Joseph gasped. ‘A Nissan Micra. A white Nissan Micra. Oh my god, you have no idea how much I want that car.’
I made eyes with Max in the rear-view. ‘Yeah, cuz it goes with your “micra” penis.’
‘Wow, man.’ Joseph turned from the front passenger. ‘That is so funny, at least twice as funny as last time.’
I glanced at the mirror, angled to see a grin. ‘Max thinks it’s funny.’
‘Max thinks everything’s funny.’
‘Yeah, including this.’
Joseph leant back into the seat. ‘You just don’t get it. Women love Nissan Micras. If I had one, there’s one hundred percent more chance I’d get more action than I currently am.’
‘That’s still nothing,’ muttered Seamus, not looking up from his phone.
‘And just because you think women like owning Nissans,’ I said, ‘doesn’t mean they’re into guys with one.’ I’d seen a tatty copy of 12 Rules for Life—borrowed from Max—lying on the floor of Joseph’s room. It wasn’t a very tidy room. ‘What would Jordan Peterson say?’ I looked to Seamus, but he was chewing his nails.
‘Lobsters,’ croaked Max from behind the wheel.
I cleared my throat for Peterson’s wheezy drawl. ‘Women don’t value men for accomplishing tasks they themselves are capable of doing, which includes owning shitty cars for attempted coitus with much older female co-workers.’
Joseph groaned. ‘Oh my god, Rory, it was one time.’
‘You wish it was more than one time.’
‘No, because it was shit and awkward and if I hadn’t kept talking to her afterwards, I wouldn’t have found out her age and it wouldn’t have been even more awkward.’
I couldn’t help grinning. ‘I still can’t get past how you work with someone, sleep with them, and still don’t know their age.’
Joseph furrowed his brow. ‘Haven’t I already told you? She worked in the shop next door. We just shared the same dock.’
I gave that a moment.
‘So, you met this woman on a loading dock and somehow it led to her sucking on your nipples?’
Max snorted, but Joseph continued. ‘Sure, yeah, and after that we kept talking at work and she brought up finishing her studies and where she’d travelled to, so I said “Wow you’ve really done a lot” and then found out she was twenty-seven.’
‘And you were nineteen.’
‘And I’m living with the shame, okay, so I don’t need you to keep going on about it,’ Joseph snapped. ‘Max, there’s a U-turn there.’
‘No there’s not.’
‘Oh my god, Max, yes there was.’
‘I was distracted.’
I caught a sign from the window. ‘I think we’re in Sunnybank now.’
Joseph wasn’t having it. ‘So, rather than take any of multiple U-turns, Max, we’re driving in a complete circle back to Garden City.’
‘Stop complaining, we’re in Sunnybank,’ I said. ‘You can appreciate that.’
‘It’s twelve on a Saturday,’ smiled Max. ‘No one he appreciates will be out.’
Seamus stretched, looking up from his phone. ‘Max, gimme the aux.’
‘King Giz, please.’
‘Sure, just don’t want to listen to these two go at it.’
‘There’s a washing machine next to that mailbox,’ Joseph said.
‘Not into that?’ I teased back.
Seamus put on Rattlesnake, strumming along and bobbing his head. ‘The problem is, Joseph, that you don’t know when it’s the right time to start, and you, Rory, don’t know when to stop.’
I ran my tongue over teeth. ‘Name one time–’
‘The Qur’an at the birthday,’ went Seamus.
‘The Qur’an at my fucking birthday,’ shouted Joseph.
Max cackled like Salacious B. Crumb from Star Wars. You know, the little goblin thing.
Joseph swivelled round to face me. ‘I was so close to chucking you out.’
‘But you didn’t,’ I said.
‘Rory, if Sam had said anything, I would’ve.’
‘But he didn’t.’
‘That’s only because Sam has the patience of a Muslim saint,’ went Seamus. ‘Or whatever they’re actually called.’
‘Guru,’ Joseph offered.
‘No,’ I said, ‘that’s Sikh.’
‘When the fuck did you get so knowledgeable about other religions?’
‘Was taught it in English public school before Catholic private here.’
‘Not taught to not fuck around with the Qur’an, apparently,’ Joseph scoffed.
‘Beside the point,’ interrupted Seamus. ‘We were only joking about bringing Qur’ans. We didn’t expect you to actually have one, let alone take it out.’
‘And I immediately put it away when I was asked.’ I paused. ‘And Sam didn’t even react when I brought out Children of Dune after that, so I was definitely in the clear.’
Max shook his head; the other two weren’t so mute.
‘Rory, you’re an idiot.’
Author: Rory Hawkins is an English/Irish-grown & Meanjin/Brisbane-based Creative Writing student in his third year, who aspires to work in editing and publishing so he can tell other people how to write better than him. As a 2022 Shortlister for the Allen & Unwin prize, with prose and poetry in QUT’s Glass magazine, previous issues of ScratchThat, read aloud with QUT Lit Salon, and occasionally on his Instagram @rory_writes_sometimes, his work is clearly just the best. Which is his opinion. Which is a fact. That he says.
Artist: Cyndra Galea (she/they) is in the third year of her Bachelor of Fine Art’s in Creative Writing with a minor in Professional Communications. When not found with her head in a book or three, Cyndra can be found radioactive antique hunting, fixing classic cars with her dad, drawing on her iPad, or writing and editing her manuscript. Cyndra aims to work as a structural editor when she finishes her Masters of Editing and Publishing, but also dreams of releasing novels of their own.
Editors: Kelly Rouzbehi and Euri Glenn