Interesting Times
Chapter 09

Copyright© 2011 by Ernest Bywater. All rights reserved

Frenchy’s Fun

A large camper bus is driving slowly through a prestigious suburb of Melbourne, Victoria. The driver and passenger are having a very good look at the houses and the area. To the few people who see them it looks like they’re searching for a house, but many of these houses have names and not numbers showing, also they all have their name or number in a hard to read fancy script as the owners think it looks better that way.

The bus passes a large house with an open courtyard area between the gate and the front door. The passenger says, “That’s the house.” The search goes on. About two hundred metres down the road she says, “The house for sale on the left looks promising! Let’s go around the back to check it out.” The house has two wings of three floors with a two floor area in between. It’s roof appears to be a patio area for both top floors because they can see pot-plants behind the hip-high wrought iron fence. The driver nods yes and takes the next left turn followed by turning into the lane behind the row of houses. All of the blocks in this suburb have a lane behind the rows of houses so the mundane services like rubbish removal need not tarnish the streets the houses are on.

They stop behind the empty house and park to the side of the lane. They don’t quite block the lane, but another large vehicle doesn’t have room to get by. Both driver and passenger get out of the bus. The back gate isn’t locked so entry is easy. There’s a stairway from beside the backyard pool up to the patio area. They smile as they make their way up the stairs while they put on latex gloves. The woman is in the lead.

Near the top of the stairs the woman’s head rises above the level of the patio and she can see along its deck. She stops and puts her hand up to stop the driver. The stairs come up near the back left corner of the patio. Both the front and rear fences have pot-plants blocking the view through them. So it’s only now she can see the whole of the patio area, including the man at the front lying down with a sniper rifle pointed up the road. She smiles while she takes a careful step up. Her partner takes a step and he sees the situation. He smiles too. After a few minutes of careful walking they’re just behind the man with the rifle. The man drops onto the sniper to pin him to the ground. In a moment the sniper is tied up by using his own belt for his feet and their rope for his hands.

The pair from the bus pull ski masks down over their faces before they roll the man over. They find his handkerchief and use it as a gag. The woman sets up behind the rifle and finds he’s sighting on the very house they’ve an interest in. She turns to glance at the sniper. A quick hand signal, and the sniper is face down against the wall.

Reaching a quick decision she says, “Get the transport ready to roll and move to the side street. I’ll meet you there when I’m finished here. This is too good an opportunity to let go.” The man nods yes and takes off his mask as he leaves. The woman checks the rifle and ammunition. The rifle is a .338 Lapua Magnum calibre Barrett M98B, a civilian calibre bolt action hunting and sniper rifle, with a loaded ten round magazine and one in the breech; eleven rounds that can penetrate most civilian body armour at this range. She smiles while she gets set, then waits.

Nearly forty-five minutes later the front door opens to let a group of men leave the house. Bertram Ford is near the middle of the front row with the national president of the Hell’s Angels on one side and a local crime boss on the other. Behind them come the president of the senior Hell’s Angels’ club in Melbourne, the crime boss’ lead man, and Ford’s top man. A couple of other men are in attendance behind them plus some mixed guards are appearing from hiding around the yard.

She takes aim at the base of Ford’s neck. These rounds should punch through the body armour he has on, but she has the angle to go above it to get a kill. Ford is the only one in armour. They stop to talk this side of a large car. She fires and works the bolt. The round arrives just a micro-second ahead of the sound. Ford’s neck sprouts red as the chest of the man behind him does the same. The rest start to dive for cover. She targets the crime boss as he turns for his car, and fires at his lower back. He bends to get in the car just as she expected and allowed for, so the round punches into his middle back to blast a hole out his upper chest. Target shift and the national bike club president gets a renovated chest while he sprints for his bike. As his national president is punched back the local club president darts to the left, and the biker behind him takes the round aimed at his president. The local club president throws his leg over his bike, and he keeps going when a round knocks him off it while ripping his chest apart. All of the rest are now in cover of some sort.

