Page 19

5 minute fiction

Off shift 93rd EDITION. 2010

by Bernard S. Jansen

Farewell Speech

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Monday 16 August Airlie Beach KCs Bar & Grill John Malcom

Tuesday 17 August Airlie Beach KCs Bar & Grill John Malcom

Wednesday 18 August Airlie Beach KCs Bar & Grill John Malcom

Thursdsay 19 August Airlie Beach KCs Bar & Grill John Malcom

Friday 20 August Airlie Beach KCs Bar & Grill Kieran McCarthy Blackwater Blackwater Mineworkers Club Okey Dokey Karaoke Blackwater Hotel Disco Nights

your

to gigs

shift

gigs.

.com

mail

r@g mine

Moura Coal n Cattle Hotel Fever - for the boys Rockhampton The Great Western Young Guns rodeo round 5

Wednesday 25 August

Saturday 21 August

Blackwater Blackwater Hotel Aussie Female Revue

Blackwater Blackwater Mineworkers Club Brisbane band “Wind Up Dolls” Blackwater Hotel Karaoke with Steve O Airlie Beach KCs Bar & Grill Kieran McCarthy The Great Western Lou Bradley

Sunday 22 August Airlie Beach KCs Bar & Grill Jason Bull

Monday 23 August Airlie Beach KCs Bar & Grill Jason Bull

Tuesday 24 August Airlie Beach KCs Bar & Grill Jason Bull

Airlie Beach KCs Bar & Grill Jason Bull

Thursday 26 August

Friday 27 August Blackwater Blackwater Minerworkers Club Quinton Blackwater Hotel Disco Nights

Saturday 28 August Blackwater Blackwater Hotel Karaoke with Steve O Airlie Beach KCs Bar & Grill Kieran McCarthy Tieri Tieri Hotel Clown Attack

Sunday 29 August Moura Coal n Cattle Downtime Airlie Beach KCs Bar & Grill Tame Aria

Brad smiled politely and stood with his hands behind his back while Jim, the General Manger, spoke glowingly of Brad’s achievements, his wonderful example, and the hole he would leave in the organisation when he left. Inside, Brad was laughing; and he struggled to keep the laughing on the inside. It was all so beautifully ridiculous: Jim had been hunting Brad out of the mine for months. Their arguments were the stuff of legend. They had disagreed – often publicly – on almost everything: safety, production, costs. Despite all this, this little ceremony of Brad’s farewell morning tea was a time of fond farewells, mutual admiration and back-slapping. It was a bit like funerals, thought Brad. If you went to every funeral in the country for a whole year, you’d think that no bad people ever died. In life, people are hated, vilified, bashed, even killed; and yet, there’s never a bad word said at a funeral. Maybe, sometimes, the deceased was “rough around the edges”, “misunderstood”, “unconventional”, or a “larrikin”; but few eulogies ever described someone as a completely useless, lazy prick who would rob his own mother if he could, and won’t our lives all be better now that we’re rid of him. Maybe at the wake – but never at the funeral. Farewell speeches at work were like eulogies, thought Brad, except for a few added benefits. First: you’re not dead – which is always a good thing – and you get to witness the whole farce. Better yet, the person forced to stand in front of anyone interested in you leaving – or at least interested in the free cakes – and talk about how wonderful you are is your boss. And Brad’s boss was the one who despised him more than anyone. Watching Jim humiliate himself like this was pure joy.

“Now Brad and I haven’t seen eye to eye on every issue,” said Jim. Brad didn’t snort, though someone up the back did, which cause a ripple of nervous laughter through the group. They had to stay and work for Jim; they hadn’t found other jobs, yet. Jim continued, his face a little redder. “But that doesn’t mean I didn’t respect a man like Bad who has the integrity and the passion to stand for what he truly believes in.” Wow, thought Brad, that man should got into politics. He’s wasted running a coal mine. The coal mine’s wasted with him running it, in any case. Brad looked around the group while Jim rambled on. He had few friends left here: he’d had few to start with. Then those he’d liked, respected and enjoyed working with had moved on to greener pastures. For many, greener pastures didn’t mean bigger numbers on payslips, but more satisfying roles, or less stress, or living near a university for the kids to attend. Now, it was Brad’s turn. Greener pastures for him meant going back to the Hunter Valley, were he’d come from. He’d only come up here because his wife had wanted more money. The divorce had been quick – surgical – and now there was nothing left to keep him up here in this hot, dry, hell, working for that thick-headed egomaniac. “Brad?” It was Jim. Brad realised he’d been daydreaming, and it was time for his response speech. “Sorry,” he said. “I was lost in thought.” And suddenly, he didn’t have the strength for all this crap. So he smiled, took a piece of carrot cake, and walked away.

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

Page 19 - Shift Miner Magazine, 16th August 2010

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Mining Community magazine

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