Interesting Times
Chapter 08

Copyright© 2011 by Ernest Bywater. All rights reserved

Afternoon Activities

They’re cleaning up after lunch when Superintendent Smith walks in the room to speak to Matt. He calls Joe, Alice, Paul, and Dorothy over too. Naturally the rest also gather around. Smith looks at Matt, glances about him at the others, and says, “Matt, I think you should be aware Jacobs was involved with other local organised crime people than Mario. We’ve no idea how they’ll feel about him being locked up. I suggest you get some armed guards to help protect you. Until you have some guards I’m assigning two uniformed police officers to this floor starting with the day shift in the morning because it’s the earliest we can do it. I’m sorry I can’t do anything more for you.”

More Sales

Matt sighs when he shrugs while all of the adults look worried. Mary looks at Matt, and she takes her lead from him. If he’s not worried she’s not. He looks at Smith, “Thanks for the warning. Can you do me a favour?” He gets a nod yes in return. “My mother knew a woman, Irene Miller, and Mum had been doing some work for her. The work was finished so she was going to call her to collect and pay for it this week, but events got in the way. I need to find this woman to let her know the work is done and to collect payment. I know she lives in the northern suburbs of Sydney and would be about your age, but that’s all. Can you please use your resources to locate her for me? I know you can’t tell me where she lives, but can you contact her and give her my details?”

Smith stands and stares at Matt for a few minutes, then he asks, “Just what was your mother doing for her?”

“One of Mum’s hobbies was to rebuild old Harley bikes to make them into a nice custom bike.” He brings up the website to show him the bike he’s kept for the special client and the other unsold bike. “The rest are a bunch of bikes Mum and Dad had finished. I’ve recently sold most of them. I’ve still got one to find a buyer for and this one is for Irene.”

“Matt, does this phone have a speaker mode?” Matt nods yes, “Good!” Smith moves to the phone and he punches in a number. Matt reaches over to hit the speaker phone button. The phone rings, and is answered. “Brian, Steve, please put Irene on the phone. And you may like to put it on speaker mode while you look at this website.” He gives the address of the website, and he’s told to hold on.

The phone goes silent, except for the click of keys in the background. A woman comes on the phone, “Hi, Steve, why do you want me to look at fancy bikes? I know your total knowledge of them is they exist.”

“Do you know a Candice Dyer?”

“Yes. Brian told me she’s dead, got killed in your city. I’m unhappy about that as she was arranging a custom ride for me from Kick Bikes.”

He looks at Matt and gets a nod yes. “Irene, I’ve got Matthew, her son, here with me and he wants a word with you about that website.”

“Oh, just a moment while I take the phone back to the computer so I can look at it while we talk.” Steve indicates for Matt to take over.

“Good afternoon, Missus Miller. This is Matt Dyer. Although they used to keep it secret it doesn’t matter now. For a hobby Mum and Dad used to do rebuilds and custom bikes as Kick Bikes. They’d finished a special order bike for you and were due to call you this week about payment and collection. It’s the one with the heavy silver theme that’s on the website and marked as sold. That’s because I’ve been selling the rest so I had that kept aside for you. Do you still want it?”

“Just a moment.” They can hear movement sounds and some quiet talking in the background. “Matt, that other unsold bike, how much do you want for that? I’ve got the sixty thousand set aside for my bike, but Brian wants the other one if we can afford it.”

“Will you both be riding them around or putting them on display?”

“I placed the order because I want a nice bike to ride around, so does Brian. Why?”

“OK. Since you’ll be using them I’ll give you the same discount on both bikes I’ve been giving other buyers because I’m liquidating Kick Bikes. I don’t do that fancy work so there’s no point in trying to keep it going. I’ve already sold the parts and business to two top mechanics Mum and Dad liked. You can have both bikes at fifty thousand each, a total of a hundred thousand. Send me an email and I’ll send you the details on where to make the payment. The bikes are in Sydney so delivery can be organised for Monday or any day there after.” He tells her his email address and phone number as well as Dot’s contact details.

“Thanks for that. We can manage a hundred but not a hundred and twenty grand. We’ll have the money ready by lunchtime on Monday as we have to move some money about. I’ll call you when ready. Steve, you tell my darling sister we’ll be down next weekend to show off our new bikes, see you then. Matt, I’d like to pop in and see you then too.”

