The Ice-Cream Club

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’Okay, now we know why Brenda Blignaut and her gang had their doubts about killing Benjamin Javid.’ Jim said as he straightened up and did a few backbends and stretches.

‘Yep,’ Deric said deep in thought, ’but how the hell did she found out about all this? I mean that he was NOT the killer?’

‘Well, how the hell did she found out about all the other stuff?’ Jim said, still repeating his back-stretches.

‘I would say inside information. She did declare that there was more than a few of them in “The Jury” and I guess it means, quite a few in high places as well. Maybe I should say, in the “know-how”.’ Monty added his two cents.

’Not only that, they were apparently in the right place at the right time as well. She must’ve had people in the medical field, the justice system, and all-round informers, or at least helpers to keep them informed, is my thinking. Her influence was far greater than we seem to grasp here. How does one recruit such a vast group of, might I add, most probably highly, educated, intelligent people, and kept it a secret all these years?’ Deric said perplexed.

’Well, for one, by involving unknowns in the “executions. That way she could never be incriminated. Not even looked at as a possible suspect, even if, at the time, the investigators had put two and two together back then. She had no close relation to any of these people, I think, except maybe the core of the “Ice-Cream Club” who might’ve been her friends,’ Jim said mildly impressed, ’how the “low-life” was recruited, is anyone’s guess.’

’You mean by getting the hands of the grieving or angry family dirty in the heat of the moment, she sort of bought their silence? Those who, at the time, felt let down by the courts and such,’ Deric said, and add before Jim can bring his sobriety to the table again, ‘let’s face it Jim, people do feel that way a lot of the time about the law. Especially these days as crime is escalating.’

’But, to influence so many people to commit so many “peccadilloes”! Wow! You must have the charm of Jesus!’ Jim utter vehemently.

‘Ghmph!’ Monty said with a dismissive tone, ‘As if some people don’t do that each and every day to each other.’

‘What’s do you mean?’ Jim looked curiously at Monty.

‘People screw each other over in every walk of life, every which-way, c’mon, Lieu,’ he gave Jim an “I-dare-you-to-contradict-me” look, ’do I have to name some? Let’s take only one area. Politics, for instance: The “MAN in power” telling the people – would the term for the people be “man out of power” or “powerless-man” – well, he, the Power screams at the top of his lungs about all the unfairness and atrocities they, the powerless, had to deal with. A sort of “give-them- what-they-want-to-hear” thing.’ Monty said with disgust, ’I call this scenario the screwing of the powerless. In any case, the “Power” screams at the forefront, toi-toi-ing alongside them, waving placards with slogans against whomever. Demand demands of the ridicules kind with them, whilst pretending to know the powerless’ plight and pain. Pretending he knew cold and hunger. He pretends their plight is his plight. Fist to the chest and all that shit! But tonight, when all is said and done, the “Powerless go home to their shacks, and eat - if there’s anything to eat. To sleep and shiver under one blanket or yesterday’s news-paper, while “Mr Power” goes to his plush million-dollar home against the slopes of whatever mountain or hill. Sips a well-deserved, or so he thinks, white wine or Cabernet or beer. Admiring his million-dollar view. Strip down his bright overall and soak for an hour or so in his spa-bath before strutting his stuff in an expensive Armani. He then drove in his high-class, bullet-proof vehicle to the best restaurant the city can offer, encircled by body-guards. Munch away on his caviar and deconstructed mince-pie or whatever the hell newest exuberant, expensive rubbish is on the menu. Most likely put it on the tab of the tax-payer - plus the tip - of course! Don’t forget the tip! Then he goes home to a good night’s sleep in his “Medical approved” bed and mattress.’ Monty is nearly foaming at the mouth, ‘After all, tomorrow he will have to toi-toi and scream and demand alongside the poor again.’

The usually optimistic Monty looked angry, ‘My mother has a saying: “Don’t tell me Tim, show me!”’ He looked Jim in the eye, ’that’s exactly what I mean Lieu. I can only believe those who really SHOW, not those who TELL. The “Showers” are sadly few and far between. These days it is: “Every man for himself!” and if you step on s few bodies, so be it!

He still wasn’t finished, ’Not that the poor isn’t to blame. They sometimes wants to believe in someone so deeply, don’t want to hear the truth, or they don’t want to know the truth. They want to hear lies and fairy tales and believe it. They want to blame and point fingers at someone or something. They should take some responsibility for their own existence and not rely on “Somebody” to do it for them!’

