Saturday, December 09, 2006



Writing to displace the pre-party terror I am feeling (the usual no-one will come, no-one will talk, no-one will have a good time stuff) so I thought we could do with some prison stories.
And a strong language alert ahead.

(I wrote some notes on this and they have disappeared into the Void, so some of this may even be less factual than usual. But I had an interesting patient the other day, and I feel like telling people about him).

Mr Connolly speaks, and looks and even dresses a lot like my dad, so much so that I find myself listening to him as if he is my dad, the same affection, the same admiration and respect. This is the psychiatric phenomenon known as positive counter-transference, by the way, and each time after I have seen Mr Connolly I know I have to check my notes to make sure a little more leeway is not being shown to him than other people.

But Daniel Connolly has the same clear hazel eyes, the same soft southern Irish accent, the same broad worker's shoulders. I think they would have come over from Ireland around about the same time, they both spent time in London, each used to ride a motorbike. Where my dad drove a bulldozer, made roads and worked in the mines, this guy smuggled heroin and waved guns at people, but the superficial similarities still remain.

Or maybe not that superficial. My dad was a man with a strong moral code, and one day Daniel Connolly, who at that time was working for some Italians who distributed heroin in Sydney, ("... and they did guns and ran a bit of prostitution and so on... I reckon some people would have called them Mafia") got a phone call.

The caller was Psycho Ed, who apparently had a tattoo on his arm that said "World's Greatest Crinimal": his own work, even the spelling. And to be called "Psycho" in the Sydney underworld at that time you had to stand out from a crowd of markedly unusual characters.

"Jesus, Ed. What are you doing calling? You're not welcome here. You come around here, these guys'll put you in the boot of a car."

This was because the world's greatest crinimal had made several emenies last time he was in Sydney, due to a series of misunderstandings, principally the misunderstanding on Ed's part about "paying for what he owed".

Anyway, Ed wheedled and begged and said he was "hanging like a dog" and eventually Daniel agreed to meet him at a football game and get him some stuff. The transaction took place at a soccer match. "That was my first mistake" said Mr Connolly.

Then Psycho Ed asked if Daniel wanted to see where he lived.

"Nah, better get going and all - "

But Ed wheedled and begged and "maaaate"-ed him and said how it was just around the corner and eventually Mr Connolly went with him. "The second mistake." And they make a shortcut through this block of flats and the next minute Mr Connolly looks around and Psycho Ed's disappeared.

"Where the f-" he begins, and then glances into an open doorway... and sees the world's greatest criminal emerging with a old colour telly.

"Are you fucking mad? It's broad daylight" said Mr Connolly.

"He left his door open" said the WGC.

"That's because he's probably in the house -" began Mr Connolly, and as if on cue, a tiny, red-haired Italian man emerged from the house and began hobbling towards them.

"Jesus Christ, look at the size of him" shouted Mr Connolly. "The poor bugger's on the pension."
"Shut up and help me carry this. It's bloody heavy" said Psycho Ed.

"My arse" said Mr Connolly. "That guy - he probably saved for two years to get that. What the fuck are you doing?"

And the situation deteriorated, and by the time the police came there were three men scuffling on the ground and the telly lying smashed beside them.

"Who owned this?" said the police officer.

"I did" wheezed the Italian man, who had been giving as good as he got. "This minchione broke into my house in broad daylight and this selfless gentleman here tried to stop him."

The police shoved the world's greatest crinimal into their automolibe and shook Mr Connolly's hand. "And you, sir" said the officer to the selfless gentleman, "where do you live?"

And Mr Connolly opened his mouth, and thought of his employers hearing about him doing business with Psycho Ed, and thought about leading the police around to the Italian's house, and his own not inconsiderable involvment therein, and he said "No fixed address."

Two big mistakes were enough for one day.

So he got done for vagrancy. And he was too paranoid ("but it's not paranoia if it's true", he said) to call anyone at all. So no-one would bail him and he ended up spending four months in Long Bay jail for vagrancy. No-one knew where he was. And when he got out he went over to the Italian guy's house and told them a truncated version of the facts and fairly quickly got all his stuff out and came over here.

Anyway. There are a number of other prison stories I have been told (oddly enough, most involving someone with the epithet "Psycho"), and I might post them later on. But I can't help feeling that if my Dad had found himself in the same situation, if there'd suddenly been a swapping of bodies after the heroin sale but before the arrest, with the little Italian man hobbling towards him and the WGC holding the colour TV, he would have acted in exactly the same way.

Anyway, party soon. Thanks for listening,


Blogger Camilla said...

Have a wonderful time!! Greetings to any of your blogger pals who are attending :D

8:05 PM  
Blogger Juanita J. Sanchez said...

Your party will be great. If only the Sanchez sisters could be there. I find that I have a keen interest in prison stories lately...analyze that!

12:52 AM  
Blogger lauritajuanitasanchez said...

Hmmmm...I wonder if your patient is being totally honest w/ you...Irish blarney. He paints himself as a stand up guy when clearly he's a crinimal, too.

*scratches noggin*

I'm sure your party will be a success. No Mary Tyler Moore Parties for you. Nope. I'd bet you're quite the conversationalist.

12:57 AM  
Blogger Juanita J. Sanchez said...

Laurita! He's Aussie. He doesn't know Mary Tyler Moore!

10:43 AM  
Blogger lauritajuanitasanchez said...

You never know. American media is everywhere.

John, MTM was known for having shitty parties. Now you're in on my little cultural reference.

2:59 PM  
Blogger Camilla said...

I remember Mary Tyler Moore. She had Teeth and shiny plastic looking hair, if I remember correctly. I didn't know she had shitty parties though.

8:30 PM  
Blogger Foilwoman said...

Does the pre-party terror lift once the party starts? I generally get mid-party terror: all of a sudden I realize I've over-revealed to someone (big surprise), missed some vital social cue, or pointed out some romantic couple to one of the not-quite-couple's spouse. Oops-a-daisy.

2:17 PM  

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