“I’ll look forward to the visit. Just don’t expect to take me for a ride on it for a while as I’m bed bound for some months.” They exchange some small talk and hang up. Matt turns to Steve, “Your sister-in-law?” A nod yes in reply. “Damn small world, isn’t it?” A smile and shrug in reply.

“That phone call and bike sale should go a long way to easing the tension my brother-in-law has with me, and we’re both cops. Damned if I know why he’s that way with me, and I wish he wasn’t.”

“May I call you Steve?” A nod yes in reply. “Steve, would I be right in guessing you were both at the same rank at one time?” Another nod. “I’ll bet you’re as high as you want to go in the force?” A third nod. “But Brian wants to be the Commissioner, doesn’t he? In that case he’d have been worried you’re a strong competitor for that job.”

Steve goes to reply, and he stops with his mouth open while he thinks about this. “Damn, I think you’re right, Matt. And I never told him I wasn’t after a big office at headquarters. I’ll tell him this weekend.”

“No, Steve, don’t do that. When you next see Brian get him aside to ask him for his help with your career. Tell him you’ve heard from a friend in Sydney someone high up is considering you for promotion to HQ as an Assistant Commissioner and you want Brian’s help to see to it you stay in the field because this is what you like to do and prefer to do. That will let him know you’re serious about not being a competitor to him and he’ll work hard to see you stay doing what you want to do.”

Steve smiles, “Damn, that’s the best way to ensure it happens, isn’t it! He’ll know I don’t want to go to HQ and he’ll help me stay out here. Thanks for that, Matt.” He leaves a happy man who’s glad to have helped his sister-in-law and to be putting the family tension to rest.

Matt and Dot are happy because this allows them to close out their books on Kick Bikes while banking over a million dollars to the trust. Dot shakes her head when she thinks about how this last week’s cash flow statement will look, but the end result is good. Also the dumping of the Jacobs deal means they’ve a lot of ready cash for the new projects Matt has started. She now has a lot less worries about the cash flow.

Afternoon

About an hour after lunch Matt asks Mary and the adults to go canvass the other children to see if they wish to join him in his room to watch the movie ‘High School Musical.’ As soon as they leave the room he opens up his phone book and he punches the number of a cell phone. A man’s voice answers, “Yeah, who’s there?”

“Hey, Mate, it’s Matt Dyer, got a moment to talk?”

“Yeah, I got your message you sent via...”

Matt is quick to interrupt, “Forget that, this is different. Something that wasn’t even on the radar.” Causing the man to wonder what it is.

“OK, what’s up Mate?” By the interruption he gathers Matt doesn’t want any other names said on the cell phone during this call. A good security precaution as cell phone scanners are very easy to come by.

“I need some good armed guards. Can you send some retired people in my direction, please? Also ask your lady to check on her cousin.”

“Yeah, will do. Take care until the people turn up.” Both hang up.

Matt looks up to see the others returning with all of the kids from the other wards. In a few minutes everyone is sitting on a bed or a cushion with a drink and a snack while watching the DVD on the big screen. All those in Matt’s room enjoy the next two hours or so while they watch the DVD. The show isn’t that long, but they have a few breaks for people to visit the rest room. With nearly forty adults and kids in the room the breaks take more than a minute. The nursing staff enjoy the film as well, not so much by watching it but by taking turns to do their paperwork without having to worry about the kids. One watches the kids while the rest catch up on other things. The normal end of shift handover also takes place while the kids are watching the DVD, thus making that a quick and simple set of tasks too.

It’s after four in the afternoon by the time all of the kids return to their regular wards after the show. A bit of time is spent while they put the trash in the bins and the cushions back in their holders. Matt, his family, and friends enjoy the time until dinner chatting on many things. Just before they organise dinner Matt asks, “What’s your first name, Sergeant Mason? It feels wrong to call you that when you’re off duty.”

He looks embarrassed when he replies, “Percival.”

Mason is a tough fellow whose character shows on his face, nothing like what you’d picture, today, for a person named Percival. While the rest work hard at keeping a straight face Matt looks at him for a moment, then says, “Right, then. It’s Mason or Sergeant when on duty and Mace when off duty. OK?”

Mason grins as he nods yes, “I’ve spent years trying to think of a suitable nickname and I never thought of that one.”

“It suits you too. As you’re about as subtle as a mace, just as tough as one, and as useful as one in a close fight.” All smile at the reference to the medieval weapon; and, upon more thought, they think it’s a good one for him.