Jim and Deric stared openly bemused at Monty.

‘Well said, young man,’ Jim said with a new-found admiration and a sarcastic clapping of hands, ‘and up to now, I thought it was only word-puzzles and computers that get your trousers in a knot.’

‘What I mean is,’ Monty said with a sheepish grin, ’I can understand this woman’s frustration with all this! The Police didn’t or couldn’t go on a manhunt for a DNA of an unknown person in a murder that was that old at the time – manpower or money or whatever reason. They sort of gave her the cold shoulder and she took it on herself to find out. On her way she found a lot more than she bargained for. Although not all of us go the lengths she did, we’re born to look out for number one: ME! She did!’

Deric said with a smile, ’True, true, but we, “the people” should start thinking for ourselves at some point. I realize we all can’t be heroes or famous, that someone must do the “ooh-ing” and the “aah-ing”, however, sometimes we should stop clapping or stop blaming everybody else for our situation and do something to about it. Stop blaming and shaming and ruining and start to be pro-active!’

Jim pretend-enthusiastically applauded Deric as well, ‘Well said, young man, well said!’

‘Precisely,’ Monty kept going, ‘I could’ve done very well for myself, moneywise, in IT. But I chose to work here, I like to work here,’ Monty said, ‘you…Captain, and the people around you, put your money where your mouth is…sort off. We try to really help those who needs it the most. But we can’t say that of all law-enforcement or all politicians or whatever – you name it…’ His voice tapered off.

‘Well said young man,’ Jim started off again, ‘you, of course, realize we do not have a lot of money to put in the mouth, but well said!’

Monty again grinned sheepishly.

‘Thank you Tim, we need a pat on the back from time to time.’ Deric cleared his throat, ’Now, back to work so we can see who we can blame for what.’

‘I think,’ Jim added as they all turned towards the computer, ’that’s what Brenda Blignaut did. Put her money…and all that - not that I condone what she did, or how she did it, for that matter. But she got people to do what they thought they want to do, or maybe they really wanted to do it. She applied her kind of justice.’

Deric nodded seriously and start reading about Patsy Javid again.

The report about Patsy Javid January, as she was known by the time this was written, offered a lot more than the few lines the Benjamin Javid case warranted. According to this Patsy Javid remarried in 1994, to a Jakes January. A baby-boy was born later that same year. He only lived to the tender age of three months before he - so concluded at the time - died a “crib death”. Jakes January, the then husband was livid and screamed at each and all who’d lend an ear that Patsy killed the baby. January, who, to all accounts was a heavy drinker and not the easiest to live with once he had a stroll through the vineyard (which happen to be more than once a week) took his fury-filled, drunken haze out on Patsy quite regularly. She ended up in hospital more than often with broken bones, cuts, bruises and black eyes. She got a restraining order and none paid Jakes January any mind. Everyone in the community’s sympathized with Patsy. Patsy’s only sin, according to those in the know, was her inability to choose someone higher up the food-chain as partner or husband. And, as was obvious to all, she had done it again in the case of Jakes January. She went back home to Namakwaland shortly after the ordeal with Baby Lulu Javid and husband Benjamin in Cape Town. Got involved with the wrong man, yet again, and lost another child, yet again. The poor girl was grieve-stricken and in pain. All was trying to safe-guard her against her own bad decision making in the form of Jakes January. Jakes, in the meantime, didn’t mend his ways and each and every time he performed his habitual drinking ritual he went by her neighbourhood to pester Patsy about the baby’s death. The social worker managed to convince Patsy that her life was in danger if she stayed there, and so, once more, she sets off to Cape Town to disappear in the crowd. A divorce was granted by a Judge in the absence of January. The social worker found Patsy January a place in a house for abused women and she resided there for eight months until Jakes January fists killed a fellow drunk in a fight. Four months after January’s jail sentence commenced, Patsy January left the save house and within weeks shacked up with Piet Maart.

She was already with child.

