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amazement, he had been employed as an armed security guard at the American
The Americans weren't the only ones at fault. The young man had been able to
purchase a veritable arsenal of weapons upon entering Australia. I hasten to add that
our gun laws have since been tightened and are now amongst the strictest in the
The incident had a sequel. Like most people I assumed the Special Weapons
Squad was a police unit. Friends in the army told a different tale. They had mates
who were there when the German was killed. The police called in the army. When the
boys were shot at with heavy calibre weapons they knew how to respond.
24 Sean's missing uncle
I was away from the hostel for a few days and phoned to check how things were
going. My wife said the swimming pool filter had given trouble but a young
American guest had fixed it. His name was Sean and he was a great help. I
phoned the next day and she was even more enthusiastic. Sean was now
working for his bed and was fixing all sorts of problems.
I met him when I got back and could only agree with my wife's assessment. Sean
was a very pleasant and helpful young guy. But, there was something about him that
didn't quite gel. His appearance was at odds with his behaviour. Everything looked
right from his toes to his hairline but stopped there. Sean had a Mohican haircut. It
didn't match the rest of him and looked recent.
I tried imagining him in the uniform of an American marine , with his hair back on,
and everything came together. Who was this guy who was so precise and efficient in
everything he did? My wife said he never left the hostel. He had received a couple of
telephone calls and seemed to be waiting for someone . That same day, I was in the
reception area when the phone rang . The voice on the other end was male and
"Is Sean there?"
I looked down into the pool area and saw him repairing one of our chairs. He came
up and took the call while I continued to attend to other guests. Later, thinking back on
the incident, I realised Sean hadn't said more than "yes" and "no" during the entire
conversation, which had lasted several minutes. I guessed he didn't want anyone to
know what he was talking about.
I should explain that all this happened in the days before mobile phones . Sean had
been obliged to take the call within hearing distance of myself and several other
people. Two possibilities entered by head . Sean was CIA or Sean was being hunted
by the CIA.
I had contacts in the police and occasionally supplied them with information. This
time, they got in first. While I was wondering if I should contact them, they contacted
me. The phone rang and I heard a familiar voice.
"You've got an American staying with you ... calls himself Sean."
I said I had and mentioned my thoughts about the CIA. That didn't provoke any
comment but when I spoke about the telephone calls I got an immediate response.
"Did you listen in?'
"Could you if he phones again?"
"There's an extension in my apartment."