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A Deep Dive - Ghislaine Maxwell: Silver Spoons and Hard Times

A Deep Dive - Ghislaine Maxwell: Silver Spoons and Hard Times
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Ghislaine Maxwell – Silver Spoons and Hard Times

August 9, 2020
By Paul Serran
Ghislaine Maxwell led much of her life under the world’s fascinated microscopic view, always enthralled by her – famous and infamous – as it watched her fortunes wax and wane.
From the celebrated miracle daughter of media tycoon Robert Maxwell; to the broken young woman who fled scandal in the UK to a small New York apartment, trying to launch a new life; the rebirth Jet-set Ghislaine, who was everywhere at once, longtime companion of Jeffrey Epstein, a man even richer and more shady than her father; the sophisticated middle age woman, a runaway alleged criminal trying hard to avoid detection by her pursuers – finally, to the incarcerated, indicted suspected sex trafficker and perjurer.
Ghislaine was Robert and Betty Maxwell’s miracle baby, born on Christmas Day, 1961. Two days after that, their eldest son suffered a fatal car accident.
In 24 hours, it all had been somehow foretold: joy – and then tragedy.
During the Swinging Sixties, Robert Maxwell served two terms as a Labour Member of Parliament (MP) for Buckingham. He led a multimillionaire lifestyle, and was the host of star-studded parties at Headington Hill Hall, his baronial fifty-three-room Oxford mansion.
The Maxwells spent a million dollars redecorating the mansion. In a stained glass window scene for the imperial staircase, Israeli sculptor Nehemia Azaz depicted Robert Maxwell as the biblical hero Samson tearing down the gates of Gaza: “a titan of luck, impossible achievement, and unlimited wealth”.
They had the use of chauffeured luxury cars. They traveled the world in Robert’s Gulfstream IV Jet and his sleek 180-foot yacht, named Lady Ghislaine.
“If Bob Maxwell didn’t exist, no one could invent him,” Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock celebrated the bombastic, demanding mogul who dined with kings and presidents and had a bottomless appetite for family, food, fortune, and fame.
The first brush with financial and professional hardship came at a age when young Ghislaine would have been mostly sheltered from it.
In the early seventies, after Robert Maxwell tried similar shenanigans in a failed attempt to swindle the American financier Saul Steinberg, who was interested in a strategic acquisition of Pergamon Press. Steinberg claimed that during negotiations, Maxwell falsely stated that a subsidiary responsible for publishing encyclopedias was extremely profitable.
At the same time, Pergamon had been forced to reduce its profit forecasts for 1969 during the period of negotiations, leading to a suspension of dealing in Pergamon shares on the London stock markets.
It was found that Maxwell had contrived to maximize Pergamon’s share price through transactions between his private family companies. This was a criminal practice he would utilize again in the future.
Inspectors from Britain’s Department of Trade and Industry declared Maxwell unfit to run a public company: “Notwithstanding Mr. Maxwell’s acknowledged abilities and energy, he is not in our opinion a person who can be relied on to exercise proper stewardship of a publicly quoted company.”
‘Captain Bob’ established the Maxwell Foundation in tax haven Liechtenstein, in 1970. By the 1980s he come back roaring, prompted by money later said to have originated in the Soviet Union. He bought the Mirror Group built and a massive media conglomerate.
The good times were on: Ghislaine was nicknamed “The Shopper” because of her wild spending funded by Robert’s millions. He also bankrolled her failed corporate gifts business.
During this period, she reportedly had a VERY close relationship with her father and was widely credited with being her father’s favorite child.
In Oxford, Ghislaine led a student life of wealth and privilege. Her father would send Filipino servants to the college house she shared to clean, arrange the table and cook, in the event of a party.
Her career piggybacked on her father’s businesses. She was made director of the Oxford United, and later, put in charge of “special projects” of the New York Daily News.
With her father’s money, she found her way into society, especially in New York — a haven where she could escape his complete control.
But the good times were not to last. Overextended and over-leveraged, Maxwell’s empire was about to crumble.
At this time, Maxwell reportedly was a regular at London’s casinos, playing three tables at once, even dropping $2.5 million in a single night. For years, he had been an inveterate gambler, but this was the behavior of a desperate man whose time was running out.
