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Calypso Queen

Calypso Queen

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Calypso Queen

290 pages
4 hours
Sep 22, 2014


This narrative surrounds a 58 foot fibre-glass yacht named Calypso Queen and its flamboyant owner, a person suffering from an incurable gambling syndrome and a problem he desperately attempted to stop. However, through circumstances of his own making, instead he enters into the world of trafficking in dangerous drugs to alleviate a dangerous financial situation he subsequently found himself in. It is even more remarkable when looking into the background of Dunstan Hayes the owner of Calypso Queen, a retired Army Officer with citations and medals for meritorious conduct and bravery connected to overseas combat missions behind enemy lines. A record any serving officer would have been proud to have embraced. One of the main characters within the novel Evan Bates rescues Hayes from his impending financial disaster to who Hayes becomes indelibly indebted. It is here when the novel ploughs into the sinister conspiracy of drug smuggling. As is the usual practice within large insurance companies before paying out large claims, a private investigator is generally retained to investigate the validity and genuineness of any such claim. Reginald Brian Kelso a gifted private investigator with a background of outstanding detective achievements whilst attached to the Queensland Police Service, is consulted by a loss adjuster and later retained to investigate the fire which destroyed the yacht Calypso Queen and a marina complex owned by Hayes. It tells of the cunning device set to burn and destroy the business premises in the absence of Hayes, together with the destruction of Calypso Queen allegedly on a slipway inside the premises for hull maintenance. It is a narrative of sex, drugs, and adventure, the intricate workings of detectives, their trust and loyalty in one another stemming over many years of crime fighting. The barrier that exists between old and new factions of police strategies and methods with an appropriate fascinating finale that creates an exciting finish to a novel of intrigue, greed and mystery.

Sep 22, 2014

About the author

John Meskell joined the Queensland Police Force in the year of 1957 after reaming around the world for many years as merchant seaman. He was gifted with a very adventurous life indeed during his worldly travels, and resided in many foreign countries. On his return to Australia and after serving a compulsory probationary period as a Constable he was sworn into the Queensland Police Force that same year. He retired on the 10 January, 1988 as a Detective Inspector grade two, after serving the State of Queensland for thirty years and six months. He was the Detective Inspector and Crime Coordinator for the South East Region of Queensland, then became the Officer in Charge of the Queensland Gold Coast District Criminal Investigation Branch and Juvenile Aid Bureau. Indeed as it can be imagined, he certainly had an interesting and varied career, travelling extensively within the States of Australia, overseas and of course in Queensland. He also attended the Queensland Institution of Technology where he obtained Qualifications in Social Psychology, Criminology, Law, Police Administration, English, and Principals of Management. His experience as a Detective in the Queensland Police is reflected in the novels he has written. It gives them a realism that emerges as first class readability. Although his novels are fiction, they are mostly based on real events.

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Calypso Queen - John Meskell

Calypso Queen

Copyright © JOHN MESKELL i i 2012

Smashwords Edition, License Notes

Thank you for downloading this ebook. This book remains the copyrighted property of the author, and may not be redistributed to others for commercial or non-commercial purposes. If you enjoyed this book, please encourage your friends to download their own copy from their favourite authorized retailer.

This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to any persons living or dead is purely coincidental.

Thank you for your support.


TIME HAD BEEN GOOD to Dunstan Hayes and it was said by some that at forty-four he was still a handsome man - when he smiled his teeth shone like white ivory beneath a heavy dark moustache. There were few wrinkles etched into his face, he was tall and broad shouldered with thick dark hair parted on the side.

There was not too much that Hayes had not got up to in twenty-six years of service in the Royal Australian Army, seven years attached to the elite Strategic Air Service, parachuting behind enemy lines at night in Vietnam and again in Iraq during the desert war.

He had gained a reputation of being a fearless killer and in time, rose through the ranks until he made Captain and was best known for his expertise with explosives and incendiary devices.

Being an expert in such matters enabled him to travel extensively on loan from the Australian Army. He lectured in Army colleges throughout Canada, the United Kingdom, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Singapore demonstrating how to make explosives from ingredients easily obtainable and purchased from supermarkets, garages and roadside stalls. Simple, cheap devises, powerful and deadly made efficiently from sulphuric acid, chlorine, petrol, sugar, gunpowder and Condes crystals to name a few.

