WHEN I look back to the time I knew Maggie Olde in Year 6, in those days when we waited at the tin bus stop in the morning, I know that I played games with her.

We exchanged sexually charged letters. Sometimes we held hands. Then I’d pretend she didn’t exist in front of my friends at school.

But she got her revenge. Maggie Olde humiliated me.



We were both hanging out at a friend’s house. Or, should I say we were at the house of several friends. They lived together in a nearby foster home, from toddlers up to a friend in high school.

Skinny dipping was the rebel thing to do back then. It wasn’t hard for Maggie to convince me in the pool to take off my undies. As soon as I put them over the side, she grabbed them, and threw them over the fence into the horse paddock.

Then, she grabbed the snorkels and ducked in the water to try and get a close up visual of my dick as everyone else stood on the patio and laughed at me.


Sometimes I tell that last part as one of those funny stories. I just had never told this next bit. I never told my foster mum or friends or social worker because I felt it was wrong. That it made me a deviant.

We left the swimming pool when someone got my clothes. Maggie and I went upstairs and went into bed and humped each other and made loud groans. Clothes stayed on. Which was just as well, because our friends watched.

I guess reading it now it doesn’t seem so bad. But it was sort of like with my first time I had sex. I didn’t know who I could tell. I didn’t want that action to define me, yet it was all I could think about. But unlike the actual sex a long time after, I held onto this part of the story for years.


The next morning we both got on the bus. Straight away Maggie shouted “I saw Chris’s willy last night!”

I’d once humiliated her on the bus by shouting out a made up rhyme that basically made fun of her weight. She’d got me back. Everybody laughed as I walked the aisle to the back of the bus.

“How big was it?” someone said.

“It was like this!” she said, squinting and putting her index finger and thumb almost together. “It was really small and wrinkly.”

“That’s because of the chlorine!” I roared.

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The only good moment was being at the back of the bus where there was at least a little dignity and nobody behind me. But as soon as the bus reached the school and we merged with the other students coming out the other buses to walk up the hill to class, I heard “willy” and fingers pointing my way and Maggie at the centre of interest.

At recess I was followed by some of the students and Maggie when I stumbled into the cool kids sitting in a semi circle behind the soccer posts. I usually sucked up to them, wanted to be one of them, but didn’t think I fitted it. Didn’t think they liked me. But that’s when they roared out to my tormentors to leave me alone.

“So what?” my mates said when they asked me to sit with them. “And besides, it would have just been the water.”

I was so grateful for this first moment of acceptance from these guys. And I suppose that’s when school really got better for me.





The tooth fairy is dead


ONE night, when I was 12, I put one of my baby teeth into a glass of water and went to sleep.

I woke with the door creaking, as the sun rose. I watched my foster mother tip toe across the room to the glass to replace the tooth with a $2 coin. Hazel was a short woman with some fragility and a bad back, having been paraplegic at one point in her life. And seeing her tip-toe was a rare sight.

I couldn’t keep my mouth shut.

“I saw that,” I said.

“Fine then, I won’t be doing this again,” she said.

I thought she was joking.


Months later I pulled out my last baby tooth. It was hidden at the back and had a hole through the middle like a doughnut.

I was with my real family’s postman – who had become a family friend. He said “I’ll give you 50 cents for that, and you should count yourself lucky.” I said nah, knowing the going rate for the tooth fairy.

And when I went back home I followed the same ritual. I put the tooth in the same glass, on the same dresser, and went to sleep.

To my disappointment, the tooth remained. There was no gold coin. Maybe the tooth fairy didn’t know.

“Wow!” I said loudly at dinner in the ad between Veronica’s Closet. “This gap between my teeth feels weird.”

Everybody ignored me.

The next morning, I woke for school. The tooth remained. I kept it there the next day, the next, the next, the next, the next week. I threw the tooth and the slimy water out.

Because the tooth fairy was dead.