Anne Edmonds spends her time lurking in cafes, airports, libraries, public spas (bit weird) listening for that magical drop from the eave – a few overheard words that tell you everything. These are the stories of the people you pass everyday in the street.
Illustration by Laura Swaddle
Brunswick Library, Melbourne, 11.45am, August 7, 2014
As my niece slides around the children’s library on two books she has fashioned to her feet like ice-skates (and I laugh but probably shouldn’t), my attention is drawn to an interaction between two three-year-olds nearby.
The bigger boy has just ripped a toy bear belonging to the library away from a boy named Jake and is yelling “Mine! My turn!” Jake reaches out longingly towards the bear but finally gives up saying, “Ok, but my turn next?”
The big boy agrees reluctantly, then whisks the bear away and starts ramming its head into a bookshelf. Jake sits quietly pretending to read a book but really watching the bear, clearly concerned for its safety.
It doesn’t take long for the boy to get bored and drop the bear and then Jake is on his feet, running towards it. He picks it up, cradles it and smiles. The big boy, now frisbeeing DVDs across the room, notices and isn’t happy. He grabs the bear back and yells, “No, my turn!” Jake takes a firm hold of the bear’s legs and starts screaming “No. My turn! My turn!” until the whole library is ringing with it.
Enter Jake’s mum with her cropped blonde hair and all day exercise gear. She’s always either just been at the gym or just about to go to the gym. Or has/is she? We’ll never know. That’s why they wear it.
Jake’s mum grips his arm and says, “Jake stop it! Give that bear back.”
“Not fairsies”, I mutter under my breath but, as per the Eavesdroppers’ Code of Ethics, don’t intervene.
“Say you’re sorry,” she says. “But mummy, it’s my turn,” says Jake starting to cry. “Give it back,” she yells viciously. Jake returns the bear and says, “I’m sorry”.
Fast forward 25 years and Jake is sitting in the living room waiting for his girlfriend, Danielle, to come home. As she stumbles down the hallway he stands to meet her: “Where have you been Danielle?”
“With the girls.”
“Don’t lie. I know what you’re doing.”
“What? What am I doing?”
“Cheating on me.”
“Yeah, that’s right. I am,” she slurs. “You know why?”
“Because you’re fat. You’re a fat boy”.
Jake looks down.
“Now you say it,” she says. Danielle morphs into Jake’s mother, standing before him in a matching Lorna Jane running ensemble.
“I’m a fat boy,” says Jake.
“Now say you’re sorry.”
“I’m sorry you cheated on me.”
Climbing into bed in the spare room that night, Jake takes Bear firmly in his arms and whispers, “My turn”. Danielle’s body is never found.
Or he could be fine and living out a happy, fulfilling life. We’ll never know.
Anne Edmonds is one of Australian's most exciting new stand up, character and banjo-playing comedians.