Part 1 : meet Sol
Sol slapped the book down on his desk. This is Hollywood and he’s the producer. I’m the writer. He doesn’t like it. He says you gottabe kiddin’ me.
‘You gottabe kiddin’ me,’ he says, ‘Singapore, Hong Kong, Batavia, Brisbane, Washington, Rabaul, Bondi?? Who has the dollars to do all that for some no-name’s espo/noir two-bit bullshit?
What can I say, that’s my genre. So I shrug.
Sol’s phone rings, but before he picks it up he pushes the book over and makes a suggestion.
‘So do it again. No Cook’s Tour and cut down on the personnel this time, ok?’
A member of an international ballet troupe.
A communist sympathiser.
The ballet troupe arrive in Australia for a series of performances and between shows they socialise widely, and in Sydney’s case at the cafes, harbour and beaches. It is in this context a dancer meets the communist sympathiser, a young and impressionable woman of nineteen. He is older by twenty years. After he leaves for America at the end of the tour they correspond.
He promises to return.
1943 / 1945
The dancer returns to Australia and their relationship continues. He learns the young woman regularly works as a nurse in a small convalescent hospital close to an army base and one end of a barrier that restricts the flow of all vessels entering and leaving Sydney Harbour.
They are both horrified by the planned mass destruction of life by the atomic bomb and during their many conversations they discuss the shameful role Australia is playing in the testing of such weapons, a role dictated by the Americans and British.
The dancer suggested a way they might disturb this relationship and safeguard the world from atomic massacres.
If only one country has the bomb,’ he told her, ‘it will use it. If two countries have it, neither will.’
The source, a lieutenant at the army base, injured himself and was sent to the convalescent hospital. Over the course of his treatment he came into contact with the young woman and after his discharge they maintained a social relationship at a nearby hotel where they and others met from time to time.
Her inexpert attempts to elicit shipping information from the lieutenant, who had intelligence experience, raised his suspicion that she was being manipulated. He passed this suspicion on to a knowledgeable superior and was told to maintain the relationship but provide false information. This he did, and this she duly passed on to the dancer. And he to his masters.
The arrangement ceased in 1945 when the lieutenant was posted north. One year later the woman fell pregnant and left for her parent’s home in Melbourne. Not long after she left for Adelaide.
She bore a son in 1947.
This is ok for Solomon so far, but now he’s hit a wall.
‘I’ve hit a wall here,’ he says, ‘you write that this guy follows her to Adelaide, right?’
‘So, how’s he know that’s where she is?’
Guys like Sol don’t know the spying business, how they watch each other, tap phones and hide mikes. Sol likes James Ellroy and reads the Hollywood Hi-lites magazine. That and Penthouse.
‘They watch each other. They know.’
‘So how does Dr Douglas Buxton Hendrickson of Pier St, Glenelg fit in?’
continued here …