Youth Award: Madeleine Gomez for Scrap Metal

Madeleine Gomez is a 17 year old student from Victoria.

Scrap Metal

Ok, ignore it, just ignore it. It doesn’t bother you, you are concentrating.

I read the quadratic equation for a sixth time, the VROOOM of a wanker’s engine forcing itself unceremoniously upon my ears.

“Just shut up!” my sister yells from the next room.

He won’t hear her over the thrumming of his epic bass-line and awesomeness. He’s just so cool. All the guys wish they were him and all the girls (but only the hot ones) wish they were with him.

Mind, focus! Ok, 7a+-

“Oh will you shut the fuck up!” I can’t bear it any longer. He’s just driving up and down our cul-de-sac, screeching his tyres as he makes his turns and revving the engine because… well, because he is just the greatest.  I screw my fists into balls and clench my teeth.

“That new guy across the road has got to get out of my life. Like, now,” I say over dinner.

“Right?! I am actually going to kill him—actually!” my sister, Lissa, rants. “I mean, did you see him fawning over that bloody car all weekend? I went out at eleven and he was there polishing and dusting and scrubbing, and when I came back at six he was still there. Get a life.”

“It’s a piece of metal and chemicals for goodness sake,” I agree.

“Get a better hobby; spend money on something useful and worthwhile. Go save the whales or end world poverty.”

“It’s such a waste of money. I’m going to blame him when I fail my maths test. You know, he represents everything that is wrong with the world. He’s a snooty, over-privileged private school boy living off Mummy and Daddy’s money with an inscribed sense of self- worth, too lazy to get a job, too precious to have his money cut off, spending his time polluting our world with his petrol and entitlement.”

Lissa laughs.

“Thanks for that, Ellie—made my day.”

F.

My failed test glares up at me with the callous eyes of the Devil. I visualise going home, grabbing a nice, sharp knife, knocking on the git’s door and STABBING him with it RIGHT THROUGH HIS CONCEITED FACE.

But no. Zen. Breathe in… and then out. Ahhhh.

I repeat my mantra as I stump home from the bus stop. I focus my eyes on my feet, watching them scuff along the name-riddled footpath. As I push my key into the forever-sticking front door, I hear him zoom down the street and screech into his driveway. I can almost feel self-esteem radiating out of him. He grabs a cloth and bottle and crouches down to polish the already shining brake calliper. Why? WHY?

“Lissa,” I call as I throw my bag down. “I have had enough. I’m going to ask him one last time to, just, not and if he doesn’t I’m resorting to plan B.”

Lissa pokes her head around the kitchen door and nods her agreement. Together we stroll across the road with all the patience and humility we can muster.

“Hey, how’s it going?” Lissa begins.

“Not too bad, babe,” he smirks, giving her the ‘up and down.’

I step in before he can strip her clothes off with his eyes.

“So, my sister and I just wanted to ask if you could perhaps do your driving up and down and around somewhere else. Because it’s really hard to concentrate on our work and it’s just a bit distracting. You know how teachers get when you don’t do your homework,” I say, trying to politely get us out of this.

He doesn’t take his eyes off Lissa and gives no indication that he has heard. Lissa takes another approach.

“It’s just really distracting because we’d way rather be out here with you, in your amaaazing car,” she batts her eyelashes. I resist the urge to throw up all over his shiny red Mazda.

“Sorry loves, but she needs to go for a spin every day, else she’ll start to think I don’t love her.” He throws a sleazy wink at my sister.

“Yeah, I don’t think that will be an issue,” I snort and walk away. Lissa follows.

“Plan B,” I say, “Is to get him where it hurts—his baby.”

“He’s got an alarm system that would be overqualified in protecting the nuclear launch codes and he probably sleeps with the keys in his hot little hands. We couldn’t touch it without him calling in the cavalry,” Lissa points out.

I smile evilly.

“He puts his car in for a service once a month. Like clockwork, those are the only assignments I’ve aced all year. He’s due this Thursday.”

“Ok. How does that help us?”

I waltz up to the pristine desk and smile in the awkward way one does when confronted with a receptionist.

“Hi, I’m here to pick up a red Mazda, licence number S-u-p-B-t-c-h,” I say, fingers curled, nails biting into my palm.

The man behind the counter taps for a moment.

“Yep, that is just about ready. Give us a half hour.”

I’m slightly dumbfounded—it’s going to work. Is it going to work? It must be going to work.

I stutter out:

“Of course. Shall I pay now?”

I offer my credit card. I figure the money I lose paying for the service will be fully covered… later.

I sit on an awkward plastic chair and fiddle with my phone. My heart beats in rhythm with the clicking of my teeth.

“Hey,” the guy from behind the counter calls to me. “It’s ready.”

I can’t believe it. He leads me out into the yard and hands me the keys.

“Thank you so much,” I smile, sliding into the driver’s seat. I can’t wait to see the look on his face when he discovers his car has been so generously offered up for scrap metal.

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