No joke that the teacher's dead after video plot backfires

THIS is part three of the latest in the Dusty Dexter short story series by Sunshine Coast author Jan Richards. This particular story  finish Monday. See below for a summary of the main characters.

Missed the start? You can catch up here

HANK strides towards them, grabs the iPhone, then pulls the cameraman's arm behind his back. Cops converge.

The big bloke pulls out of a cop's grip. "Was a joke!"

"Some joke. Bloke's dead."


The others. "No he's not." "Was alright when we left him, bit shaken up, that's all."

"He's dead."


I add. "And he's not even Mr Hetherington."

The big bloke says to one of the others. "You said room 5."

"Was room 5."

Schoolies converge. Shivering now, wet and traumatised. One says: "Mr Hetherington's room five in the Science block. Mr Smith's room 5 in Arts."

That simple. That stupid.

Hank.  "Who's behind it?"

They understand they're not heroes any more, You Tube stars. Might be in serious trouble.

Cops pull off the balaclavas.

"Know these blokes?" I address the Schoolies.

One of the girls says, "That's Zane's brother."

Where's Zane?

Hank. "Zane here?"

Everyone looks around. No sign of Zane.

Hank. Voice of authority. "He here earlier?"

"Yeah. With the rest of us. He didn't do anythin'."

I ask. "Zane in Mr Hetherington's class?"

"Yeah. Topped the school in IT."


Not as smart as he thought he was. Should have done the job himself, not got his brother to do it.

Hank to the ringleader. "Zane put you up to this?"


Not so tough now.

Let's find Zane.

The cops walk the kids, minus balaclavas, towards cop cars.  

  I'll bet Zane was here, waiting for his fifteen minutes of fame. I reckon once he realised they got the wrong guy, and that Mr Smith was dead, he scarpered.

"Anyone got Zane's number?"

Course they do. Several phones appear.

"You." The girl who told us Ringleader was Zane's brother. "Ring him."

It goes to message bank. "Zane, it's Cindy, at the beach. Cops are here, they wanna talk to you." Then she adds.

"Cool video. It's viral."

"Cool. Except that Mr Smith is dead."

Red's been on the outer, taking it all in. She grabs me by the arm.


She pulls me away from the crowd, whispers. "I'm thinking they gotta be connected. My blackmail case and the video. Same school, same kids."


She continues. "What if it wasn't an accident?"

"They thought it was Mr Hetherington, were surprised when we said it wasn't."

"Yeah, they did. But Zane knows Mr Smith."


"And the students know about Mr Smith's heart condition."


"And Mr Smith's being blackmailed."

"Mmmm…" I'm not getting it.

"Work with me." She pulls off her glasses, pulls a cleaning rag out of her pocket, breathes on the lenses, wipes.

"Say young Zane's our blackmailer. Mr Smith says 'no' to the blackmail, like I suggested. Zane's pissed off, puts together the gig to get back at Mr Smith. Gives them the wrong room number on purpose." 


"Dunno that do I."

"Zane's a genius. Topped the school in IT. Why would he wanna blackmail a teacher."

"What's Mr Smith teach?"


"Find out."

Yes Mam! I head back to the girl who knows Zane and his brother. "Hi there, what's your name?"

"Cindy." She's not thrilled to be centre of attention.

A smile. "Just a minute, please Cindy." If you don't come with me I'll grab you by your wet school uniform and drag you over to Red.

"Ok." Reluctant.

"I know you're upset."

Tears flood down her face. Very upset, or just a teenage girl.

"Can you tell me, was Zane a genius at English too?"

She snorts. "Zane could design a website, but he couldn't spell for nuts. Mr Smith failed Zane in English." Then she adds. "Mr Hetherington, he's leaving. Setting up an IT business."

I smile my thanks.

Website. I turn back to her. "Zane have a website, blog, Facebook page?"

"Course." Said with a contempt. "All of 'em."

"Zane Who?"


I nod, return to Red. "We have a motive, for Mr Smith, not Mr Hetherington. Failed Zane in English."

Red waves over Janet. "Zane Thompson. Find him on Facebook, whatever."


"Prime suspect. Need to know what he's thinking."

Janet gets to work.

I'm, putting it all together.   Zane uses his brother, the muscle, and a few friends, to scare Mr Smith, the teacher who failed him. Maybe he's also Red's blackmailer.

