Chapter two part three

Standard

Young man on the streetSo far in Embraceable You. Josefine Hanrahan, the  daughter of mining tycoon St John Hanrahan, has escaped from her boarding school to play her saxophone in the mist garden beside the National Art Gallery. There she will connect spiritually with her mother Liv, who died when Josefine was six years old. Unfortunately, she has just been located by her collage principal, Miss O’Mara.

“Embrace me, my sweet embraceable you. Embrace me, you irreplaceable you,” the sound of Liv singing played in Josefine’s head. She opened her eyes and saw that the rusty sculpture, the bones of a becalmed ship, was enveloped, embraced, by a salty ocean of greying smoke. Standing quite close by, looking down on her with an odd mixture of emotions on her face, was Miss O’Mara, her college principal.

“I thought I’d find you here.”

“Miss,” Josefine acknowledged her teacher’s words with cool politeness.

“You were playing beautifully.”

“Embraceable you.”

“I know. Gershwin.”

“Are you angry?”

“I’m disappointed.”

“Sorry.”

The spell of the saxophone’s haunting voice was broken. The tourists, who had been tip-toeing around quietly, respectfully leaving the girl and her saxophone in privacy, now stood and openly listened in. Liv was gone and Josefine was just another moody teenage girl.

“You need to come with me now.”

“No.”

“Josefine, there are always security issues surrounding your whereabouts, issues you are well aware of, that make it imperative that we know, at all times, where you are.”

“If I’d asked, you would have said no.”

“Or yes.”

“But then, you’d have insisted on coming with me.”

“For your own safety.”

“I wanted to be alone.”

“We don’t want a public scene, do we?”

“We don’t want everyone knowing that Josefine Hanrahan went AWOL from her school. Or rather, that Our Lady of Dolores college lost their prize fish for a while,” Josefine snapped in a peevishly childish whine that carried much more clearly than she intended.

Somewhere in the depths of her heart, Josefine caught a fleeting image of Liv’s face shadowed by sadness.

The middle-aged woman leant in closer as she whispered: “Josefine, you know perfectly well why we don’t make public announcements like that.”

The Hanrahan heiress was always a kidnap risk. The board of Our Lady of Dolores had held a special meeting when St John chose their school to send his returned daughter. They had even discussed the feasibility of accepting her there under a false name. In the end they decided it was much too likely that the uncooperative eight year old would undo their work by telling everyone who she was. That scheme was dropped. They had extra security and extra rules that applied just to her. She made a habit of ignoring them both.

Josefine knew she was behaving childishly. She liked Miss O’Mara and knew that it wasn’t her fault that she had to come to fetch her back. She’d probably been standing there for a long time, letting the miscreant have some privacy in the garden, and that was kind. But Josefine was eighteen, for heaven’s sake, and it wasn’t as though she’d been out dancing at a disco. She was just having a quiet session jamming with her mother in the mist garden, bothering no-one.

“Fine,” she sulked. She pulled the saxophone apart and packed it into its case. “I’m finished anyway.”

“Good,” replied Miss O’Mara crisply.

She extended a hand to help the girl to her feet. The hand was ignored and the uncoordinated teenager stumbled as she rose and turned her back on her teacher.

“Let’s go,” Josefine spat over her shoulder as she gathered her coat into shape and slouched off moodily, leaving the saxophone case on the ground behind her. This forced Miss O’Mara to pick it up to avoid another public outburst.

The tall, skinny girl cast a belligerent eye over the faces of the small number of curious spectators witnessing the public spat. A ferocious scowl locked her eyebrows together and her blue eyes were hidden under semi-closed lids lined by long, thick dark lashes. She looked off to the edges of the crowd and couldn’t see the security guards who shadowed her moves, even though she’d become quite adept at spotting the ever changing personnel of her security team amidst the faces of crowds. None of the men and women in the garden looked away in the telltale manner when she scanned their face.

Josefine did notice someone unusual. Just at the entrance to the mist garden, not blending in any way despite the drifting thick curtains of ambient mist, was an extraordinarily tall, hunky boy, well… a man really, standing like a mountain of muscle. He was watching her with a look of intense fascination on his face.

Perhaps it was going to be a good birthday after all, thought Josefine, as a smile began to wriggle all over the top of her teenage scowl, like a puppy begging to be allowed into the kitchen.

