Going Out of My Mined – Chapter One
Get the full book:
Over the next few weeks I’m going to put a chapter a week up here. Hope you enjoy them. Also anyone who’s on Amazon and/or Goodreads, if you could add a star rating and some kind words, I’d really appreciate it.
Now on with another free chapter – enjoy!
Dispatch No 1 – Monday, January 7
I didn’t ask because I give a fuck
I’m due back at work on the mining site in two days, but haven’t been sent any flight details. Maybe I was fired over the break and nobody told me. Five of the guys have texted me over the last few days wondering about their flights as well, however, so unless we’re all done or JRT has gone bust, I should still have a job.
While waiting for a train to my girlfriend’s place, I call my boss onsite, Jonno. As the phone rings, I realise I should’ve made this call a week ago, but that’s how someone who’s after a career would behave, not a trying-to-be comedian desperate for cash.
‘What’s cracking? How are you, chief?’ he asks.
‘I’m good. And yourself?’
‘Kicking goals from everywhere. How was your Xmas?’
‘Really good. Did some of my biggest ever comedy shows,’ I reply.
‘So you finally had tens of people at a show, instead of just single digits? Onya tiger.’
‘More like a couple of thousand. It was amazing, and I got to meet…’
‘Let me stop you there and make something very clear. I didn’t ask because I give a fuck.’
It takes me a moment to remember that Jonno might not be being mean and, even if he is, it’s pointless arguing. Nobody has spoken to me like this since I last saw my fellow mining site workers, at the airport after we arrived home for the beginning of the break and Damo told me with a smile, ‘I hope you get herpes for Xmas. And not the face ones. It’s what you deserve.’
‘How was your break?’ I ask Jonno.
‘Fucking nearly over now.’
‘Oh, okay. So I don’t have any flight details yet.’
‘All under control chief. You’ll have them either today or tomorrow at the latest,’ he replies.
Ten minutes later I’m on the train, and Jonno phones back.
‘Right Xavier, I need you to organise everyone’s flights.’
So I phone Debitel, the company managing the site where we’re working. They’re responsible for booking all of the contractors’ flights, but only after we place a request, which is supposed to be made at least a month in advance. Not two days, and I’m not even sure if they’re back onsite yet.
‘Debitel. Samantha speaking.’
‘It’s Xavier here from JRT Projects. When did you guys start back?’
‘January second,’ she replies.
‘Wow. That’s not much of a break.’
‘No, it’s not.’
From her briskness, I can tell how excited she is to be back living the FIFO life.
‘FIFO’ stands for ‘fly-in-fly-out’, and describes how most of the workers get from the Australian cities where they live to the remote locations where the mining happens. Well, that’s the official meaning, but I was originally told it means ‘fit in or fuck off’. There are also ‘DIDOs’ who drive in and drive out from the mining site, and I’ve always wished there was some way to add an extra ‘L’ into that acronym. Then I imagine a dildo trying to drive a car. How would that even work? It’d need legs to reach the pedals, and adorable little dildo arms to steer.
‘So I’m not sure if they’ve been booked or not, but none of our guys have their flight details,’ I tell Samantha.
‘You should have them, and you’re due back here on Wednesday, right? If you haven’t put in a request, you’re stuffed. The flights are booked solid.’
‘Well, we might have a very big problem,’ I reply through a smile, as I might get extra time off.
‘Give me a second.’
I hear the handset hit the desk. A minute later it rustles, then she’s back.
‘The flights were booked last year. You even signed the request. You don’t remember?’
My plan was to think as little as possible about work over the break, and it seems I’ve succeeded.
‘We sent through a confirmation email to Jerome. Does he even still work for JRT?’
‘As far as I know.’
She pauses. ‘Why?’
‘Honestly, I have no idea.’
‘I thought you would’ve canned him ages ago.’
‘So can you please forward me that email? That you sent to him?’ I ask.
‘Why can’t you just get it from Jerome?’ She laughs. ‘I’ve just sent it.’
Jerome is the other onsite JRT Projects admin person, Jonno is the boss, Dale is the supervisor and there are about thirty assorted tradesmen. Across the site where we’re working, the various companies employ around twenty admin people, and Jerome and I are the sole males. I still remember the looks of disdain I got on my first day from every man, and I thought it was just because they didn’t like me, but those initial looks were more to do with the fact that I’d replaced Jessica. In the words of Jonno, ‘She was so hot that even if she was my first cousin, that wouldn’t stop me.’
Over the break, during one of the rare times I’d remembered that I had a day job, I’d decided to give Jerome a chance. It’s a fact that most inanimate objects are both more useful and have a higher IQ, but he’s a human being who I’m sure has good intentions. Somehow, someone at some stage had seen enough to give him a job, and throughout his working life a series of employers have done the same, which means he has to be capable of something. The problem is that we’ve all been expecting too much, and I need to tailor his tasks to his abilities. Now I’m still going to give him a chance, but we haven’t even started back and he’s already causing havoc.
I forward the flights to Jonno, and follow up with a phone call, as I know he won’t check his email unless prompted.
‘Instead of me emailing all the guys one at a time,’ he says, ‘why don’t you do that?’
‘Sure. By the way, apparently they were sent to Jerome last year.’
‘I can’t believe that thing still has a job,’ Jonno replies.
‘Wait, aren’t you in charge of that sort of thing?’
‘Jerome was hired by Peter. So only Peter can fire him. See you Wednesday, sweetheart.’
Peter and Scott are JRT’s two directors, and last year I learnt that Peter likes to ambush employees by yelling at them over minor and made-up problems, but prefers to avoid genuinely awkward encounters. So he often organises others to do the firing for him or, as with Jerome, ignores the situation entirely. Being in charge of a company with tens of millions in annual turnover, however, it’s possible he just hasn’t got around to Jerome yet, as he’s got more important things to do than monitoring the output of someone without any.
An hour after arriving at my girlfriend’s house because, you know, sex, I use her computer to email the flight details to the JRT employees, then send follow-up text messages. Most reply immediately, and I’m reminded again how quickly these men respond when it’s information they’re chasing, but how elusive they can be when you want something from them.
We work three weeks on the mining site, then get one week off, and that week off is staggered to leave a certain number of employees onsite at all times. Four of the guys whose week off is that first week back call me to complain that they can’t last another week without wages. They all make around $3,000 per week after tax, but those five on an enforced extended Xmas break won’t be making anything, as these men aren’t on a salary but are paid per hour worked. Instead of attempting to placate them, I tell them to take it up with Jonno, which they won’t, as we all know they’d be told to ‘shut the fuck up or find another job’.
Other than the calls, everyone texted single word replies, apart from:
Donk, the safety guy, who sent me a photo of two naked women pleasuring a horse.
Pando, who sent the same horse photo.
Damo, the machine operator, who texted, ‘Thanks. Herpes?’
Roger then went with, ‘Roger that.’
Jerome said, ‘I already knew that, but thanks anyway!’
Dale was one of those who had an extra week, and texted, ‘Seven days and counting, ball-bag.’
Then Fatty sent a picture of a hot-looking woman with a dick that read, ‘Everything was perfect. Until you cocked it all up.’
That was Going Out of My Mined – Chapter One
Get the full book: