC cause, well since my absence, they have managed to shoot themselves so much in the foot that it pales in comparison as to what a wee blog could do. Not a day went by that they weren't in the Newspapers for some breach of privacy - thousands of claimants watched helplessly as their file contents spewed into all sorts of public crevices and with no come back. In order to file for damages, claimants had to prove they were psychologically damaged but since they were predominately claiming for psychological damages, as a result of sexual abuse, the Privacy Commission deemed it impossible to measure a "new" level of damage. In addition, to write a formal letter of complaint about having their secrets revealed to the public, they had to prove they were in a "right frame of mind" but in doing so, they forfeited any rights to compensation or counselling cause if your sane enough to write a legible complaint, you ain't mad enough to get their help. Reading all this made me dizzier than being strapped into a roller-coaster on steroids. It was pure insanity; corporate bullying at its best.

So Nick Smith resigns and the sly coyote, AKA Peter Jansen, slithers into the woods, seemingly unnoticed, to sniff out some other tax-paying corporation offering easy blood money. The players may have changed but the strategy remains the same - take the compulsory ACC payments from the public and use them for any other means than what's intended.

That was 2012.

In the months since I arrived in my 'new' country, ACC matters have been pushed back into the cauldrons of my mind as I try to readjust to the changes that are inevitable when one up and leaves just about everything they know. It's like clearing out a suitcase and walking around trying to find shit to fill it back up with. I haven't done such a great job of replacing crap with just new crap. Instead, I have left things empty so I can see what it is that I miss the most - I guess it's one way of trying to re-establish what's important in life, especially if you have a small suitcase.

This is my journey - 2013. 

June 14, 2012


My, my my, what a lot of happenings at ACC as of recent.. Summary here.... and the fallout.... well it could be nothing better than the hole rusty lot of them fucking off! Enough I say! Enough of this multi-million dollar company pleading poverty - why cause some of their high upper management can't see to juggle the finance record to accommodate for nightly slappers or porn movies? It's not rocket science people - use the fucking tax paid money to finance the service you said you were going to provide - JAYSUS, even my 3 year old niece understands the logic of that!

The only time ACC assholes panic is when it looks as if someone is looking into their CV or wallet - Oh, dont' worry, you'll find as much plastic in both!

March 15, 2012


It’s sundown. Dusk maybe. Someone spits, just cause they can. Women and children shelter in the saloon flip-flop doors as men throw in their
poker hands.

A commotion was stirring—a god fearing, lustful, true-blue, gun fight was in the making. All that was missing was the music and some plaque-infested, toothless, cowboy whistling Dixie as he sauntered, menacingly into Town.

Unbelievably and as if on cue, a familiar figure waddled into view.

“Well, I’ll be damned,” someone remarked. “If it ain’t ole PJ Rancid. Recognise him in an instant.”

The poker boys all jostled for position at the saloon windows. “You sure is right, it’s him. God damn fool, what’s he be doing standing up to the likes of them SCU lot?”

Cowboy PJ Rancid, dressed in his recognisable Coyote suit and recently purchased diamante crucifix, stood defiant. Well at least that’s what he told himself. He knew there were but a few degrees of mild separation between that and arrogance but what was this dumb lot to know?

He has a new sidekick, someone pointed out. Unrecognisable yet uncannily familiar. “I bet you  10 bucks he’s a bloody crook.” The poker boys sniggered. Odds are he’s right and no one was willing to loose any amount of money on that lousy bet.

Unperturbed, PJ stood proudly behind his newly recruited replacement at ACC. It was Showtime. Time to take this to the next level. With a brotherly pat on the shoulder, PJ exited the crossfire zone and settled behind a robust beer barrel filled with golden handshake dosh.

This should be good, he told himself. Real good.

Dr P Dodwell (BMA, CIP, BLAH, IMHO) scuffed his cowboy boots in the dry soil and spat a lung full of tobacco over his right shoulder. Just like he was shown. He looked confident but deep down he was worried. His crude name change from 'did well' to Dodwell had the potential to throw the SCU hounds into a manic frenzy; the quantum leap from Australia to New Zealand might just tip them over the edge. He cast a dismayed look at his predecessor.

Go on... PJ urged, throwing his iconic plastic smile into the Netherlands.

Fuckwit,” Doddy muttered as he jostled his gun belt from his sagging crutch. He’d been set up. He knew that now. Turning back, he faced the growing mob before him. It’s not like there’s a real enemy, he soothed. No axe-wielding murderers with witch cackle screams. Just some hormonal women with newly printed t-shirts picketing some imaginary line in the sand. Stupid bitches.

“What do we want?” ...Counselling!.... “When do we want it?” ...Now!

“Damn straight these crazy bitches need counselling,” PJ muttered. “But I’ll be fucked if I’m spending any money just to get them to act normal. Some are passed their sell by dates anyhow.”

PJ quickly straightened himself, releasing his manic grip on the beer barrel. I earned it, he told himself. Every single hundred-dollar-note. Putting up with this bunch of losers, I’m surprised I haven’t needed counselling myself. Now do your fucking job Doddy. Get bloody well in there and stop this shit before the Media gets here.

Suddenly, a whirlwind of dust rose up as a lone stranger rode bareback into town. Everyone stood mesmerised, waiting for the role that this newly developed hero would play. And hero he must have been for Doddy let out a magnificent “Whoop! Whoop!”  at the mere sight of him.

It was a magnificent ‘Eureka’ moment for poor Doddy. A chance to swagger back into the shadows and allow this cowboy to take his adoring moment. If there’s one thing a scapegoat needs, it’s an even better one. 

ACC’s chief executive, Ralph Stewart — aka Ralph—elegantly swung a leg over the horse’s head and dismounted. Both feet landed firmly on the picket line like a full stop in mid-sentence. A definite ‘Tada!’ moment and something not lost on the protesters.

