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  • Patricia Bernard

A page from the novel

I'd rather swim with sharks than make a speech. Page 76

‘Graaaaan,’

‘Yeeees.’

‘Do you think talking about little kids being bullied at primary school is world shattering enough to fill up 8 minutes of speech-making?’ asked Shona, sticking her finger into her grandmother’s cake mix.

Gran slapped Shona’s sticky finger away. ‘Fingers out!’

‘Ouch!’

Gran handed her the mixing spoon covered in mixture, ‘Here try this.’ Then she nodded hard. ‘Of course I think it is important enough. Don’t forget, bullying doesn’t only take place in primary school. There’s High School bullying, domestic bullying, adults bullying their elderly parents and carers bullying their patients. There’s bullying in the work-place, factories and offices, in the army, in the police, in prisons. There’s bullying by one country’s army against another country’s army and bullying in business when larger companies try to bankrupt corner shops by under-cutting prices or when supermarket chains bully farmers into dropping their prices or they won’t buy from them. E.g. milk.’

‘There are bigger countries bullying smaller countries and richer countries bullying poorer countries. There’s the World Bank bullying poverty-stricken countries. BULLIES HAVE TO START SOMWHERE. Why not in primary School.

Page 125


In the end, a lot of mum’s heart to heart chat was about me having my whole life ahead of me and how she wished she’d travelled and gone to university. It was pretty much the same info I’d gotten from Gran. Except Gran said weird things such as, “The world’s your oyster, Shona.’ Now what does that mean? Who wants their world to be a sloppy grey oyster? Yuk!’

I did a lot of nodding and soon Mum’s words ran out. Then she kissed me on the forehead. Something she hasn’t done since Tyrannosaurus Rex was born, then she left me to finish writing my Get Well card. It was probably the longest she’d spoken to me in years.


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