Caught up with a mate who works with my most previous next door neighbor. Turns out the bloke who moved into my house in Collingwood when I left was the infamous gangster, author and funny-man, Mark Brandon 'Chopper' Read. When I lived there, Chopper only lived in the next street. I would see him regularly at the local milkbar or sitting outside his fave pub, The Leinster Arms.
There is an underworld war going on right now in Melbourne. It is BIG, with more than 25 killings in the past four years. The morning after one of the murders Chopper was interviewed by all Australia's media in the sun outside The Leinster Arms.
I was nearby buying milk. Couldn't help but stare. Who wouldn't? My gob-smacked looking agitated Chopper's burly, hanger-on minders. Even through their prison style Oakleys you could read their thoughts buzzing wisdom. "Who IS this cunt? What's he doing? Is he okay?"
Had to go. Real quick.
"But don't get me wrong, for a one time toe-cutter, knee-capper and killer of 19 men (in my lighter moments), swapping my four ten for a HB2.0 is not without it's price. It could happen someday, that someone asks me for my autograph and while I'm busying myself with the pen, they put a bullet in my head. Not really a desirable outcome for me is it!" From Chopper Read's website.
But that's not my only connection to the Melbourne crime scene....
I have a friend. He killed somebody. It happened when he was doing his work. He didn't mean to kill. An inquest agreed. There was no jail. It was front page news.
It doesn't end there.
The person my friend killed, lived in the house I live now and grew up in. His bedroom was my bedroom.