AWARD FOR ANTS!
Highly Commended in the Junior Fiction section of the Society of Women Writers NSW Biennial Book Awards 2007
Ants in My Dreadlocks was runner-up to Felicity Pullman's latest book in the Janna series.
Rowe is a certified Francophile, often found visiting
has a degree from the
published short story writer, Cynthia’s hobbies are reading, gemology and
watching French programmes on the ‘dish’.
IN MY DREADLOCKS is the second in a series of her books.
My best friend’s mother killed herself by peeing on a
hair duller, skin less perfect than before— yacked about the death a lot. I
guess she thought that by shocking people it took some of the hurt away. You
know, laughing about your old lady having kangaroos loose in the top paddock,
joking about the safety saucepans with the single separate handle you used when
you cooked the mush you spooned into her mouth.
kind of cool.
So I was
filling in time during the flight from
long-term life plan was to return to
still wasn’t revealing much.
got back to Ravella after my trip to
sofa dreams stopped, knowing Namilly smuggled me to safety inside our hollow
sofa during those terrible Events, when violence reigned in
decided to embark upon my work experience programme Namilly told me to keep away
from the country of my birth. She shoved her spade into the soil and said,
“You won’t like what you find! The only thing you’ll dig up will be sewage, like the contents of that septic tank beneath the canna
patch!” Instead of coming to Tullamarine, she stayed brooding in her sunroom
kitchen. Said it’d be too painful to watch me jet off to “that
sniffed a bit.
claimed Re-sale Rose would take everyone’s mind away from “that dreadful
Becker and I were an item now. Lots more killer kisses, and not just in his
mother’s sunken garden. We’d gone all the way, too. Twice. Responsibly. In
the Becker’s bathing box, with rubbers and creams and lying on a fresh white
towel. But it was over quickly, and unfulfilling. Had those lowlife bogans who
jumped me in the ti-tree bushes affected me that
way? Would I feel iffy forever about being touched? But it was great to hear him
say “Love ya, mate!” and lie in his arms listening to the waves break on the
had lost his blizzard bubble look a bit. He still wore buckets of zinc cream on
his face, but you didn’t get such a nasty surprise when the protection wore
off. Apart from a few pit marks, a mega number of freckles and a strange pink
thickening of the skin on the tips of his elbows, his psoriasis was unusually
definite Kurt Cobain look-alike.
course, Win didn’t agree. She said she didn’t know how I could stand to
touch him. But Elizabeth Stubbs (Fat Betty to everyone but Stefan, and real
competition with her newly-acquired, rake thin, dudette body) continued to hang
out everywhere my boyfriend went.
turned eighteen just the other day. His father’s ticker still dicky, there’d
been no party, just the promise of a car.
he’d been making a ginormous number of trips to Kingston—which could’ve
been connected with his Nature Shop beside the lube bay of Vince Becker’s
service station (you chucked a right past the SWAP ‘N’ GO Cylinder Swap
Program sign, then chucked a left past BEST BURNING FIREWOOD). He sold jars of
blue ringers, bits of Palaeozoic rocks thrown up from The Cauldron in sealed
cellophane packets and marine spiders trapped in sea bubbles. Plus other tat for
tourists. Like, crested spoons and stuff.
hauled Namilly out of The Cauldron (she told me she’d slipped but Stef claimed
otherwise), they’d become chummy. And it was the first time I’d seen her
take an interest in anyone at all of the opposite sex.
The guy in the seat beside me, wearing a gross wedding
ring and an even grosser identity bracelet, stuffed the computer printout into
his briefcase. The plane plunged from the sea of sooty cloud soup into clear
air. I saw him gulp as the cabin shuddered.
gulped, too. For I was about to come face-to-face with my French examiner. I
went a hectic shade of red as I remembered the boo-boo I made when I stood
before monsieur on that fateful day in Ravella Community Hall and used the wrong
word for ‘to kiss’. (Fancy telling your examiner Emma Bovary’d gone all
the way— which she had, but you didn’t use that
word with a total stranger.)
exam wrecked my ENTER score, limiting the courses for which I could apply. So, I
accepted this offer…
plane dropped its wheels for landing.
stomach twisted as we jerked onto the runway.
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