“You want to work for me?” I asked Matthew as we sat at the table in my kitchen trying to stay awake.
“Or work with you.”
“You don’t want to work for me.” Notice how I was reminding him from the onset that I was the boss. “You might well be sick of the working for the man but working for the woman, well this woman, could be your worst nightmare.”
It wouldn’t be nightmare working for me, I think I’d be a great boss, but I also wasn’t sure I needed someone to work with.
“You couldn’t be any worse that the last prick I worked for.” Matthew’s reply was sullen and he seemed to be getting worse.
“How come I am only hearing about this now?” I asked. “You’ve been here more than long enough to tell me you weren’t going back to work in the mines.”
“I dunno, it didn’t really come up. I was pissed off. I was starting to think I was the problem. Maybe I wasn’t outgoing enough, maybe I didn’t take orders well. I just didn’t have everything sorted in my mind and therefore it felt easier to shut up and say nothing.” Matthew was on a roll with his words now.
“So you decided to be a typical male and bottle everything up rather than talk to the ones you know and love.” I asked with a smile on my face.
“I’m talking now!” Matthew replied.
Suddenly I was very awake and thoughts about trying not to nod off during the afternoon having not slept for more than twenty four hours were long gone. I got up and put the kettle on, I didn’t know if Matthew wanted a coffee but I did. As the kettle boiled I avoided saying anything, and Matthew seemed to be lost in thought, the only question I did ask him was if he wanted a coffee.
Once I’d made both coffees I carried them to the table, placed his in front of him, mine in front of my chair and then sat down. I think looked at him and broke the silence.
“If you don’t want to go back to work for a little while I’m happy to have you around bro, but honestly I don’t have any work for an explosives expert, you’d get bored here.”
“I haven’t got bored yet, in fact I’ve enjoyed being here and doing something different every day. I can live without your drug gangs and hostage situations but if you let me bring up some ANFO I can make those jobs easier too.”
ANFO was ammonium nitrate/fuel oil used for making big bangs in some of the mines, and while I admit it would have been a quick way to end our situation the night before at the airport it probably wasn’t going to be widely useful in daily rescues.
“There’s a good idea, instead of rescuing people we could just blow them up and save time.”
“So I am hired?”
“You’d be on a large pay cut if you worked with me.” I replied.
“Is that a yes?” Matthew was suddenly perking up as the idea got closer to happening.
“How about we make a deal?” I said thinking as I went.
“I’m listening.” A few moments before that I couldn’t have been sure he was but I knew he was listening as he started hearing words he liked.
“I’m happy to have you here for as long as you want. I’m happy to have you come out with me on any rescue, your assistance since you’ve been here has been greatly appreciated.” I was still thinking on my toes, well my butt to be precise.
“I’ve liked it too.”
“But I’m not employing you.”
I could see the look on his face suddenly return to sullen, tired, worn out and even just a little bit of rejection. However I wasn’t rejecting him, well not in the way he thought. See I knew the business I had worked hard to build could support two people, especially in a place like Hall’s Creek where there was very little to spend money on. I also knew that Matthew would make things easier on me, but my job was not his chosen career and I didn’t want it to be. Not because it’s a bad career, although I should say it is in case a hundred other people decide the same thing and come up here and try to be my competition, but because it’s not his career.
“Hang on, hear me out.” I said. “I’m not going to employ you because the paperwork and the red tape that goes with employing someone is bullshit. I’d spend more time pleasing political fat cats than I would actually working. However I do have an alternative.”
“Yes?” Matthew replied.
“You can stay here. You come out and help me with any job. I’ll even give you some money for helping.”
“Sounds good.” The smile had returned to Matthew’s face.
“I knew there would be a but.”
“But…” I started again. “This is not a job for you, it’s a stop gap in your career where you are paid for helping.” His look was still one of happiness but he was also throwing confusion into the mix. “I’m not going to be responsible for you giving up the career you love and worked hard for so.” I could see him wanting to say something but I didn’t let him. “You need to promise me that you aren’t going to give up on your career. You’ve got to promise me that no matter how much I like having you here, this is not permanent. And you’ve got to promise me you’ll tell Mum and Dad of you plans and remind them I had nothing to do with you forgetting about your expensive degrees and studies, even for a small period of time.”
Matthew reached for my phone that sat on the table in front of me and said only one word. “Done!”
Previous Outback Rescue story here.