Amber and the town of Bright 3

for the story so far Amber and the Town of Bright

After she unloaded her groceries and popped a pizza in the oven to heat, Amber texted Tom that he could remove the first skip early tomorrow.

“Sure thing Luv,” he replied.  “I’ll be there at 6:30am.”

Then Amber went outside and got one of the boxes.  She folded it’s base like the hardware man had shown her and started loading at the entrance to the bedroom.  This was the only part of the hallway visible.

The hallway seemed to run from the front of the house to the back, bisecting the rooms on either side.  Unfortunately Amber couldn’t know for sure because there was pretty much floor to ceiling newspapers.  Sam Grant may have been a hoarder but he was an organized hoarder, the piles neat and ordered, three newspapers abreast and stacked floor to ceiling, with the smallest of gaps up the top.  It was going to be a long job, cleaning out the hallway.

Five boxes later, Amber ate her pizza, plugged her phone in to charge and got back to it.  By the time she went to bed, she had ten boxes stacked in her ute to take to the local tip.  A google search told her that it was open at 5:30am and had a paper recycling area.

Amber woke early and packed up more boxes.  When the ute was filled with boxes she headed out to the dump, emptied out the boxes and returned home.  Tom was already there loading the full skip.

“Morning Luv,” he said.  “The yard’s looking much tidier.  Another day or two and you’ll have a clean space to work from.”

“And then I can sort out someone to look at the veranda.  Do you know any builders?”

“If you want quality you can’t go past the Peak Brothers.  ‘Course they are not as young as they used to be, but they have an apprentice now.  Got themselves a school-based apprentice that comes twice a week.  That kid gets up to all sorts of trouble at school, but he works like a trouper on a building site.  Some kids just aren’t meant for school, I always say.”

“I know,” replied Amber, given that in the worst place she’d lived in there had been three other foster kids, none of whom had suited schools, of course, that could have been because they’d been in plenty of trouble.  “Will they be online,” Amber asked.

“Nah, those brothers don’t even own their own computer.  Their accountant does everything for them.  I’ll write down the number for you when I got this loaded.”

Tom finished lashing the skip in and wrote the number for the builders from memory.  “The only other fellow worth his salt can only do small jobs at the moment because he had to do FIFO work for the mines.”

“FIFO,” Amber asked.

“Fly in, Fly Out.  He spends two weeks in Western Australia and one week at home with the family.  There’s just not enough jobs in a town like this.”  He looked at his phone.  “I got to go, I’ve got another pick up over near Wangaratta to do.  Just text when you want the next skip, although, at the rate you work, you might even want it this evening.  When you get to the inside stuff, you don’t really need to bag any of it. But I appreciate the glass being bagged. Hooroo.”

“See you,” Amber replied as Tom got into his truck cab and drove away.  She went inside and placed the invoice on the kitchen bench, glad that she had gotten the house so cheaply.  She’d managed to save $150 000 in the ten years since she had been a legal adult.  The house had cost $50 000 at an auction where she was the only bidder and she had received a $20 000 first home owners grant which after expenses left her with $80 000 left in her kitty to renovate the house.  Tom had given her a rate of five skips for $2 000 which was expensive seeing that she could take the rubbish to the tip herself, however, she saved herself an hour of labor for each load and it was her treat to herself for buying the house, for all the years of hard savings.  Amber had a total of 7 days before she had to log back into her business and start running that again because if she didn’t all she would be owning was a derelict house.  She needed an office space before the week was up.  $1500 she had estimated was like paying herself $40 per hour to drive to the tip and back and that was a price she was willing to pay.  She would pay Tom tonight.  He’d been very helpful.

Three hours later another car pulled up.  Amber looked up from her raking and grinned.  Merry had stepped out from the driver’s seat and stretched.

“Merry,” Amber called and rushed around to give the woman a hug.

“Oh Amber, what an amazing place you have here.  Stan’s having a bit of a sleep.”

“I am not,” came the grumpy reply.

“What are you two doing here?  It’s a school day, don’t you have to be home for Roxy.” Amber asked.

“Roxy is suspended so we thought we would beat the weekend traffic.”

The back car door opened and Roxy got out, a scowl on her face.

“You Amber,” she looked Amber up and down, her eyes having seen more of the world than a 15-year-old should.

“Yep. You lucked into good ones Roxy,” Amber stated calmly.

Roxy sneered and Stan winked at Amber.  “I recon Roxy set a record,” he turned to Roxy.  “You’ve been with us for under two weeks and this is your second suspension.” He turned back to Amber, “we thought, with your new house that we three would come and lend a hand.  Merry checked out the place on the Public Trustee’s website.  We were going to come up on the weekend but fortune smiled on us and Roxy and so we are here early.  Roxy booked us into the motel.”

“Come on in,” Amber said.  “I got to warn you though, there’s a bedroom, a kitchen, and a bathroom.  Everything else is hoarder’s heaven.  Are you staying or touring?”

“We’ve come to help my dear,” Merry said.  “Get the gloves out from the boot Roxy dear,” Merry added.  Roxy rolled her eyes but did as she was told.  The boot of the car slammed.  Stan let it go without commenting and they all followed Amber into her house.

“Kitchen,” she showed Stan, Merry, and Roxy around the kitchen.  It was U shaped and had nowhere to sit, she pointed out the bathroom, the bedroom, and the partly cleared hallway.

“Where would you like us to start,” Merry directed.

“You don’t have to help, you could go on a drive around the town.” Amber paused and looked at the face of Stan and Merry.  “Well, if Roxy could hold the bags open for me whilst I fill them with glass fragments and you and Stan could potter along cleaning out the hallway.” She finished.

“That sounds lovely, Amber dear. Where do you want the old newspapers?”

“I have some boxes that I am filling up, then the magazines can go in the back of my ute so that I can take them to the tip.”

Roxy grunted and headed outside.

“How many homes,” Amber asked her as soon as she handed Roxy a garbage bag to hold open.

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