Dinner is good, so is the after dinner discussion until it’s time for bed, and Mary makes herself comfortable when the rest leave. The Ford girls go with Joe and Alice to stay with them tonight and for the next few days.

An Easy Ten Days

Sunday morning is off to a good start at breakfast. Followed by some discussions between Matt and his family to organise his short and long term care arrangements, especially the financial parts. Alice summarises it quite well as, “While Matt’s in hospital we charge the car petrol and any purchases Matt wants to the debit card you’ll send down, and we send you a monthly statement with all of the receipts. Once he’s out of the hospital you’ll pay us board each month to cover the living costs for him being with us. That’s low because it’s mostly for the food he’ll have when he eats with us since he wants to have most meals with us. As he plans to rent one of the other units in the housing development he’ll be paying rent and utilities there. With Dennis driving him around after he gets out we won’t have any costs there either. It looks like a large impact with many trips to and from hospital but almost no impact after being discharged. Does anyone really think that’ll be the case?” They all laugh. Whatever the arrangements and costs are they all think Matt’s new life arrangements will have a big impact on them.

The morning passes by quite fast. Dorothy and Paul head home when the kids gather for the movie matinee just after lunch. Things are a bit better organised today as all know what to expect for potty breaks etc. After dinner Joe and Alice take the girls home for a good night’s sleep. Emily and Fiona will stay in the spare room for now.

Before going to work Monday morning Alice drops Emily and Fiona at the hospital to be with Matt. This is how things will be for a while. They’ll stay with Matt so he can see to their safety during the day, and to also work with them on their future.

Alice and Mandy hand in their notice and they’re told to leave straight away. They make sure to get their final cheques for pay to date, pay in lieu of the notice, and other entitlements before going, then they cash the cheques at the bank to make sure they’re cleared straight away.

The only member of the Jacobs Accounting senior management not at work is Jacobs himself due to him still being in the lock-up because his bail was refused. During the week several more members of the Jacobs staff resign and they’re given their termination payments, but only after getting job offers from Mandy at Dyer Accounting.

Claire applies to take the leave owing to her starting as of close of business Monday. She also hands in her notice to be as of the day she’s due back from six weeks leave. They elect to just pay out all of her entitlements and terminate her employment right then. She leaves the place at lunchtime with her final payment and a very big smile. Her job with Dyer Services is more involved with a lot more responsibility and pay. She welcomes the challenge represented by setting up the office from scratch.

Matt has a quiet Monday morning looking on the Internet, and a well organised movie matinee after lunch. Mary visits in the afternoon, brought over by Alice. They’ve a family dinner soon after Joe arrives there from work, and they leave for home around eight in the evening.

Matt’s Tuesday is a repeat of Monday, and he’s enjoying the quiet.

Early Tuesday morning two senior non-commissioned officers go on leave for six weeks at short notice. They leave the military base near Perth wearing civilian clothes and carrying a backpack each. They look like they’re going on a walking and camping holiday. Late that afternoon they’re in the outskirts of Adelaide, South Australia, collecting a large mobile home from a friend, along with some extra toys and documents. The mobile home is based on a coach bus and it has everything you need to live built-in. They drive away, going toward Melbourne, Victoria.

Dorothy spends Tuesday at Matt’s house handing over bikes to very happy new owners and supervising the removal of the gun collection. She takes time to empty the other safes too. Also, one very happy distant relative collects the borrowed paintings to take to her art gallery.

Wednesday

The day starts out as quiet as Monday and Tuesday were, but things change around mid-morning when Matt gets a phone call, he answers it to hear his grandmother say, “Matt, as you may have noticed in the news the matter with the politicians is heating up! I’d like you to take the point for a while, please?”

“OK, Gran, what do you want?”

“I’ve got bootleg copies of the documents I’ve got the Freedom of Information requests in for. I want to send them to you and have you leak them to the press in an interview later today or tomorrow. I can have them faxed to you at the hospital. I want to make it seem I’m not involved in leaking this information.”

“It seems we need some misdirection going, right?” Connie agrees. “Is Banners’ nephew, Dennis, still in Sydney?”

“Yes, he was here with Banners all day yesterday learning things, and back again today. I think he’s going to be here again tomorrow.”

