Gareth Jones joined the force when he was 25. Now he’s the best damn detective we have.
I’ll tell you a story about Gareth if you want to hear. It’s not a long one. But it’s worth it.
It’s 1999. Hot as usual. Gareth walks in and people know he’s there. They can smell him.
The man is the only one I’ve known to be out boozing with his clients until the sun comes up and then roll into work as if nothing happened.
‘Nicky, how’s the 14 coming along?’
‘Good Gareth, how’s Jack?’
‘Loyal as always.’
Gareth had this energy. You couldn’t tell what was stronger, the smell or the aurora.
There was this one case he told me about and I’ll never forget it.
A man came in one day saying his wife was doing the dirty on him.
He’d been suspecting it for years but could never quite figure it out. It was time to hire someone.
Gareth stepped up to the plate. The guy couldn’t pay much but Gareth didn’t care. He loved the hunt. It was only his third case.
So the next day Gareth shows up at 9:39. A two hour turn around from getting home the night before. Not bad.
‘You need some help Gary?’
‘Nah,’ Gareth said, ‘I’m good.’
At the start, he did all his work alone. He liked it that way. He had his own style, unconventional, but he got things done.
The blue machine needed to be opened from the outside. The door handle was broken so Gareth would stick his arm out the window and open the door. He got out, closed the door and walked over to the house. His approach was straight up.
‘She stays home during the day, I bet that’s when it happens,’ the husband told us.
Gareth’s walking around the house, peering into the windows. Nothing’s happening.
He keeps going, down the side path and round the corner. Then he trips over the hose. A lady runs out.
‘What are you doing?’
‘I was walking around the side and then I tripped over this hose.’
Gareth always tells it like it is.
‘Well you better get the hell out of here before I call the police.’
‘I am the police,’ Gareth thought, ‘sort of.’
He left but didn’t. He knew something was up. When the lady came outside there were other footsteps inside.
Gareth went around the corner. Found a seat and sat in it. You see Gareth had this talent. He could sit there for hours. Thinking about things. Anyone would think he was brain dead. But he wasn’t. He’d be working out a plan in his head.
The seat wasn’t far from the house. It didn’t take long to get back.
Gareth waited a bit out the front and out of the way so he couldn’t be seen. There was an extra car in the driveway. He saw two people walking around inside.
‘This is it, I’m gonna get these two.’
As soon as he stepped out the front door opened. He moved back and looked up. It was the husband.
‘He should be at work,’ Gareth thought.
The lady closed the door. And then walked back inside as her husband backed out of the driveway.
Gareth stared moving around the back again. Any other detective would’ve gone home by now, cover almost blown and the husband showing up out of the blue. Not Gary.
‘There was no car there before. So who owned the extra footsteps?’
He heads down the side path and round the corner again.
There’s a sound out back. Gareth recognises the sound. He runs around. There’s a guy on the ground. He tripped over the hose.
‘Shit,’ Gareth turns back around the side. The guy didn’t see him. Gareth was big and strong but there was no point taking the sucker. He hadn’t confirmed the case yet.
The lady comes out and helps the guy up.
‘I’m sorry honey, he doesn’t usually come home during the day.’
‘It’s okay, let’s go back inside, this dam hose almost broke my leg.’
Gareth let them go inside. It pained him to see another man with someone else’s woman but he was a professional. He had a mission.
He waited a bit then went inside. The backdoor was open. No one closed anything in those days.
Family photos littered the hallway. Gareth was young but he'd seen it all. His Dad played up on his Mum when he was a kid. It hit him hard back then but he was alright now.
There were voices at the end of the hall past the kitchen. Gareth stopped and took out his camera.
'I don't think we should be doing this anymore.'
'Because you're married, and I've met your husband.'
'What he doesn't know won't hurt him,' the wife said, 'come on now we haven't got much longer before he comes back.'
Gareth took out his gum and stuck it under the kitchen bench. And then kept waiting.
Then a door closed towards the front of the house.
Gareth walked out of the kitchen down the hallway. He was in the open now. If anyone came out he was done for.
The voices stopped. But there was motion in the room. Gareth stood by the door.
Wait time was over. Gareth popped open the door, stuck up the camera and clicked the shutter.
'What are you doing?!'
'You're done now,' Gareth said, 'should've listened to your flesh buddy in the hallway.'
The guy she was with was young and fit. When he realised what had happened he leaped out of bed towards Gareth.
Gareth stood back and braced and watched the guy's meat chandelier flailing about as he ran across the room towards him.
When he got close, Gareth pivoted on his back foot and launched his leg towards the guys skull. He didn't look like it but Gareth could move.
