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connected with the police and failed to get a reply. As I was putting down the phone a
voice in the background said: "He's older than he looks."
I don't think the remark was intended for me.
The young guy's name was Clarence and he pronounced it in a way that sounded
very French when he was trying to chat up Joan and the other girls . We know it was
his real name because the girls took a look in his wallet while he was swimming . It
contained a driving licence with his photograph and date of birth. He was twenty and
came from Melbourne.
The girls were living in one of my apartments. They helped in the hostel and had
part-time jobs in town. They regarded Clarence as a pest. He was a couple of years
younger than they were and looked even younger. His clear aim was to get them into
bed and his powers of seduction were pathetic. The skinny little guy was forever trying
to impress them with stories of his life.
He told them how he had been headhunted into the police while still at school and
sent to police academy. There he was assigned to a twenty-five-year-old female
undercover agent who taught him things not found in the training manual.
The lady's daytime instruction covered the use of nunchakus and other martial arts
weapons. In the evening they went back to her place and practised positions
described in her illustrated edition of the Kama Sutra. After that they headed into town
to investigate the drug scene. He made a point of saying he preferred older women.
The girls found him irritating. His sexual advances were gauche and his tales
ridiculous. But they were not totally unbelievable . That was why they had peeped in
his wallet. He claimed to be a private detective. They decided to do a private
detection job on him.
To their surprise, his highly accented name checked out and so did his age. They
got a further surprise when they heard him trying to chat up a French girl in French.
They had previously thought that his claim to speak the language was no more than a
In the end, they decided that Clarence had been the toy boy of an older woman. A
cougar had taught him the mechanics of sex and he had emerged from the encounter
with a burning desire for a repeat performance . Who was this woman? Could she
possibly be a police officer? Was there any truth in what he said? One evening they
"Clarence, are you still in the police?"
He gave his usual self-assured smile and said circumstances had obliged him to
sever his connections with the force. An undercover investigation had gone badly
wrong and caused a lot of embarrassment.
"Did you get the sack?"
Clarence said he had not been sacked. Instead, he had been counselled. A panel
of senior officers had informed him that he was going to be posted to a remote part of
the Northern Territory where the women wore big boots and kept their own company.
He'd taken the hint and handed in his resignation.
In all, Clarence was with us for about a month. He came and went: staying a few
days then taking off. I spoke to him on a number of occasions but could never
penetrate his cloak of mystery. The problem was his multiple perso nalities. He called
them "personas" and spoke about them in a very professional way.
In the hostel, his persona was the suave guy with the French name and seductive
voice. He'd come nowhere near to mastering that one. His model was entirely wrong.
Males might be impressed by stories of a crazy woman who whirled nunchakus and
had sex in impossible positions but the girls were not.