100 Days Project

Ben: 100 Writings / 100 Opening Guitar Hooks

various, random creative expressions / writings, inspired partially by 100 popular songs (songs that somewhat begin with a leading hook of a guitar.)

Day 41:

“The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” (1976) by Gordon Lightfoot

"The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" (1976) by Gordon Lightfoot


Just found out today that a young couple I used to flat with are currently at the centre of a homicide investigation of, tragically, another dead baby. What the hell is going on?!

A grandmother murdered a baby in November 2011. A toddler’s stomach was punched in so hard he internally bled to death, that same month. Another baby suffered non accidental head injuries, two months later. A stepfather murdered a baby: June 2012, and three months later, a new born was murdered in Hutt Valley. And the long black shadow cast across them all, are the murdered Kahui Twins. What the hell is going on?!

I used to flat with Jessica Taylor-McGahey and Joshua Matene in a flat in Mangere. I was in a desperate situation then and was open to live anywhere. Though the flat wasn’t the most welcoming of places (hole in the kitchen floor, tagging on the walls, odd smells from the Garage); the flatmates, contrarily, were sociable and kind. The head flatmate, Mark, was part of a Motorcycle Gang, but was the nicest guy ya could ever meet. Another flatmate, whose name escapes me, was an Engineer who worked at the Airport. And then there were Josh and Jess.

Joshua and Jessica, since they were a couple, got the biggest room in the house. Jessica was ‘doing a course’ somewhere and Josh admittedly was unemployed. They somehow scraped by, paying the bills. Josh was a musician and we both hit it off in regards to the subject, to such an extent, I gave him my blue guitar. After moving flats so many times, I realised the less load the better. Besides, he would busk and was in dire need of one. He weren’t too bad on the gat, neither!

But, boy, would those two argue! They argued in the morning, argue coming home in the afternoon and argue in the evening. The engineering flatmate, who lived in the room adjacent to them, either heard arguing, sleeping or fucking. None of which was of a lower level of decibels. Poor guy. One evening, the couple had some dinner cooking up on the stove, but they were arguing so much, they left it to burn. The kitchen was smoking. The head flatmate came in, saw the stove, became infuriated, turned it off, went straight up to the difficult duo and declared, more or less, that both were kicked outta the house right then and there.

But that shut them both up for only a few hours, for they were still arguing on their way out.

Cut to today.

It was Mark who rang me. I thought he’d be calling just to catch up, but rather, to inform me of the horrible loss. Now, hearing upon the ridiculous amount of infanticides in the news, it can be easy to be apathetic. But when it hits closer to home, that’s when you rightly take notice.

From what Mark told me, the couple were separated for only just a month. They shared joint custody of the baby. Jessica hooked up with another guy called Chris Waylie in Whangarei, while Josh still lived in Auckland. The baby was in Whangarei at the time of its death. Mark told me Josh was interviewed by TV3, and while watching it online, I couldn’t help but feel for Josh: teary eyed and inconsolable. Mark told me that on Jessica’s Facebook wall, there were many posts of support, although a few of utter outrage and disgust.

There is nothing else we can do but wait to find out what happened.


(One of the initials things that came to my mind other than sympathy and shock was the melody of this haunting sea shanty – a similar story of tragedy and loss.)