“He was a very crude man,” said a female writer for Time magazine. “His polish was not very deep. If you were with him for any length of time, it peeled away. I was in his library in the Maxwell House penthouse—a beautiful apartment with marble and servants all over the place—and while I was admiring his books, his valet said to me, ‘You should see Mr. Maxwell’s collection of pornographic tapes’.”
Ghislaine visited her father in his office before he flew off to Gibraltar. “He was looking for an apartment in New York—a sort of pied-à-terre, where he could talk and have meetings—and he wanted me to help him,” she told Vanity Fair. “He asked me to go see a particular apartment. He said, ‘If you like it, I’ll make time to see it and come to New York.’ ” But the next time Ghislaine saw her father, he was dead.
”Ghislaine is the baby of the family and the one who was closest to her father,” her mother Betty told Vanity Press. ”The whole of Ghislaine’s world has collapsed, and it will be very difficult for her to continue.”
When she finally appeared before the reporters, she had collected herself. “How did your father die?” a journalist shouted at Ghislaine Maxwell. “He did not commit suicide. That was just not consistent with his character. I think he was murdered. ”
Maxwell, it turned out, had debts of nearly $5 billion, and had stolen hundreds of millions from the Mirror Group’s pension funds to shore up his faltering companies. That left 32,000 employees exposed to retirement ruin.
The irony was not lost on the hard-hitting British press: Robert Maxwell, a socialist, stealing hundreds of millions of pounds from the Mirror’s pension fund!
He swindled money from two of his public companies, transferred millions in and out the secret family trusts in Liechtenstein, to manipulate the share price of his Corporation.
Robert was called “rogue,” “crook,” “bully,” “thief,” “megalomaniac,” and “gangster.” The press told lurid tales of his sex orgies with midget Filipino hookers.
He was seen as a 310-pound aberration gorging on spoonfuls of caviar. An erratic and cruel tyrant who used Turkish towels for toilet paper. Journalists wrote that he was a spy for the K.G.B. or Mossad or Czech intelligence—or all three.
“My daughter Ghislaine has no money, no trusts, no funds anywhere.” her mother Betty told Vanity Fair. “Neither of [my children] had any money. Their father never gave them any money.”
Their assets were frozen. His son Kevin’s house was put up for sale, as were the Lady Ghislaine and the Gulfstream IV Jet. Their passports were seized.
A friend told The Times of London, “[Ghislaine] had always been the life and soul of the party wherever she wanted to go in the world and never had to worry about money.” Now she was the broken child of a monster, his name forever synonymous to scandal. “She was catatonic,” the friend said.
Forced to vacate her huge company-provided residence, she moved into a small apartment. When a friend came to visit, Ghislaine told her, “They took everything—everything—even the cutlery.”
Little did she know how many more times things in her life would shift from silver spoons to hard times. A woman brought up in luxury, she had everything taken from her, before she came to the United States to begin again.
“He wasn’t a crook,” Ghislaine told Vanity Press. “A thief to me is somebody who steals money. (…) Did he put it in his own pocket? Did he run off with the money? No. And that’s my definition of a crook.”
“I’m surviving—just,” she said. “But I can’t just die quietly in a comer. I have to believe that something good will come out of this mess. It’s sad for my mother. It’s sad to have lost my dad. It’s sad for my brothers. But I would say we’ll be back. Watch this space.”
Ghislaine Maxwell was also being hunted by the tabloids. The Maxwell name was so detested in London that she is said to have had to walk around in a blond wig so people wouldn’t recognize her.
Ghislaine Maxwell’s reinvention didn’t take long. Maxwell moved to the United States just after her father’s death. Her photograph boarding a Concorde to cross the Atlantic caused outrage – her father had just defrauded pensioners out of 750 Million Sterling Pounds.
According to the Mail on Sunday: “Unnoticed by almost everybody, traveling with her was a greying, plumpish, middle-aged American businessman who managed to avoid the photographers. It is to this man that 30-year-old Ghislaine has turned to ease the heartache of her father’s shame.”
“His name is Jeffrey Epstein.”
“Whose house is this, Ghislaine?” a friend asked her in the early 1990’s. “Who lives here?”
My friend,” Maxwell replied.
“Well, is he banging you?” the friend demanded. “What’s the scoop here?”
