Thursday, February 17, 2011

Rubbish Bin Millionaires (October 2009)

This is a children story I wrote for a Children's Literature class at uni. We were allowed to write about hat we wanted as long as it was either a short story or the first chapter of a story.  Also it had to be based on an exercise that we learned in class. I decided to do mines as a modern day version of a fairytale (The Little Mermaid). So hope you enjoy it, whether you're a kid or not.

I could feel the blood rush to my head as I plunged head first into the rubbish bin, rummaging through the garbage. My body from the waist up was completely inside the bin and if anyone was watching they would see my spindly legs wriggling like an ant that is near death. My hair was blocking my vision, so I had to use my free hand to shift stuff out of the way, my other hand attempting to keep balance onto the rim of the rubbish bin.
Man where is a hairpin when you need one’ I thought to myself. ‘Or even better, a torch; I can hardly see a thing down here’. I hoist myself out of the bin and wipe away the sweat and gunk.

Before you imagine that I must be some pitiful homeless person, let me introduce myself. My name is Mina Williamson. I’m approximately eleven and a half years old and I’m a bit of a tomboy. Sure I wear a dress every now and then but I would rather be seen dead in my favourite pair of jeans, my uniform you might say. You see like most people, I dream of being rich and famous, although I dream more of being rich than being famous. Fame is fickle. I’m talking millions of dollars rich so I can buy whatever I want, live in a huge mansion, wear expensive designer jeans and live a life full of luxury. The reality is that I live in shoebox of an apartment in a working class or should I say not-really-working-at-all-class side of town with my mum, dad and my bratty three-year-old sister Rose. Not exactly what you would call luxurious right? I don’t normally get pocket money but I do on occasions. I cannot possibly live on $10 dollars a week. Most weeks, I protest for an increase, but they just shake their heads and give me the same one hour lecture they’ve given me about how money doesn’t grow on trees and you should be grateful for what you have blah blah.

I don’t really blame them though. My dad is a construction worker and he doesn’t get paid much when he is actually working. People who work at McDonalds get a better wage. I know, I’ve asked them. My mum works as an assistant nurse to the nurse at the local dentist in our area and doesn’t get many hours. Some times she does some cleaning which means she isn’t home when I get home from school and that means that as soon as I get home I have to do the chores as well collect Rose from the neighbours and put up with her whining for 2 hours. I bet the rich kids in the posh part of town don’t have to do chores. I don’t care if it is character building. I bet they’re watching TV and playing the latest games. Our TV is a dinosaur. I bet they don’t know how to even peel a potato. They hire people to do all their dirty work while they get to do whatever they want. Man I wish I was rich.
So what has this got to do with me being horizontal in a rubbish bin? Well first of all, the bin actually belongs to the Parisi’s. They have to be the richest family living in this town. I mean they have EVERYTHING. The dad owns a million companies; the mum’s out shopping everyday and always in the glossy magazines for this or that charity function and their kids, the Parisi twins, always have the latest toys and clothes and are always doing cool things like skiing and horse riding. Unlike them, I wear my cousin’s hand-me-downs and the last time we went on holiday, it was camping! Every week I ride my bike to their beautiful mansion and raid their bins. I am not always lucky, but sometimes I pick up some decent stuff. Once I found a gold locket. They must have thrown that out by mistake. I have quite a collection hidden underneath the floor, under my bed of all the stuff that the Parisi’s have thrown out in the past year. The reason I keep it there is so my parents don’t ‘accidently’ stumble upon it and think I have stolen it. I mean is it really a crime to steal from people’s rubbish bins? To be honest I would give anything to become like them. To be rich.

