Opinion

Then it hits me... the weedy kid in the mankini

THIS is finale of the latest in the Dusty Dexter short story series by Sunshine Coast author Jan Richards. See below for a summary of the main characters.

Missed the start? You can catch up here

JANET slams the laptop shut. "He's got it all over Facebook, Twitter, his blog. 'Didn't mean to hurt the dude. Just a joke."

Red. "We gotta find him."

I'm talking, mostly to myself, but out loud. "Where would you be if you were a kid, on his last day of school, mastermind of a major scam?

He wants to be seen, he wants everyone to know how smart he is. He's here, somewhere. Incognito. Or maybe not, maybe he's in plain sight."

Then it hits me. The mankini, the weedy kid in the mankini. So he said he didn't know anything, but I'd bet on it.

"Hey! Cindy."

I race over to her, Red on my heels.

"Zane, was he the kid in the red mankini?"

"Yeah. Ultra cool computer geek Zane."

Yeah. Ultra.

Red, Janet, me, evaluating, thinking. We know who we're looking for, but the red mankini's long gone.

Red. "Maybe he's at home, holed up with his laptop."

Me. "You said he's on Facebook. Now."

Janet. "Yeah."

"Maybe he's using wireless. Where do kids go to use free wireless?"

"Starbucks?"

"Worth a try."

Red. "Should mention this to Hank."

We look at her.

"Let's go get 'im."

  Zane's waiting for us. Feet up on a chair, laptop on the table, a grande coffee of some sort beside it. The remnants of the mankini tied in a knot around his hips.

Smug.

Red sits opposite him. "We're going to have a little chat, Zane."

He slowly moves his left hand to the keyboard, hovers above the enter key. Doesn't say a word.

Ok, so the kid's got a plan. He's a computer genius, with a beef with Mr Smith the English teacher. What's he gunna do? It's not like he's got a bomb.

He just wants to wreak more computer havoc. Drive his point home, prove he's an ultra cool computer geek in a mankini. And get a viral video.

"Mr Smith filled out his mankini better than you do." I didn't mean to say it, it just came out.

Red gives me the stare.

But it got his attention. "Who the f.... are you?"

"Dusty Dexter, Private Investigator."

Red doesn't correct me like she usually does. No crack about the PI exam. Figure I must be doing ok, continue.

"You gotta stop this Zane. You made your point. We all know you're an ultra cool computer geek."

A scowl.

Be nicer.  "We know you got the 'nads. Ok."

He pouches his hand around the mankini. "Nothing you can do."
"'bout what?"

"Hit this button." The finger hovers. "The whole education department goes down."

So that's it.

"No end of school results." He smirks.

Red. "Not gunna change your result, Zane."

"Nah. But it'll be the first time a senior student took down the education department. I'll be famous."

"The entire Education Department, eh. Just Queensland? Or you hacked the whole country?"

He shifts. "Queensland. Good enough."

"Not bad, but no gold star." I needle him. "Not like it's the Pentagon. "

Zane. "We don't got a Pentagon, last I looked."

Should have put more effort into your English, Zane.

He adds. "Education Department's what I wanted."

Red. "We're not gunna let you do it Zane."

The finger hovers. Schoolies gather. Hank and his cops.

The newspaper, TV cameras from the beach have found their way to Starbucks, push through the crowd, lenses on Zane.

Form a ring around us.

Zane at the centre.

Red puts her hand up - a signal. Cops back off. "You don't want to ruin your career before it gets started Zane."

She doesn't get it. He thinks he's making his career, right here.

A murmur from the kids and a tall man, jeans, long hair.

Zane looks up. "Mr Hetherington." Not so cool now.

Red stands, gives the teacher her seat. "See if you can talk some sense into this kid."

Mr Hetherington shakes his head at Zane. "Not good Zane. Mr Smith's dead."

Mr Hetherington puts a hand into a picket, pulls out five bucks, hands it to a student.  "Espresso. Double."
He's jittery. Red eyes. Looks as bad as Zane.

What did they say about Mr Hetherington? He's leaving school, giving up teaching, opening and IT business.

He leans in to Zane, talks quiet.

The cameras focus on them.

The espresso arrives. Mr Hetherington drinks, he's not in a hurry to end this. Wants his 15 minutes of fame.

An IT student wanting to make his name and an IT teacher starting up a new business.

They're in it together. But I doubt Mr Smith was part of Mr Hetherington's plan. Too risky. All he wanted was a boost for his new business.

I'd bet Mr Smith was all Zane's idea. 

Mr Hetherington turns to the crowd, cameras. 

"Zane's a gifted student, but he went too far with Mr Smith. I'm sure he's deeply sorry."

He looks at Zane who shrugs, mutters to himself, finger still hovers.

This thing isn't over yet, and I don't think Mr Hetherington's too keen on ending it. If the button isn't pushed and the education department doesn't go down, the story's over.

Mr Hetherington continues, "I'm sure it was an accident, a prank gone wrong. Zane's a good boy."

  I'm going to stop this, now. I whisper to Janet. "Going round the other side. When you get the sign, grab the laptop."

"What sign?"

"You'll know."

I shoulder past students, camera men, at the other side of the table I get the attention of a group of schoolies, 18-year-old boys in sandy, wet school shirts. I indicate that I'm going to lift my shirt, mouth the words. "Show us your tits."

They oblige. Half a dozen male voices cream, "Show us your tits PI."