A trust fund is said to have provided her with an income of $145,000 a year. A far cry from her previous seemingly unending wealth. She “never, ever had any cash. Lots of credit, of course, but no cash”, one friend recalled to the press.
And yet, she lived the high life. She was known in New York as the “female Gatsby” for her lavish entertaining. Had a “reputation for being charming and funny, and a glittering lifestyle straight out of the pages of a society magazine”.
She was now “far from the ever watchful eye of the British press,” Hello! magazine wrote in 1997.
“She is proud of the fact that her new life is all down to her own hard work and has her elegant apartment to show for it,” the magazine mistakenly added. One day, she would “get married and have kids. But it has never been a focus: My focus is my business.”
Ghislaine’s presence added more fuel to the question: “How did Jeffrey Epstein amass his fortune?” For one of the most propagated theories is that Maxwell’s father Robert bankrolled him with funds hidden from the UK authorities.
Jeffrey Epstein built a 21,000-square-foot mansion on a massive ranch in New Mexico, which – he boasted – made his New York townhouse “look like a shack”. He named it the Zorro Ranch. He also acquired a 72-acre island in the Virgin Islands and an 8,600-square-foot home in Paris, with a specially built massage room.
She had found a path back to the lifestyle she’d lost when her father died. “She was used to living very well,” says a friend who knew her then. “She didn’t want to go back to where she was.” All she had to do to keep it was to give ‘the monster’ what he wanted.
Maxwell was expected to drop everything to serve Epstein.
She had to keep everyone in line, because one misstep would unleash the wrath of Epstein, one of the few people who could make Maxwell cry. “He would be screaming over the phone,” recalled an Epstein victim, “and she would burst into tears.”
The New York townhouse became a social nexus; guests could have included members of the Kennedy and Rockefeller clans, “along with the requisite sprinkling of countesses and billionaires,” according to The Times of London.
She was “a modern-day geisha” in a “domain filled with the richest people in the planet. “It’s a world frequented by young half-naked girls in bikinis, billionaires and lavish lifestyles, but it borders on the grotesque. You are never really sure what is going on behind closed doors.”
Royalty was specially prized, which is why her friendship with Prince Andrew became so treasured. In 2000, Maxwell and Epstein attended a Prince Andrew’s party at the Queen’s Sandringham House estate in Norfolk, England. It has been reported that the event was in honor of Maxwell’s 39th birthday.
And yet, Ghislaine began trying to distance herself from Epstein long before he went to jail. In the early 2000s, she hooked up in California with a man much richer than Epstein: Ted Waitt.
Waitt lived in a seven-bedroom, 14-bath mansion in La Jolla, sailed the world aboard a 240-foot mega-yacht, the Plan B. It was equipped with a helipad, Jacuzzi, elevator, gym, and HAD AN ONBOARD SUBMARINE, which Maxwell soon was licensed to pilot.
After Epstein went to prison in Florida for a short period, Maxwell saw the silver spoons turned into hard times again.
Acquaintances that crossed her path reported how she was almost unrecognizable. She was not stylish and attention grabbing anymore, seemed determined to go unnoticed. Her face had no makeup. There was a hint of gray in her black hair, she put on some weight.
“I was so shocked by her look,” a friend recalled to the British press. “I didn’t recognize her.”
She even gave up her once proud name, sometimes introducing herself to new acquaintances only as “G.”
“Where are you living, Ghislaine?” the friend asked. “I lost touch with you.” Maxwell suddenly went blank. “Oh,” she replied, “a little bit everywhere.”
December 2014: Virginia Roberts Giuffre filed a motion in the Southern District of Florida describing Maxwell as Epstein’s “primary coconspirator and participant in his sexual abuse and sex trafficking scheme.”
Maxwell made a huge mistake, issuing an “urgent” statement to the media dismissing the claims as “obvious lies.” That allowed Giuffre, to sue Maxwell for defamation in federal court in New York, a lawsuit “widely viewed as a vessel for Epstein’s victims to expose the scope of Epstein’s crimes,” according to the Miami Herald.
Maxwell affirmed her innocence with fury, at one point of her testimony banging her fists on the table. She also, according to charges filed by the DOJ SDNY, committed two counts of perjury.
