Sunday, September 02, 2007

Ned Kelly Awards

One day my publisher e-mailed to let me know that Bindy Mackenzie had been shortlisted for the Ned Kelly First Crime Novel awards.
We walked up the road to celebrate.
We walked past the three bus shelters. A wisp of white light caught the corner of my eye. I turned back and there was Charlie’s hat on the ground.
“Charlie,” I said, “the hat goes on your head.”
We walked past the local primary school.
“Enrol now for Kindergarten 2008!” said the sign.
Why not? I thought, recklessly. I felt excited. Kindergarten was a blast! But then, who would take care of Charlie?
I bought strawberries, bananas, and chocolate-coated apricots, to celebrate the Ned Kelly awards.
We walked back down the hill, past the local primary school. I stopped outside the kindergarten classrooms to consider. Look at Our Lovely Lions! said a poster, alongside a series of lovely lion paintings.
At the first bus shelter I noticed a sign.
Bar Fridge with Freezer Compartment, said the sign. $750 O.N.O.
“Seven hundred and fifty dollars!” I said to Charlie. “For a bar fridge? Are they mad? Even if it does have a freezer compartment!!!”
All the way down the hill I explained to Charlie how excessive that was. I said, what you don’t realise, Charlie, is that you can get a whole new full-size fridge for that amount!
There was nobody around. This was a hot day.
At the second bus shelter I noticed a purple octopus. It was looped to a pin on the noticeboard.
“That’s just like your purple octopus!” I began. “How about that! Who’d – ”
Then I said, “Hm”, and checked Charlie’s pram. His purple octopus was missing.
“Charlie,” I said, “the purple octopus goes in your pram.”
At the third bus shelter there was another copy of the earlier ad.
Bar Fridge with Freezer Compartment, said the sign, $75 O.N.O.
“Oh,” I said, “Seventy five dollars.”
I had misread it.
“You see,” I told Charlie, “it was the O.N.O. It confused me by looking like zeros, I guess. But seventy-five dollars, now that’s more – ”
We were almost home.
I stopped.
It had occurred to me that Charlie had not said a single word the whole journey.
I checked inside the pram. He was quietly taking his sock off, and slipping it over the side.