d.a.d.s = dancing and driving school: That is my new business idea. I need a job that is not based on someone else’s world view. Dancing is for girls and driving for boys. Over the last six months it’s succeeded. Word of mouth about my abilities is spreading in this small-town community and I’m earning a living.
Today’s sunny morning shift is in a small, automatic transmission training car. I have a 16-year-old student, Rory, coming for his first driving lesson. Boys can be cocky but confident so it will be interesting to see how this goes.
A tap on the window at the driver’s side startles me.
I push the electric button to lower the window and I see a tall, dishevelled school girl in uniform. She pushes her head through the window and as I reach across to lower the window further our foreheads crash together. We both pull back, embarrassed.
“Rory’s not coming today. He says he’s an excellent driver,” she tells me.
“That’s a line from Rainman,” I reply with an intelligent smile still rubbing my head.
“Ok.” She says looking guilty. “He’s just not coming.”
“How is your head?” I ask having stopped rubbing mine.
“It’s alright, thanks. I’m Ramona. Rory’s sister. We’re twins.”
“Does he always get you to do his dirty work?” I ask with more of a smile on my face and a little bit of resentment inside.
“You can look at it that way. I do it for him cos he’s family,” comes Ramona’s confident reply. “I can do his lesson instead.”
She throws her school bag into the back and climbs into the passenger’s seat.
“I’m an excellent driver, too. Better than Rory.”
I’m embarrassed and off guard. Thrown off course by this 16-year -old’s confidence.
I know I can’t give her a make shift driving lesson. My business depends on holding everything together and making sure everything is legal. If caught out, with an underage driver, I’m in big trouble.
“I can’t give you a lesson, Ramona. You should be at school,” I say with a shaky voice.
“Don’t be an idiot. Are you scared of me?”
This much confidence throws me even more. My face goes red with uninvited embarrassment. I am nervous now.
There is a loud blast of a horn as a school bus comes up behind us.
I shouldn’t be parked in this bus stop. I move on up the street.
The bus passes with the whole of the high school looking down.
They are pointing and laughing at us in the car. I go an even deeper shade of red.
“Get a grip.” She says, “Just give me the lesson and take the money.”
The bus stops suddenly.
The side door opens and a middle aged, baggy suited man jumps onto the berm and is walking, almost running, towards the car.
“Oh no! That’s Mr Baldwin the vice principal,” laughs Ramona.
Writing order: Suraya Dewing (NZ), Ken Burns (NZ), Anna Zhigareva (Scotland), Ray Stone (Cyprus), Hemali Ajmera (India), Linda Alley (Aust), Iliena Bosu (India), Rosemary Wakelin (Aust), Anthony Smits (Samos Island), Sumanda Maritz (S. Africa)