The Betrayal of Bindy Mackenzie (30 page)

I admit, I said it because I wanted to scare you away from debating. I was completely mistaken. You won our first debate for us on Friday night. I am honoured to have you on the team.

You, Emily Thompson, are a northern hairy-nosed wombat.

A wombat is a strong, sturdy animal with short legs and short claws.

It likes to frolic when cheerful.

It will growl, snort and screech when angry.

It loves chocolate.

And it is so tough and so determined it can push its way through any fence and dig under any wall.

I hope you will forgive me for mistaking you for a
komodo dragon, and I hope you will accept this small gift: complimentary personalised memo stationery.

Very Best Wishes,
Bindy Mackenzie

PS I chose a northern hairy-nosed wombat because these are more rare than the common wombat, and you, Emily, are unique.


My Buddy Diary

By Bindy Mackenzie

Monday, 8.00 pm
This afternoon I tried another class at the gym, as I have yet to complete my buddy's challenge. I tried:



I couldn't do it. Such strange undulations of the body! Such meaningless slappings of the shoulders and the thighs, while the head darts back and forth! As soon as I had figured out one of the patterns, they had moved on to another. And they kept dancing off in one direction while I danced in another. I was always bumping into people.

I still have some kind of a stomach flu, so that might be why it was so hard. There are curious twinges in my stomach, much like the small cracks and snaps you hear, late at night, in a stranger's house.

My Buddy Diary

By Bindy Mackenzie

Wednesday, 11.00 pm
This afternoon, I tried a class called:


Advanced Step

I thought that would be simple. I know how to walk up steps. I have done it often. But oh no, they have to complicate things! First, you have to build a platform, and then you have to
around the platform. Step, jog, jog, step, fall, jog, step. I always jogged while the others stepped, and I don't think you were meant to fall.

I was in no mood to watch Eleanora make pasta after that, and may have been a little snappy with her.

Still, I was already depressed, even before the class. At FAD today, Try taught her own lesson on ‘Study Management'. She had already prepared it, she said.
Why didn't she tell me that when I offered to teach the class?
I feltmortified.

Her session was based on this book she likes, something about multiple intelligence. The book says there are seven different types of intelligence. They are:

‘Body'—which means you can dance, exercise and do sports. Ha ha! I certainly have
kind of intelligence, don't I? Ha ha ha! Anyway, we gave it to Elizabeth, as she's an athlete. Sergio said she's already better than he is at blading.
‘Interpersonal'—where you are good at getting on with other people. I could tell Astrid wanted that one as she's a party girl—she was kind of twirling her ponytail with one hand and brushing cake crumbs off her knees with the other, while we discussed it—but we gave it to Sergio.
‘Intrapersonal'—where you have
brilliance, meaning you think deep thoughts. Secretly, I thought I ought to get that because of my philosophical musings, but I guess the others don't know about those. They chose Briony. Because she is so quiet, I suppose.
‘Mathematical'—which we gave to Astrid because you could tell she was ‘stressing' that she wouldn't get any of the intelligences. Also, she mentioned that she's got a Maths tutor now, and it was working because she got 82% in the latest exam. I got 63% in the same exam. That was surely an error in marking but I haven't raised it with Ms Yen.
‘Musical'—Toby got that because he chants in an almost-musical way. (I hummed softly to myself while they discussed this one, and played a few arpeggios on my knees. To no avail.)
‘Verbal'—the others gave that to Finnegan because they'd heard he's doing really well in Computing Applications and was learning all these programming languages. They decided this equals verbal intelligence in the modern world.
‘Visual'—Emily told us she can read minds so she got that. (I'm not sure that's what it means—I think it might be referring to painting and the arts—but Emily does have a vibrant imagination.)
So that's the seven types of intelligence, and I don't know
if you've noticed this, but Bindy Mackenzie is not there.

Nobody appeared to notice this.

And Try has not said a single word about my Life.