 

 

e has just been located by her school principal, Miss

Advertisements

About lynettefinch

Dr Lynette Finch. Once I was a poster designer and illustrator. I ran a small poster business called Mantis Prints, specializing in political posters during the odd days of the Bjelke-Petersen Government in Queensland. I’m told my posters hung on the walls of Rizhsky railway station in Moscow, although I’m not sure about that. They are in the collections of the Queensland Art Gallery, on several on-line websites, and in the following book: Lynne Seear and Julie Ewington, eds. Light II, Contemporary Australian Art 1966-2006, Queensland Art Gallery Publishing, 2007, pp. 110-117. In my next incarnation I was a senior lecturer in history. I published books and articles on urban health and feeding people in modern industrial cities, on the Queensland home front in the second world war and the role and history of war propaganda. Sometimes I wrote about Marxism and its impact around the world as well as intimate oral histories of communists in Australia, their experiences in conservative society, their role as social and political radicals in small towns and cities. Once I went through a death phase and wrote about the role of the Coroners Court in colonial society, about abortion and infanticide in nineteenth century cities, and about the role of gossip in policing. My research took a decidedly happier direction when I was granted an Arts Fellowship to Antarctica in the 2007/08 season, as research for a biography about Antarctic surveyor and explorer Syd Kirkby. I bunkered down in a blizzard in Brooke's hut near Davis station and imagined what it was like for Syd, caught for twelve days in a 150-knot blizzard, high in the plateau beyond Mawson in 1960. Some of my books: Australia’s Frontline: Remembering the 1939-45 War. With the rapid escalation of the Pacific War in 1942, Queenslanders suddenly found themselves perilously close to the frontline, especially those in the far north. The book is based on interviews of men and women who worked their farms in the north, some of them Italians and Germans who were interned as enemy aliens. Nevertheless, the book is essentially a story of courage, of community spirit and neighbourliness, and of the public and private war effort of a community facing crisis and loss. Dark Angel: Propaganda in Modern Warfare. This book traces the origins and development of propaganda and media manipulation from the 1800s to today’s ‘spin’ and ‘false news’. Why have governments at war allocated resources to propaganda leaflets, broadcasts, movies and art during major military conflicts? Read the book. You’ll find the answer. The Classing Gaze: Sexuality, Class and Surveillance. Concepts like sexuality and class share the same moment of birth during the nineteenth century as social inquiry turned to analysis of the workings, population growth, thought patterns, economic systems and internal bodily workings of humans (or Man, to be historically accurate). How did these ideological concepts impact in the real world? A great deal, is the short answer, outlined in this book. Young in a Warm Climate: a history of childhood in Queensland is an edited volume about childhood on the Queensland frontiers, at school, at home, in hospitals and other institutions. Fixing Antarctica: Mapping the Frozen South. In 1956, in the height of the cold war, the biggest wintering expedition that Australia had ever sent to Antarctica set out to map the great frozen landmass of Antarctica, driven by official fears that the Soviet Union meant to take the continent for themselves. The fourteen scientists were chosen from a field of hundreds of applicants. The surveyor, the central character in Fixing Antarctica, was Sydney Kirkby. Over the next twenty years, Syd Kirkby explored and map more unknown regions in the world than any other person in history. Earth, Wind and Fire is essentially twelve generations of my father’s mother’s family but it’s much more than that. It’s kind of Game of Thrones without the dragons. It starts with a kidnapped girl in Shelford, Nottinghamshire in the east midlands of England in 1618 and follows an unbroken chain of recorded births, deaths and marriages which spans four centuries until, six generations later, her descendants flee their farms in Ireland and join the diaspora to Australia. Using family stories, family photographs, published diaries and official documents, it’s the interwoven stories of five families struggling to survive amidst the most tumultuous times in European history. What’s next? I’m wandering into the boggy territory of creative fiction, writing a series of crime stories set on King Island, a beautiful windy island in the Bass Strait between Victoria and Tasmania. I’ve finished the first draft of Book One, The Rock. There will be seven, I think. I’m also writing a stand along novel, called The Key Collector. It’s about a World traveller, Angela who settles in a Tasmanian village near her daughter and grandson where she witnesses a car crash that kills three women. Convinced the collision was an act of murder, she digs into the tragic lives of the victims and is mired in a mystery stretching across three continents and reaching into the second world war.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s