Suddenly I hear a coughing noise from the other bin. It’s Frankie Bates. He’s been my best friend since grade two, practically my wing man. All the other kids, mainly the boys, used to pick on him because he is short and a bit shy. I was the only one that would stand up for him and believe me I’m not that much taller myself. Besides I knew none of the boys would fight me, because though I might be short I’m pretty tough for my age. I’m not afraid to get dirty as you have probably learnt so far. Frankie emerges out of the other rubbish bin with dust all over him and a worried look on his face.
“Found anything?” I ask him.
“I really don’t like this Mina” Frankie whines. “We could get caught any minute and then my parents will ground me for a whole month. Let’s just leave while we still have a chance”.
I groaned in frustration. As much as I liked Frankie he did have a habit of ruining my buzz.
“Relax Frankie, we’re not gonna get caught, the Parisi’s have gone out and I’m not leaving until we’ve searched every rubbish bin for some treasure they have missed”. I told him. I walked over to him as he brushed the dust off his clothes. “Now have you found anything or what?”
“Well I did see something shiny...” he said
“Perfect. Anything shiny has to be worth something” I said with excitement. “Where is it?”
Frankie pointed down to the bin. “It’s down the bottom but I can’t reach. My arms are too short” he said in disappointment.
I went over to the bin and saw the shiny object peeking out down below. I had to get it. I bent down inside to reach for it, my arms long enough to grab onto it. I pulled it out and my eyes widened as I saw what it was.
“Holy jamma lamma” I said in awe.
It was a gold chain with a shiny white pearl. It was beautiful however I wouldn’t wear it myself. But that pearl was so pretty. Frankie looked at it in total shock. “Wow that has to be expensive – at least $100.00!”
“I know Frankie. We’ve struck a gold mine alright.” I said smiling widely. I grabbed my backpack and put the necklace inside safely and zipped it back up.
Frankie stared at me for a minute before asking, “You’re going to split it with me right? It’s not just another souvenir”.
“Collectables, Frankie” I corrected him. “One day I will cash in and you and me, we’re going to get our fresh start and I’m going to be rich and have cool expensive things and you will be right there beside me. I’m going to need people to work for me you know”.
“But it isn’t fair” Frankie said with anger in his voice. “You always get all the good stuff and I get nothing. I want a souvenir too you know”.
That last remark made me feel a twinge of guilt. I had been acting a bit selfish What kind of a friend am I? I let out a sigh and smiled at Frankie.
“I’m sorry buddy, next time we go bin-raiding, you can keep the first thing we find”
Frankie’s frown faded which made me feel a bit better. “Thanks Mina, you’re a good friend”
“The best you’ll ever have” I told him. I then had another look at the tall, black, iron gates that guarded the Parisi’s beautiful mansion. They looked indestructible, not even my Dad’s truck could ram that gate down. I walked closer to the gates and peeped my head through the bars with Frankie in tow. We then stared in awe at the place I’d call my dream home.

It was as house straight out of the pages of a Home Beautiful Magazine. There was a long stretch of road leading to the mansion with big palm trees leading the way, like a holiday resort. The grass looked a lot greener than the grass in the local park. So soft and manicured. At the end of the driveway was a huge, fountain so big you could almost swim in or have a shower underneath it, with the water shooting up into the sky. Then marble steps leading to a white mini mansion. I can only imagine what it would be like on the inside if it looks so good on the outside. I could only guess that it would have a long sweeping stairway with massive pictures of dead relatives. Perhaps a chandelier or ten, black and white tiles, fat couches with millions pillows, a huge fireplace in the living room which would probably be the size of our whole apartment.
“Someday we’ll live in a house like this” I whispered to Frankie as I gazed at the mansion in admiration. I didn’t hear a reply back. “Frankie, what do you think?” I asked as I turned to see Frankie in what I must say was an awkward position. I gasped. Frankie’s head was stuck in the iron bars and he was struggling to free himself. He was wriggling like crazy.
“Argh I’m stuck, help me Mina” he whimpered.
I started to laugh. Frankie always manages to get himself in sticky situations and I’m the one who usually comes to the rescue. Seeing him like that really cracked me up. Frankie heard me laughing and got angry.
“It’s not funny; I could be in serious pain right now”.
“Oh lighten up. If it was me you’d be laughing too”. I told him as I came behind him and grabbed his head. I pulled as hard as I could but Frankie’s big head was wedged between the bars. I couldn’t help thinking, Frankie is great but he is such a bubblehead, it’s going to be up to me to plan our fortune. Frankie moaned in pain while I kept smoothing his skin off his face and pulling his hair, trying to get him out of the bars. I had started to panic a bit.
‘Hmm not so funny anymore’ I thought.
“It’s hopeless. My head’s stuck between an iron gate and if I don’t get out in time, my mum’s gonna kill me“.
It dawned on me that if someone sees us, we’ll get caught and my treasure hunting days will be over. I had to think of something fast. Then it came to me, I remembered seeing a half a tub of butter in the bin and quickly ran over to the bin and once again, legs up, head down rummaging through for that butter.
“Aha, here it is” I yell. “Don’t worry Frankie, everything is going to be fine, I’ll get you out in a jiffy”.
“Why are you still looking in the bin, I’m stuck here”.
I ran back to Frankie with the butter in my hand, I stopped to look at the butter first; it was top shelf stuff of course. I grabbed a blob of butter and started rubbing it all over the sides of Frankie’s face.
‘Gross, what are you doing?” Frankie complained.
“Trust me, I saw mum do this once to take her ring off” I said reassuringly.
After a tug and twist, Frankie’s head slipped out and he fell out on top of me. He looked like a greasy, red, angry sausage. We both laughed hysterically. It was then I thought, we may not have money, but we sure do have fun.

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