Still single and now retired from the army, Hayes had his sights set on owning his own small boat business. He became very emotional if the subject of boats was ever mentioned in his company, it was like a disease he couldn’t comprehend and he lived slept and ate boats twenty-four hours a day — as the saying goes — owning a vessel moored in the Brisbane River near Bulimba.

It was the one love of his life, his bewitching enchantment, his idealistic pride and joy — a fifty-five foot — fibreglass motor/sailor, named ‘Calypso Queen’ with a 100hp GMC diesel engine and a seven hundred-litre fuel tank.

The vessel had everything any modern sailor could ever desire with a conventional shaft attached to a fixed blade propeller, an engine room sound proofed and ample room for a Yamaha generator. Hayes spent every bit of his spare time sailing his boat in Moreton Bay and had done several cruises to the Bay of Islands in the north island of New Zealand.

Hayes had planned his future after retirement from the army and reasoned it would, in all intents and purposes, be in the name of buying and selling pleasure craft from a marina, hopefully situated on the water. He further decided that if this venture ever came about he was not going to be tied down to any particular boat manufacturer to exclusively sell their product. Rather, he wanted to be a free lance operator selling all types of boats and marine equipment to potential consumers.

Subsequently, after he retired six months went by before his inquiries found the property he was seeking. It was perfect for his wants — a Marina on the banks of Runaway Bay on the Gold Coast. Hayes was able to purchase the run down property and business from a man who was retiring due to ill health.

The first thing Hayes did was move his yacht from Brisbane down to Runaway Bay where he anchored it in front of his newly acquired Marina. As well, there was a boat sales yard attached alongside the main building and a slipway running out of deep water up into the main showroom through roller doors.

It was a large slipway, big enough to house vessels up to sixty feet in length where hulls were scraped and cleaned and given a repaint of anti-fouling. There was a staff of five, a female secretary, who knew all the ins and outs of the business and four males two of whom were engaged in the sales side of things and the other two carrying out fibreglass repairs.

After two years his business began progressing steadily and Hayes restored the Marina business back to the standard it had once boasted before the previous owner became too ill to continue.

To all appearances Hayes was a very successful businessman however, beneath the cloak of success he presented to the world there was another side to him. He was an irresponsible and compulsive gambler, an obsession he had no control over despite repeated attempts over many years to overcome. On more than one occasion Hayes had come close to ‘going down the gurgler’ because of his overwhelming compulsion to get rich quick.

While in the army he ran a starting price betting business with impunity from prosecution. He had a regular clientele of ‘army mates’, and quickly established a reputation of never welching on a bet no matter how big it was and consequently made a great deal of money from this virtually untouchable enterprise.

The only people he had any concern with were military police however; he was never bothered by them and was quick to learn that while he conducted his betting business on Commonwealth ground and was scrupulously fair in all his betting transactions, he never would.

Now, years later Hayes finished work in his Marina and decided to indulge once more in his favourite pastime. It was a Saturday night when he parked beneath the Gold Coast Casino. He stepped out and pushing a button on his key chain he heard the centralising locking system of his vehicle click into place. As he did he heard a scuffle a few car spaces away and looking around he saw two men wearing dark balaclava masks kicking at someone on the ground. Without thinking, Hayes roared at the assailants.

Hey, what the hell do you pair of bastards think you’re doing?, and moved towards them.

Both men stopped their kicking and Hayes heard a groan come from the ground. The nearest man was tall and slim, and immediately pulled a knife from an ankle scabbard and waved it menacingly at Hayes.

Fuck off! he sneered, lunging at Hayes with the knife.

Hayes jerked his head back and easily evaded the knife which struck the car next to him. He had not engaged in any hand-to-hand unarmed combat for many years but then again, he had also never forgotten what to if such an emergency ever resented itself, but them again a trained combatant seldom does. He exercised daily, kicking, and thumping a heavy punching bag to keep his reflexes finely tuned. What happened next would seem a blur to the untrained observer — his movements were almost too quick to distinguish.