She stops to evaluate the situation. Five rounds, five hits, but she only counts four. She sweeps the area. A greasy lawyer type is not well covered while he cringes behind a cement bench clutching his briefcase to his chest. A round through the briefcase knocks him to the ground while it rearranges his chest into a bloody mess. A man two thirds hidden in the front door calls orders to the guards in the yard. Not a good shot, but the round in his right shoulder takes him out of play and out of command. She empties the rifle into the engine area of the car in the driveway because she doesn’t want to leave any rounds in the rifle when she leaves.

Rolling away from the sniper rifle she undoes the rope of the tied sniper while saying, “Ford and his visitors are all dead. I hope one was your target and none were your client. I’d get out of here if I were you.” Leaving him to free his feet she gets up and runs for the stairs while bent over. Going down the stairs she takes her mask off and races across the yard while she strips off the outer layer of gloves. She drops the gloves while she runs. They’ll have some powder on them from the rifle, but not her finger prints because she has another pair on under them. Out of the gate and down the lane. Within a minute of the last round being fired she’s in the bus and stuffing the gloves into the garbage bin in its kitchen after cutting and eating some tomatoes while wearing them. That leaves food traces on them should the police stop the vehicle to search it and find the gloves in the bin. Thus they’ll see the gloves as being used for hygienic protection while handling food.


The midday news reports mention the shooting as a just in item. The evening news reports have the full story. It also reports the killings as being done by a professional sniper who got away from the scene before the police arrived. They name all of the dead in the full report.

Frenchy and Bingo are having a drink in a pub on the other side of the city while they watch the news report. Both smile at how luck sided with them on this as they didn’t need to risk one of their weapons to do the job. They both wonder if the other person will tell his client the truth or just take the money and leave it at that. Both are good choices.

Bingo says, “I think we’ll go to Rivers tomorrow.” Frenchy nods yes.


Surprised Sniper

In another part of Melbourne a bemused professional killer has a big smile while he counts his money for the hit plus the bonus for the lawyer. His principal was after Bertram Ford but he didn’t expect this man to get anyone else, so he’s happy Bertram’s right hand man also went down. That makes his takeover of some of Ford’s activities much easier. So he’s very happy to be paying a bonus for the other leader of Ford’s group.


Sydney

Silver is watching the news with Rhodes beside him when the item on the Melbourne shooting comes up. They both turn to stare at each other. After a moment Rhodes says, “Well, that should put a crimp in the Angels’ actions for a little while!”

“Yeah, and with both of their top people who were causing us a lot of trouble now out of the picture they may not be so set on causing us any more trouble.” Rhodes and a few others listening nod agreement.

Hammer speaks up, “What I’d really like to know, but dare not ask him is: did Puff organise that? And if so, how?” All in the room turn to look at him. “Within a week of Puff saying he needs to do something about Ford he’s dead! That’s one hell of a coincidence. Mind you, Ford did have a lot of enemies, which is why he was wearing the vest. But you’ve got to wonder about that time frame. A week is about how long it takes for a top shooter to check a place out and act, in most cases. It’s just way too neat an answer to Puff’s troubles! I just don’t know.” A few slowly nod while thinking on this. They go back to watching the rest of the news while they wonder about the issue and if Puff is involved in it. They know Matt is more than they thought, but how much more? And would he order a hit? Would he know how to order a quality hit?


Rivers Hospital

The news of the shooting is noted by Fiona, Emily, and Matt, but they say nothing. None of them wish to draw attention to any connection to those involved. Matt does think about the pure luck of some Hell’s Angels senior staff being involved in the take down. He’s relieved he doesn’t have to worry about Bertram Ford causing them any trouble in the future. The girls will now be safe if he can keep them out of the child welfare system. Matt was fairly sure Frenchy would react in an aggressive manner when she found out about the death of the girls’ mother and he knew she’d deal with Ford for not seeing to her safety.

