Interesting Times
Chapter 10

Copyright© 2011 by Ernest Bywater. All rights reserved

Saturday Surprise

Matt and Mary wake up with just enough time for her to have a shower and change before the breakfasts arrive. The discussion over breakfast centres around the politicians and the media hunt of them.

Mid-morning Rob brings in several people to meet Matt, including Max. After the introductions Matt has everyone except Max leave the room. Matt says, “Max, I hope Rob, Lilly, and Mace have briefed you on the situation, but I just wish to go over a few things. Real concerns are Jacobs’ friends because they may want payback for the troubles caused. Also the Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Club would like to kill me if they can link me to the incident some years back where some of their guys got shot by the police when I foiled a kidnapping. About that, either Dennis or I may pass along some intelligence from another motorcycle club we’ve contacts with. Those are the only known serious dangers right now. But the general situation is I’m wealthy and people may decide I’m worth kidnapping or I may step on someone’s toes, at some point, via my businesses. In that regard the family of the guy who murdered my parents paid compensations by land title transfers. The current value is based on rural zoning. While the previous owner couldn’t get them rezoned for high density residential I prefer to work with the council and they also feel they can work with me. So it’s likely I’ll get approval for rezoning when I ask for low end medium density residential. That’ll mean the land values double or triple when that’s done. They won’t like that at all. Despite them being unable to do anything with the land they’ll be upset when I can make a good profit by doing something with it. They may get troublesome. In general, all of my businesses need basic security but some will need armed security if things heat up, and I’ll always need some armed guards near me. How I see things working is Sam Shaw is the company manager who’ll do all of the office paperwork and administrative tasks while you’re boss of the armed guard / bodyguard unit assigning work and seeing to training levels. Do you understand? Are there any troubles with it or anything you’d like to change?”

“That’s my understanding of the situation and I like Sam doing the paperwork and admin stuff for me. That leaves me free to just do the job I’d like to do. Now I’ll take these people over to sign up.”

“Thanks, Max. By the way, you and Sam will be responsible for all of the training and hiring so I only need to speak to anyone being assigned to me. If you and Sam are happy, that’s all that matters with regard to new staff and such matters. For corporate instructions I’ll generally put the policy stuff through corporate headquarters and not direct. Future direct contact with me will be as a client, got it?” Max nods to show he understands before he opens the door to collect the rest to take them off to complete employment paperwork with Sure Security.

The rest of the day goes well with a good lunch and watching the film Monsters Inc. Frequent pit stops during the film due to all the laughing. Thus the film takes longer than usual to watch.

Dinner and the evening chatting are enjoyed by all. But Matt is feeling the strain a bit so they give him an early night and they leave at eight thirty. Matt and Mary are asleep by nine.

The Show

The group going to the Pirates of Penzance have a nice train trip down on Friday afternoon. A late dinner in the hotel dining room and to bed is all they can manage that night. Saturday morning has them up early to visit some of the shops and sights of Sydney. The after lunch activity is a visit to the Entertainment Centre with a look at the behind the scenes preparations for the show they’ll be seeing. For most the highlight of the afternoon is being introduced to the stars of the show, and each visitor getting an autographed group photo of the performers.

While the male lead singer is taking them over the set for the first scene set up for the show he asks them about themselves. At one point he says, “I wonder how you got tickets for the opening night. In the past we’ve often had groups from charitable organisations tour the set and meet us before a show, but this is the first time I’ve heard of a group like yours having tickets to opening night because they’re so expensive.”

Rose smiles and says, “It’s an odd story, and it all came up in the last few weeks.” She tells him about Matt and his injuries, and how he gave them the tickets to use instead of having them sold and getting back the money. Monica adds about him meeting the transport, accommodation, and meal costs for all involved, and also giving the children fifty dollars each as spending money so they can buy a few things while in Sydney. He’s surprised by all this, and more so when he learns Matt’s age. The tour is enjoyed by all of the visitors, but it ends so they can walk back to the hotel to get changed for the evening meal before the show.

The Theatre

The night is a gala event like all opening nights. Food and drinks on hand in the foyer area for those attending, and the doors open over an hour before the scheduled start time of the show. For those with tickets for the boxes there’s a separate area for them to have their before show snacks and chat. Many of the others at the show are surprised to see a group of children in this restricted area. Many ignore them. Thus a lot of people are surprised when one of the city’s top socialites goes over to the children to speak to them. She smiles when she walks up, holds out her hand, and says, “You must be Monica Mills!” A very surprised Monica holds her hand out to shake hands while she nods yes. “Which of these young ladies is Rose?” Rose is stunned someone here knows her name. Monica brings Rose forward to introduce her and all of the other children to the woman. “Glad to meet you all. I’m Constance Anders, Matt said he was sending you up to watch the show. I hope you all enjoy it.” The children are happy to know this woman is connected to Matt somehow, and Monica is stunned Matt knows such an important person.