Ordinarily the blow Hayes directed with the heel of his palm would have shattered his opponent’s ribcage, thrusting bone splinters inward and upward to impale heart and lungs. Hayes kept control and did not strike hard enough to kill but just enough to smash a couple of ribs. His opponent was a rank amateur and nothing more than a punk in his estimation and he did not want the cops hunting him for killing an insect like this fool.

The adrenaline which had been surging through his body began to ease now the initial altercation had subsided somewhat with assailant number one on the ground nursing a busted ribcage.

The second thug was already charging at Hayes with his cosh swinging. It was a wild swing executed in panic and Hayes merely twisted in the confined space and kicking upward at the throat of his assailant, his shoe struck the thug below the chin and his jawbone snapped.

At the same time Hayes struck like lightning with his right arm moving upward and tilting slightly inward, striking his opponent’s right arm at the elbow and dislocating it. The man dropped to the ground in sheer agony, Hayes did not muck about and finished the job off by ripping his foot into the assailant’s solo plexus.

The victim of the attackers stirred on the ground. Hayes helped him to his feet and picked up his unopened wallet. These pricks won’t be worrying you again, said Hayes handing him the wallet. Come on let’s get out of here, he said, kicking the first assailant in the head now beginning to stir.

Hell, good God almighty, stuttered the man climbing to his feet, Shouldn’t we call the police?

What for? grinned Hayes, his heart-beat now pumping at a steady rate. No good calling the coppers, these pair of bastards got more than any court would dish out to them.

But what if one of them should die? He stammered.

Don’t give it another thought, said Hayes. Only the good die young but not these pair of pricks however I’ll alert the security staff without giving myself up if it worries you that much," he said.

Hayes guided him to a nearby light and began to clean him up and he said to Hayes, My name’s Evan Bates and I can’t thank you enough for your assistance. Christ, those two bastards must’ve been waiting for someone like me to come along, he shuddered

I’ll guarantee they won’t be waiting for anybody else for a long time, said Hayes with a grin. Come on let’s get you cleaned up, luckily you’re not too bad and believe me — I’ve seen worse.

They moved to the gent’s toilet and Hayes left Bates splashing his face while he phoned security about the two thugs he had left lying on the ground.

Bates looked at himself in the mirror and apart from a few abrasions he did not look too bad taking everything into consideration. He washed his face and combed his hair and wetting his handkerchief he wiped at the stains on his trousers and shirt. Although still not feeling one hundred percent he nevertheless had fared well thanks to Hayes’s timely intervention. His arms were painful where he had been warding off the blows from his assailant’s, but apart from that he was all right.

He walked out to the bar area still feeling a little shaken and found Hayes at the bar drinking on his own.

He moved over to Hayes and gripped his hand warmly. I’d like to thank you for what you did, what’s your name I don’t even know that?

Dunstan Hayes, said Hayes with a grin.

What do you do for a living? Shit you took care of those two bastards like a professional, said Bates.

Hayes laughed, No not really, just simple self- defence I learned in the army, I sell boats at my Marina, in Runaway Bay.

A head shorter that Hayes, Bates had thinning hair, brown eyes and was dressed in casual clothing. A blue striped T-shirt hung outside his waist over cream trousers.

Boats eh? I own a boat, he said.

Bates had mentioned something which in his wildest dreams he would never know about — the magic word he had dropped to Hayes in conversation — ‘Boats’!

Never one to make friends easily, Hayes’ barrier dropped a little at the sound of the charismatic word emanating from the mouth of Bates.

What sort of a boat do you own? Hayes asked, still trying to sum up Bates.

Bates warmed to the conversation. I’ve got a thirty-five-footer. She’s a triple hulled Kauri timber job, twenty years old and built in New Zealand and if I may be so bold as to say a great little battler in heavy seas.

What sort of an engine do you have in her? Hayes asked, with interest showing in his eyes.

A four cylinder Perkins diesel, Bates smiled. Just the right size and low on fuel consumption.

What’re you drinking? Hayes asked.

Rum and coke, Bates replied.

Hayes signalled the bartender and ordered the drinks and saw a table being vacated. Let’s sit over there, he indicated. They talked about boats and sailing for several hours and Hayes told Bates about his yacht and the sea voyages he had made.