“Right. I’ve hired Dennis as a gopher and I told him to see Banners about organising some training. Give him the papers to bring down and send him back at lunchtime tomorrow. Have him go through Canberra. I want him to be seen in Canberra as well as getting some fuel and meal receipts. I want evidence he stopped in Canberra to see someone to get copies done. I’ll make the media think he got the papers there. Later today I’ll call the local media people to tell them I’m expecting something to be delivered late tomorrow and I’ll ask them to organise a press conference for very late tomorrow night. That’ll put the papers’ content in the Friday news and the pollies won’t have much chance of a response until Monday. So it’ll be what the media pushes all weekend and the pollies won’t be able to respond well on the weekend.”

“That’s mean and nasty, and I love it! OK, will do.” They talk some more about that and other matters. They hang up after saying goodbye.


Planning Meeting

At ten o’clock Nadia arrives at the Rivers City Council Chambers with her file on Matt’s development. Yesterday afternoon she got a phone call asking her to turn up for the meeting. She thought to speak to Matt, but decided to wait to see what it’s about since it’s normal for these things to take a few weeks and require a council meeting. Instead of being shown into the meeting room in the Council Planning Section the Chief Clerk of Planning takes her through to the Council Chambers. When they walk up to the room’s door the Mayor and two thirds of the councillors walk along the hall from the other direction. They all go into the room and take seats. A little later the commander of the local fire brigade arrives. All are soon seated at the table with an open folder in front of them.

The Mayor opens the meeting as if it’s a formal council meeting and the secretary takes notes. He turns to Nadia, “Miss Lebedev, regarding the plans you submitted for this development to be known as Saint Matthew’s Manor, we’ve a few questions for you about it. How ready is the new owner to get started, and how soon can it be done?”

Nadia looks about the group because it’s now clear this is a Council Planning Committee meeting but out of the regular order while it deals with this matter as a high priority, and she doesn’t understand why. She replies, “The new owner has funds available to get started on this work today, if he can. My brother is ready to start the job as soon as we get approval. I understand there may be some later changes in the names on the title because the owner is still to decide which of his companies this development will finally be part of. He’s even spoken of starting a new one to handle this and other properties in the area.”

“I see. The name on the title is a holding company, but I’ve heard the owner behind it is a teenager, Matthew Dyer. Is this the case?”

She knows Matt made no attempt to hide his involvement, but he also made no attempt to make it public, either. She takes a punt, “Yes, the owner is Matt Dyer, a teenager in the hospital. His trust company made the purchase and is funding the work on his orders. He’s the Chairman of the Board of the company. He also laid out the general plan of what he wants then he left it up to me to do the details.”

“Thank you. We notice two rather odd things in this application. The fire hydrants at the rear of the property and the large vehicle gates to the neighbours. Why are they there?”

“First, let me give you some background. When the development was first discussed Matt was told the current title allowed him to put up twice as many residences, but he refused to do that because he was concerned there wouldn’t be enough room for the people and he also wanted room for kids to play. When I canvassed the neighbours about the draft plans to get any comments or objections at the start they asked if they could use the playground Matt insisted be built on the grounds. When I asked him about this he asked about the local parks, and then he approved for the other locals to use the play areas in this development. Before doing that he examined a map of the area where he noticed the neighbours didn’t have vehicle access to the back of the properties. He then asked me about the water mains. When I told him where they are Matt instructed me to design in the fire hydrants and access for fire trucks to the neighbouring properties. He’s concerned about safety so he wants the fire brigade to have easy access to the neighbouring properties and access to water all over his property. The gates and hydrants will do that. The driveways are to be heavy duty to handle fire trucks. Since the hydrants are usually a council or fire brigade matter he wants me to approach both about paying for them, but he’s prepared to pay for them if he has to. He sees resident safety as the highest priority. The new buildings are all to be as safe and environmentally friendly as possible, and we’re to upgrade the existing buildings to the same standards as well.”

The Mayor looks around the group in the room. The Chief Planning Clerk says, “Excuse me, Mister Mayor, I should point out this planned development exceeds the building height and population density set out in the proposed long term planning paper for that area.”

One of the councillors responds, “Yes, we’re aware it’s outside what you propose, but it is inside the current requirements. We spent a lot of time discussing this yesterday and last night. I propose we approve this development as it is. I also propose we amend the proposed planning paper to allow further developments of the same level as this. I further propose we use some of the contingency money to fund the cost of one of the fire hydrants in the plan. This development promises to be the premier development of this type and a real showcase for the city as a whole as well as being an opportunity to show other developers they can include proper facilities in their developments.”