Rose asks, “Missus Anders, how do you know Saint?” When she gets a puzzled look she adds, “Saint Matt. How do you know him?”

Connie smiles, “Saint, is that a nickname you’ve given him?” They all nod. “I like it, it suits him. He’s been a guardian of others all his life, so being a guardian saint suits him well. I know Matt well as he’s my grandson.” The news surprises them and makes them comfortable with the situation so they move closer to her as they chat about Matt. This attention to the children by Connie Anders is noticed by others, and they wonder what it’s about. All too soon it’s time to take their seats so they go into the theatre to be seated. The children smile when they find out Connie has the box beside theirs. After a few minutes of hustle the theatre goes quiet when the last people are seated and the lights dim.

Curtain Time

The audience is surprised to have the whole cast walk out on stage in front of the curtain. They’ve glasses in their hands and they form up in lines. The lead singers are in the centre front and the male lead steps out to address the audience. The sound system carries his words to all there as he says, “Tonight, before we get started we, the cast and crew, wish to make a toast to dedicate tonight’s performance to someone who can’t be here.” Many of the audience stop to think who in the cast has been hurt lately, and they can’t think of anyone. “The person I refer to isn’t one of the cast or crew or their family, but someone who would’ve been in the audience tonight. Instead, he’s lying in a hospital bed. So, instead of coming along with his family or selling his tickets he’s sent others along. The young man I speak of was run down by a speeding car a few weeks back. His family were there too and were killed at the scene. He’s expected to be some months in hospital while he heals.” The girls and Connie gasp when they realise he’s talking about Matt.

He steps back and the female lead steps forward, “Today we had the pleasure of being visited by a group of ill children here under the auspices of the Make a Wish Foundation. While chatting with them we learned of this young man and that he’d given them his tickets to attend. In the last couple of weeks he organised, from his hospital bed, for their travel from rural New South Wales, their hotel accommodation, and meals for this group. He’s paid all of the costs for them to attend, and he gave them some money to spend while here. All of this while he’s still grieving for his family. In this time of his greatest need he reaches out to help these other people who are also hurting with illness. We feel humbled by his caring for others, most of whom he’s not met.”

She steps back and the head of the chorus steps forward. “Tonight we dedicate this performance to an exceptional young man. When you take a drink during the break we ask you to toast him too.” She holds her glass up high, “To Saint Matt, thank you for caring about others.” The rest of the cast hold up their glasses while they repeat the toast, and they finish their drinks in one go.

Connie has tears in her eyes while she looks about the theatre. All of the crew and the theatre staff she can see are toasting Matt as well.

There’s a moment of dead silence. The cast members turn, and leave the stage. A moment later the music starts, and so does the show. During the first intermission many are seen to be toasting Saint Matt, even though they don’t know him or who he is. The show is wonderful and is enjoyed by all, especially the children from the city of Rivers. Later that night they’re a very happy group when they go to sleep.

Late Night News

One of the items on the late night news is the question, ‘Who is Saint Matt?’ The opening of the show was covered by the media and the before show toast is discussed by the entertainment reporters. Despite most of the information being available none of the reporters connect the dots between what’s going on with the politicians and the events at the show’s opening night.


Sunday morning’s breakfast is a nice family affair until last night’s show opening is discussed on the morning news discussion program. The discussion turns to the news, and all are touched on how the cast showed their respect for Matt’s actions while those not aware of this before are surprised he did it. The morning is taken up with talk about various news items and how things are going. Mace drops in to visit for a few minutes during his meal break and he brings another police officer with him. They discuss the Jacobs situation for a while.

Just after lunch Nadia drops in to discuss how the Manor is going because she can’t believe how fast and how much hard work her brother and his crews are doing. They intend the job to be perfect and fast. She has two questions for Matt. She asks, “Matt, the new lands, how quickly do you want to develop them?”

