Arthur said his friend never forgave himself
said the friend whose name we never learned
was the most gentle and patient of men
if he hadn’t been
the outcome would have been so much different.
It was the final day in the calendar
the last day of the decade of peace and love
they were travelling to the lake town
to see in New Year. Auld Lang Syne and all that.
The road still young
only recently cut
the weather warm hearted and quiet
not common at 44° south.
Snow scarfed mountains
bush bearded bluffs
an uncaged river
and the blue, blue day
landscape soliciting a photograph – at the layby after the bridge.
One of the mountains
another of the coast.
A man climbs from under the bridge into the viewfinder
the photographer lowers the camera
talking gently to his son
explaining there is no ice cream here
but at the first possible opportunity there will be.
10 or 20 seconds. 60 at greatest
the bank climber is in his car driving toward ocean.
The police didn’t find the body
the smell found them.
The photograph of the disappearing car enlarged to fill a wall
the numberplate would not yield.
Time like energy and matter cannot be created
the seconds spent by a patient father
can never be repurchased
never exchanged for credit
they were the hush money needed to get away with murder.
For the back story click Backstage
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