Thursday, December 17, 2009

Pleasing Yasmina Part 1

This is a short story I entered into a competition a while back.
I didn't win anything.

Pleasing Yasmina

Laura had noticed that when people were nervous, they did odd things like jiggling their legs or pacing up and down. When Laura was nervous, like she was now, she rolled her friendship bracelets up and down her wrist. The sound of the plastic threads clacking over each other was relaxing, like scrunching paper or rubbing your teeth together.

Laura was nervous because it was the last Friday before school started and the car was almost at Yasmina’s house.
If she didn’t ask her mum now, she would never be allowed to join Yasmina’s new club.
Laura had joined Yasmina’s Bracelet Club when Yasmina had given her a custard-coloured friendship bracelet on the first day of school holidays and told her that it meant they were best friends.
Now Yasmina had decided to form a new club and had been talking about it for the entire two week break. And for two weeks, Laura had been rehearsing how she would ask her mum if she could join the new club. She rolled her bracelets up and down.
‘Um … Mum?’
‘Yes, sweetheart?’
‘There’s going to be this new club at school and it’s pretty good and I think I want to join.’
‘Sounds interesting!’ Her mum smiled. So far, so good.
‘Yeah, it’s a totally cool club. All these cool people are going to be in it, and we’re gonna do all this really cool stuff together, and call each other and stuff.’
‘Great. Like a friends club or something?’

'Yeah!' Getting warmer.
'What's your club called?'
Now for the hard part. ‘Well, it’s like a group of girls and we all call each other and keep in touch and organise things together and we all need to be able to be in touch all the time in case something happens and we all need to know about it. You know?’
They pulled up at a traffic light. Her mum looked over at her as if hearing her for the first time. ‘Sweetheart, what are you talking about? What kind of club is it? Is it organised through the school?’
Laura swallowed and brushed her hand up her wrist. ‘No, not really. It’s kind of a mobile phone club and so we all have to have mobiles and that’s how we keep in touch, like best friends and stuff.’
Her mum screwed up her face as though she could smell something dirty.
Laura rolled her bracelets and kept talking.
‘So can I get a mobile? Yasmina says they’re really cheap and it’ll be so handy for like when you need to get in touch with me, and Yasmina say they’re really convenient for like, in an emergency or something and I’ll be able to talk to all the other girls in the club and …’
‘Laura! You’re eleven! You’ve never needed a mobile before and you don’t need one now!’
‘But Yasmina says that they’re really cheap and …’
‘That Yasmina girl has never had to pay for anything in her life. This is just like that bracelet club or whatever it was a couple of weeks ago, isn’t it?’
Laura bit her lip and said nothing.
‘Look. I don’t mind buying you a bunch of bracelets so you can be in with your friends, but we just can’t afford a mobile phone, Laura. I’m sure it’s lovely for Yasmina to get everything she wants, but you’ll just have to do without.’
‘But Yasmina got hers last night and I have to get one before school starts or …’
‘You’re not getting one, Laura. I don’t care what Yasmina said, we just don’t have enough money. ’
‘But Mum, I …’
Her mum slapped the steering wheel. ‘I’ve said my bit, Laura.’
They pulled up outside Yasmina’s house just as Yasmina came skipping out to the car. She was waving a hot pink mobile phone and wearing the sunglasses she said her mum would buy her to go with it.

To be continued ...


  1. That is so eerily similar to a conversation that I've had recently with Sapphire I'm still sitting here wondering how you overheard it!

  2. Interesting so far, don't keep us waiting too long for part two, okay?
    I'm in two minds myself about young kids having mobile phones. Two of my grandchildren have them but they're now almost 14 and 16,the older one got a cheap pre-paid phone in her last Primary year so that they could phone home as they were leaving school to walk home, in the hills along a road with no proper footpath for part of the way. This way if they didn't get home within an acceptable time frame, T could get in the car and go looking for them. When she moved on to high school, the phone was handed down to the younger child. They both proved to be responsible users and now each have their own phone, but must pay for their credits out of their pocket money. That's why I buy extra credit for their birthdays and christmas.

  3. P.S. They DIDN'T walk alone, there was always a bunch of kids going in the same direction, but kids will goof around and accidents were always a possibility, hence the phones once they started walking instead of getting picked up and driven home.

  4. Fear not, fair River. All is ready to go.
    Didn't kids just walk home before mobile phones? I used to catch the bus into the city and home again after school when I was ten. Is that old enough? Too young?


An explanation of The Joy Division Litmus Test

Although it may now be lost in the mysts of thyme, the poll below is still relevant to this blog. In the winter of 2008, Mele and I went to live in Queensland. In order to survive, I bluffed my way into a job at a Coffee Club.
It was quite a reasonable place to work: the hours were regular, the staff were quite nice, it wasn't particularly taxing on my brain.
There were a few downsides: In the six weeks or so that I worked there, there was about a 90% staff turnover (contributed to by my leaving). This wasn't seen as a result of the low pay, the laughability of staff prices or the practice of not distributing tips to staff, rather it was blamed on the lack of work ethic among Bribie Island's youth.
However, one of the stranger aspects of the cultural isolation that touched our lives during our time "up there" was the fact that nobody at my work had heard of the band Joy Division.
The full explanation is available here.
But please, interact a little further and vote in my ongoing poll. The results are slowly mounting up, proving one thing: people read this blog are more well-informed about Joy Division than anyone who works at the Coffee Club on Bribie Island.

Have you heard of the band Joy Division?

Chinese food, not Chinese Internet!

Champions of Guess The Header

  • What is Guess The Header about? Let’s ask regular “Writing” reader, Shippy: "Anyway, after Franzy's stunning September, and having a crack at 'Guess The Header' for the first time - without truly knowing what I was doing mind you - I think I finally understand what 'GTH' is all about. At first I thought you needed to actually know what it was. Don't get me wrong — if you know what it is, it may help you. I now realise that it's more Franzy's way of invoking thought around an image or, more often than not, part of an image. If you dissect slightly the GTH explanatory sentence at the bottom of his blog you come up with this: “The photo is always taken by me and always connects in some way to the topic of the blog entry it heads up.” When the header is put up, the blog below it will in some obscure way have something to do with it. “Interesting comments are judged and scored arbitrarily and the process is open to corruption and bribery with all correspondence being entered into after the fact and on into eternity, ad infinitum amen.” Franzy judges it, but it's not always the GTH that describes the place perfectly that gets it. “The frequent commenters, the wits, the wags and the outright smartarses who, each entry, engage to both guess the origin and relevance of the strip of photo at the top (or “head”) of each new blog and also who leave what I deem the most interesting comment.” It generally helps if you're a complete smartarse and can twist things to mean whatever you feel they should mean - exactly the way Franzy would like things to be twisted." - Shippy Blogger and GTH point scorer.
  • Nai - 1
  • Lion Kinsman - 2
  • Will - 2
  • Brocky - 2
  • Andy Pants - 2
  • The 327th Male - 3
  • Mad Cat Lady - 3
  • Miles McClagen - 4
  • Myninjacockle - 4
  • Asheligh - 5
  • Neil - 5
  • Third Cat - 5
  • Adam Y - 6
  • Squib - 6
  • Mele - 6
  • Moifey - 7
  • Jono - 8
  • The Other, other Sam - 14
  • Kath Lockett - 15
  • Shippy - 19
  • River - 32