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Friday 27 February 2015

KBR Short Story: Scully and Nana Mai


Scully lives with my Nana Mai. Scully is an old 'bitzer' dog, which means he’s a bit of this and a bit of that.

My Nana Mai came to Australia as a refugee, a long, long time ago.

‘When I was your age,’ she says, ‘I went on a very dangerous journey across the sea.’

Nana Mai sings songs to Scully in Vietnamese and says, ‘Con chó giới, con chó giới,’ which means ‘good dog’.

Scully is almost blind, but he is very clever. Nana Mai says he ‘sees’ everything with his ears. He even manages to chase Magpies.

He goes for walks with Nana Mai and shares chicken and rice with Nana Mai and at night he sleeps on the end of Nana Mai’s bed.

One day when we go to visit Nana Mai, she doesn’t answer the doorbell. Scully is barking and barking. Mum opens the door with the spare key. Nana Mai is still in bed even though it’s lunch-time. She looks like she’s asleep, but she is not.

After Nana Mai’s funeral, everyone is sad, especially me and Scully.

‘I don’t know what we’re going to do with that dog,’ Mum says.

Scully bumps into our furniture, and trips everyone up. He can’t find the back door and he can’t find the front door and he wets the carpet.

Scully won’t eat his dinner. He just lies with his head on his paws and his tail curled around his legs.

‘Come on Scully, you gotta eat.’ But Scully has closed his ears — he doesn’t want to listen.

I try to take him for a walk, but he just sits down and won’t move.

I tell him all about the Magpies in the garden, but he isn’t interested.

I wave a big bone in front of his nose, and bring him chicken and rice but he just turns his head away.

‘I don’t know what we’re going to do with that dog,’ Mum says. ‘I don’t think we can keep him here much longer.’

‘Scully,’ I say, ‘you have to learn to be without Nana Mai or you’ll be sent away.’

Each day I drag Scully around from room to room and I tell him where everything is in our house. After a little while, he starts to do it by himself.

I show him how to find the back door and how to push it open with his paw. He stops wetting the carpet and tripping everyone up.

Scully follows me everywhere I go, like a shadow. In the afternoons, he waits by the side gate for me to come home from school.

One day when we are in the backyard, Scully hears a Magpie and he starts to chase it. 

Con chó giới,’ I say. We sit together on the grass and I sing him the Vietnamese song that Nana Mai taught me. And even though I can’t remember all the words, he licks me all over.

Arna Radovich is a Blue Mountains-based literacy teacher and writer. Her work has been published in fourW 25, ZineWest, Verandah, Islet and The School Magazine amongst others. She writes stories for both adults and children and is currently working on a book for middle-grade readers. For more information, visit her website or LinkedIn.

KBR Short Stories are a way to get your work ‘out there’ — and to delight our KBR readers. Stories are set to a monthly theme and entries are due in the 25th of each month. Find out more here.