Beach Walker – Chapter 21
Follow the Money
Big, puzzled brown eyes in an old-man face. A moist mouth agape in constant wonder. Tight curls of black hair atop a round skull. ‘Welcome to the world, little man,’ I murmured as I cradled Billy against my breast. ‘I wonder what your life’s journey will be?’
He was off to a good start, that was a fact, I reflected as I handed him back to his mum. He wouldn’t be short of love, to judge by the adoring expressions of his parents, his aunties and uncles – and, of course, his three besotted grandparents.
Neither would he lack for material comforts and the many advantages that money brings.
Melissa and Josh had moved in with her parents, Barb and Ted – into their airy, architect designed, hardwood-clad farmhouse, nestled in the Byron Bay hinterland with views out towards the coast. The long-term plan was to convert the derelict dairy, turn it into a home with the charm of the old and the comfort of the brand-new, where Melissa could conduct her IT work and bring up Billy, while Josh travelled with his busy agronomy practice.
As I sipped my mineral water, gazed at the laughing, chatting groups dotted across the immaculate lawn, smiled at the littlies, Billy’s cousins, racing around heedless of parental admonitions, watched smoke rising from the barbecue, smelled the rich aromas of Easter Sunday lunch – I felt utterly out of place.
Josh was set to marry into money, as the obnoxious idiom goes. Barb and Ted had that pleasant, self-assured, just-ever-so-slightly condescending air that considerable wealth tends to bring. I felt that I had to be on my best behaviour around them. This was not company in which I could drop one of Leonard’s fucken oaths.
Their daughter Melissa was a sweet young woman – with more about her than immediately met the eye. She had a way of popping out startling observations which I found likeable and intriguing. I suspected that my rather stolid first-born was marrying above him in more than one sense, and hoped that she wouldn’t come to feel that she, too, had ‘settled’.
My phone vibrated. Feeling aloof from the goings-on, slightly bored, I glanced at it. A text from Peter: what did he want?
Grace – Might want to take a look at this.
Probably ten minutes until lunch. Might as well slip away to the shady arbour and see what my schoolmasterly acquaintance was getting exercised about now.
Seated comfortably out of the sun, I followed the link to a well-known tabloid newspaper.
Killer Jockey Follows the Money
A life sentence for murder couldn’t keep Lenny Voss down. Bashing his lover Joseph Lane to death in 1984, the ex-jockey served 21 years before release.
Now Voss, aka Dr Leonard Boss, lives the high life – a multi-million dollar oceanfront property, a Thoroughbred stable, a $500k vintage motorcycle. He inherited his 75-ha Bellarine stud farm from uncle James Voss in 2008. Family members contested the will to no avail.
Bellarine locals think Voss an eccentric recluse. Those we spoke to characterised his behaviour as ‘disturbing and antisocial’.
Eccentric, but nobody’s fool: the qualified scuba diver holds a Masters in Marine Biology.
Voss was a close associate and dive buddy of Sven ‘Shorty’ Olsen – mastermind of daring bank raids across Queensland and NSW in the 1990s. The bikie bandit died in a mystery hit-and-run in 2017. The driver has never been found. Half of the $50m cash netted by Olsen’s gang remains unrecovered to this day.
Voss doesn’t work and hasn’t submitted a tax return for five years. When questioned about the discrepancy between these facts and his lavish lifestyle, he declined to comment.
Does Voss know where Olsen stashed the missing millions? Does the answer lie beneath the stormy waters of Bass Strait?
It was a skilful mixture of truth, snide juxtaposition, exaggeration and daring speculation. The Leonard it portrayed was a cruel caricature of the real man.
Obviously a quiet news day: there was no news here, only insinuations. Insinuations that could ruin a reputation, wreck a life for the sake of a minute’s entertainment.
The caption of the photo read:
Leonard Voss and friend Grace Davies (formerly Corrections NSW)
I had to admit, we looked a dodgy pair: Leonard scowling into the distance and me with a silly pout. The gangland mastermind and his moll. Crashing surf in the background. Dramatic!
I calculated when the photo had been taken. It was three days before the incident which had spooked Leonard.
The bastards had been stalking us.
Next week in Beach Walker:
Chapter 22: In Deep
Grace frets over Leonard, and Melissa offers some sensible advice.
Disclaimer: The people and events described in this story are entirely the product of the author’s imagination; they bear no intentional resemblance to real-life people and events. The locations are authentic.