should never have got involved in the greyhound doping case. I knew
that when I first took the job. It was all too close and personal. When
Stan from ICAC rang I should have just said "Sorry mate, I'm all
booked up. Try Cliff Hardy", but lured on by some grim fascination
I said yes.
isn't that I stuffed up the job -- quite the opposite. The surveillance
photos of Rodney Potter looked great in the papers and the recordings
of the Luddenham car park meeting came out wall-to-wall and tree top
tall. No, the point is I should have stayed away from it.
is morally confusing at the best of times, but you should never get
involved in a case where you have trouble feeling sorry for the victim.
was the bad dreams at first and then the anger. In the dreams I was
running, running and going nowhere and my limbs grew huge and wouldn't
respond and I felt naked and the greyhounds were thundering down on
me and I must have started yelling because Joadja shook me awake.
is Dad's death of course -- the so-called accident he met while training
Bluey Crabtree's greyhounds. I was too young at the time to understand
it. I just knew he would never come home, and I never saw the body.
There was probably not much left to see. Mum left Possum Gully a few
days after the funeral and took me to Sydney.
was in 1951 and I have only been back a couple of times, when I was
just passing through. The last time was about '84 when I stopped at
the service station on the main road. The best of the timber had long
since been logged out and they said the mill where Dad worked before
the war had closed ten years before.
have met a few nice dogs, but none of them were greyhounds. They're
like brainless athletes, who think only of killing. They may be dumb,
but they know the hare is just a stuffed toy. They run after it in the
way men masturbate in front of Playboy centrefolds. That is why trainers
like blooding them with the occasional possum -- they know the memory
of a real kill heightens the fantasy.
me? I have fantasies about shooting the bastards, but not at night,
not as nightmares, only when I'm awake. When they come in the night
I can't run fast enough to get away.
is a malevolent thing and I know it would rot my soul if I didn't fight
it; didn't struggle to understand, to work it out rationally. Of course
some of it is in their genes. They are bred to be dumb and fast, but
mainly they're caught in a bad culture. They train them to be competitive
killers from a young age. They inculcate the urge to get the hare before
the other dogs get it, and they put them down if they look like losers.
Do they mind being doped? I have never worked that out, but in some
ways it hardly matters. The dogs chase the hare but the owners chase
whole competitive, individualist, thing has gone too far and in any
case it has been poisoned by money. They don't play cricket any more,
they play Cash, and dog racing is so rotten it makes the Olympics look
like a school sports carnival. They should pull down the Wentworth Park
dog track and plant some trees as a memorial, or maybe let it fall into
ruins like the Colosseum.
in Whispers from the mean streets
-- Best of 2000