2019: when the SDNY reopened the criminal investigation into Jeffrey Epstein, Ghislaine was far away, living the high life.
She met with her friend Prince Andrew in Buckingham Palace, and participated in “Cash & Rocket”, an annual charity road rally. Between races of the rally, she joined the super rich in attending a Masquerade Ball in London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, as well as a White dinner at La Reserve in Geneva and the Red party at the Yacht Club de Monaco.
Those were to be her last reported events. Cash & Rocket scrub Maxwell’s photo from its website once Epstein was arrested and the scandal assaulted the headlines again.
On July 6, 2019, Epstein was arrested by federal agents at Teterboro Airport, arriving from Paris. The FBI raided his mansion, and charged him with sex trafficking of minors.
“Epstein’s pimp girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, a very well-connected Brit socialite cannot just walk free,” actress Ellen Barking tweeted the day after Epstein’s arrest. “This woman is his pimp. She pilots planes [sic] to and from the island. I know because she told me.”
Maxwell again went into hiding, unreachable during legal proceedings. It surfaced in December 2019 that Maxwell was among the people under FBI investigation for facilitating Epstein’s crimes.
She was faced with a tabloid frenzy even bigger than the one that accompanied the death of her father. She again uprooted herself and tried to start over in Manchester-by-the-Sea, a quiet village 30 miles north of Boston, she lived for a time in the $3 million, five-bedroom colonial home of Scott Borgerson, CEO of CargoMetrics, a hedge fund investment company involved in maritime data analytics.
Since Epstein was found dead in jail, last August, she is reported to have moved 36 times, out of fear for her safety. Credible Death threats arrived by social media, email, phone, text, and postal service. It began in earnest with Epstein’s arrest, multiplied with his death, and accelerated in the months that followed. They soon became a routine part of her life.
She hired a professional security firm, with operatives that are veterans of intelligence and law enforcement agencies.
This photoshopped photo of Maxwell surfaced last year to mislead the public into thinking she was in Los Angeles. Frank Report was the first to report the photo a fake, a story that went viral.
“Where in the world was Ghislaine Maxwell? Everyone, it seemed, had a theory, each wilder than the last. She was said to be hiding deep beneath the sea in a submarine, which she was licensed to pilot. Or she was lying low in Israel, under the protection of the Mossad, the powerful intelligence agency with whom her late father supposedly tangled. Or she was in the FBI witness protection program, or ensconced in luxury in a villa in the South of France, or sunning herself naked on the coast of Spain, or holed up in a high-security doomsday bunker belonging to rich and powerful friends whose lives might implode should Maxwell ever reveal what she knows—all the dirty secrets of the dirty world that she and Epstein shared.”
(Vanity Fair – Jul 3, 2020)
Maxwell remained at large, beyond the reach of attorneys, tabloid reporters, and a 10,000-pound reward from The Sun in London.
“It’s a little bit like Elvis—you get lots of reports but they’re hard to verify,” a victim attorney said in May.
She was periodically said to have been spotted around the world, usually in places where she was not. Reporters scoured the globe. Some said she was in Russia trying to get a Oligarch to protect her. Others pointed to Israel or Brazil, China, Singapore, the Middle East, England.
She was “both everywhere and nowhere,” lamented UK’s The Guardian.
On August 2019, she was apparently photographed eating a burger and fries in the Cahuenga Boulevard, in the San Fernando Valley. She held The Book of Honor: The Secret Lives and Deaths of CIA Operatives. Given Ghislaine and her father Robert’s alleged ties to Intelligence Services, this choice does not seem accidental.
Papers were running out of incredible stories to account for her disappearance. A bizarre new theory emerged she could be hiding in a submarine which – as we saw – was not downright impossible, since she DID have a license to pilot underground vehicles.
On July 2nd 2020, Maxwell was arrested by the FBI and NYPD in the small New England town of Bradford, New Hampshire. It is situated at driving distance of the NYSD. They finally found her in a luxurious four-bedroom, 4,365-square-foot home on a wooded lot, called Tuckedaway.
Ghislaine Maxwell was charged with six federal crimes: luring and enticement of minors, sex trafficking of children and perjury.
The crimes took place between 1994 and 1997, the years of her “intimate relationship with Epstein,” when she “assisted, facilitated, and contributed to Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse of minor girls.”
