Shortlisted for Fish Publishing Flash Fiction Award 2016
When I was eight, my mother was arrested for stealing wallets from a school staff room during an emergency teaching shift and fraudulently using credit cards. She said she had been an easy target as she’d been on the campus that day. She could not afford a private lawyer, but wasn’t poor enough for legal aid, so she pleaded guilty and got a bond. Later that year, we were driving home from school when she said ‘There’s police behind us.’ They took us back to the station, strip searched both of us, charged her with a handful of fraud offences. The guy who was her alibi witness could not give evidence. He was told he’d lose his job if he did. That is what she told me. Just this year I said to her ‘I’d like to know what really happened.’ ‘Well so would I!’ she said. One year she got put away for six months, and I was shipped off to a foster family. They had a handicapped daughter the same age as me, and a crate full of pears that they kept in the pantry, which I ate late at night. On the weekends, a volunteer from the church would turn up to drive me to the prison to visit her. They asked a lot of questions as they drove me through the Adelaide hills. My mother got released at the end of that winter, the same year she told me the truth about Santa.