Saturday

The day starts with his whole family turning up for breakfast. Matt now sees Joe, Alice, Mary, Fiona, Emily, and Dennis as his family. Dennis carries in a set of mixed grill breakfasts from the motel, which is also a well known restaurant, for everyone with the food placed in insulated containers. Matt only gets part of his extra meal because it’s raided by Mary and Joe before he can get to it after his official breakfast.

They all have a laugh over the morning news. The politicians are in damage control mode while the media are in a feeding frenzy. Thus the politicians are trying to deal with very aggressive reporters without being able to coordinate their planning. Their earlier lies are thrown at them, and they keep getting caught in new lies while they try to deal with everything on the run. Naturally the talk centres on these events.

Late morning sees a couple in their late forties or early fifties walk in the room. Both are fit and the woman looks very good in just a halter top and hot pants with thigh length leather boots. She asks, “You, Matt Dyer?” He nods. She walks over, holding out her hand, “Irene Miller.”

Matt shakes her hand, “Did you ride down?” She nods yes. “Like that?” Another nod with a half frown. “Are you a total idiot or just too dumb to think things through?” He turns to the man, “You’re worse because you have to know better!”

She frowns and goes to speak, but the man interrupts by saying, “Yes, I do know better. But I can’t say no to her.”

Matt calls out, “Monica, can you please take this lady down to the trauma ward to show her the injuries suffered by the fellow that came in the other day. The total idiot whose bike went down on the way home from the Aquatic Centre. The one that lost all that skin while doing only twenty kilometres per hour when he left the lights. I think she needs to get an idea of what she’ll look like when she goes down like that. Ugly, very ugly. I know, because Mum showed me such a case when she started to teach me to ride. She always wore full leathers when riding, and she made me do the same, so did Dad.”

“You’re just trying to scare me, like Brian does.”

“Four years ago when Mum got me my first bike, an off road bike, she took me to Saint Vincent’s Hospital trauma ward and introduced me to a girl who had on a t-shirt over her bikini when the scooter she was riding went down at seventy-five kilometres per hour. It hit oil on the road on a curve and she went down sideways. The road scraped off her skin on most of her left side when she skidded across the road. It also scraped off over half her calf muscle, while we were there the doctors were talking about amputating her lower leg because of the damage.” Irene looks sick. “To make a point, two days later Mum put a bike she was about to rebuild down at eighty kilometres per hour at the same spot while wearing a set of leathers, and Dad went down there in just denims. All Mum got was a bruise on her hand and Dad had a bit of gravel rash on his calf. Both the outer outfits were heavily scratched. I bet you did the limit on the one ten stretches on the highway!” She nods yes. “If you went down at that speed in that outfit they’d probably take you straight to the morgue and be lifting your skin off the road for a hundred metres or more. Head to toe with thick gloves when riding a bike. Most bike club members are daredevils yet they wear full length pants in heavy denim, heavy leather gloves, and most wear arm length jackets. They know what happens when bikes go down.”

Irene looks like she’s about to argue, but Monica takes her arm and pulls her out of the room, saying, “Let’s get this visit over with as he’ll only keep talking like that until you go to look at what you’re risking.”

Brian waits a moment then says, “Thank you. I’ve been talking to her about that since before we got engaged, and she just ignores me. But I never thought to take her to see an accident victim.”

Just then Mr and Mrs Smith arrive. They greet Brian and they smile when told where Irene is, and why. By the time all of the introductions are done Monica and Irene are back. Irene is very pale looking. She pulls Brian aside and they’ve a good chat.

Monica is about to leave when Matt asks, “Monica, you’re my day nurse during the week. Why are you working today? And why did you work the Saturday a couple of weeks back?”

