just rang from Brisbane", Joadja said, when I went down to the
café. "He got a call on his mobile from Bruce. Bruce's been
arrested at Grace Brothers. Can you go down to the cop shop and bail
know what happened?" I asked."Shoplifting? Doesn't sound like
Bruce. Why would a serious young yuppie who's a partner in a PR business
do something like that?
said he's been charged with assaulting some bloke at the Telstra counter."
go down to Grace Brothers on my way to the cop shop and get their side
of the story", I said.
Things weren't exactly busy at the ground floor Telstra counter when
I got there. It was manned by a couple of nice looking, wide-eyed kids
aged maybe 25. It was the usual sort of mobile phone place, stocked
with dozens of little phones with features you couldn't possibly use
unless you devoted half your waking hours to reading the manual. I scanned
across the display. The phones were each worth hundreds of dollars,
but all of them were free.
making investigations into an assault that happened here this morning",
I said, flashing my PI's licence and hoping they'd mistake me for the
cops took him away about an hour ago. Bastard nearly killed me. We've
already given a statement", said the young Chinese-ish man whose
name badge described him, improbably, as 'Angus'. The other counter-jumper
was a young Lebanese-ish lady in urban-grey camouflage.
your side of the story?" I asked, somewhat unfairly. I knew he'd
be so delighted to tell me, he wouldn't think to question who I was.
mate, well it was about 10.35. This bloke ... sort of Anglo type about
this high with close-cropped blonde hair. He comes up and he's got a
cheap phone that he says keeps dropping out all the time. He'd like
to replaced it and he wants to know what it's going to cost. So I rang
up and found out that it was out of contract ... he's had it a bit over
two years ... so anyway I told him that that was OK, we could give him
a new Nokia worth $399 for free and he looked, like, stunned.
like, I tried to explain about the different deals and he looked, like,
stunned ... and eventually he decided on the $20 a month deal."
that?" I asked.
it costs you $20 a month but you get $11 worth of free calls every month.
Anyway, we started filling out the papers and he started muttering something
about how it can't keep on going like this. Anyway, he signed the papers
and I gave him the phone and then I handed him a free $50 Grace Brothers
gift voucher -- it's part of the deal and ...
was when he went right off ... when Angus gave him the voucher",
said the young lady.
grabbed me by the throat and pulled me half way over the counter and
he was screaming ..." Angus said.
he said 'Why are you doing this, Angus, you fuckwit? Do you realise
you're destroying capitalism?'
then he said, like, 'It can't go on like this Angus, you mad bastard
... it'll all collapse! You can't keep handing out everything for free!',
and I started screaming for help and some customers came over and pulled
him off and after a while the store detective arrived, and the cops
... and they took him away. Are you with the store?"
Protection", I muttered. "Is the store going to press charges?
The case'll probably collapse of it goes to court. I understand this
bloke's really psycho. He lost all his money in the eisa debacle and
became seriously bewildered. A sad case." The two kiddies looked
was an internet sharemarket thing ... a tiny service provider that tried
to buy out the whole world. It went face down in the Kitty Litter. In
a way, the crazy bastard that did this to you has a point", I remarked.
"How do you mobile phone people make money, anyway?".
dunno. Telstra sells shares to people I guess. I just work here",