Chevron Maart was born in April of 1996. He died at the age of three after several traumatic trips to the hospital due to - according to his mother - feeding problems. The doctors couldn’t find anything wrong with him at all. By the seventh or eighth hospital-visit and stay (with each visit the child got better in hospital just to take a turn for the worst as soon as he was back home) some doctors and nurses made mention of the possibility of “Munchausen syndrome by proxy”. Although a few nurses and doctors mentioned the probability on some of their reports no-one followed up on it. Tests showed nothing abnormal or out of the ordinary with the child, however Munchausen was a difficult thing to prove. Four months later Chevron died of an “Eating disorder”, or so declared the diagnosis. Although an autopsy and investigation followed there was no evidence. Piet Maart claimed to be oblivious of any wrong doing on Patsy’s part and insisted that Chevron just didn’t want to eat. However, due to insistence of a few doctors, a case of depraved-neglect was opened. The first two children’s death also came to the fore and Patsy January – she never married Piet Maart - was sent for mental observation. Patsy played her part well and nearly had a perfect record if she hadn’t felt the need to comfort a fellow roommate with the words: ’Don’t worry, just scream abused woman at every session and you will get away with murder.’

Her lawyer spewed poison about privilege information and doctor-patient confidentiality, however the Judge - bless his soul - stood stead-fast and said she was there for observation and all evidence could be used because she was aware of the “observation”-part.

When confronted with these words at the trial Patsy said – on the verge of tears - that it was taken out of context. She only meant that women who are abused get more support from social workers and society. And despite doctors, who were called as witnesses, description of the little boy’s symptoms and suffering – anything from vomiting, rash, failure to thrive, added to the now suspicious death of Kirwan January, which could not be proven - Patsy January was once more off the hook. She was found not guilty of depravation or neglect. No concrete evidence could be shown to prove that Chevron Maart did not suffer from an undiagnosed eating-disorder or disease. However, she had to be kept under outside psychiatric-care. Once a week as long as required. A social worker was assigned to her case and regular reports had to be handed in every semester.

’This must be the reason Brenda Muller decided that Benjamin Javid didn’t deserve his “Death penalty”?’ Deric said.

Jim nodded.

‘Maybe the first little girl…hmm…Lulu was bludgeoned to death by her mother and not her father.’

’We have to talk to Patsy Javid…or January, or whatever name she’s going by these days.

‘Monty, see what you can do.’ Monty said with a smile from the computer before Deric could say anything.

‘Cheeky.’ Jim said, ‘But, I’ll bring you some coffee.’

‘Thanks lieut.’ Monty said but he was already engrossed in his work.

‘That must be one of the toughest things to prove,’ Deric said as they sat down with a mug of Java, ‘this “Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy” thing, don’t you think?’

‘Well, they can call it whatever they like, it still sounds like attempted, or just plain ole murder to me any day.’ Jim said as he sipped the hot coffee slowly.

‘I’ve heard about this woman, or actually Mae read about this ongoing case in America,’ Deric said between savoured sips, ‘a woman called Lacey Spears who’d been charged with second-degree murder and first–degree manslaughter after killing her son by feeding him dangerous amounts of salt. And make no mistake, she researched it on the Internet, for God sake!’

‘Can you imagine doing that to Nathan? Worse, can you imagine Mae doing that to Nathan?’ Jim asked. ’Most of us would rather die in our children’s place, and yet, one gets these monsters-parent’s who’d deprive their very own offspring of food, feed them salt, or broke their bones, just for attention and admiration! And let’s not forget about those sick individuals who abused children sexually.’ Jim wiped his eyes. ’God, FC, we humans are a rare species. I can’t imagine any, like this Blignaut woman said, “Greater, vast plan” for any of these abused, murdered children!’ His voice went into a crescendo.

Knowing just what his friend was getting at Deric was at a loss for words. He thought of June Woods and what she would’ve done to save Grace. After a minute or so he said, ’I think all humans have a dark side. Some are three-quarters light and a quarter greyish, but sadly, some are a quarter light-grey and three-quarters dark, and I mean dark black. No fifty shades here – just darkness – like Sienna Moore.’

‘And doctors always come up with some kind of bloody syndrome to save these bastards!’ Jim said incensed.

’Well, let’s not kill the messenger. Doctors just try to put a name, or to explain, the totally absurd behaviour of people they come across, and the things they’ve witnessed. I guess to prove something like “Munchausen’s” is like leaving a footprint on the beach – you know it was there, but when you come back it’s gone. Unless it’s done with salt – that’ concrete, I guess – and no pun intended.’ Deric said as he washed his cup and placed it on the dryer, ‘But, even that took time and it was too late for the poor child! It’s one of those cases everybody knows who’d done it, but to prove a murder, or murders, without any evidence or witnesses are nearly impossible, as you know so well.’ Deric said with rancour, ‘That’s why cold cases are piled up a mile high!’