She grins when she replies, “Due to your injuries the doctors wanted you watched over by senior nurses with certain qualifications. Of those with the qualifications there are only four of us who wanted the job when it was first offered. Anita, Jennifer, and I work the week on a permanent roster. The fourth, Nina, took the job if she could work only the weekend nights. The result is she works a twelve hour night shift on the Saturday and Sunday night while the rest of us rotate through the day shift for those two days. However, since Jennifer works nights during the week she can’t do the Saturday day shift. She wants extra shifts at the moment so she does every Sunday day shift, goes home, and comes back for Monday night. Anita and I do every other Saturday day shift. The twelve hour day shift is double time all day so it’s just over half a week’s pay. Nina gets normal pay for the first eight hours each day, then time and a half plus the night shift loading. So her two days equals thirty hours pay with the loading. Since she only works two nights for that she loves it. Anita and I don’t really like working every other Saturday, but we’re starting to like the extra money it pays. I live at home with my parents and I have to do some work on the farm when off shift, but I’m exempt while on this. Mum is classing my bringing the platters in as my share of the farm work because of the additional weekend work and getting the orders. Several months’ sure orders of your size are rare. While I remember to mention it, she billed Jacobs for the replacement cover and his company paid it without a fight.” The last item gets a few laughs. Matt likes to know why things around him are happening the way they are because he hates to have anything he doesn’t understand happening near him. Nor does he like surprises.

Turning back to his guests Matthew smiles as he waves at the fruit platter while he has a slice of rock melon. Steve Smith introduces his wife, and they all chat for several minutes. The talks are interrupted by the arrival of a man and woman in their late twenties or early thirties.

New Guests

The man limps in and says, “Where’s Matt Dyer, please?” Everyone but Matt points at him, making them all laugh because it’s so much like a comedy routine to have a room full of people pointing at the bed. The man turns to the bed, “This is Lilly Blaze and I’m Robert Socks. I hear you want to hire some security staff. Well, we’re what you need!”

Matt smiles while he thinks, Robert Socks, Bobby Socks. Shit, I bet he’s sick of jokes on that. He looks at the man and says, “Yes, Rob, I need some security guards. I guess Bingo sent you!”

“Yeah, he did. And even if he hadn’t your response to my name would have me working for you. That’s the first time someone hasn’t tried to make a lame joke about Bobby Socks. I got a medical discharge about three months back and Lilly didn’t re-enlist six weeks ago. Why she didn’t is beyond me. So we now need work, but all we know is combat and the Army way of doing things.”

“I need armed guards because I expect some criminals to be wanting to hurt me.” This has Brian’s eyebrows going up. Matt notices this. “Last week a guy named Jacobs attacked me. He’s now locked up, but he has friends on the wrong side of the law. They may wish to pay me back for charging Jacobs. I need people to protect me and my family, and I’ll keep them on permanently. I’ll also need several more guards to cover a number of locations for twenty-four hours a day. Interested?”

Rob glances at Lilly, and she nods yes. He turns back to Matt, “Yes, we want the work. And we know a few others who may be interested. We’ll call them to have them come over.”

“Good. On Monday drop by the police station to start the papers for your pistol licences. Contact someone about buying the guns you want. I’ll let you make that choice, just make sure you have a backup as well. If you need help with the police contact Sergeant Mason or Steve there behind you. They’ll get it sorted.” Rob and Steve both nod to each other. Matt turns to Lilly, “Have you told him when he’s to ask you to marry him yet?” She grins as she shakes her head no.

Rob spins around to give her a long hard stare. He gives a slow head shake while saying, “I can be dense at times, can’t I?”

Lilly smiles, “Sometimes. And sometimes you just need a nudge.” He nods in response. Matt smiles at them.

Matt asks, “How come your parents named you ‘Robert’ with your family name?”