Another councillor adds, “I second all three proposals. The people of this city already owe this young man a lot, and he keeps giving more. This is well within the current laws and plans so it should go ahead.”

The Chief Planning Clerk isn’t happy when the application is voted on and approved by all of the councillors present.

While they all close their files the Fire Chief says, “I don’t have much in the way of funds to put to this, but I’ve a set of costs here and we’ll pay the costs for one of the hydrants if we can pay most of that in the next financial year.” He hands over a copy of his cost sheet.

Nadia smiles, “Yes, that’s OK. Matt is prepared to pay it all if he has to. So he won’t mind if there’s a delay in you refunding him part of the cost.” She turns to the committee, “Thank you for such fast action on this project.” The Mayor and councillors smile, and they all nod to her on their way out of the room.


Matt’s Room

Matt is having lunch when Nadia bounces into his room. She asks, “Matt, what have you got on the Mayor?” He gives her a blank look. “I lodged the papers for the Development Application early on Monday morning. These things usually take some weeks plus a council meeting to get approved. Yesterday I got a call to come in for a meeting today.” She goes on to recount the meeting and the outcomes. “I rang Serge as I left the Council Chambers then I called by the property before coming here. I wanted to let them know it’s been approved. One laughed and told me to go around the back. So I did. There I saw Serge and over a dozen men setting out markers for the work to be done. He’s anxious to get started because his men have nothing to do at the moment.” Both laugh at how quick things are going because people are anxious to get the work and pay it gives them.

Nadia is about to leave when Matt adds, “Nadia, please have a look to see where the hydrants are out the front. I just thought we may have to include a hydrant near the front with another in the middle of the property to ensure they’ve real good coverage.”

She opens her computer and checks things. The nearest hydrants in the street are well down from The Manor. She looks up, “Yes. To be top cover we do need to put in more hydrants. If I change this now the clerk may seek to use that to stop it. I wish I knew why he’s against it!”

Matt’s voice is heavy with sarcasm when he says, “He probably lives down the street so he doesn’t want the extra traffic. Oh well! I suppose we can put it in as a new application just as things are finished. But have Serge build as if they’ll be there. We just won’t put the signs in.”

She grins, thinks, and says, “I’ll talk to the Fire Brigade Commander. If he hasn’t signed off on this he can insist we add two more hydrants at our own cost. One at the front with the enclosure for the rubbish bins and one in the ground beside the road half way in to put it near the centre of the property.”

“Hmm, good idea. Also, it might be a good idea to put one on the outside of the pool enclosure. I’ll pay for these too. I think we’ve hit the council and brigade for enough. Oh, while I think about it, when you next see the neighbours please arrange a time for them to come and speak to me one evening.” She nods while she packs up then she leaves.

After eating his lunch Matt makes calls to the media people. Not all networks are represented in the city, but his message is the same: he has something he wants to give them a heads-up on and they need to have someone here this afternoon to get the advisory. A few brush him off, but some offer to send a junior reporter. Matt accepts what they offer, at this time.

After lunch is movie matinee time: today it’s Happy Feet as most of the kids in the wing at the moment are in the younger age groups. The kids arrive, and they’re quick to get organised with snacks and drinks. All get a packet from his vending supplies and some grab some fruit from the fruit platters as well. Matt eats from the platters most of the time.

While he eats he’s very thankful for the daily checks and deliveries of drinks and snacks, and for the daily platters which he snacks from all day long. He can’t quite say what it is, but the fruit tastes a lot nicer than what he’s used to getting in Sydney. It seems to have more flavour and to be a bit crisper when you bite into it, which he really loves.

Afternoon Surprises

The timing for the film is getting good as there’s only a short break between the kids leaving after the movie to when Alice turns up with Mary. Alice drops her off then heads out again as she’s helping Claire and Mandy get the new office sorted out as well as assisting with some job applicant interviews. Alice is very busy, and very happy about it.

Mary is still unpacking her gear when a courier arrives with several large boxes for Matt. She puts them in the corner to the left of Matt’s bed because it’s the only spot left where they can be out of the way. She hands him the delivery sheet to sign, and smiles when he hands it to Mary to sign for him. When the courier leaves Matt reads the packing slips Fiona hands him. This shipment is made from three others put together and sent to him by Dorothy and Paul. Once he goes through the packing slips and he understands what the contents are he glances at the large pile of twelve boxes, and groans. The girls look at him, and he says, “That’s my text books and study materials for the year. I do hope a lot of that’s packaging.” The girls laugh. “Fiona, Emily, you shouldn’t laugh so hard because you’ll be studying that stuff with me.” He turns to Mary, “And it wouldn’t hurt you to study it too, because you’ll have to do most of it in the next couple of years. It includes what I need to know to be ready to finish Year Nine next year instead of this year as well as this year’s Year Nine course material.” All three nod while they think about how useful it’ll be, but it’ll be a lot of work for them to do.