’You know, Patsy January most probable killed the first baby and then somehow framed the poor bastard, Javid, for her death. I mean dondering him with the same weapon you just killed your baby with! Clever! Who in this world would even tried to think her guilty. And her fingerprints on the lamp – it’s a no brainer as well.’ Jim said disgusted, ‘And if you can get away with one murder, why not do it again!’

‘The poor, bloody sap,’ Deric said a little deflated, ‘she’s gotten away with a few murders up to now it seems.’

Another thick silence followed.

‘Fuck,’ Jim said with emotion, ’I blame the job for our depression. We see far too many of the dark-black side of people and not enough fifty shades of grey.’

Deric gave a little snort.

’According to the expression on that face,’ Jim pointed at Deric’s, ‘you get more than fifty shades. Bloody honeymooners’

Deric’s neck got scarlet, but he looked smug.

Jim just smiled.

‘Cappie, I hope you don’t mind, but I’ve send the cross-word puzzle through to Mae. I know she likes word-puzzles as much as I do, and maybe she can give me a hint, or even a hand.’ Monty said a little hesitantly later that afternoon.

‘It’s okay, if you think it can speed up the process. How’s it coming anyway?’ Deric wanted to know just in time to catch the “I-did-my-bit-now-it’s-your-turn” look between Jim and Monty.

Deric turned and lean against the table. What’s going on here?

‘It’s coming,’ Monty said innocently, ‘some are easy. See, the words that were found on or at the crime-scenes are all here – “Talion”, “Blackheart”, “Anathematise” and then easy ones like gavel, magical etc., but I can’t find a name perse; I’m afraid we might run out of time before we going to get a name out of all this.’

Monty gave Jim another “it’s-your-cue” look but still Jim stayed silent.

’Anything more on the whereabouts of our probable “Munchausen by proxy” mom?’ Deric pressed on.

‘Not yet,’ Monty said, ‘will let you know as soon as possible. Last her doctor and social worker heard of her, she’d moved back to her family somewhere near Springbok. Her sister, on the other hand, said she saw her six months ago. Apparently she went back to Cape Town because a friend…some Suzie Malmers found her a job.’

‘You know, it might not be a bad idea to borrow Mae from forensics for this case,’ Jim said, ‘we need all the help we can get.’

‘That’s a great idea,’ Monty said relieved and nearly too excited.

‘So, that’s what’s been brewing, I don’t know if Sheffield or Doc would approve of it.’

‘They will, I’ve already spoken to both of them.’ Jim said mock innocent, ‘they don’t have any objections.’

‘And when were you two thinking about asking me?’ Deric said with the same mock sarcasm.

Monty looked a little uncomfortable but Jim was confidence itself.

‘Now - we’re asking you now.’ He looked sideways at Monty and smiled.

’Seems everyone’s already made my mind up for me. I take it Mae already said “yes” as well’.

Just a short pause before both nodded.

‘But she said only if you agree.’

‘As if I have a choice in the matter now. You should’ve come to me first.’ Deric said with fainted disappointment. He got to Monty, but Jim didn’t fall for it.

‘No, no buddy, we know where to go first, if you don’t want to live with an unhappy wife and all that, I suggest... Well, I know what it is like to have an unhappy wife. You still have to find out.’ Jim said with fake interest in the computer screen in front of him. Then he turned to face Deric, ‘I really don’t know why she had to leave in the first place. It’s not like you are going favour her when – ’

‘I’ll think about it,’ Deric cut it short, ‘but I’ll have to run it by Sheffield and Doc again and talk to her, at least pretend to be the boss around here.’

‘Is that what you thought?’ Jim said credulously Deric’s way, then turned slowly to Monty and continued in a whisper, ’He thought he’s the boss around here.’

Deric suppressed a smile as he walked to his office, ‘And don’t you forget it!’

But he was already working the whole scenario in his head. Would it be awkward if Mae was to be back? And what if he must give her orders, or even put her in harm’s way? It might bother him, but he knew she would relish the change to be back, and apparently, so would all the others. Besides, she was good at what she did, and still is. In any case, he did so before they were married, so what could be so different now.

Except the marriage-thing, that is!

“It’s a Man’s World, but it would be nothing…”

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