Has anyone else had the odd experience of coming across their fictional character’s name in an obscure place? This is the first time it’s happened to me, and it felt like a lovely little link had been made between the real world and my imaginary one, and gave me a warm glow for the rest of the day 🙂
Daisy May’s bike was leaning up against a fence in the old (for New Zealand) town of Lawrence in Otago, half a world away from Daisy’s home. It might have been ironic, because Daisy is highly allergic to exercise, but it would be just like her to have a bike that was only useful as decoration.
Has something similar happened to you? I’d love to hear about it!
Daisy May plays a hopeless game of netball – an excerpt from ‘The Curtain-Twitcher’s Handbook’
When I got to the Sports Hall, the teams were already being selected.
“Aah, there you are, Daisy,” said Mrs Bennett. “You were meant to be choosing today but I wasn’t sure where you’d got to.”
I closed my eyes briefly, thanking whoever was in charge of this whole mess that I hadn’t had to choose a team from amongst all these people who hated me. A small reprieve.
“Blue team,” Mrs Bennett told me, pointing at a chain of girls that included my archenemy, Lisa, and her friends.
“Great,” murmured Lisa audibly. “We get ‘Frosty’.”
Alex, in the red team, bared her teeth at Lisa in a low growl. My heart lurched at the rush of hope her protective gesture gave me. Maybe she didn’t hate me quite as much as she should.
We took up our positions, the whistle blew and the game began.
Playing Goal Attack meant a lot of effort on my part, and I had trouble summoning up the energy and enthusiasm I needed. Khira was red Goal Defence so she was marking me, and she stole the ball from me time and time again. Each loss triggered a collective groan from the blue team. After a while, Khira actually tried to help me out by standing back a bit.
“Come on, Daisy. You’re making this too easy,” she urged under her breath.
I shook my head in an apology and felt it start to spin a little, then stepped past her to catch a pass from Lisa. She hurled the ball too hard, most likely on purpose, and it slammed into my chest and winded me, but I caught it.
“About time,” Lisa hissed.
I pivoted around. My vision didn’t seem keen to catch up. Lifting the ball above Khira’s outstretched arms, I took aim at the goal. It was close – unmissable – but for some reason it was swaying. I frowned, tasting acid in the back of my throat and feeling the heavy thump of my heart. It was so hot in the sports hall I wondered if they’d put the under-floor heating on too high.
“Shoot,” ordered Khira.
“For God’s sake, it’s easy,” someone else said in exasperation.
But even standing up was becoming too much effort, let alone aiming a big ball at a small net. I aimed as best I could, but the ball spiralled around the rim of the metal ring and fell to the floor.
Mrs Bennett blew her whistle to drown out the groans and insults that were addressed to me.
“Five minutes, girls,” she called out.
She came over, putting her hand on my shoulder.
“Do you want to change positions?” she said.
I nodded, exhausted and humiliated. “I don’t feel brilliant.”
She gestured to Lisa, of all people, who came trotting over with her yellow ponytail swinging.
“You’re the most vocal, Miss Barker,” she said, “If you think you can do better, you can swap with Daisy.”
“A monkey could do better,” Lisa muttered.
Mrs Bennett narrowed her eyes in disapproval and Lisa had to look away.
“Change bibs and we can get started,” she told us, and walked over to the other side of the hall to tell Jenny Phillips off for chewing gum in the gym.
Lisa was staring at me with her arms folded, and a sly smile on her face. I pulled the GA bib over my head and handed it to her. Still she stared at me, arms folded. She didn’t take the bib.
“What?” I said.
“I know something I bet you don’t know,” she said.
And then she gave me the kind of smile that told me she was about to hurt me really badly. A chill ran through my body. I stared back at her as my mind raced through possibilities. She opened her mouth and I steeled myself, but she shut it again.
“No. I think I’ll make you wait.”