Anthony Thorpe worked at the Montana Wines Vineyard near the Waihirere Domain which is outside of Gisborne City, North Island, New Zealand. It was located on Snowsill Road North just off the Back Ormond Road.
Anthony helped his three colleagues to train and prune grape vines. He worked alongside Brian Murphet, Jared Hawks and Vanessa Cringe.
“So, what ya doing in the weekend, Tony?” asked Brian. Brian was an old Maori man in his fifties who had a cigarette in his mouth.
“My sister is bringing her family over for the weekend. Don't know what we're doing though”.
He lifted the top wire of the vine as his boss, Timothy Quentin, had instructed, sticking the vines behind the wire so that it would grow higher. He pruned some leaves that needed pruning. They had pruned and trained row upon row of vines all day. They had stopped and took a break during the day. It was a hot summer’s day, the hot sun bearing down on them. Occasionally Brian and his colleagues would sip water from their bottles to keep cool.
As they were about to reach the end of the row, Anthony saw Timothy standing at the end of the row.
“Just finish off that row, Tony” said Timothy “Then you're finished for the week. Got your payslip here”.
Anthony stuck the last few vines beneath the top wire. He was totally exhausted and hot. He took a sip of water as Timothy handed him his payslip. Anthony accepted it and opened it up. He had earned $560 gross before tax. This meant that after tax he had a take home package of $403.20. Anthony stuffed his payslip in his back jean pocket and joined the rest of his workmates on the way to their cars. There were rows upon rows of grapevines.
“Hot work, hey bro” said Jared, a young Maori boy in his late teens.
“Sure is” replied Anthony.
He saw the tractor towing the sprayer between the vines, spraying pesticide onto the vines to keep the pests out. The dirt road turned right and they walked past the manager’s house towards the sheds where the tractors and various machinery were stored.
“See you on Monday, Tony” said Vanessa as his colleagues waved goodbye to him.
“See ya” replied Tony.
As his colleagues walked back to their cars, which were parked in the gravel car park, Anthony walked back to his house since he only lived across the back Ormond Road from Montana Wines
* * *
Anthony had arrived home to find his sister and her family had arrived at his place. Anthony lived with his parents, Max and Tracy Conwell.
“Ah Tony” cried Stephanie as Anthony and Stephanie hugged. Stephanie is Anthony's older sister. “So you've just come home from work?”
“Yup. I'll go put my bag in my room and I'll be right out”.
Anthony went and put his bag on the floor of his bedroom. As he walked out of his room his mum said “Come and help dig the 'tatos” as she walked passed. Anthony came and joined his parents and his sister's family.
Stephanie was married to Peter Jones, a tall man with a brown beard and moustache and average build. They had three daughters together. Megan, who was 16, had brown wavy hair. Sarah, 14, had blond hair and Michelle, 11, had brown wavy hair. Michelle and Megan had heavy builds while Sarah had a medium build.
The girls watched as Peter helped Max to dig the potatoes out of the vegetable garden.
“Here, make yourself useful and put the potatoes in the bucket” said his mum.
Anthony did as he was told and as Max and Peter dug out the potatoes he placed them in the bucket. His mum pulled out the carrots. His mum cut the cabbage off the stem and they took the vegetables into the house.
As Stephanie and Megan helped mum prepare the vegetables in the kitchen Max, Peter, Michelle and Anthony sat on the couch listening to Sarah playing her violin. Sarah played such beautiful music; she was so talented, the bass playing on her violin. In fact violin is Italian for little viola. When Sarah finished, the family clapped and she kept playing the violin with such talent.
Later on they had gathered at the dinner table as they tried the vegetarian meal that Stephanie had come up with. What they had for dinner was good home made vegetable soup cooked fresh from the vege garden.
“Hey, no eating before the guests” said mum to Max.
After they had all sat down they dug into their vegetable soup with garlic bread.
“Nice soup, hun” said Max to mum.
“Can taste all the spices”.
As they slurped their vegetable soup Peter and Stephanie talked about their trip to Vietnam and talked about the villages they had been too. They talked about the Vietnam War and how Peter's father was a veteran from that war.
