Jako watched Stuart enter the prison. He exclaimed: “You’ve cut your beard off!”
Stuart responded, “Yes, I was tired of it.”
Jako stared. He was shocked. He looked so much like Mike.
“Mike? Is that you? Fuck... ” He could see the look of confusion on Mike’s face. “I was sure you were dead.”
Mike, or Stuart, stammered: “I lost my memory. I can’t remember what happened.”
“What do you mean?” Jako was bewildered.
“I adopted the name ‘Stuart Thomson’ because I couldn’t remember a thing about my past.”
Jako could see the anguish that this was causing Mike. He felt sorry for him, because here he was in jail facing the threat of conviction, and yet here was his brother who couldn’t remember anything at all about his past.
Jako couldn’t reach over to Mike. A table was placed between them and they were being watched closely by police officers.
Mike asked: “What was my name? I want to confirm that.”
“Mike Retief,” Jako corrected himself as he realised that he’d used the abbreviation. “Actually, Michael Retief, but you were known as Mike.”
“Yes.” Jako confirmed. “What happened to you for all of these years?”
Mike repeated what he had explained to Victor about his loss of memory.
Jako could see that a look of realisation crossing Mike’s face as he reconciled himself to the facts again.
“I’m sorry that this fucking table is in the way, because I thought you were dead and now I find you alive.”
Jako saw that Mike looked across the barrier and for the first time, he saw a subtle look of recognition on Mike’s face.
Mike changed the subject. “We don’t have much time here. I’m sorry. We need to get back to the murder. I’ve received a bracelet that has blood smeared on it. Do you know anything about that?”
Jako thought: He doesn’t care or want to be troubled by the fact that we share the same blood. This is a massive moment.
He then quickly thought aloud: Maybe it’s the bracelet I gave to Chris.
“Does it say anything on it? Jako?”
A look of concern crossed Jako’s face. “Maybe that’s Chris’s blood?”
“Why would a man give evidence against himself?” Mike asked.
“Maybe that’s not his blood after all.” Jako said.
Mike nodded, and changed the subject. “The way it works is that I’m not a counsel and will not be for some years, so I have to get one for you. I must ask you to pay for the counsel as well, and, I must warn you, they’re very dear.”
But Jako had not thought of that, and he was excited that he had found his brother. He was less concerned about what the financial cost would be for Chris and himself.
The cop interrupted them: “Your time is up.”
Mike looked at him, livid. “We haven’t had much time at all.”
The cop was joined two others and they stared at the lawyer impassively.
Mike said to Jako: “I’ve got to go now.” He got up to leave, but turned his stare to the three policemen. “You’ll hear more about this.”
The following day, Mike went to visit Jako in jail again. Once more, they sat separated by the table.
Jako asked: “Can I tell you about Kate-Emily and our mum and dad, Mike?”
“Yes, I’d like that.”
He began. “During the truck accident, you’d gone for a piss and that’s when it all happened. There was a huge accident and our parents were killed.”
“What happened to them?” Jako noticed a look of shock come over Mike.
Jako could see that Mike had reluctantly asked the question: “I will word this carefully… They were consumed by the fire.”
“You see, there were barrels filled with old oil – plenty of them – and they ignited. That’s what happened to them.”
“They both died in the fire?”
“Yes.” Jako was glad that Mike was sitting down, because he was certain that he would have collapsed at that news.
“And Kate-Emily? What happened to her?”
Again, Jako could see that Mike was in pain.
“After the crash, we found ourselves at an orphanage. Kate-Emily suffered badly from the accident.” Jako saw some tears forming in Mike’s eyes and he paused a few seconds to give Mike a chance to compose himself.
Jako told Mike that the one good thing about the orphanage had been the wonderful girl who had helped them by sharing her clothes. She had coaxed one of the boys to lend him something to wear when they were dripping wet. But that was as far as it had gone.
Jako went on to the principal. He described him as pure evil, and said that the nurse who was supposed to attend to Kate-Emily had been no angel either. Jako went on to describe how the nurse had neglected Kate-Emily, resulting in her death. He resorted to underhanded means to find money to support Kate-Emily. But, there had been no resources at the orphanage.
While talking, he studied Mike. He wished he could have crossed the hurdle of the table to comfort him.
Jako suddenly lost it and kicked the small table out the way and grabbed Mike and comforted him. The response from the policemen was immediate as they tried to separate the brothers.
“Come on, you fuck-wits,” said the big burly policeman who was at least two hands taller than Jako. He tried to separate the two men, but they were too tightly bound. He needed to pull extra hard to free them from each other’s grip.
One policeman didn’t let go. Jako felt his arm being gripped tightly. Suddenly it gave way under the pressure of the robust officer.
“Fuck!” he screamed in response to the sudden excruciating pain.
“Don’t move another inch, or I’ll break your other arm, or worse.”
The pig was holding his arm in a way that would cause even more damage. Suddenly they were surrounded by the rest of the police.
Now, it was Mike’s opportunity to turn on the officer. His steely intent frightened Jako.
The officer was taken by surprise, and Jako could see the menacing intent with which Mike warned him. He loosened his grip slightly.
“What did you say?” the officer demanded.
Jako could see from the hard edge in Mike’s eyes He was having none of that bullshit.
“I said: Release him.”
Jako wondered whether the fact that Mike was a lawyer had anything to do with it, but this time, he felt the officer loosen his hold and he felt his arm give way below the elbow.
“Fuck, look what you’ve done!” Jako exclaimed in agony. He couldn’t reach his broken arm. “Fuck!”
Jako looked at Mike and wondered what the fuck he would do. Mike stood and glared into the officer’s eyes.
Mike stated: “I have an intention to arrest you.”
The burly cop turned to Mike: “I’ll have you charged with obstructing justice,” he threatened.
Mike and the cop stared at each other. Mike continued to look on with menace. He demanded that Jako receive medical attention for his arm.
Another policeman, who was looking on, said: “I’ll arrange that.” To Jako, he said: “Let’s take you to the doctor on duty.” Turning to Mike, he said: “Would you like to come?”
Jako saw that the policeman who had stepped in had good intentions. Wincing from the pain, he said to Mike: “I think it’ll be all right now.”
Mike said to Jako: “I’ll see you tomorrow. Will you be ok?”
Then, Mike left.
Jako held his arm and, looking down at it, said: “Fuck, look what you’ve done... ”
“What did you say?” the cop fired back.
The cop who had offered to take Jako to the doctor barked: “Come on, let’s move... ”
Jako supported his arm with his other hand and followed the policeman.
“Shit, it fucking hurts... ”