The Last Newspaper in the World


14 November 2014




We went back to the office.  I’d already sent the pics, so it was just a matter of retrieving them from the system and tidying them up.  Christine went to her desk in the corner to write the copy for what we agreed was just a caption story.  The pic of Amber’s Gold crossing the line came up pretty well in the end, although it was a bit dark in the winter light.  Pat O’Rourke and Chang looked slightly strained instead of triumphant but I’d managed to nudge a smile out of them in one shot.  Old Pat’s teeth were a bit past it, with gaps here and there.  Christine left just as I was checking out the surf report.  When I looked up to give her a nod goodbye, I saw that only Harry was left, in his office.  I went over but he didn’t look up when I entered, so I decided to get right into it or I’d never get out of there for a late surf.


‘When were you going to tell me about Christine’s big day out with Pat and his friends?’ I asked Harry. He pushed his chair back from the desk, stood up and walked over to look out at the window.  It was already getting a bit dim out there, so maybe a surf wasn’t on after all.


‘You didn’t need to know.  It might’ve just upset you and put a dampener on today’s proceedings.’


‘Ya think?’ I said, trying to sound sarcastic but really I was more curious about what the old guy was up to.  ‘Com’n what’re you thinking here?’


‘Look you might act like young Mr Worldly Wise, Bill, but you’re still not as fucked up as the rest of us, yet.  If I’d told you what I wanted, and why, you couldn’t hide it on your face.  It’s too open.’


‘That’s bullshit and you know it.’


Harry came around and sat in one of his chairs opposite me.  He shrugged.


‘No it’s not, and don’t talk to me like that.  You’re still just a reporter here and I’m your editor.’


We both laughed at that, because we both knew that wasn’t really the case. 



‘Well, I at the very least needed a pic of Pat and Chang together, with that winning look.  I wasn’t going to push the youngster into doing that, not after what had happened to her before.’


‘So what’s old Pat up to then?  He’s just Chang’s trainer, isn’t he?  No big deal, unless you think they’re tied up with the mayor’s murder.’ I said, hoping Harry knew something I didn’t and would share it with me.


‘Could be.  So did you get anything worthwhile out of the pair of them?’


‘Chang wants me to go to Singapore to help track down the murderer.’


If he was surprised, Harry didn’t show it then.


‘I bet he did,’ he said.  ‘What else?’


‘He reckons there’s some other group wanting to get in on this deal they’ve got going for some kind of country club involving the racing club, Awakeri hot pools, and the fishing club.  Sounds a bit suss to me.’


‘It’s bullshit,’ Harry said rather emphatically.  ‘What’d you make of Christine’s story?  You know, in the light of Chang’s yarn?’


Maybe because I had an eye on the fading light outside, I shook my head to indicate I didn’t get it.


‘Put it like this: what if the Mayor Brand knew something about the plan and the involvement of these guys.  Enough to get him killed.’


‘That’d make Christine a witness who could put all these guys together.’


We looked at each other.  I turned to look at Christine’s corner desk where I imagined I saw her light shining.


‘Catch you later, I’m going for a surf,’ I said, pushing back my chair.  Harry went to say something and instead nodded.  I watched his back as he went back to his office, peering at his screen.  He looked up and, seeing me, waved his hand ushering me out. 

I went quickly down the stairs and walked behind The Last Newspaper in the World to where my car was parked.  As I drove down the Strand, I heard Rasta music coming out of a takeaway place.  In the fading light, a kid was doing some moves in front of no audience I could see.  We love Rasta in the Bay, I thought.


It was even gloomier by the time I got to the beach but I could see some beautiful lines stretching out to the horizon.  The orange corner streetlight was hissing outside Gordon’s place.  I parked opposite and got out, sitting on the bonnet to check out the waves.  One lone figure sat outside, his board rising and falling through each swell.  The waves were almost too high to hold up on the banks of the beach break.  The sound of the surf was quite different from that of the constant rumble of an on-shore boil-up.  The sea’s energy was being delivered in a watery chain, now silent and now thundering.  I could never understand when my parents talked about the sound of one hand clapping.  Some old hippy bullshit, I used to think, I think.  The waves in front of me were like hands folding over, expressing energy; an artist at work on an ozone canvas.

‘So, are you going in?  It’s getting a little dark.’


I turned and saw Angelique standing next to me, her head tilted to one side, the round face quizzical but smiling.  She slipped an arm through my mine and held my hand. 

‘Yes, it is isn’t it?’


‘I have a gorgeous soup on.’


Looking straight ahead to the sea, I could see the surfer making his way through the white water to shore.


‘What sort of soup is it?’


‘Onion, of course.’




‘Did I mention we also have rabbit stew?’


‘Ah, and Bernie is he, you know?’


‘He’s eaten; off at the club.’  She tugged on my arm.  ‘I know you don’t feel like company but come and share this with me.’


As we got into my car, I glanced over and realised I didn’t have my board in the back.  I told Angelique and we laughed.




The Last Newspaper in the World

By Mick Stone



Published by BMS Books

An imprint of Business Media Services Ltd



Publication Details:

The Last Newspaper in the World

Copyright © 2012 Mick Stone

All rights reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-473-23249-8




Published in Kindle by:

BMS Books an imprint of

Business Media Services Ltd



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Rotorua 3010

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