The guy fell to the ground but not before Gareth caught him and let him down softly. He was naked and stunned but nothing he wouldn't recover from.
Gareth lived by a rule. Don’t increase or decrease the population unnecessarily. And he wasn't about to break it.
The wife was rugged up in the sheets. She was as stunned as her partner on the floor.
Gareth turned around without saying anything. Closed the door behind him and then walked out. He kicked the blue machine in the guts. And then came back to HQ and told us all what I just told you.
'Jobs done.' Gareth handed in the camera.
'I'm going to Foley's.'
'Gareth, it's 2pm. On a Tuesday.'
Gareth went to Foley's. His name was engraved on a gold plaque under the bar.
'Early mark again?' Pauly asked.
'Today was hot,' Gareth said, 'I wasn't hanging round.'
'Yo Gareth, tell me,' Pauly leaned over the bar,'how you getting so lucky all the time?'
'It's not luck Pauly. I show up every day and work my ass for peanuts. Then I get the peanuts.'
'Why work so hard?'
'What else is there to do?'
'Play around, you know, have some fun.'
'Work and play are the same thing for me Pauly.'
This is what got me about Gareth. He lived to work. Anyone would think the opposite.
347 solved cases later, Gareth Jones is still going. He still drives that beat up old blue car. And he still sits there and stares into space as if nothing is going on. He's got a couple kids now so the late nights into early mornings have slowed down. He’s a good Dad.
Now you might be thinking why I told you the a story about Gareth Jones. Well, here's the thing.
Even when he was young, there was a lot to learn from Gareth Jones.
A) Telling it like it is
Remember how Gareth fell over the hose. He didn’t blame it on the hose, he said ‘I fell over the hose.’
Gareth always told it like it was. That’s why people trusted him. You knew what he was saying was genuine.
Be honest in your speech.
B) Your own style
I can count the number of times I remember Gareth rocking up when he was supposed to on one hand. He might’ve been late by other people’s standards but he always got the job the done.
Whatever you do, do it with your own style but don’t forget, the mission isn’t over until it’s over. And it’s never over.
C) Work well alone but play nicely with others
You remember how I told you Gareth took jobs on his own?
He was capable alone, that’s for sure.
But when the time came, he could work with anyone. When he came back to the office after a while away it was like Jesus was in town.
‘Yeah, he’s back!’
Be useful on your own and remember, we’re social creatures. Best to get along and treat others well too.
D) The butt in chair technique
I always wondered what he was thinking. Whenever he was staring out into space.
He’d spend 8-hours sitting at a bus stop if it meant he might get a lead on a case.
No paper. No phone. Nothing.
Whatever Gareth wanted, he could wait for it.
If you want something, work for it, wait for it, think about it for a bit and then do it all over again.
The secret to guys like Gareth getting to the top ranks is simple. It’s the application of butt on chair.
E) Fool me once shame on you, and you can’t get fooled again
The hose again. Gareth tripped over the hose but was cool about it. So when he heard someone else trip over it, he knew what the sound was.
Walking is a controlled series of mistakes, little falls one after the other.
If you mess up there’s always the next attempt (see F).
F) The next attempt
If any other of the men from the department rocked up to that house, they would’ve left after seeing the husband.
Not Gareth. He followed his curiosity.
It didn’t always work but this time it came up trumps.
You already know the result of giving up early, what’s the alternative?
Your most important step isn’t your last, it’s your next.
G) Mission first, feelings second
It’s hard watching a lion take out a helpless deer. But that’s nature.
Gareth watched as another man walked in to sleep with a married woman. It was against his being but if he acted too early, it might’ve compromised the mission.
Emotions can cause you to lose focus of the task at hand.
Complete the task first, then deal with the emotions when you’re in a better position.
You can’t roundhouse kick a naked man running towards you if you don’t care of your body.
Keep moving. Physically and mentally, every day.
I) Work as play
This is the one. Gareth knew how to have fun with it.
Times would be hard, the people would be hard, the work would be hard but he lapped it up. It was like he was a school boy in the playground.
There were men I saw who had everything going, the car, the nice bed, the beautiful home who would come into work as if they had a hot coal between their cheeks.
Here Gareth was coming in after two days without sleep or showering and still getting after it.
You don’t have to lose sleep or stop showering but enjoy the work. Enjoy the grind. There’s no such thing as work-life balance. Life is work and work is life.
J) Be a caring father or role model at least
Those kids are dam lucky. But Gareth wouldn’t call them lucky. He’d tell them their father shows up everyday, works hard for peanuts and gets the peanuts.
Every man should be a father figure. A loving and kind role model to others.
And if not to others. Start with yourself. Start by being your own biggest fan.
I’ll sign off how Gareth would all his letters.