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Don't Kiss Girls and Other Silly Stories
By Pat Flynn
University of Queensland PressCopyright © 2014 Pat Flynn
All rights reserved.
Funnies Things That Teachers Have
Yelled at Me
Miss Austen — English teacher
To speak or not to speak. There is no question.
Mr. Relf — maths teacher
I'll whack you square in the radius and then lack you in a rectangular prism!
Miss Apple — computer studies teacher
I'll hack you into pieces and then delete you!
Mrs Keys — music teacher
I'll take my drumsticks and whack your brass!
Miss Cook — home ec teacher
Turn the switch to the 'on' position, take out your fork and now place it inside the toaster.
Miss Mason — SOSE teacher
Mr. Painter — art teacher
Do not fart in art
Mr. Fielding — PE teacher
If you do that one more time you'll be practicing javelin catching.
'Hey, Kane. Can I've a go?'
'I don't know, Rossy. This controller's really sensitive.'
Kane reckons he's good at everything, even flying a remote-controlled helicopter. He's only been doing it for twenty minutes so he can't be that good.
'I'll be careful,' I say.
'Of course.' I cross my heart with my thumb.
'Hmmm.' Kane strokes his chin. 'That's what you said when you borrowed my basketball. It came back looking like a football.'
'Hey, that was Dad's fault!' It's true. Dad forgot to look in the rear-view mirror when he was backing out of the driveway.
Now Kane scratches his head. 'You also promised to be careful before you crashed my bike.'
I knew he'd bring that up. 'I swear, mate, that wheelchair ran into me! Anyway ...' It's time he learnt that two can play the blame game. '... what about the time you broke my cricket bat?'
'That's because you bowled a shot-put at me!'
'So? You didn't have to hit it.'
He turns back to the chopper and my left eye starts twitching. I'm addicted to fun and if I don't have some soon, my whole body will go into a spasm. 'Come on, mate. Just one turn? Please?'
Kane sighs. 'I'll think about it.'
This is ridiculous! He can't say no because I gave him the helicopter. Today is Kane's birthday and I came around to drop off his present and eat his cake. He moved across the road years ago, back when I was still wetting the bed, and we've been friends ever since.
After a few seconds of thinking, Kane passes over the remote. But right before I can grab it, he pulls it away. 'First, I'll just show you how it's done,' he says.
I try not to roll my eyes. He's been showing me for the past twenty minutes. The small red and black chopper is sitting in the backyard. Kane pulls on the lever and the helicopter slowly rises, hovers for about 30 seconds, and then lands back on the grass.
'See that? Perfect!'
Looked pretty boring to me. I'd like to see it whiz and dive like an Apache helicopter. But I'm not gonna tell Kane that.
'Yeah. Good one,' I say. I hold my hand out like a beggar and this time Kane gives it up. Cool! Before he can change his mind, I yank up the lever. With a loud hum, the blades spin clockwise and the helicopter rises, heaps faster than when Kane did it. This is so awesome!
'Careful,' says Kane.
I'm too busy tipping the lever to the left to answer. The chopper tilts at a 45-degree angle, cutting through the sky like a bird as it heads towards the neighbour's place. Now that's what I call flying.
'Bring it back, Rossy.'
'Sure.' I tilt the lever to the right and the helicopter obeys, turning and picking up speed as it zooms back towards Kane's house.
'Bring it down!' he orders.
This is so easy that I don't know what Kane's worried about. But I better do what he says before he gives birth to a cow. I pull the lever downwards and expect the helicopter to dip back towards me.
'Rossy! Bring it down now!'
I yank down on the stick but it's like the copter's got a mind of its own. It's heading towards the brick wall of the house.
The good news is the helicopter doesn't slam into the wall. The bad news is it keeps rising, right over the roof of Kane's house and out of our sight.
Kane and I look at each other, then bolt around to the front yard.
'There it is!' he yells.
The chopper's about as high as the telegraph poles and zooming down the street. Kane rips the controller out of my hands but the helicopter's still not listening. As if it would listen to Kane and not me. It's a runaway chopper.
We sprint after it, turning left on Wright Street and right on Wong Way. But even though we're the fastest runners in our grade the helicopter flies even faster, turning into a red and black speck as it heads towards the Sunland Shopping Plaza. When we can't see it anymore, we stop.
'Maybe someone will pick it up when it lands,' I pant. 'Did you write your name on it?'
Kane's eyes narrow. 'I just got it, remember?'
I could point out that he could have written his name on it straightaway, but I don't. I'm a thoughtful bloke. We begin the long walk home.
'You owe me a helicopter,' says Kane.
I could point out that if it wasn't for me he'd never have had a helicopter in the first place, but I don't. Thoughtful yet again. Besides, he's in an extra bad mood because while we were chasing the chopper he stepped in dog poo. He didn't see it because he was looking up at the sky. It's pretty funny, though I'm trying not to laugh.
To tell you the truth, I don't want to buy Kane another helicopter because I'm saving up for tickets to the monster truck show. I won't tell him that – I'll just wait for him to calm down. By tomorrow, we'll probably be laughing about all this, even the dog poo.
