Page 19

5 minute fiction

OFF SHIFT 89th EDITION. 2010

by Bernard S. Jansen

Two Year Plan

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Monday 21st June

Saturday 26th June Friday 2nd July

Airlie Beach KCs Bar & Grill Ben Penna

Rockhampton 7ft Samurai

Blackwater Blackwater Mineworkers Club Local lads Crank

Tuesday 22nd June

Airlie Beach KCs Bar & Grill Kieran McCarthy

Moura Coal n Cattle Hotel Local Boys Downtime

Tieri Tieri Hotel Motel Clown Attack

Rockhampton The Criterion The Bottom Line

Airlie Beach KCs Bar & Grill Jason Bull

Blackwater Blackwater Hotel Karaoke with Steve O

Airlie Beach KCs Bar & Grill Alice & Joel

Wednesday 23rd June

Sunday 27th June

Moura Coal n Cattle Hotel Bo Jenkins

Airlie Beach KCs Bar & Grill Jason Bull

Thursday 24th June Airlie Beach KCs Bar & Grill Jason Bull

Friday 25th June Blackwater Blackwater Mineworkers Club Quinton Airlie Beach KCs Bar & Grill Kieran McCarthy Rockhampton The Criterion 7ft Samurai Blackwater Blackwater Hotel Disco Nights

Airlie Beach KCs Bar & Grill Ben Penna

Monday 28th June Airlie Beach KCs Bar & Grill Ben Penna

Tuesday 29th June Moura Coal n Cattle Hotel “Body Heat” for the boys Airlie Beach KCs Bar & Grill Alice & Joel

Wednesday 30th June Airlie Beach KCs Bar & Grill Alice & Joel

Thursday 1st July Airlie Beach KCs Bar & Grill Alice & Joel

Saturday 3rd July Rockhampton The Criterion The Bottom Line Blackwater Blackwater Hotel Disco Nights Airlie Beach KCs Bar & Grill Alice & Joel Tieri Tieri Hotel Motel Fiona Mauch

Sunday 4th July Dysart The Jolly Collier Hotel Bo Jenkins blues & rock Airlie Beach KCs Bar & Grill Alice & Joel Blackwater Blackwater Hotel Karaoke with Steve O

Callum and Mary had money problems. They weren’t in debt, except for their credit card, but each fortnight was a struggle.  They tried not to argue about money, but sometimes they did.  One Friday evening, Mary put her solution to Callum.  “I think we should do two or three years in the mines,” she said. Mary had dropped hints like this before, and Callum had been able to deflect them, till now.  He loved his job, and his friends were in Rocky.  So were hers.  “What about your friends?” he asked her. “I think we need to make a small sacrifice for a while.  We can still come into Rocky to socialise, and shop, every month or so.” Mary took Callum through the numbers.  “If we live on what we do now, plus a bit, we should be able to save two-thousand dollars a month.  In two years, we could save seventy-eight thousand dollars; more with interest. That got Callum’s attention.  He applied for six jobs from Saturday’s paper.  Over the next weeks, he got three interviews and an offer with a contractor based in Moranbah.  He accepted it. The plan took an early hit when they went to find a house.  Rents were a little higher than they’d expected.  “This is extortion,” said Callum. The property manager mumbled something about supply and demand.  They paid the rent, every week, because they needed a place to live.  Still, it felt dirty paying that s ort of money. The rent wasn’t the end of it.  “Can you believe tomatoes cost six dollars a kilo here?” said Mary, after Callum’s first day on the job. “Is that bad?” said Callum.  “It’s been a while since I bought a tomato.” “Yes, it’s bad.” It wasn’t just tomatoes that were

more expensive; everything was. The first pay-packet had some surprises, too. “Are you sure this is right?” said Callum, as he went though the pay-slip. They must be taking too much tax, surely!” They decided to sacrifice the discounted private health insurance that came with the package to save more money.  It turned out that the Medicare levy surcharge – the extra tax for not having private health insurance – cost more than the insurance itself. Mary crunched the numbers again.  “I think we can still save thirty-thousand in two years,” she said. The trips to Rocky didn’t really happen.  The first attempt cost them just over five hundred dollars, not including the shopping.  They went to Mackay to shop, but decided to try and avoid that.  Still, they needed to get out of town sometimes to keep from going nuts. Other things helped, to keep them sane.  Mary didn’t need much convincing to get a big flat-screen TV.  They negotiated a good price on a surround sound system, to complete the home theatre setup.  Sometimes Mary got her hair or nails done in town, just for something to do.  When their station wagon went north of two-hundred thousand kilometres, they leased a Prado. When they finished their two years; they had saved only ten thousand dollars.  “Well, we improved and upgraded a lot of things,” said Callum.  “And we had our first overseas holiday.” Callum said maybe they should do another two years, and really knuckle down and save.  Mary did mention the idea of going overseas, to somewhere like Indonesia, to really save some serious money, but Callum managed to avoid that subject, so far.

Bernard S. Jansen is 32, married has three young boys. He lives in Emerald, works as an engineer at a local coal mine and is active in his local church. Read more of Bernard’s writing online at surgebin.blogspot.com or email him at bernard.jansen@gmail.com GOT AN IDEA FOR A STORY? Let Bernard know - email him at bernard.jansen@gmail.com or hop on his blog surgebin.blogspot.com

Page 19 - Shift Miner Magazine, 21st June 2010

SM89_Shift Miner Magazine  

Mining COmmunity Magazine

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