“There’s a bit of a story there. The US craze for bobby-socks was well before their time so they knew nothing of it. They’re northern English, almost Scottish. In the local accent the name sounds a lot different, more like sooks. So it comes out as Roo-bee Sooks. They saw no issue, but I soon learned of it at school. Very few tried to be smart about it twice.” He gets a lot of grins at that. He stands almost two metres tall, over a metre across the shoulders, a fit, and very solid build; not someone you want to get physical with if you can avoid it. He’s probably been oversized all of his life.

“OK. Long term I’ve got some new housing being built and you’ll have an apartment there. Short term we can get you into a serviced apartment in the motel next door. Mum Watson will organise that for you.” He glances at Alice, and she nods yes while she steps forward. He introduces them to Dennis, “This is Dennis, he’s my general factotum at the moment. He also provides a bit of extra security. You’ll have to give him some training and help him with security for Emily and Fiona. The three of them live over at the serviced apartment too. I’ll see you after you get things sorted with the police on Monday, OK?” They nod yes, and follow Alice out to get their housing sorted so they can settle in.

The rest chat on many things before the Smiths and Millers leave to have some time together. Steve turns to wink at Matt before he walks out, letting him know he’s going to have a special talk with Brian.

Alice, Rob, and Lilly return with food for everyone’s lunch, so they eat. Followed by today’s DVD. Matt is surprised when the adults stay to watch the first Harry Potter film with them. That effectively uses up the afternoon. A little chatting to get to know each other takes them to the evening meal. After which is more chatting with a visit by Mace. Matt introduces him to Rob and Lilly.

Mace takes the two newcomers aside to give them a quiet briefing on Jacobs and what they can expect there. They seem glad this is a real job with real concerns. The evening seems to fly by and it’s soon time for Mary to get ready for bed while the rest take their leave to go home for the night.

The Next Few Days

Sunday is a family morning with the second Harry Potter film in the afternoon and more family time until they leave to go home around ten in the evening. However, there’s one interruption at dinner time.

Matt is starting on his official dinner while the rest start in on the mixed grills Dennis brought over from the restaurant of the motel he’s staying in next to the hospital. They’re on the third or fourth bite when two people in their late thirties or early forties walk into the ward. Matt looks up, grins, and says, “Shit! Eat quick, the locusts are here!” The rest look up as the two cross to the bed and he shakes hands with them. “OK, what are you two doing here?” He notices Rob standing in the doorway and glancing at the two visitors with an odd look on his face.

Frenchy replies, “We’re on a few weeks leave so we thought we’d pop in to say hello. Apart from the obvious, how are you?”

“Doing OK, mostly. Seen better days! The bad part is way too many people keep finding things to keep me busy.” He waves his hand at the bookshelves of study materials, “I’ve got to learn all that by the end of the year. Also, every time I try to turn around someone comes up with a new business idea or a need for me to deal with. How are you going?”

“Oh, doing OK. I found out my favourite cousin is dead. Died in a very suspicious car accident about a year ago. So I came over to say goodbye at her graveside. While we’re in the region we thought we’d pop in to say hello. I was going to see about finding my two nieces who ran away from home, but I see they’re safe.” She nods at Emily and Fiona. “I’ve not seen them for several years, but I got photos each year.”

Matt smiles as he calls them over, “Emily, Fiona, meet Gale du Bois, your mother’s first cousin. Everyone calls her Frenchy.” The girls come over to talk to Frenchy. They don’t remember what she looks like but do remember some past visits by her. They talk for several minutes.

Frenchy turns to Matt, “I heard they’re now orphans. As far as I know I’m the closest living relative but I can’t care for them at all until after I retire. Can you organise to look after them for me, Matt?”

He smiles as he waves at Joe and Alice, “I’m sure you remember Joe and Alice Watson. They’re my guardians. With your support I’m sure we can organise for them to be made guardians for Emily and Fiona. I need quality people for my armed guard service so look me up when you do get out.” They both nod yes. After a bit more talk about legal things for the girls they leave to continue on their holiday in the morning.