“Nadia, that depends on a number of issues. The first is how soon can you have plans for me to look at? You don’t need to have them all done at once. I can look at a set of plans for each section as you do them. In fact, that’d be better because you can then include any items of discussion in the next block’s plans. It also depends on how large the need for housing is in the city since I’ve no wish to depress the market. How capable are the utilities and service providers in handling new developments? The last being what’s a good development rate to keep Serge and his crew happy at work without killing themselves trying to rush it?” The listening crowd laugh at the last item.

“Actually, it’s Serge who’s after me to get going on it. He knows of several crews who’re out of work and need some income. He’s put on more crews to work on the Manor than he normally handles so some of them can get a bit of pay. There could be a utilities issue with the work for the six large blocks to the west due to the distance to the waste processing plant. I can have some plans for the two blocks to the east of the city to you sometime soon.”

“Tomorrow or next week, no big issue. Ask the council if they’d like a new treatment plant to the city’s west. I can set aside the land where they want it and build it. They can pay me off over the next decade.”

“I know of just the spot to put it too. I think they’d go for that as it’ll allow them to redirect some of their existing services in that part of the city to relieve the load on their current plant. I’ll ask them tomorrow. Another issue is the land on the flood plain, what do you intend to do with that?”

“Not much I can think of doing with it. Two blocks are dead flat and two are a mix of flat and small hills. Can’t put houses there because the floods will damage them, even if the council allows it. Have you got some ideas for them?’

“One of Serge’s crew chiefs was nearby when I was talking to Serge about you having some more land with some in the flood plain. He’s got a couple of ideas for them. He thinks you can do some landscaping on them. The blocks are beside each other near the river and combine into a very large block. Most of it gets flooded in every flood, and a major flood covers it all except the largest hill which has never had water more than halfway up it. It’s also where the hilly part meets the flat section and close to the river bend. Any buildings placed near the top will be safe from floods. He thinks you can do some landscaping and set up a good BMX track for the kids on the flat with a good paint-ball fight zone in the hilly area. A car park area near the base of the hill with the road in dividing the two zones and a few buildings on the hill to house staff, storage, toilets, and concessions for food and drink. That part of the river is very safe and there’s a nice beach inside the curve that’s a real good area for swimming too. He thinks it’d be a great recreational facility.”

“Not a bad concept. Can you get hold of some experts to look the place over with all that in mind and to come up with some definitive plans for council. While you’re at the council tomorrow ask them about the concept. I’m prepared to build the place, put in a decent road and a picnic area too, but I’ll want the council to have their people checking on things on a regular basis. I may even hand over the picnic and swim area. See what they think of it first.”

“Looks like I’m going to be very busy for a while.”

“Your own fault because you raised these issues.” All laugh as she leaves.

Most of the kids in the wards today are mid to later teens so the film for today is the first of The Mummy trilogy, and those who don’t want to watch it, a few of the much younger children, are allowed to take Antz to watch on the DVD player and television in the ward’s normal play area, but only after they select some drinks and snacks from Matt’s collection to take with them. Two girls about six or seven don’t want to watch either film. They join Matt and Mary on his bed so they can nibble the nice fruit while they read. They end up spending a lot of time laughing at the funny scenes in The Mummy.

A tasty dinner is followed by a quiet evening, except for the happy visitors back from Sydney dropping in to thank him for the weekend away. Matt has an early night when the rest head home for an early night too. He takes an extra pain killer and he’s soon asleep.

Note: During the week security for Matt is taken over by Sure Security due to the arrival and hiring of more retired SAS staff. The police officer is no longer on watch at the door. One of the security staff is dressed as a member of hospital staff and they’re in the room with Matt while the other waits near the door, but they don’t stand at it like a guard. The idea is to provide security while not making it obvious what it is.

Week Five


It starts like most of his mornings do now. Dennis, Fiona, and Emily arrive with his extra breakfast food. They settle in to their studies. Late morning when they’re ready to take a break from the studies the phone rings. Matt is in a devilish mood so he answers the phone with, “Good morning, Rivers Insanity Centre, how may we not help you?”

A woman laughs and says, “I know I’ve got the number I was given because the phone ID shows that. Is there a Matthew Dyer there?”

“This is Matt Dyer, the inmate in least charge.”

“Morning, Matt, I’m Margaret Wells, calling about your theatre box. I’ve got a possible deal that may suit you. Interested?”

“Sure, just a moment while I get my carving knife and fork. If we’re going to talk turkey I want to be ready to slice it up.”

