Good morning, Mr. Mackey. I hope you don’t mind me calling you Trace.
Not at all. Good morning. What is it you needed to talk to me about?
I am trying to get to know what it takes to run a horse ranch. I understand you are now in charge of the kitchen and the finances of Riven Creek ranch.
Yes, I guess I am. I’m not sure why my aunt thinks I can do this but she has always been supportive of me. I can hardly turn my back on her now that she needs me.
I heard she was in quite a serious accident.
Nearly killed her.
She’s doing well now though, right?
She is doing fine. She has a lot of rehabilitation ahead of her which is why she has me doing…well – this.
What is “this” exactly?
Well, should be simply enough, really. I am supposed to provide breakfast for the main employees of the ranch. The managers and heads of certain areas of the ranch like the barns and the maintenance and things.
How many people is that?
Ten. Ten hungry men.
Wow. Ten hungry men, huh?
Don’t make fun of me. Yeah, I know. Shouldn’t be that big of a deal but like I told my aunt, I can barely cook for myself. Making any meal for ten people is a huge challenge.
So that’s all you do? Make breakfast?
(Sighs) No. I have to make lunch, too. And snacks and I’m supposed to run water and coffee like a lot. I know it sounds easy but… well, it’s not.
(Chuckles) How about the finances. Those can’t be that simple either.
Oh, the finances are a breeze. Once I get to know the expenses I will have no problem with them. It’s what I went to school for. Numbers are easy for me.
But I understand it involves a lot of money.
It’s like any business. There’s income and outgo. Simple. Here that translates into foals as the income and feed, equipment and insurance, etc. as outgo. Yes, all of it is very expensive. But it’s all straight forward; black and white. There might be room sometimes to question a bill, question why we are with certain companies, but for the most part, all those decisions are sound. All I have to do is make sure everything is paid in a timely fashion and it’s all entered correctly on all the spread sheets for the CPA.
I would think one of those larger expenses would be the payroll.
Oh yes, absolutely.
Do you have say in how much should be devoted to that?
(Laughs) No. Not at all. I wouldn’t have the first clue right now how many people it takes to keep things running smoothly out there in the barns and such. Sawyer is in charge of all that.
Ahhh. Sawyer Elliot, the ranch manager. Tell me, what do you think of him?
Why are you asking that?
No reason. Just wonder what you think of him.
Well, he’s… he’s… you know – fine. Smart. Big. He’s… he’s fine. Crap. Is it hot in here? Suddenly I think it’s really hot in here.
No. Temperature is very normal. Cool, as a matter of fact.
So what about Sawyer?
Nothing! The ranch hands all seem to like him. They respect him.
He says he thinks of the ranch hands as family.
(Snorts) Yeah. He thinks they are all pretty important.
You seem unhappy about that. Jealous, even. Doesn’t that “family” include you?
Are you kidding me? Sawyer thinks I am one completely screwed up idiot. He wishes I would pack my stuff and get the hell out. He hates me.
I find that hard to believe.
Oh, believe me. He can’t wait to be rid of me. And it’s probably best I get out, too, before… well, just before.
Before he finds out…that I’m gay.
You’re gay? Oh. I get it. You like him.
What? No! I don’t like him. He’s… yeah he’s nice looking. Very nice looking. (shakes his head) It doesn’t matter.
Does your aunt know?
That you’re gay.
Oh yeah. She’s always known.
Really now? She’s okay with that?
Of course. Why wouldn’t she be?
Hmmm. No reason. Just wondering why she insists on you helping instead of hiring someone who – excuse this the way it sounds – knows what they are doing?
(Shrugs) I have no idea. I asked her the same thing.
Seems rather suspicious, don’t you think? Maybe she knows something you don’t?
(Laughs) Never mind. But I think this is going to get very interesting in the next several weeks.
Riven Creek Ranch, Trace. Riven Creek ranch.