Bates nodded and sighed, I sort of stick to the waters in Moreton Bay and up through the Barrier Reef Islands he said to Hayes. I’m not too clever with navigation and I think if I got out past the reef and the sight of land I’d get lost, he muttered dejectedly. Where’d you learn to navigate?

Hayes was now completely relaxed. I went to navigation classes about twenty-years ago and I learned a great deal from those classes, how to read a sextant and all that stuff. I’ve just retired from the army after twenty-six years and I learned plenty of things there, particularly with map reading and celestial navigation. So I guess you could say I had a head start in that regard.

What rank did you get to? asked Bates, signalling the waiter for another round of drinks.

I made it to a Captain believe it or not, Hayes smiled. I did it the hard way up through the ranks and not through a University course like the young men and women do today. They come straight into the service with the rank of a Lieutenant, and know it all. Quite decent people mind you, and a few years afterwards I guess they get to grasp the important things that count.

So you’ve knocked around a bit? Bates said. Hayes heard envy in his voice.

I guess you could say that, Hayes agreed. I’ve served in Vietnam, been in the desert war on loan to the Yanks and lectured in a few army colleges in Canada, England and Asia about explosives and incendiary devices. I lived in Thailand for a few years in Bangkok as well as Malaysia, the Philippines, and Singapore.

Yeah I guess you could say I’ve been lucky in my life. It never cost me a cent and all on the Commonwealth Government, Hayes chuckled.

They had another round of drinks and Hayes was beginning to get tipsy and enjoying the company of Bates.

No wonder you knew how to take care of those two bastards in the car park, said Bates. I think I’ve seen you in here before".

You must come in here on a Saturday night if you’ve seen me here before, said Hayes.

Yeah, I come here a fair bit, replied Bates. I’m a shit of a gambler though and I mainly come here to pick up a bird if I can are you married?"

No, Hayes smiled. The right one hasn’t come along yet but I’m doing all right being single, I don’t have to answer to anyone and come and go as I please. he said, how about yourself?

Just about divorced, we’ve been separated for a while now and no doubt she’ll get just about everything I own except my yacht which I live on. Fortunately for us I suppose we had no kids to worry about however, it was probably one of the reasons why we split up she always wanted kids.

They had a few more drinks and moved around the tables until they came to Hayes’s favourite game, Roulette. Hayes liked playing Roulette, it was fast and it was not long before he was winning several thousand dollars. Bates followed his play and he too came up winning several hundred dollars. Hayes quit while he was in front, he had his money back and had also won twelve hundred dollars. He and Bates returned to the bar for a final round of drinks.

You haven’t told me what you do for a job? Hayes commented.

I’m not doing anything at the moment I’ve just finished a job as a car salesman. The firm I was with went bust and I’m out of work but I’ve got a bit put away to last me for a while," Bates said.

Hayes handed him his business card. You can get me there most days of the week, call in any time and I’ll take time out to teach you a bit about navigation. My boat’s moored nearby and I’ll show you over it, he enthusiastically said.

Two days later Bates arrived at the Marina.

Okay, I’m accepting your offer to have a look at your boat. he said.

No problems, we’ll grab the dinghy and paddle out to her. Hayes said. As they neared the boat Bates saw it was constructed of fibreglass with two stainless steel masts set into the upper deck with sails securely tied along stainless steel booms. Two jib sails were furled, forward of the vessel. Waves slapped up against the sides of the yacht and as they drew alongside, scrambled up a small stainless steel ladder hanging down to water level.

Bates studied the immaculate polished woodwork, the scrubbed teak decks and ropes laid our in perfect coils with a rich gleam emanating from the highly polished copper binnacle. Amidships included a galley with bleached-mahogany cabinets and matching deck.

A microwave oven swung on a pendulum from the deck-head and a maze of electronic gear was visible, echo sounder, GPS and Satellite navigation systems, compass, ship to shore radio, computer and print out machine.

A television receiver overlooked a comfortable stateroom and Bates realised how much in love Hayes was with his boat, he had spared no expense in fitting it out and the results were outstanding.

Here’s my small chart cabin, said Hayes indicating a small space built beneath the companionway. Bates saw a fixed swivel chair in front of a chart table, with an overhead light fixed to the bulkhead. There were rolls of charts protruding from pigeonholes.