“You sound in a happy mood. The deal is to swap box Centre Bravo Three with wine steward service on the opening night for box Centre Delta Three with no wine steward service on the second and fourth Saturday of each month. Annual cost is a tenth more than the current deal. Being a premier box on opening night with wine steward service you pay about five times the regular box price. This gives you six times the tickets in a less prestigious box without a wine steward for only a fraction more in the annual cost of the box.”

“If I remember right my current box is in the centre and my seated eye level is just above the eye level of the actors on stage. How does the new box relate to that? And why is this such a good deal?”

“This box is behind yours. It’s in the last row of boxes with general seating behind it. The eye level of the actors is level with your feet, that’s how much higher you are. A good spot, but higher and further back. The people who have the box want to cancel as they’re closing down. I’ve another group that wants only two Saturdays a month, they prefer the first and third. Since that includes opening nights I’ve offered them a deal for sixty-five percent of the annual cost. You’re getting the second and fourth for only thirty-five percent. I get the fifth Saturday tickets to hand out to charities for their use. As the cost is covered by clients I don’t have to account for the tickets to my management.”

“Neat trick. OK, fax a copy of the contract to Missus Barnes with a bill for next year and an adjustment for this year. What’s the first month I can count on the second and fourth Saturday?”

“Thanks. I’ll confirm with the other client and send the contract. This will start as of the first of next month. You’ve helped me solve a number of problems with this. I can make two other clients happy and help some charities too. Have a nice day, Matt!”

He says goodbye, hangs up, and hits Dot’s speed dial. She answers, and he tells her what’s being arranged. He adds, “Make sure you send a fax to Monica and Make a Wish that from next month they can count on having the box for the second Saturday of each month. If they run out of Rivers people to send they can get Monica’s approval to send people from other country locations or even from Sydney. Make a permanent booking for twelve at the hotel for both Saturdays and tell the people going about it, even those from Sydney will have that available on the Friday and Saturday so they can make a weekend outing of it.”

“Will do, Matt. What about the other Saturday, what’s happening?”

“Dyer Services can use it for staff, family, friends, and clients. I figure you and Paul can organise the first of the Dyer nights to be a weekend ‘away’ for both of you, your staff, plus Shorty and his wife. That gives you a few weeks to organise for some people from here.”

“Thanks for that, Matt. I’ll organise it all and I’ll look forward to a good night out at your expense. I’ll see what I can do to have the Dyer nights as a business expense for staff relations or else pay it as personal cost against you.”

He hangs up in time for lunch, followed by today’s movie, except Matt isn’t there to watch it. He’s off for the surgical implants on his bones to strengthen the breaks. The surgery itself is simple and quick, so he’s back in his room in time for the end of the movie.

The rest of the afternoon is the usual routine with Mary, and so is the evening. The next few days have nothing of interest happening, just the established routine of study, film, meals, and family visitors.


The day passes by with the current quiet routine. However, Betty turns up for dinner with a man in his fifties. Matt wonders what’s going on when he notices Joe smiles every time he looks over at the man. The meal follows the usual routine of general conversation and some jokes about current events.

After the meal is over the man opens the briefcase he brought along to get out a video camera and some papers. Matt watches while he sets it all up to show Matt and the left side of the bed. Some chairs are placed beside the bed. The man takes the seat furthest from Matt with Betty, Alice, and Joe between them. The man waves to Dennis, and he starts the camera recording.


The man gives the date, time, and their location then says, “Final Custody Hearing for Matthew Dyer, Magistrate Justin Mackie presiding.” He turns to Matt, “Mister Dyer, for the formal record, are you happy to have Mister Joseph Watson and Missus Alice Watson appointed as your guardians until you are of legal age?”

Matt smiles, “Yes, Your Honour, I’d like that very much.”

“Good. Mister Watson, Missus Watson, are you happy with being so appointed as Matthew’s guardians?” Both nod yes as they say they’re happy to be his guardians.

Magistrate Mackie smiles, writes on the papers before him, and he looks up to say, “All the reports from the appropriate agencies approve of the appointment of Mister and Missus Watson as Matthew Dyer’s official guardians. All of the parties involved wish this to be so, and the nearest relative with a strong claim, Mister Dyer’s grandmother, also wishes this to be so. I appoint Mister Joseph Watson and Missus Alice Watson as the guardians of Matthew Dyer until he reaches eighteen years of age.” He nods at Dennis and the camera is turned off. He looks at Matt, “Good luck, Son,” turns to Alice and Joe, “I know you’ll look after this young man quite well.” He puts the papers away in his briefcase then he gets some others out.