Zane and Mr Hetherington look up at me.

I raise my shirt.

The schoolies scream their appreciation.

Janet grabs the Mac Air.

Another win for Dusty Dexter, Private Investigator.

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictiously and any resemblance to any actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely accidental. 

Website and blog: dustydexterpi.com
author's facebook page: facebook.com/jannyrichards
dusty's facebook fan page: Dusty-Dexter-PI-Her-First-Case-by-Jan-Richards
Twitter @dustydexterpi

 

NEW TO DUSTY DEXTER? HERE ARE THE MAIN CHARACTERS

DUSTY Dexter's a private investigator, well she will be, if she ever does the study. Dusty reckons on-the-job training's more important, so she's determined to prove herself and crack another case.

Besides, after she cracked her last case, and made prime-time tv, in a bikini, she's famous.

Janet Jones, journalist, is Dusty's best friend, although most of the time she's not sure why, especially when Dusty involves her in her schemes.

Janet thinks she's an investigative reporter, and she's always on the lookout for her next front-page story.

Red's an ex-cop with a secret, and she's Dusty's boss. She's five foot nothing and 50 kilos but she's got attitude, and a gun. As far as Red's concerned Dusty's not getting another case until she finishes the PI course.

Hank, senior sergeant Stern to you, is always the first man on the scene when there's a body.

He's got a soft spot for Dusty, he even did some handywork around that dump of a house she lives in. They're having a stand-off, and he's not sure why. 

Topics:  dusty dexter fiction short story



Brisbane's arts and culture events centre stage

A CITY drenched in culture, Brisbane is again flaunting an arts and culture events calendar fit for a queen.

Homewares stores to fulfil your Instagram dreams

No Caption

You too can become an Insta-star with these fab stores.

Date nights under $50

Nothing is more romantic than a picnic with a cracking view.

NOT every date has to cost you a bomb.

Top 10 Brisbane experiences to cross off your bucket list

Do yourself a favour and get amongst the food truck scene. Eat Street is a great place to start.

A GOOD bucket list doesn’t have to span continents or cost millions.

Six mega sporting events you need to be at this year

Don't miss all the action trackside this season.

IF THERE is one thing Brisbane does damn well, it’s play host.

Six reasons to get to Brisbane this Autumn

The Brisbane Powerhouse has free comedy on Friday nights.

AUTUMN has to be up there with one of the best seasons of the year.

The best things to do in Brisbane are FREE. Yes, FREE

Mt Coot-tha is a seriously gorgeous way to start your day.

HEADING to the big smoke doesn’t have to come with a big price tag.

How to push your happiness buttons

BRAINY BOOST: Exercise is a natural way to boost your endorphins and happiness.

Manipulating the neurotransmitters that make you feel good.

What's fresh at your local farmers' market

The pecan harvest is just beginning, so you will find a good selection at the markets from now. PHOTO: KATE O'NEILL

Pecans and cauliflowers among the new buys, as well as a great tea

Local Partners

Charity has grand plans to help people help themselves

A charity that helps homeless and needy has opened a new shop in a bid to raise money to fund a venture that will feed and skill the very people it supports.


What to expect at Birds of Tokyo's Ipswich gig

The band will perform at the Racehorse Hotel on Friday.

BAND member Glen Sarangapany talks music, pub grub and doing shoeys

Gig guide: Get the blues in Broadbeach

Russell Morris will perform at The Star Gold Coast as part of Blues on Broadbeach on Friday, May 19

Festival fun and top shelf gigs

Tweed's weekend gig guide

Wally and the Gators play Club Banora on Saturday night

What's on in the Tweed

Miranda Kerr and fiance hang up backyard tent for wedding

MIRANDA Kerr and her husband-to-be, Snapchat founder Evan Spiegel, are set to marry today in decidedly downgrade style with a backyard wedding.

Book review: Mia Freedman's book meets her critics head on

I appreciated Freedman's blunt honesty in the book

Take a walk along the Murwillumbah Art Trail

WORK OF ART: "Workers Store” acrylic on canvas by Scott McDougall, one of the artists featured in the Murwillumbah Art Trail.

Get to know Tweed's amazing artists.

Model Bella Hadid's see-through dress shocks in Cannes

US model Bella Hadid attends the Cinema Against AIDS amfAR gala 2017 held at the Hotel du Cap, Eden Roc in Cap d'Antibes, France, 25 May 2017.

It’s like she’s become addicted to shock value.

No room for morbid fans

Chris Cornell.

Fans want to stay in the hotel room where Chris Cornell died

Man's amazing comeback from monster crisis

Pat O'Driscoll agents Penny Keating and Doug Webber sold 56 Agnes St, The Range at auction over the weekend.

NOT long ago, he sold his possessions to pay staff. Now he's back.

How Toowoomba house prices compare in Australia

For sale sign in front of home.

Here's what $700,000 will buy you in Toowoomba, Brisbane and Sydney

One of Maryborough's most historic homes is still for sale

FULL OF HISTORY: Trisha Moulds is owner of the historic Tinana state known as Rosehill. The beautiful home is currently for sale.

It has been the scene of both joy and tragedies over the years.

The face of the Sunshine Coast's overpriced rental crisis

Alyx Wilson had to rent a $385 unit in Currimundi because the market was too competitive for cheaper rental housing. She is now renting a room from friends who own a house in Currimundi, and says its much more affordable.

Young people feel the strain in competitive, expensive rental market

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!