It was just after 4 a.m. when the mobile rang.
rolled over and groped among the newspapers and empty cider stubbies
beside the mattress, retrieved the bastard thing and poked the yes button.
female voice: "Nick, is that you?"
think so", I muttered. "Who? Why?"
mate, It's Rebecca from ABC Current Affairs. They've just shot Louie
Bayeh, but he's still alive. Do you think you could fill in some of
the background for us? Sorry to get you out of bed. We'll make it worth
Two-fifty dollars a day plus expenses and GST. Where was he shot?".
the stomach and legs, apparently".
I mean the location of the crime".
sorry, outside some Lebanese joint called the El-Bardowny in Narwee.
A couple of his mates got shot too. Looks like a gangland hit."
were not many passengers on the first East Hills train out of Central,
which I caught at 5.19 -- just a couple of bored security guards in
blue tabards and a smattering of homeless people sleeping in corners.
was raining at when the train pulled in to Narwee at 5.40 and it wasn't
hard to find the site. The flashing blue lights of the police cars bounced
off the wet pavement and the broken glass and the blue and white striped
plastic tape and the forensic team and the bored uniforms keeping a
few onlookers at bay. The debris had long since been swept into the
hoped to get a feeling for the case, and some loose talk from a friendly
cop, but there were none that I knew that well. There was the usual
shop-talk about Louie's brother, Bill Michael, cocaine dealing, heroin
asked after Louie's health, but nobody was feeling sorry for him. Nobody
much likes Louie. Not his victims, or the judges, or the ALP, or his
fellow crims, or even the cops, who he paid off for years and then dobbed
in to ICAC and the royal commission. He is the best argument I know
that money doesn't buy you love, or even a better class of friend.
Lowe wasn't saying much but it was pretty clear that Louie had been
gunned down in the foyer as he left the restaurant. A detective told
me a couple of 'associates' had been hit too, but nobody was sure they
weren't innocent bystanders. There was talk about a bunch of young toughs
in a black BMW and a gun found nearby.
the sun came up I walked back to the station to catch the 7.07 home.
The night people had gone and the carriage was studded with horny-handed
men wearing cheap tracksuits, cotton work clothes and dried concrete
on steel-capped boots.
was Sunday morning but the sprawling construction site that is Central
station was coming to life. The flashing lights were yellow and the
safety tape was orange and white and the CityRail people herding confused
travellers wore yellow tabards. Sydney was rebuilding itself and yesterday's
tough guy mattered less than the concrete rubble and the twisted iron
and smashed timber piled in the big steel rubbish skips.