“Who in the name of Zeus’ butthole are you?”

Ralph blushed. Butthole was not a word he’d come across a lot in his meagre time at ACC. For some reason, it seemed far more graphic than arse. Quite disturbing in fact.

“My name is Ralph and I come in good faith.”

He had rehearsed his lines well. Every word would be recorded, analysed, butchered in some way. He had to be careful. He knew that. This wasn’t just a spat of troubleshooting. No siree! This was ‘one of the worst privacy breaches in New Zealand history.’

“Ten bucks says he gets it in the nuts.

A sudden hive of activity ruptured inside the Saloon as the poker boys emptied their pockets of cash: “I got a fiver on his balls as well!”

“Nah, the face man, the face!”

Unruffled, Ralph continued with his speech: “It would appear that a woman within ACC accidentally sent the details of 9000 claimants to an ACC client and although attempts were made to try and find the files frankly we should have done more.”

“Holy shit, make that fifty bucks the Growlers nail his balls to a fence!

The Growlers—for want of a better word, such as beneficiaries, bludgers, mob, protesters, rioters, losers, or a bunch of steel-capped sexually frustrated lesbians—were also and perhaps more commonly referred to as claimants within the realms of ACC’s Sensitive Claims Unit. Whatever the terminology, they were undoubtedly the bane of ACC’s arse. Averaging expenditure of about $9 million per annum, they were, in fact, fast becoming ... um.. bloody well expensive.

The Claimants stood completely spellbound. Not because someone finally had the courage to address their concerns but because this News was so overwhelmingly crude and blatant—handled in the same haphazard way that earned PJ Rancid his reputation as a sly and loathsome coyote. 

In light of recent ACC conflicts, this current breach reeked of sabotage—to make the SCU so inept as to warrant complete closure.

“Now I’m really paranoid. What if my sensitive claim was amongst those? I’ll never be able to leave my house again and face people. Just as I’m coming right after vigorous counselling too!”

“I’d better make another appointment with my counsellor,” someone muttered despondently.

Ralph straightened himself, pleased he’d emphasised the culprit was a woman. It might win this lot over. Of course, Ralph had no idea who the culprit was. The person’s identity was never released. Classified. Their privacy had to be maintained at all costs, he was told. Slightly ironic considering events but who was he to argue?

“Who the hell got this information?” barked a claimant.

The thought of their files, their information, their graphic and sexually explicit records being sent to an undisclosed source by an undisclosed staff member was too much for some to comprehend. “I thought our information was supposed to be safe” someone yelled. “I mean what is the point of the SCU setting itself up as this bloody almighty prison of data protecting our Rights, our information, our stories, our fucking lives for Christ’s sake, when you can fuck up so badly?

“The recipient, an ACC client, did not want to be named because they feared being swamped by telephone calls from other ACC clients concerned their details had been distributed nationwide.”


Ralph was loosing the battle. Instead of answers, he had merely encouraged questions.

“It’s alright,” he soothed, “the recipient blacked out all the personal details of claimants when providing documents to the Dominion Post.”

“A newspaper? They gave the information to a Newspaper?”

“ACC has implemented several safeguards to ensure all client information is protected and managed correctly.” Ralph could hear his voice rising above the rumbling discontent of his audience. Hestarted to sound paranoid. He certainly felt it — his statement was ridiculous especially in light of the circumstances. Stay strong, he told himself. Stay focused.

“Now just hang on a second here. You mean to say one person, and only one person sent information of such a vast volume to someone she shouldn’t have? What information exactly? When did this happen?”

Ralph shifted uncomfortably. ‘Don’t mention August. Don’t mention August.’ The small mantra sped around his head and gained momentum. It was threatening to burst from his mouth. Fishing for notes inside his jacket pocket, Ralph managed to give himself time... breathe God damn-it, breath...  “It would appear this information was brought to our attention a lot later than it should.

“Oh stop piss-arsing around and answer the God-damn question. When?


The crowd erupted just as Ralph feared. He’d been warned against mentioning specific dates but the month of August, that small worrisome detail weighed so heavily on his mind that for a brief moment, he actually felt relieved. It was out there now, he told himself. But now was a different story. Now he was positively scared. The crowds words were merging together, peaking hysterically as the dry acrid dust encircled the scene. Fists punched through the air and set Ralph’s loyal stallion into a frenzied gallop, back to whence he came.  

“Now now ladies....”

“Don’t you now now ladies us you incompetent prick. Seven months after the event and what, you’re finally coming clean?”

“They’re not coming clean,” someone barked, “they’re troubleshooting. All the Media is over this." As if to prove her point, she thrust her new Blueberry into the air; the small screen displayed the headlines “ACC sorry for breach of privacy.”

Doddy shifted his feet uncomfortably. Privacy. Not his favourite word. More like a heinous umbilical cord that linked him straight back to Australia and his own brush with the Law. Bloody women, he cursed. As if to distract himself, Doddy looked over his shoulder and cursed his cowardly predecessor. How much does he know, Doddy wondered. Is that why I was hired?

“In addition to privacy breaches, it appears ACC staff are covertly communicating with advisors to manipulate medical reports in ACC’s favour.”

Doddy’s heart started to beat rapidly. The protester reading from her Blueberry phone was hitting way too close to home. He considered making a run for it—jumping in one elegant ‘John Wayne’ manoeuvre onto the horse. The horse, God Damn-it, more devious than him had already bolted while the lethargic dog—hardly a compromise—now seemed remarkably gleeful, skirting in and out of the protesters, keeping the acrid dust animated.

“Oi you!” someone yelled.

Doddy froze.... be continued....