The rest of the afternoon is spent sorting out the contents while they help Mary with her homework. Matt gives verbal directions while Fiona and Emily move things about between boxes and stack the boxes. In the end they have it all sorted by year and subject. Matt is happy to see every relevant text book and recommended additional study book is included in both printed and electronic format. Workbooks for each subject are there as well, ten sets of them.

He calls Dot, she answers, and he asks, “Dot, I just got the schooling package. I’d no idea there was so much material, thanks. I wonder why are there ten sets of workbooks?”

“Most of that stuff is no longer available in retail stores. I went wholesale, and they come in packs of ten or twenty-five. Simple.”

“OK, that makes sense once it’s pointed out to me. Well, it means we all have a book each, and some spares. Fiona and Emily will be doing it all with me, and I’ll see how much we can have Mary do as well. That should put her ahead of the curve for next year. It’ll also keep her out of trouble.” Matt follows that with a slight groan when Mary smacks his left hand because she’s sitting on the bed beside him. “I’ve some more issues you can work on with Paul for me. I think we need a company to own and manage all of the real estate, and just lease it to our businesses. The housing project can be moved over after it’s finished. I also want a security company that can supply armed guards. We can buy one or set one up, whatever you and Paul can organise, thanks.”

“We’ll use a shelf company to own the buildings and lease them out. The current agent who rents the houses can do the retail rentals for us. That makes capital assets for the accounting service easier. I’ll get Betty looking for a security company to buy before we go to the trouble of starting one up as they take a lot of work.” He agrees, and they hang up.

It’s late afternoon when the six reporters arrive: three from television stations, two newspaper reporters, and a magazine reporter. All are the most junior people allowed to do outside assignments. They introduce themselves and are soon set down on chairs with some fruit and drinks served by the girls. Matt looks them over, and they’re what he expects.

With a big smile Matt says, “I hope you’ve been given orders to see this through because the next part is going to upset those who didn’t send anyone. At eight o’clock tomorrow night I want you all back here for a press conference. I’ve got an employee collecting some documents for me. I’ll hand out copies of them tomorrow night after he returns and I’ve had a chance to study them. I’ll also be making some comments at that time too.” Most look a bit lost. “When you were assigned this task did your bosses give you any details on me other than my name and I’m a teenager in hospital?” They all shake their heads no.

The magazine reporter says, “I did some research on you, not much there to talk about. But I wondered why a teenager was doing this. I asked a friend here at the hospital what your injuries were. They gave me the list, but not how you came by them. I also got your admission date. I checked the news about then. Am I right to conclude you’re the boy who got run down by Jim Dowling after he shot the cops?” Matt nods yes. “I thought so. I gather tomorrow is more on the action started by you and your grandmother!” Another nod. She turns to the others, “This is about the legal action against the Premier and the Minister of Police over the death of his parents.” The lights go on for them all, and they smile. If they keep quiet about it this’ll be a big break for them plus a major boost to their careers for snagging such a prime story.

Matt adds, “Your bosses didn’t do the research or take me seriously, thus you six are the only ones I’ll let in tomorrow night.” Bigger smiles.

They’re leaving when Joe arrives. At the moment he’s working a bit longer than usual to make up for the recent time away. He brings dinner in with him, and Matt’s official meal arrives soon afterwards.

Thursday

The day starts like the rest with Fiona and Emily being dropped off by Alice. Matt and the girls spend the morning studying Year Seven mathematics from the learning materials. Matt thinks a few subjects can be done fast because they won’t change worth a damn - like English, Maths, etc. They stop for lunch, and follow that with a short discussion on the morning’s studies before it’s time for today’s movie. In just over four hours they did the material set out for three months of study. The girls do their workbooks before taking turns writing answers for Matt when he gives verbal answer to the question in the workbooks. Later Alice will check them against the answer sheets sent to her by Dot.

