Maroon

Night fill at the supermarket. The tall one whispers into her ear.

Pete has worked here since he left high school. 

She giggles. The whisperer continues. She leans in to hear it. 

He still lives with his mum. That’s why he can afford his Nissan Pulsar. Isn’t it the coolest car you’ve ever seen? 

She covers her mouth and tries not to laugh as Pete walks up to them, marching with purpose. 

You two – have you unpacked the trolleys yet? 

Yep, all done Pete. 

You better not be joking, we need to be finished by eleven tonight. 

Brooke looks at her watch. 

Cass, when you’re done can you give me a hand? 

Cass nods but Pete interjects. 

Only if nobody else has finished by then to help you out. OK? 

Brooke breaks into a smile. On the way to their aisles, Brooke walks past every other night filler. 

Hey, if you finish filling earlier, Pete said to help Cassie with her last few boxes. 

She turns to Cass and winks.  

After the shift is over, they drive to the service station. Cass waits outside while Brooke and Luke order hot dogs, hoping she won’t be seen on the video cameras. She sits on the old window ledge, bricked up now, of what used to be the mechanic’s garage. Cass and Brooke screw up their rubbish and throw it on the ground. Luke says he needs smokes, and he goes inside, feeling around in his pockets for his wallet. Brooke shouts out to him. 

Get me some too? 

He smiles at her over his shoulder. 

Maybe. If you’re lucky.  

Cass watches him go and turns to Brooke. 

He really likes you. 

Der. 

Are you gonna go out with him? 

Maybe. Not yet.  

They both laugh. Luke comes back and smiles. He throws her a packet of smokes. 

Thanks. How much do I owe you? 

He flicks his tongue ring. 

You can pay me back later. I have to go, my folks are waiting for me to get home. 

Ok, see you later. You playing tomorrow? 

Yeah. We’re gonna give the Bloods a flogging. You gonna come watch? 

Maybe. 

He drives off with loud music blaring. Brooke searches for her keys in the pockets of her work pants. Their uniform, a maroon polo and black pants, is covered in packing tape, stickers from the loading dock, and texta marks from writing on the sides of cardboard boxes. The shirt outlines her shape: lean from netball, tall from good genes. They jump in her car and reverse out of the park, zooming off and laughing as the attendant comes out yelling. He grunts as he reaches down to pick up their rubbish.