“We visited this village which was way in the country side,” said Stephanie “And we saw the local villagers working in the rice patties”.
“Then we went to the park in Ho Chi Min city,” said Peter “It was awesome”.
After they had finished their vegetable soup and the girls had washed the pots and put the dishes in the dishwasher and put it on, they came and joined the rest of them as they drank vodka and lemonade. They talked and laughed about their adventures in Venezuela.
“And like we were hiking through the jungle,” said Megan “and the locals showed us round their cacao farm where they grow cacao beans. You know the ones they make chocolate out of”.
“They cook everything with cacao beans,” said Stephanie “They cooked us this chicken recipe which had cacao in it”.
Later on they listened as Sarah played her beautiful violin music.
* * *
Next day Anthony got up and came out of the house to hear his mum yell “Max, you better come. Something's wrong with Dixie!”
Dixie is the name of the Labrador retriever that the Conwells owned. Anthony and the rest of the family came running out of the house to find Dixie lying on his side. Dixie did not look good. He was looking weak and blood was coming out his nose.
“Bloody hell,” said Max “We better take him to the vet”.
“Would the vet be open?” asked Stephanie.
“Yes, the vet is usually open in the weekend” replied mum.
Max picked up Dixie and carried him into the van. He placed him in the back seat of the van. Anthony, mum, and Stephanie climbed into the van to keep Dixie company.
“Meet you in Waimata” shouted Stephanie to Peter and their children as she closed the side door. They pulled out of the driveway, went down Snowsill Road South and turned right onto the back Ormond Road.
* * *
They pulled into the car park of the Riley Veterinarian Association on the corner of Lytton Road and Gladstone Road. They hopped out of the van. Stephanie picked Dixie up into her arms and they rushed her into the vet clinic.
“Is Diana Riley here?” asked mum “We've got a situation here”.
“Right this way,” said the receptionist “I'll lead you to her”. They followed her into the treatment room. “Place him on the bed; I'll get her for you”.
A moment later Diana Riley entered the sickbay.
“What do we have here?” she asked.
“Something's wrong with Dixie,” said Max “She seems very weak. And she doesn't look too well”.
“Could it be a virus or something?” asked Stephanie.
“Oh dear,” said Diana “He doesn't look too well”. Diana came in for a closer look. She shined a little torch in Dixie's eyes to see if they were dilating. “Not much response really”. She felt his stomach. “Seems to be internal bleeding”. She looked at her watch as she listened to his heart. “His heartbeat seams weak”. She looked up at the Conwell family. “He'll have to take a few blood tests and take him into the OR to get a blood transfusion. I suspect he's been poisoned”.
“Poisoned?” echoed mum. Diana nodded.
“Who would do such a thing?” asked Stephanie “That is so cruel”.
“I think it might be Veronica Keaton,” said Max “She's always trouble. Ever since her mother died and her father weren't there for her”.
“We'll have to keep him here for observation,” said Diana “I'll keep you posted”.
“Thank you,” said mum “He really means a lot to me. I don't want to lose him”.
Mum cried on Max's shoulder while Stephanie wept on Anthony's shoulder. Anthony felt sick to his stomach. They hugged for a while. Then Stephanie said “Come on. Let's go”.
They walked out of the vet clinic and climbed into the van. Anthony closed the van door. Max started the van and they went out of the car park and went down Lytton Road.
* * *
Peter and his three daughters were the first to arrive at Waimata Valley which is off the back Ormond Road.
“Would you like to open the gate someone?” asked Peter.
Michelle climbed out of the car and opened the gate into the yard of the old school building. Peter drove into the yard and they waited for a while talking about their time in Vanuatu. They listened to Sarah play the violin. An hour later Stephanie, Anthony and their parents arrived. They drove into the yard and Sarah closed the gate behind them. They hopped out of the van.
“So,” said Peter “What's the verdict?”
“They're keeping him over for observation,” said Stephanie “Diana thinks he's been poisoned”. Stephanie cried on Peter's shoulders.