He muddies the water by having his goons refer to Mr Smith as Mr Hetherington, the teacher who gave him the good grades. Probably teacher's pet, even wants to impress Mr Hetherington.  Too messy, I'm not buying it.

So what's he get out of this, Zane? He knows it'll be traced back to him. Wants it traced back to him. But he's not involved, not at the scene. So what happens to him?

He gets a viral video on YouTube. Probably a job with some international company looking for young IT geniuses. It's some addition to his CV.



This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictiously and any resemblance to any actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely accidental. 

Website and blog: dustydexterpi.com
author's facebook page: facebook.com/jannyrichards
dusty's facebook fan page: Dusty-Dexter-PI-Her-First-Case-by-Jan-Richards
Twitter @dustydexterpi



DUSTY Dexter's a private investigator, well she will be, if she ever does the study. Dusty reckons on-the-job training's more important, so she's determined to prove herself and crack another case.

Besides, after she cracked her last case, and made prime-time tv, in a bikini, she's famous.

Janet Jones, journalist, is Dusty's best friend, although most of the time she's not sure why, especially when Dusty involves her in her schemes.

Janet thinks she's an investigative reporter, and she's always on the lookout for her next front-page story.

Red's an ex-cop with a secret, and she's Dusty's boss. She's five foot nothing and 50 kilos but she's got attitude, and a gun. As far as Red's concerned Dusty's not getting another case until she finishes the PI course.

Hank, senior sergeant Stern to you, is always the first man on the scene when there's a body.

He's got a soft spot for Dusty, he even did some handywork around that dump of a house she lives in. They're having a stand-off, and he's not sure why. 

Topics:  beach dusty dexter editors picks mankini police teacher

Things to do this weekend

The Goodna Jacaranda Festival returns this weekend.

Here are some ideas for this weekend

Man avoids jail following meat cleaver incident

A Coast pensioner has been refused bail after being charged with drug trafficking.

Court heard he brandished knives and threatened to kill neighbours

Gallery: The price of school formal glamour

Kimberley Brown wearing a formal dress from Von's Gorgeous Gowns with her mum Michelle Brown.

The glitz, glamour and expense of school formals

Local Partners

Workmates honour crash victim with tribute

UPDATE: Tanya Lyell is being remembered as a young mother dedicated to her family and work as the town she called home mourns its loss.

Things to do this weekend

The Goodna Jacaranda Festival returns this weekend.

Here are some ideas for this weekend

Range of antiques on display today

The Ipswich Antiques and Collectables Fair at the Ipswich Showgrounds.

The fair features sellers from across Queensland and NSW

Where to trick or treat in Ipswich this Halloween

Plenty of kids will be dressing up again this year.

HERE are some of the streets ready to celebrate

Race facts and stats a winning combination

Impress colleagues with Melbourne Cup trivia

Birdy's voice soars during concert

English singer Birdy proves her skill during a recent concert.

The singer, 20, has acquired mythical status in the music world

Miley Cyrus finally confirms engagement to Liam Hemsworth

Liam Hemsworth and Miley Cyrus.

Eccentric singer confirms long-held rumour

Former Oasis frontman threw popcorn at his brother

The Gallagher brothers have famously feuded for many years.

Oasis brothers still haven't made up

Things to do this weekend

The Goodna Jacaranda Festival returns this weekend.

Here are some ideas for this weekend

OUR SAY: Why musicians should be called 'tradies'

Should bands be paid every time they play? Journalist and musician Tom Gillespie thinks so.

We need to change the way we think about musicians.

Want to own one of Australia's best restaurants?

TOP GONG: Mooloolaba Spice Bar has been named in TripAdvisor's Top 10 Australian restaurants for 2016.

Here's your chance to pick up one of the Coast's favourite eateries

Tough times in CBD: Woolies says goodbye Ipswich

Woolworths in the Ipswich Mall.Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times

The last day of trading will be January 1

Is Woolworths departure good news for Ipswich CBD?

Artist impression of the Ipswich Mall for the rejuvenation project to be undertaken by Ipswich City Properties

Council is on track to release a detailed plan before December

Look at me! Kath and Kim home up for sale

Kath and Kim from the iconic Aussie TV series.

'Crack open the Baileys and grab a box of BBQ Shapes'

How to fit 100,000 new homes on the Coast

Property, real estate, housing, suburb,  August 2016

Fitting 2m extra people in south-east Qld in 25 years a balance

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!