The movie goes well. There’s a short time for some of the kids to visit with Matt before Mary arrives, then they all help her with her homework. A quick visit from Nadia to give Matt a project update. Alice arrives, soon followed by Joe and tonight’s dinner. Dennis arrives about six thirty and he hands Matt two dozen small folders along with some receipts.

Matt looks at the receipts: Dennis refuelled and had a late afternoon meal in Canberra before having a copying agency make these folders for handing out. Matt grins when he has the receipts put on his chest of drawers where they can be seen by the reporters when they arrive. The folders go on the bed beside him while Dennis says, “All paid for from some cash your grandmother gave me to cover the expenses.”

Matt nods, “Good work, Dennis. Alice organised for you to have a serviced apartment in the motel next door to the hospital. You should go over to sign in and get settled. Now you’re here Emily and Fiona will stay there with you. I need you to protect them, and me. So tomorrow you go to the police station to ask about getting a licence to carry a gun. If they give you any trouble get Sergeant Mason or Superintendent Smith to call me. OK?” He nods his understanding, smiles, and leaves to get organised in the motel apartment. Emily and Fiona leave to get organised in the apartment as well. Alice goes with them to sign them in at the motel and to check all are OK with the arrangements she made.

Press Conference

The six reporters arrive on time. Matt hands each of them a folder with copies of the papers in them. He smiles while he hands them out because each folder has the name and address of the copying service on the cover. The papers include an exchange of Memos between the Police Commissioner (the senior professional officer of the NSW Police Force), the Police Minister (the politician in charge of the police), and the NSW Premier (the state government’s senior politician) - nine memos in all; a copy of the new Police Instructions on how to conduct roadside stops; a copy of the old Police Instructions; copies of NSW Government Ministerial Cabinet meetings for a month before the oldest memo to a month after the last one; and four private notes between the Police Minister and the Premier about the changed instructions; for a total of thirty-seven pages of very confidential items that are very damning for the two politicians involved. The reporters all notice the address of the copying service and the details of the receipts on the cabinet beside the bed.

Matt waits several minutes for them to give the papers a quick read before he says, “As you can see from these documents the case put by my lawyers is justified. These prove many of the recent statements the Minister and Premier have made are lies. They’re responsible for the deaths of my parents and at least one police officer, heaven only knows how many others have been killed or hurt due to this rubbish,” while he waves a copy of the papers with his left hand. “Those self-centred bums want to turn what should have been a simple court case into a three ring media circus. Well, let’s see how they like this act entering the ring. Naturally I can’t tell you who I got these papers from, but I can tell you they’re true copies of the originals. That fact will be proven when the FOI requests are allowed to be fulfilled. I want you to toast these bastards.”

Every word is recorded by those present, also a few photos are taken of Matt strapped into the bed, and they show the extent of his injuries. He also hands out copies of the police report on the incident with names blacked out. Matt asks, “For privacy reasons I want you to blur my face on the images you make public.” They all nod agreement. “Also, do not publish my name.” More nods. They ask numerous questions about the incident and the papers.

Just after nine o’clock the magazine reporter asks, “Matt, what will you do if the judge handling this holds you in contempt for giving us the papers to make them public. You’re releasing evidence on a matter before the court and they usually don’t like that happening before it’s put to the court.”

He smiles, “If the judge does anything more against me than he has to the politicians involved I’ll sue him for discrimination. The Minister and the Premier moved this from the privacy of the courtroom to the media and the public domain and the judge has not taken any action against them on it. So he can’t touch me without showing everyone he’s biased or politically motivated! Anyway, I’m confined to this bed and the doctors won’t approve me being moved, so they can’t put me in prison. But it will be interesting to see what the judicial response is to this.” All present smile because the judge hasn’t said a thing about the huge media campaign by the politicians.

Soon after that the reporters leave, and Alice returns. Alice, Mary, and Joe head home while Matt settles down for the night.


In Victoria

A large mobile home is moving along the Western Highway near Ballarat, Victoria, when the driver glances at his passenger and says, “OK, I know you didn’t want to stop and play for so long, but I feel a lot happier about things after getting a good chance to practice with this bus and the new toys. I also think the wait for the extra intel you got through the Internet was worth the short delay.”

The woman frowns at him, shrugs, and says, “Yeah, I suppose so. I wonder how Matt knew I needed to look into things there? Let’s visit him when we’re finished in Melbourne!” The driver nods agreement, and both fall back into thinking abut their current situation.

 
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