“Who would do such a thing?” said Megan “Such stupidity”.
There was an air of sadness as everyone was upset about what happen. They walked up to the old school building and looked into the windows. It had a kitchen and a piano in the main hall. This is where mum went to school as a little child. They walked through the woods that contained conifer trees and saw an old volley ball set in the shed.
“Come on,” said Peter “Let's have a game of volley ball. Just to cheer ourselves up”.
Everybody agreed and they set up the volleyball net in the paddock next door. Max and mum sat this one out as there were three against three. Megan, Sarah and Michelle in one team and Peter, Stephanie and Anthony in the other. Stephanie served first.
She hit the ball over the net, the ball curving towards the left. Michelle hit it over the net. Anthony jumped up and spiked the ball. The ball hit the net and his team was out. Peter served the ball. Megan spiked the ball over the net. Stephanie set the ball, spiked it over the net, Sarah tried to hit it and missed. One all. Michelle served the ball. Anthony went up to the net and spiked it. Sarah spiked the ball which hit the net. One two. Michelle served the ball and they kept playing for the next half hour. At the end Anthony's team won by 17 to 14. Not bad.
“Man, I'm puffed” said Stephanie.
“Awww. You're such a bunch of old people” said Sarah.
Stephanie gave a sarcastic laugh. “Sure”.
They rested for a while before getting up and walking over to the fig tree, picking the figs off the tree and eating them. The figs tasted sweet and juicy.
“This is where mum's house used to stand,” said Stephanie to her daughters “A long time ago, when she was a child”.
They walked over to the chestnut tree, started picking up all the chestnuts and putting them into the bucket to take home. Every year Anthony and his parents would go up to Waimata Valley to pick chestnuts to take home and boil. They bent over, picking the chest nuts off the ground. Usually they would have brought Dixie with them. They climbed over the fence into the woods and looked down at the Waimata River.
“This is where I used to swim as a little child,” said mum “Fond memories”.
“Pity Dixie couldn't be with us” said Megan.
The river was big and brown with gravel shores. After they had finished looking at the river, they climbed back over the fence and headed back to their vehicles, putting the chestnuts into the boot of the Conwell car. Stephanie and her family climbed into her van while Anthony and his parents climbed into their car.
It was the Conwells that were the first to exit the yard and turn left down the road followed by the Jones family. There were vineyards and sheep and cattle grazing in the paddocks. They drove past a few houses and the Waimata Valley School.
“Did you enjoy yourself, Tony?” asked mum.
“It was awesome”.
* * *
When they arrived home they were shocked to find the windows smashed and to see the word Paedophile spray painted on the front of the house. They parked in front of the garage and hopped out. Stephanie’s family arrived shortly after. They climbed out of the van. Stephanie’s mouth was wide open, a shocked expression on their faces as they looked at the graffiti on the wall.
They followed Max onto the veranda, the sliding door of the living room and the bedroom windows had all been smashed. As they walked into the living room the word Rapist had been spray painted on the wall in red paint.
“Look” said Stephanie pointing into the corridor.
The word sex offender had been spray painted on the corridor wall on the left. The master bedroom had the word Paedophile spray painted above the bed. All the furniture and valuables had been smashed to pieces. Mum was in tears.
“Why would someone do this to us?” she wept “Why? Do you know anything about this!?”
Max explained the whole situation to them. When Max and Veronica were on a hunting trip at Mahia with the horses, Veronica used emotional black mail to get him to have sex with her. She threatened to go to her cousins and tell them he raped her if he didn't stop buying her gifts. About a week ago Max stopped giving into her demands and she must have gone to her cousins.
“I suspect they came and vandalised the place” said Max.
“How can you be so stupid!” demanded mum.
Anthony was thinking the whole situation in his head. Veronica blackmailed him into having sex with her and went to her cousins when he stopped giving into her demands. Then they came and vandalised the place. Anthony was furious. Even though Veronica was below the legal sex age that did not give them the right to vandalise their home. They smashed up his computer and spray painted Anthony hangs out with paedophiles on his bedroom wall. They vandalised his bedroom and smashed his property. Anthony never approved of paedophiles.