One of the three unnamed victims was “as young as 14 years old when they were groomed and abused by Maxwell and Epstein, both of whom knew that certain victims were in fact under the age of 18.”
FBI assistant director William F. Sweeney Jr. described Maxwell as “one of the villains of this investigation,” who had “slithered away to a gorgeous property” in New Hampshire, where she was “continuing to live a life of privilege while her victims live with the trauma inflicted upon them years ago.”
“I am optimistic about my future,” she said in 1997, “and believe things will continue to improve for me as time passes.”
Now, according to sources close to her, “I don’t think [Ghislaine] sees there is a future,” came the reply.
If found guilty of all charges, Maxwell could face a prison sentence of 35 years. She denies the accusations, and has pleaded not guilty to all six charges.
She will await trial locked up in the Metropolitan Detention Center, in Brooklyn. A dreadful prison that is as removed from her previous “silver spoon” upbringing as it’s possible in the US. Hard times.
She used to be a larger than life character, who once hosted a dinner for NY socialites on ‘the fine art of giving a blow job’. But then, she really blew it.
A report from a source familiar with the Metropolitan Detention Center gives a glum picture of Ghislaine Maxwell’s present conditions.
She is in the women’s section and believed to be confined to a solitary cell. Because of the past history of the MDC, it is not impossible to suspect that Ghislaine could be having sexual relations with one or more corrections officers, either male or female. Her available wealth would permit her to buy some privileges directly from the corrections officers who could smuggle in items for her.
MDC has a history of guards, male and female, enjoying sex with prisoners and smuggling in everything from alcohol to cell phones to drugs. While she is not enjoying what anyone would call a privileged life, and is most likely [because of Covid protocols] confined to her cell, dank and cold [in summer] perhaps as much as 23-24 hours per day and possibly getting only one hot meal per day, our source says, with her wealth and talent to charm, if there is any privilege, any opportunity, any luxury to enjoy at MDC, she is enjoying it.
Of course, she is probably under near-constant surveillance, for no guard wants to go to prison for letting her get murdered or commit suicide – as did her former lover Epstein. It is not known how frequently she is meeting with lawyers in special rooms set aside for the purpose. But an MDC source tells Frank Report that prison officials are known to eavesdrop on those conversations with lawyers and defendants and do so on high profile cases. Whether they report to the prosecution what they learn is unknown.
In the end, Maxwell has a hard road to hoe and will remain in the brutal and unsanitary MDC until she stands trial or makes a plea deal or dies. The possibility of additional charges other than those currently charged against her – for hebephilia crimes in the last century – remain a possibility.
The late Jeffrey Epstein was a convicted hebephile, a person who has urges for post pubescent but under the age of consent children. Is Ghislaine one also? And are there others, famous and prominent men of power who have indulged as Jeffrey and allegedly Ghislaine have done?
The ace in the hole for her, obviously, is, if she has info on other prominent hebephiles that the DOJ for its own partisan or PR reasons might like to selectively prosecute, she can trade that info for a lenient sentence and hopefully not be murdered for doing so.
Her former lover, Jeffrey Epstein, might have committed suicide, as the Mainstream Media and the US Govt. urges you to believe, but there are some who find the coincidences, cameras being off, bones broken indicating he was strangled, guards happening to fall asleep as they were assigned to watch the most famous prisoner in the world, such that that it just might cause reasonable people to doubt the official narrative a little more than the corporate media and prison officials would wants us to doubt.
The same fate might befall Ghislaine and we may never know just what she did. Whether her crimes were confined to herself and Epstein or whether there was a vast network of hebephiles joining in – or – in fairness to her – she is innocent as she claims, something that a trial, if she makes it to trial, might help us determine.

stretcher during the funeral service in Jerusalem’s main convention hall on Nov. 10, 1991. The body is laying on a stretcher, draped in a white Jewish prayer shawl with black stripes as is it tradition of Jewish burials in Israel. (AP Photo/Natik Harnik) Ghislaine is fourth from the left.
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Missing time

It was a dark night, no moon. We’d seen a bit on the road today. A returning trip to Brisbane from Sydney on the inland highway. Less traffic and less speed cameras means two gents can move north in less time? Not really. Here’s why.