Monday morning starts with more studies between breakfast and lunch. Nadia arrives around eleven with some good news. Her visit to the Fire Brigade had her taking a fake sad face to the planning clerk to have a forced change put in by the NSW Fire Brigade. After a review by their expert they want three more hydrants put in at the developer’s expense. The planning clerk is happy it’s costing them more money to shoot his plans for the area down in flames. Rob and Lilly arrive with lunch. Which is followed by the third Harry Potter film.

After the film Matt organises for a few minutes with just Lilly and Rob. He has them shut the door and says, “I gather Mace told you all about Jacobs! I hope he did as he won’t tell me much about him. One more thing to worry about is the Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Club. They don’t know my name or where I am but I’m very near the top of their ‘kill if you can’ list.” That gets two surprised looks. “A few years back I was a critical component that messed up a kidnapping by them. In the shoot-out with the police they lost five guys dead and one to prison. So they don’t like me.” Both guards slowly nod. “No one down here knows about that except Steve and Mace, and now you two. I want it to stay that way. But you need to know to watch out for them. Dennis and I have contacts in a rival club so either of us may get some intel from them. Take notice if he passes something on, OK?” They both nod again.

The evening passes much the same as most weekday evenings now: family time, meal, chatting, and bed.

Tuesday passes the same as Monday, except his guards are now one cop and either Lilly or Rob. Until they get a few more private guards one cop will stay on duty. The media are still hammering the Premier and Police Minister.

Interesting Times

Everything is now a nice routine. However, mid-morning Wednesday sees some changes when a man in his fifties walks in asking, “Excuse me, are you Matthew Dyer?” Matt looks over the fit man in the uniform of Sure Security and Matt nods yes. “Good. I’m Sam Shaw. What do you want to do now?” Dennis and the girls take a break and they go out for awhile so Matt can handle this in private.

Matt half frowns, and the man frowns back. Having a sudden idea of what this may be about Matt says, “Excuse me a moment, but I think I’ve been left out of the loop on something.” He reaches over to grab his phone unit and he hits Paul’s speed dial as well as the speaker option. It rings and is answered. “Paul, Matt. Is there something important you’ve forgotten to tell me from the last few days?”

“No. There’s something important that just came in, but I’ve kept you up to date.”

“Then why do I have a Mister Sam Shaw asking what I want to do?”

“I thought I told you about that?”

“No, not yet.”

“Betty found a local security firm that’s in financial difficulties and wants to sell up. The firm and business is basically good. But one of the national security companies moved into the area and took their major clients away with very low rates for the next couple of years. Now they can’t make ends meet so they’re able to be bought by us for you.”

“I see. Get Dot on the line, please.” She soon joins them. “Dot, the deal on Sure Security, how good is it?”

“Well, Matt, we’re paying what they asked for it. But it’s only about fifty percent of what I value it at. That’s based on realistic valuations of the physical assets and the licences.”

“I see. Is the contract finalised yet?”

“No. Why?”

“Change the value to eighty percent of what you think its real worth is. I don’t mind getting a good price but that’s too much like armed robbery for me to be happy with it. I’d guess the price is low because he’s trying to save his house so he went as low as he could to be debt free. We can afford to let him have a bit for all of his past work. OK?” Sam is staring at Matt as if he’s crazy.

“OK, Matt. Will do. I gather you’d like to keep all their staff on too!”

“Yes. We’ll need security at our new enterprises so having locals who know the place and current clients will help. They’ll have to work in with, and teach, the new staff doing the high risk work we’re taking on as well. So it doesn’t hurt to show them we aren’t ogres. Make sure the pay rates are fair and in line with the industry. I’ve also hired two ex-Army types for my personal security. We’ll have them work through Sure Security now, so I’ll get them together. I’ll be hiring more for the high risk stuff too. Get us a good deal on weapons and body armour for them as well as gun safes, please.”

“Right, I’ll get on sorting that out for you.”

“Thanks. That’s all.”