Magistrate Mackie sorts out the papers and he sets them out. He nods to Dennis, and he turns the camera on. Mackie goes through the process of stating the date, time, and location, and says, “Fact finding interview about the guardianship of Emily Harriet Ford and Fiona Jane Ford. I’ve an application from the nearest living relative of these two girls to appoint Mister Joseph Watson and Missus Alice Watson as guardians for them. I’m inclined to approve the application, however, there are aspects of the situation that need clarification. First is the housing. From another matter I know the family lives in a three bedroom home with their teenage daughter and their current ward, Matthew Dyer, will be joining them there when he gets out of hospital toward the end of this year. The two bedrooms for the three girls is not an issue because the sisters are used to sharing a bedroom. However, the housing will be cramped when Matthew joins them. Mister Watson, how do you propose to deal with housing when Matthew leaves hospital?”

Matt interrupts, “Excuse me, Your Honour, may I answer that?” He gets a nod yes and wave to continue. “I’m not sure if you’re aware, Your Honour, but I’m rich and also the chairman of a few companies.” The magistrate’s eyebrows go up. “One of those companies recently bought the house and land Mister Watson rents. The block is large and includes the two houses beside it. The council has approved a development application for the site to be developed as a medium density housing estate of twelve residences. It’ll have six houses with six nice apartments above the garages, all are three or more bedroom residences. The one above the garage for the house Mister Watson rents will be a four bedroom residence with internal access to the house. This’ll make the house into what’s effectively a seven bedroom house. Giving us each a bedroom of our own, including one for Dennis who’ll be with us as my general ‘run and fetch it’ person. The construction should be finished in a few months, well before I get out of here. Until then the girls will live locally under the guidance of Mister and Missus Watson and Dennis will live in the hotel beside the hospital.”

“I see. Would I be right in assuming you’re also providing financial help toward the girls’ welfare?”

“Yes, Your Honour. Both girls used to live down the street from me in Sydney and they’ve been with me for the last few weeks while hiding from their father until he died. They arrived here with nothing worthy of the name of clothing so I’ve been paying for them to buy new clothes. I can easily afford the cost of their care if there’s nothing from their mother’s or father’s estates’ trustees to pay for their upkeep. The money is not an issue from my point of view, but their safety and welfare are very important.”

“Thank you for clarifying those issues. I still have to wait for some more reports and information before I can make a decision. However, they seem to be safe and cared for in the current situation so I’ll leave that as is until I have all of the information to make an informed decision. The long term decision will not be made until I get a report on the completed housing.” He makes some notes on the papers, “While this investigation is ongoing I ask Mister Joseph Watson and Missus Alice Watson to continue their care and welfare arrangements for Emily and Fiona Ford.” He closes the file while he nods at Dennis to turn off the camera. He looks at Matt, “You may have noticed I was very careful in the wording of the last statement. I know the girls are at the motel at the moment, and I accept that’ll continue because it’s easier for you to have them come here during the day. That’ll have to change when a final decision is made. But it sounds like you’ll have better housing in place before then.” Matt nods his agreement. The magistrate smiles and packs up his gear. A little later he’s heading home for the night.


After lunch the doctors arrive to check out how well the surgery stitches are healing. After a discussion they decide to use plaster casts now. Matt’s swollen bruises have taken weeks to go down while they required splint adjustments at least twice a day. They agree the use of plaster casts will give him more mobility without any further risks. The cuts are healing well but they don’t want to cover them with plaster. So his lead doctor spends the next half an hour applying the plaster in a way to give the protection and strength to the healing bones while leaving the surgery sites open to view. The cuts are ten centimetres long and centred on the breaks so areas of three centimetres wide by twelve centimetres long over the cuts are left clear: Strong stiff plastic rods are put in the cast on each side of the cuts while they put on the plaster bandages, they’re to give the cast extra strength and rigidity there.

Matt keeps very still during today’s movie so the plaster has time to set properly. The doctor stops by just as the movie is finishing, and he’s happy the plaster is set right. This now means Matt can move about on the bed a little and he can also be helped into a wheelchair to move about. He’s given orders not to lift anything more than a few grams, not to walk, nor to use crutches yet. The ability to move even this little bit is a major step forward for Matt. Due to the nature and location of the breaks the expected healing time is longer than for most broken bones, and so is the rehabilitation time. The surgery he just had is expected to cut down his rehab time, but the time needed to get over the surgery is expected to keep the overall body repair time the same. It’ll be another four or five weeks before they can start the rehabilitation exercises.

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