It was getting dark. At Tenterfield we turned right.
“Casino 159km” a sign by the road informs. That’s 100 miles on the Grandad Scale. Shouldn’t take much longer than 2 hours, with the hairpin turns, maybe three. We sped off into the night, through the farmland and onwards to Coolangatta for a stopover at Mum’s.
Our progress slowed not far out of town. The moonless night, the wet and lonely road, and the number of hairpin turns slowed us to a walking pace. Carefully, I followed the black road. No white lines. No streetlights. No white posts with red circles to guide my way through the remote bushland. Sandstone cliffs. Fallen trees. The wiper blades dancing helplessly against heavy rain. 159km of hairpin turns on a dark and stormy night.
“Years ago on a late night shoot somewhere in Victoria, it was frickin’ cold”
‘I suppose it would have been’ I think to myself
“Four AM, must have been minus two. The director sent me up inside this abandoned, rundown, dilapidated Sanatorium” he looks over at me. A master craftsman in the use of unusual words
“Yeah, this old hospital”, I slow the car for tight turn number 229, rain thumping the roof of the like a madman.
“There’s an old matron who still patrols the corridors.” Phil continues “she’s still running the place 100 years later”
The dark night throws yet another hairpin turn at me, visibility down to just a few metres. I guide the car into the valley.
“My job was to keep this wispy white curtain blowing through the window. Jo kept the lights on it in the dark and the other bloke kept the camera focused. All trying to get this one shot”
My concentration divided between the story and the dark road
“I went up, set up the curtain and the fan, one great big fuck off fan to blow the curtain on a still night. The curtain rod fell and up into the building I went. Again. This time I tied it on with some old wire. Falls again, up I go again. The fan falls over this time, up I go once more. This time I stayed up there. Curtain doesn’t flow right in the wind from the fan so I lean out the window to hear what the boys are saying downstairs. And maybe this is just autosuggestion. Maybe it’s the ghost story. I get pushed or overbalance. Down I go, my fingers gripping the window sill. The curtain rod falls on me. Bang. I feel myself being pushed again”
My concentration high. I’m alert now “...And?”
“And so in the end we get the shot, no more than three seconds on film”
“For that much trouble?”
“Film’s like that”
I bring the car around another hairpin turn. My nodding dogmoves and I reach into the dashboard to catch it. I also change the clock, forwards two hours. The Camry let’s me do that easily.
An hour into this leg of our journey. Three by the Camry clock. We cross a rickety old timber bridge, the planks sing and dance as we skip across. The nails flicker, polished by years of wear.
“The show was called Haunted Australia, or something along those lines. Heaps of creepy places at creepy times of the night”
“Anything else happen?”
“They took us to some old stone police station in East Sydney at some stage. Lovely spot on the harbour. Into the lower ground with a couple of Mediums or Ghost Hunters or something like that”
“And?” I enquire again
“They tell me that’s the spot where they used to flog the convicts” he turns to me, his face illuminated by the headlights reflecting off the rain “She, the ghostbuster lady, told us of the convict flogged on that spot, a piece of his soul left behind by the trauma. Blood soaks his clothes, his feet in irons, his wrists bound by rope in a frame that he now hangs from” Phil pauses “they left him there. Lifeless. Flies in the summer heat.”
After a few minutes of silence Phil remarks at the lack of other cars. “Hadn’t seen another living soul since Tenterfield.”
“Your turn” Phil encourages
I slow for another bend.
“This road reminds me of a doco I once saw on Betty and Barney Hill” Phil’s silent response indicates an explanation is required “these two were driving late at night on a lonely road back from Canada. Years ago. Into that New England area of The US. They take a long and lonely road from somewhere to somewhere else” the car slows for another turn. The rain a little easier now. “Betty spots a star that isn’t sitting still in the sky” I pause “Barney sees it too. Above and a little forward of their car” No farmhouse lights are visible “Betty thinks it’s a shooting star, Barney thinks it’s a plane making it’s way to New York” we might be in a National Park or surrounded by a cattle station. “I did fill the jerrycan, right?” Changing the subject. Phil’s attention on me and not so much on the road now. “Try to spot a shed somewhere to keep the rain out of the tank”
“The sky is clearing” pointing upwards “No moon, not even a house in the distance yet. Just darkness and one lonely star in the sky”
“Star light star bright..” Phil begins “And gone again” he looks back at me, his face illuminated by the digital clock “and the star they saw?”