Paul jumps in, “Not yet, Matt. The insurance company accepted your offer and we’ve got that in the bank. Want to invest it? Also, we’ve an out of court settlement offer from the driver’s family. They want to offer a lot of real estate and keep as much of the cash as they can. They’ve already paid the cops’ families a few million in compensation.”

“OK, Paul! Don’t invest the money yet. I want things to settle a bit before I put any cash too far from easy reach. Send me a list of what they’re offering, with the values. I’ll have some locals give me their values then send you my decision. OK?”

“Will do. Catch you later. Sorry about Sure Security. I thought I’d told you about buying it.” They hang up.

Matt turns to Sam, “OK, Sam. Now I know where I’m at we can get organised. I want a security firm so I can handle security within the corporation’s umbrella. I need some armed guards as protection plus I’m starting some new businesses I’m expecting some not nice people to not like, so we need people to watch them.” Sam smiles. “Lilly, pop in here, please.” She does. “Lilly, this is Sam Shaw, the manager of the security firm I just bought. You and Rob need to complete paperwork to be employed through them and to have their licence cover your gun permits. Can do?” She nods to show she understands him. “Good. The others you’ve told to come to see me will be employed through them as well. That simplifies licences and such paperwork. You and Rob will need to work out who’ll be the head of the bodyguard branch.” He stops because she shakes her head no in response to the last statement.

“Matt, one of the others coming in is a Warrant Officer fresh out of the Regiment,” Sam’s head comes up at that because he knows only the SAS talk of their unit in that way. She sees his surprise, and she smiles at him. “Max is experienced in leading a unit like this so he should do it. Rob and I are top grunts but he’s a top leader, planner, and organiser.”

“OK, if that’s what you both think. The others coming in will be happy with that?”

“Most have worked with him and we’ll all feel a lot happier with him in charge of us.”

Matt turns to Sam, “I’m hiring a bunch of ex-SAS people for armed security and bodyguards. This Max will be the head of that section, the rest of your organisation should stay the same. You’re the manager of the company and you’ll be responsible for their administration as well. Max will handle their field side. That OK with you, Sam?”

“Yes, it is. Although we’re licensed for armed guards we’ve not had enough people wanting it to warrant the cost of the guns, safes, and training. This means we can offer a wider range of services. And my wife will be glad to have me working more normal hours as manager. I’ll be able to keep all the staff on too. They’re worried about that. Before I forget, thanks for the extra money. I had cut the price to the bone to get debt free. Now I’ll have something to show for it all.”

“Right. You need to get back to your people to tell them they still have jobs and their entitlements are carried over in full because we bought the business, not just the assets. That should make them happy.”

“Yes, it will, and it’ll also make them very loyal. Half are family and they were very sad to see me lose everything. But now I’m not. I’ll be back later with the employment paperwork for Rob and Lilly.”

Matt has a new thought, “Bring paperwork for Dennis too. I want him armed and trained as well. Also organise the armed guard training for those who want it. The company will pay for it.”

Sam smiles real wide, “That’ll make my two daughters happy. They want to do it but they can’t afford it. I do hope you’ve got the money to keep going despite the national firm trying to price us out of business.”

Matt smiles as he holds up a hand while reaching over to hit a speed dial, “That reminds me of something.” The phone is answered. “Good morning, Banners, Matt here, am I too late to speak to her today?”

“No, Matt. Madam is trying to organise a few things before going into the office today.”

He hits the speaker phone, “Good, transfer me, please.” After a moment he hears the phone lifted. “Good morning, Missus Anders,” Connie knows it’s Matt so she realises he has a reason for this game.

“Good morning, Mister Dyer, what may I do for you today?”

“Actually, I think I can help you today. I’ve had some good news and some changes that may be useful to your company.”

“That’s good. It’s time you had some good news. What’s up?”