“I'm going to get to the bottom of this” said Anthony as he picked up his golf club from the floor of his bedroom and headed towards his car.
“Where are you going?” asked Stephanie.
“To teach the Keaton's a lesson” said Anthony.
“Let me come with you”. Stephanie climbed into the passenger seat and they went down Snowsill Road North and turned left towards Ormond Village. Meanwhile mum called the police.
* * *
Anthony and Stephanie arrived at the Keaton residence. They pulled into the driveway and got out of the car. Anthony went up to the front door shouting “Where's the bastard that's been vandalising my home!”
Anthony was furious, ready to swing his bat in anger. Fred Keaton, the father of Veronica Keaton, stepped out of the house and walked down the steps towards him. He was in his forties with snow white hair.
“It was me!” yelled Fred “You're father is a rapist and a paedophile! You deserved to have your home vandalized”.
“I did not do anything to Veronica Keaton! I was not involved. You vandalized my room!” Fred jumped back as Anthony swung his golf club at him. Anthony aimed at his head.
“No, Anthony,” shouted Stephanie “He's not worth it”.
Anthony's veins throbbed, he felt his heart pumping harder, adrenaline rushing through his veins.
“Did you poison our dog?” yelled Anthony. Fred ducked as Anthony made another swing at him.
“My nephews had to do it,” protested Fred “Otherwise your dog would've alerted the neighbours. We fed your dog rat poison!”
“You moron!” cried Anthony as, this time, he struck Fred in the nose with the golf club. “OUR DOG HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH IT”. Anthony struck Fred in the shoulder.
“NO!!” screamed Stephanie.
“Daddy!!” screamed Veronica as Anthony struck him in the side of the head. Whack!
Max, Peter, mum and the girls arrived in the van and they could hear the sirens coming closer.
“Enough!” yelled Max.
“THE DOG HAS NO CONCEPT OF PAEDOPHILIA OR RAPE. IT DOESN'T UNDERSTAND HUMAN AFFAIRS” said Anthony.
He was about to strike Fred in the head when Max and Peter restrained him, dragged him to the van and threw him in. Mum shut the door so he couldn't go after Fred again.
“He's not worth it!” said mum.
Stephanie watched as the police arrived on the scene.
“Fred Keaton. You are under arrest for the vandalism of the Conwell residence” announced the police officer through the megaphone “You have the right to remain silent. Everything you say can be and will be used against you in a court of law. You have a right to an attorney. If you can't afford it then one will be appointed to you”.
Stephanie watched Fred and his nephews get put in handcuffs and taken away in the paddy wagon. A social worker came and took Veronica Keaton into CYFS custardy. CYFS stands for child, youth and family services.
After the vandals had been arrested she climbed into Anthony's car and drove it home.
* * *
“What were you thinking!” yelled Peter in Anthony's ear.
They had him seated down at the table while Peter, Max and mum stood around him. Police officer Sergeant Eddy Sherbet was there.
“That was very irresponsible” he admonished “You could be had up for assault. You would be given police diversion. But once you've had it then it's your chance blown. I won't be pressing any charges this time. But next time you get into a rage think of the consequences. Is there a place you can go?”
“Yeah” said mum “The Macphallins residence in that brick house over there. They've agreed to let us stay. Some of us will be staying in the truck”.
* * *
That night they stayed at the Macphallins house while the police investigated the crime scene. It turned out that the Keaton’s had fed their dog some rat poison and that's why it was sick. Dixie had fully recovered from the incident though he would not eat anything from the ground again. So he has to be fed from the dish.
The Keaton family were convicted for wilful damage to property and for cruelty to an animal. They were each sentenced to a total of 20 years each in prison for cruelty to an animal and five years for wilful damage. Veronica was put into a foster home for teenage girls. They never heard from her since.
Since then Anthony and his parents moved to Hawks Bay to be closer to Stephaney’s family. They are now living happily near the village of Waipawa. They are taking Dixie for a walk who is now fit and healthy.