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20. MILKSHAKE

November 28, 2007

After school, Catherine, Annabel and Layla were sitting outside a coffee shop on Robinson Street – happy to have found shade in this forty degree Celsius furnace. At times there’d be a rise of dusty relief but mostly the unobstructed sun – searing, dominant and with magnetic attraction – held Horsham together.

 

The girls were cradling milkshakes to their chests, the sipping straws stood up like microphones. They were having a stretched and laid back laugh at Layla’s presentation.

 

[Annabel]:

“How did you get to know so much about your religion Layls?. You must study it every day – isn’t that a form of self-abuse? You know more than the priests do. That’s right, I’ll be calling you Monsignor Parkin from now on.”

 

[Layl(s/a)]:

“Oh, you know, it ain’t easy Bel. You read a bit, a spot of Sunday school, get a few people round to tell stories. Before you know it, you find you can’t keep it all in. It has to get out somehow.”

 

[Catherine]:

“Well Layla, now that you’ve opened me up to new ways of looking at the world, I’ve decided I will become a Blocker.”

 

[Layla]:

“Wouldn’t be the worst choice Cath. I think you’ll find you’re a natural at it.

And how would you go about that?”

 

[Catherine]:

“Well, I’d have a particular devotion to the Block himself and be a member of the church of the Block. We’d run around it every Sunday. Maybe we’d have little Block statues and paintings.”

 

[Layla]:

“Sounds very familiar Cath.”

 

[Catherine]:

“Well, no, not exactly. Our houses would all be made in the image of the Block. And we might make our faces a bit angular. That’d be handy because our new babies would all have to put their head on the Block.”

 

[Annabel]:

“Oh God that’s enough Cath.

Knock your Block off.”

 

[Catherine]:

“But I’d at least be different, a bit more exotic, like Layls here.

And I’d grow long luscious hair and sport an all-weather tan.”

 

[Layla]:

“You bitch! Well I hope you get all the hair you want and I’ll pull the thick ones out of your face with a thread – like I do for my old granny.”

 

[Catherine]:

“Yeah, well I’d have a few good years. And ALL the boys would like me and want to kiss me. Sccchhmmmaaccccckkkk. Did you see that Bel, all the boys checking her out today at her presentation?”

 

[Annabel]:

“I did Cath. Scandalous wasn’t it? I did think she played it up a touch. A bit of a flirt is our Layls, a bit of an actress whoooooooo.”

 

[Layla]:

“Come on girls. Show some effort. Religion, boys, same thing – if you don’t get on top of them, they’ll get on top of you.

 

They stopped for a giggle.

 

[Catherine]:

“That’s soooo funny.”

 

[Layla]:

“I know. I must have read it in a book. It just came to me.”

 

[Annabel]:

“I got one. Religion, boys, same thing – get them while they’re hot, they’re lovely. How about that, it’s from Monty Python, kinda. Cath, your turn.”

 

[Catherine]:

“Let me see.

Religion, boys, same thing – oh it’s too hard for me, I don’t want to do it.”

 

Layla and Annabel spluttered into their straws.

 

[Catherine, blushing abundantly]:

“Oh, how embarrassing. I think I’ll need a long sip. I’ll be deBlocked.”

 

[Layla]:

“Strawberry milkshake hmmmmmmmm. Baaaaaaauuuuuuurrrrrrrrppppppp.”

 

[An elderly man passing on the footpath]:

“Bloody oath, girl. What’s in them things? That’d kill a brown dog on a chain.”

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