Back at Kane's house, he reads out the instructions. He probably should have done that before he started using it.
'The turbo mini-helicopter is very susceptible to wind gusts. Once out of range it will no longer respond to the remote control but keep flying until the battery is flat.'
'Whoa,' I say. 'That baby is probably still going. Pretty cool, when you think about it.'
Kane looks at me. 'I repeat, you owe me a helicopter.'
* * *
'What happened to you?' I ask.
At school the next day, Kevin 'Brains' McMahon has a neck brace and a bandage over his nose.
'I was in an accident.'
'Did you blow yourself up in a science experiment?' asks Kane.
I laugh. I can't help it. It's not nice but it's funny.
'No, Steele,' says Brains. 'Mum had a car accident.'
'What happened?' I ask.
'We were pulling out of the Sunland Shopping Plaza when something landed on our windscreen. Mum got a fright, slammed on the brakes, and the passenger airbag did this.' He points to his mangled face.
'Whoa! That airbag should fight in the UFC,' I say.
Kane frowns. 'What did it look like?'
'A giant grey balloon,' Brains answers.
'Not the airbag, the thing that hit your windscreen.'
Brains thinks for a second. 'A remote-controlled helicopter. Dad says when he finds out who did it he'll sue them.'
'I don't think Sue will scare them,' I say. That's Brains' little sister.
'No, dimwit,' Kane says to me. 'He means the type of sue where you get all their money.'
I can't believe Kane called me a 'dimwit'. He's the one who whacked a shot-put with a cricket bat.
'My dad's a great lawyer so he'll win for sure,' says Brains. 'We just have to find out who's responsible. Dad's already hired a private investigator so it's just a matter of time.'
It's quiet for a bit, except for the sound of Kane nervously tapping two fingers against his chest. I start doing it too. Then Kane says to Brains, 'Let's say someone owns the helicopter but someone else was flying it. Who has to pay the money then?'
I lean forward. It's a good question.
'I'd say it would be the person flying it,' says Brains, 'although the owner may have to pay a percentage if he didn't take proper precautions like telling the person to be careful.'
Kane glances at me. I look at Brains. 'What if the kid doesn't have any money?'
'Dad will get it from their parents. The family will be living in a cardboard box when he's finished with them.' Brains chuckles, then clutches at his jaw. 'Oww! Remind me not to laugh.'
The bell rings and we head off to our English class. As we're walking, Kane puts his arm on my shoulder and whispers into my ear, 'If you don't want your family living on the streets, I'd be dropping off a package to me very soon.'
That afternoon I stop at The Reject Shop and spend my last twelve bucks. Then I drop in at Kane's house. He nods when I hand him the box.
I watch him fly his new helicopter for a while. We've gone down to the local cricket field, away from shopping centres, people and cars. Kane's not bad – slowly learning how to make the chopper do circles. But I know I'd be better at it.
After ten minutes I start to fidget, and at twenty, I can't stop myself.
'Hey, Kane. Can I've a go?'CHAPTER 3
It's Just Not Cricket
'HOWZAT!' Kane yells in his loudest voice.
The rest of the team follows his lead, spreading their arms wide and begging the umpire to give me out. At silly mid-on, Damien Parton even gets down on his knees.
I know why they're doing it. Being the best batsman on our team means I'm a huge threat, and the opposition would love to see me back in the pavilion – or in this case, the oval shed – for only ten runs. Still, it annoys me. Even though Kane's on the opposing team, he's supposed to be my best mate. And as wicketkeeper he would've heard me get a bigger snick than on my first shave. Any fool knows you can't be out LBW when you hit the ball.
Mr Fielding, our PE teacher and cricket umpire, stands twenty metres away, behind the stumps at the bowler's end. Slowly, he raises his hand. I hope he's just got an itchy head. He holds his pointer finger high in the air, and Kane and his team whoop and cheer. I stand there in disbelief.
'You're out, Tony,' says Mr Fielding. 'Leg before wicket.'
I point to the edge of my bat. 'But I hit it, sir!'
'I didn't hear anything,' says Mr Fielding.
That's probably because yesterday he got smacked in the ear with a discus.
'Go have a cold drink, Rossy,' says Kane. 'It will take the edge off.'
The slips cordon laughs and I get even angrier. 'You're gonna pay for this, Kane.'
'I already have. I slipped Mr Fielding twenty bucks at morning tea.'
They laugh again and I trudge off with only one thought on my mind. Revenge.
The under-14 trial cricket match is a big deal at our school. When Mr Fielding announced that I was to be captain of the B team, it was a proud moment. Then he announced the captain of the A team – Kane. I can't believe Kane even made the A's, let alone is captain. We've been playing cricket together for years and I'm as good as him, maybe even better.
After I get out, their fast bowlers knock the middle stump out of our middle order, and the bails off our tail. We're all out for 43, which is an okay score if you're playing basketball, but not so good in cricket.
As the A team walks off the field, they're as lippy as a bunch of ladies.
'We've got them on the ropes now, boys!' yells Damien Parton.
'Let's win this game without losing a wicket,' hollers Harry Visser.