"I’ve got maps here for any part of the world. That’s one of my favourite pastimes, plotting these overseas journeys. However I know I can never partake in this fantasy, never go away on any of those planned voyages, they’re too far distant and I’d be away from my business too long but gee — it’s fun making believe.

Hayes tapped a book with his finger. I’ve kept this book and noted all my coordinates, distances and points to take satellite navigational readings. Hayes sighed. I’ve had some great trips to New Zealand on several occasions and apart from the occasional trip to the Tongan Islands and Fiji, that’s about as far as I’ve gone.

Well it’s a lot further than I’ve ever been, Bates laughed. Like I said, if I got out of the sight of land I’d get lost.

We can fix that without too much trouble, said Hayes. "If you can make the time I’ll teach you the basics of navigation. The rest should come easy to you.

Have you got Satellite navigation installed in your boat? Hayes asked.

"No not yet but I intend to do in the near future

It’s been continually on my mind," said Bates.

When you do get that installed, navigation is a piece of cake and really, it’s probably the most essential piece of equipment you should have. You’ll find there’s nothing to celestial navigation and anyhow I’ll help you with that. Hayes said confidently.

It was because of their common demeanour of boats that a firm friendship developed between the two men and they began to meet and socialise together in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast. Bates sailed his boat from Brisbane down to the Gold Coast Broadwater where he anchored his thirty-five-foot yacht near Hayes’s vessel.

When one of Hayes’s employees left through illness Hayes immediately employed Bates in the sales department. It turned out to be a wise move — Bates was a born salesman.

However, as fast as the money was coming in Hayes was gambling it away completely obsessed with his insatiable gambling disease. One evening while he and Bates were having a few drinks in their favourite habitat, the Gold Coast Casino and busily engaged in watching the passing parade Hayes noisily smacked his lips and in a serious manner said, You know Evan, I’ve got some problems and they’re beginning to smother me.

Bates looked questioningly at him waiting for him to continue.

Cash flow mate, cash flow. I’m down to rock bottom, however it’s not the first time, but this time it’s not good. He said.

How come? Bates asked. Your business seems to be going along alright.

Yeah it is but I’m afraid I’ve been losing too much in this fucking place and to the bookies. Hayes dejectedly replied. I’m frightened of losing my boat more than anything and I can assure you things aren’t real good.

I’ve got a bit stashed away and if you want a loan I’ll help out. Interest free too," Bates smiled.

I appreciate that but surely there must be another way to get around this debacle.

Bates looked around to make sure no one was within hearing distance. I know a way, he said, his voice lowered.

I’m all ears, said Hayes. What have you got in mind?

Bates took a deep breath, and exhaled pursing his lips. Ever thought of putting that boat of yours to work for you?

What’ve you got in mind Evan? Hayes asked.

What about getting into the smuggling business, like doing a couple of trips to New Zealand now and then and at the same time being very well compensated for your efforts. Bates grinned.

You’d have to be talking about drugs? Forget it. I don’t want to be on the Feds hit list and lose my boat. Besides that’s one thing I’ve been against all my life and anyone smuggling heroin or cocaine into our country is ratshit as far as I’m concerned. I’ll give them up every time and you’d have to have rocks in your head to even think about it.

Mmm, point taken but what about marijuana or in its compressed form, hashish? It’s not a hard drug and that’s what I was alluding to. I’d never have anything to do with hard drugs either but these days a dollar’s a dollar and getting harder to get as we travel along, said Bates.

Hayes ordered two more drinks, he bent down and tucked a shoelace into the side of his shoe his mind racing overtime. Straightening up he peered intently at Bates his expression unchanged.

What do you know about smuggling marijuana Evan?

I’ll deny this conversation ever took place if you summersault on me which I would never believe, said Bates. I’ve got a bit of brass hidden away for a rainy day just by doing a few trips in my boat. I know if I had your knowledge of navigation I’d have a great deal more stashed away and not from hard drugs either. If you’re interested I’ve got a good contact. Think about it and let me know in a few days, the money to be made is incredible and the good part is — it’s guaranteed.

Hayes leaned back in his chair and looked up at the ceiling in deep thought, he

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