“It develops into a triangular shape. Barney thumps the peddle to the metal. They shake the triangle and duck up some country lane to hide between some trees and, in the middle of the road in front of them is the flying saucer, and a gang of little green men”
I pull the car to a stop “got that brolly?” Popped the boot and grabbed the jerry can. Phil holds the umbrella over me as I fill the tank, a sprinkling of rain drifts to the ground. Just enough illumination from the interior light to see what I’m doing.
“Just imagine it, they come down here, and fill the tank for us” I pause for a moment “with antimatter“ I smile, Phil looks around, one single star visible in the sky.
“Why would there be one star in the sky? If the clouds were clearing then you’d expect the space to be filled with star dust, right?” Philip analyses the situation
“It might be a small plane” and I turn back to the tank
“Remember that time we went up in John’s plane?” Phil, thinking through the Small Plane hypotheses
“The barometer dropped and we had to bring the plane down, it started raining like this after that”
“That’s not a small plane, no small plane would be in the sky, at night, in the dark and in a low pressure system”
“Little green men?” I Joke. Phil’s face is void of emotion.
The car glides along the road and we feel a second timber bridge rattle beneath us
“What do you suppose happened to the star?”
“Behind clouds I suppose” I reply
“I’m not convinced it was a star”
“Min min lights?” I suggest
Phil looks at me blank faced “maybe the spot-the-pot chopper”
The thick bushland opens up to thinly treed paddocks. The lifeless road before us. The car remains silent.
Fewer corners and hairpin bends allow the car to move smoothly. Rain beating on the windscreen.
“I put the jerry in the boot, didn’t I?” I enquire “I don’t recall putting it away”
“I don’t really know” the confidence in Phil’s voice now gone “I don’t even remember getting back in the car” he pauses for a minute “how’s the tank?”
“Just under half” thinking to myself that I wouldn’t just leave the jerry can, I must have put it away, and put in its seatbelt to stop it spilling, even though its now empty “I don’t know about the can, i really don’t remember”
“Forget the can, just keep moving” Phil’s voice soft “Coolangatta tonight”
We pass a few more kays. It might have been half an hour when we passed through a small village, slowing for the change in speed limit. No street lights, no house lights, no dogs or other travellers of the night.
“I need to stop, bit squeamish” I slow the car, open the door and look back at Phil’s illuminated by the interior light, his nose bleeding “you right there?”
“Yeah, why?” He pulls the sunshade down and looks into a little mirror, a thin line of blood beneath his nose, his beard filling with red “oh Jesus”. He opens the door, a small pizza appears on the road beneath him. Peas, carrots and yucky stuff added to his already red beard.
Out of the car, I hand a bottle of water to a big man, seated and curled in the foetal position before me. A mess on the black road between us.
“Are you right?” I enquire. And clearly he isn’t. “Water” I hand him the bottle
“It just hit me. One minute I’m fine next” he pauses “this” a moment longer and he adds “how far to Lismore?”
“I don’t know, and you’re right. Maybe we’ll stop in Lismore and get you into the casualty ward.” I pause. Maybe it’s not that bad, just a little nausea. A bleeding nose can be cause by dry weather, aspirin, a dozen causes “let’s see how you go until we get to Lismore”
Phil accelerates. He’s trying to change lanes. Other cars don’t make space for the impatient driver. He curses the other drivers with bad language. The first rays of the morning sun make give the sky fresh blue hue.
“Good morning, Sir”
“How long was I out for?” Curious as i must have been asleep since we swapped drivers when I filled up from the gerry can
“Dunno. But isn’t it nice to see the sunrise?” Phil adds animation, years of living amongst Melbourne’s Italian community “haven’t seen one in years”
I count my fingers, and count them again. The clock in the Camry reads 7:32. We left Tenterfield at 8 or so. No way is that road 11 hours, even with my two hour fiddle clock trick “Did you stop a while?”
“Nah” I can see he’s noticed the same thing. “Bruxner Hwy really does add a few hours”
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California to New York: A Complete Road Trip - YouTube

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