'We'll show them why we're the A's, ay?' shouts Kane. 'And they're the buzzy B's.'
Their players laugh. Ours look down glumly at their white cricket shoes.
It's time to turn this sinking ship around. 'Team meeting!' I yell.
They follow me over to the gum tree, where we make a circle in the shade. It's quiet for a bit.
'Any ideas?' I ask. As captain, I like to give team members a chance to contribute. Especially when I can't think of anything to say.
'How good were their bowlers?' exclaims Gavin Fox. 'It felt like I was facing a team of Mitchell Johnsons out there.'
The boys murmur in agreement.
'And their top five batsmen average over 50 in club cricket,' says Jai Ritchie. 'Let's face it. We're history.'
Most of the boys are nodding. This isn't going like I'd planned.
'We do have one chance,' says Gavin.
'What's that?' I ask hopefully. I've never heard Gavin come up with a good cricket idea yet but there's always a first time.
As the team chuckles, a gumnut falls off the tree and bounces off my head. It knocks the seed of an idea into my brain. I'll need time to think it through, though, and right now I need to give a stirring speech to lift my team's spirits.
'All right, lads,' I say. 'We need to keep our chins up.'
'That'll be easy,' says Gavin. 'We'll be looking up every time the ball flies over our head for six.'
The team titters. Just what a captain needs, a comedian.
'Don't give up now,' I say. 'I've got an idea that will help us win the game.'
'What is it?' asks Jai.
'I'll fill you in later. But if you hear me appeal, I want you to yell your guts out, okay? Even if you don't think it's out.'
I get a few funny looks but they seem to agree.
'Brains, I need to talk to you,' I say. 'Everyone else go get fuelled up.'
The team wanders off to drink cordial and eat peanut butter sandwiches while I chat with Kevin 'Brains' McMahon. He's not the best player on our team but he's by far the smartest.
After telling him my plan, it's time for the million-dollar question. 'Can it actually work?'
Brains purses his lips, thinking. 'Your odds of success are 50/50 at best.'
I smile. I'll take those odds any day.
* * *
Even though I'm ready for action, I decide not to use my plan at first. Who knows, we might get some early wickets and beat them straight up?
Gavin opens the bowling for our team. He's got about as much swing as a 90-year-old golfer, but he works up to a good pace and is fairly accurate. He runs in and bowls the first ball on middle stump. Trouble is it's a rank half-volley. Their opener, Usman Chetcuti, steps down the pitch and smashes a drive back over the bowler's head. It lands just inside the rope. Mr Fielding bends his elbow and straightens it, signalling four runs. There's dead silence from our team.
'Let's hear some encouragement out here,' I yell.
'Good shot, Ussie,' cries Jai.
'Not to him!' I say.
'Oh, okay,' says Jai. 'Look on the bright side, Gav. At least it didn't go for six.'
This must fire Gavin up because the next ball he bowls is a bouncer, but it doesn't bounce too high. Usman steps back and hooks it in the air towards Brains at square leg. The ball is caught. Not by Brains, but by the dirty school creek behind the oval.
Mr Fielding raises both arms in the air. 'Six!'
While the A team searches for the ball in the creek, I have a chat with Brains.
'I'm putting "Plan Snick-o-meter" into action,' I say. 'Any tips?'
Brains adjusts his glasses. 'Stand directly behind the umpire so he can't see what you're doing. And wait until the batsman swings before you make the noise.'
I also have a word with Gavin. 'New strategy. I want you to bowl full, fast and well outside off stump.'
'Why bowl there?' he says. 'I thought the aim was to hit the wickets.'
'Not today. I just want them to miss the ball.'
He looks confused.
'Just do what I say and you'll have better figures than a room full of models.'
He salutes. 'Aye, aye, captain.'
Next ball, Gavin bowls a full-pitched delivery about a metre from off stump. Usman flails away but misses, and, as the ball flies past his bat, I put my plan into action. Whack!
Hidden in my left hand is a spare cricket ball, and in my right is a stick from the gum tree. When I clip them together, it sounds a lot like a bat hitting a ball.
As the real ball is caught by our wicketkeeper, I yell with all my might, 'HOW IS THAT, SIR?'
The B team looks surprised by my enthusiasm, nevertheless they back me up by raising their arms and giving a half-hearted shout.
Mr Fielding stands dead still for a few seconds, and I realise my plan probably won't work. How can it? Even though there was a noise, Usman missed the ball by a good ten centimetres.
But Mr Fielding's eyes mustn't be too good from the time he got hit in the face with a baseball, and he raises his finger. 'Out!' he says. 'Caught behind.'
'I missed it by a mile!' says Ussie.
'You heard the umpire,' I say. 'On your way, mate.'
Ussie walks off steaming and the next batter comes in, only to be caught behind two balls later. He looks very, very surprised.
'I missed it by that much!' he says, holding out his hands the length of a decent-sized fish.
'I heard a clear noise,' says Mr Fielding. 'You're out.'
Excerpted from Don't Kiss Girls and Other Silly Stories by Pat Flynn. Copyright © 2014 Pat Flynn. Excerpted by permission of University of Queensland Press.
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