The Dream Diary of Bindy Mackenzie
Thursday, 10.00 pm

Last night I had a dream that lasted through the night, or so it seemed. It lingered in my mind all day, like a tent of darkness, and all day I saw terrible visions—glimpses of decay and broken bodies. I kept remembering those two dead birds I once saw lying in the gutter near Maureen's place. The visions seemed connected to the pains in my stomach and my head. I threw up once, but it did not help.

I cannot clearly recall the dream. The mood was grim and shadowy, and I think it began in a living room somewhere. The tv was on and my father had his feet up on the couch. When I looked at his face, his eyes were bloodshot, so I knew that the tv news was about my mother. I started sobbing, crying out, pleading with the dream to let my mother live— but someone moved quietly into the room and told me it was not just my mother, but also my brother, and probably me as well. There was something absolute in the news of our deaths. There was an ugly smell in the dream, and today, an ugly taste in my mouth.

My Buddy Diary

By Bindy Mackenzie

Thursday, 10.20 pm
Today, despite my darkness and depression, I went to the gym after Maureen's Magic and tried to do a


Spin class

I couldn't keep up. It just means going on a stationary bicycle,
so I thought:
But it's not. They were too fast. My feet got tangled in the pedals. My face was still crimson when I arrived home, and, humorously, Auntie Veronica told me I was looking pale. Ha! If you think a fire engine can look pale! (I said to her).

But she ignored me, and said she'd been noticing that I'm white as a ghost lately—or did she say
white as a corpse?
— and she said she'd got me some Vitamin Supplements, and wondered if I might not be exercising too much? And what did the doctor say about the gland—I interrupted to point out that
the pregnant one, and should be resting on the couch, not running around buying me Vitamin Supplements.

That surprised her.

She is always asking about my health and arranging doctor's appointments for me. I'm tired of making excuses, and pretending to go to the doctor. I feel unwell enough as it is.

As Friday flits and flutters by, so Bindy goes to:
1. Modern History
And Bindy, pay heed to . . .
Ms Walcynski. Haven't done the assignment on Martin Luther King etc yet. Move to a seat way down the back of the room? She might not notice me.

2. Economics
And Bindy, pay heed to . . .
Mr Patel. Have not yet chosen financial article and analysed. Do it on bus on the way to school? Remember scissors, newspapers, pen, etc.

3. Double English
And Bindy, pay heed to . . .
Miss Flynn. Essay on
Pride and Prejudice
due today. Can I write an entire essay during recess? Note that Miss Flynn talks a lot at the start of class—use that time to keep writing?

4. Double English
And Bindy, pay heed to . . .
See above.

5. Double Maths
And Bindy, pay heed to . . .
Lucy Tan, Saxon Walker, Marley Duncan, Kari Hutchinson, Ernst von Schmerz (traitor!), Arcadia Johnston, Chris McAdam, Natasha Bartosz, Deanna Waites, Nicholas Brunelli, Jose Mafio, Jane Ongaro, and
Astrid Bexonville.

6. Double Maths
They all (apparently) did better than me in last week's exam. I still cannot believe it. Must discuss with Ms Yen.

Further note:
Is this actually Bindy Mackenzie's timetable? Can there be such a dramatic change? When have I
been late with an assignment? At the same time there is something oddly exhilarating in the absoluteness of this change. In simply surrendering to perfect failure . . . All these years I have worked so hard and now I am very tired. Isn't it time for me to stop?

[email protected]
[email protected]
SENT:   Friday, 4.00 pm
SUBJECT:   Hi there

Dear Dad,
Now it's my turn to apologise for the delay.

Guess what, I've resigned from Kmart and am working in Maureen's bookstore!!! Thanks for your advice! (Although, I think you might have misunderstood—the pay is actually
in the bookstore. And I'm not the manager. Just an assistant.)

My role is to catalogue and shelve new books. And, I think, to chat with Maureen during frequent breaks for apple muffins and coffee.

The shop, I should say, is veiled in a thin layer of dust. You can tell which sections are unpopular because cobwebs are strung from shelf to shelf. The light fittings are grimy, and clouded with dead moths and flies.

And as for the rooms out the back! Let's just say that
would be calling in the demolition team! I think renovation is beyond me but I
spring clean.

No time though. Maureen's always around, and I'm always busy cataloguing.

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