“As you know, I have to set up to operate from down here for several years. So I’ve made a big commitment to the local business community. I just bought a security firm and I’m now expanding it to include quality armed guards, I thought you may find that useful at times. I’ve also got a new accounting firm that provides full services. They both operate under the Dyer Services corporate umbrella so everything can be organised via Paul or Dot. The good news is the insurance people have agreed to pay up so I’m cash heavy right at the moment.”

“Well, that’s all good news. We can certainly use quality accounting and security services in that region because we don’t have any there. I may even seek to have the accounting people appointed as our local agents so we can have a clear presence down there. I gather I can get all the contact details from Dorothy Barnes?” Matt agrees she can. “May I speak with her about a short term borrowing? Some of our senior staff made an error and two have expended the same lot of reserve funds so we’ve a short term cash flow issue. I’d rather borrow from friends than the bank, if I can.”

“Give me a moment to let Dot know it’s OK and then call her. As far as I’m concerned you can have as much as you want or we’ve available. I’ll let my CFO worry about that.” They talk some more, and hang up.

Matt calls Dorothy, “Dot, heads up, I just spoke to Missus Anders. They’ve a short term cash flow problem. I’ve offered to loan them our excess to cover them for the moment. That’ll be a lot quicker and easier than them getting a bank loan, and we can get a few points more than what the bank pays us while they also save a bit. You work out the figures and see what we can do to help. I’ve also entered into an ‘in principle’ agreement to act for them in the region with accounting and security. She’s offered agent status, you work out the details, OK?”

“OK, Matt, will do. See you later.” They hang up.

Matt looks at Sam, “Just one more call then I’ll be back with you.” He calls Mandy, “Mandy, Matt. We now own Sure Security so they’ll be around to sort out office space in the unused area and to do security for you. I’ve also offered to provide both services as local representatives for a Sydney firm I know. They’ve offered to set you up as their local agent. So if someone from Grace Enterprises contacts you about it talk to them, but tell them to speak with Dot about prices and terms. OK?”

There’s a moment’s silence, “Matt, did you just say you got us work as the local agent for Grace Enterprises?”

“Yes. What’s wrong, don’t you want it?”

“Hell, everyone down here’s been trying to get that for years. How did you manage that?”

“I’ve a personal contact with their board chairperson. I mentioned I’m setting up accounting and security down here and she jumped at it. Dyer Services have been doing work for them for a couple of decades.”

“Well, that news will go a long way to counteract some of the gossip the Jacobs people are putting out about us not lasting.”

Matt laughs, after a moment he calms down enough to say, “Mandy, before he got murdered Dad was looking at buying Jacobs Accounting out of our reserve funds. We’re much stronger than they are.”

A very long pause, “Oh, I didn’t know.”

Matt looks up at Sam and Lilly, “For your ears only Mandy, Lilly, Sam; my contact at Grace is Missus Constance Anders, nee Grace, my grandmother. So we’ve plenty of financial backing, don’t worry about it at all.” Both Lilly and Sam come close to losing their eyes.

A very long pause, “OK, Matt, I won’t worry about major funding. Thanks for trusting me with that. I’ll just laugh at the Jacobs people when they raise that in future. Can I let people know we’re talking to Grace about agent status?”

“Tell them we’re talking about it and already have local rep status.” They hang up after exchanging a few more words.

Compensation

A little later Sam leaves to let people know they’ve still got jobs and to get things organised to shift the office from his home to the new company offices. Matt turns to his computer and he opens his email. One is from Paul. It has a long list of properties and values with a note to select up to seventy million dollars of properties. Matt is surprised by the figure. There’s something about a couple of the values that don’t make sense to him so Matt calls Nadia to ask her to drop by after reviewing the property list he’s sending her. He forwards on the list and values.

Dennis and the girls return, they’d gone to get some more clothes at Matt’s expense and request. Naturally the girls have to model their new gear for him. So he doesn’t notice the time passing until Nadia walks in just over an hour since he called her, and a little before lunch.

 
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