'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Friday 14 August 2015

KBR Short Story: Clang! Bang! Clatter!

by Shannon Wong-Nizic

My Nanna wakes the neighbourhood with her clanging and banging and clattering.

Every single Monday.

Clang! Bang! Clatter!
Nanna sees Mrs Richardson as she fumbles for her car keys on the driveway.
“Off to work before her kids even wake up,” sighs Nanna.

Clang! Bang! Clatter!
She sees Mr Marcos opening his curtains whilst he boils the kettle for a solitary cup of tea.
“Such a big house for one old man,” sighs Nanna.

Clang! Bang! Clatter!
She sees Mr Jeffers ducking out to collect his newspaper.
“His days must be long now that his kids have moved away,” sighs Nanna.

“The Lamberts are throwing out a swing set,” Nanna mentions one Monday.
“It mustn’t get much use now that their kids have grown up,” sighs Nanna.

All of Nanna’s sighing gives me an idea…

“Jack!” Mrs Lambert exclaims as she opens her front door. “What a lovely surprise!”

“Your mandarin tree is heaving with fruit,” I reply. “I thought maybe I could have the old swing set you’re throwing out in exchange for my time picking mandarins.”

“I’ll make a mandarin syrup cake while you pick,” she exclaims. “Then again, maybe not. It’ll just go to waste,” she hesitates.

“I’ll help you eat it! I’ll see if Mr Jeffers will help us eat it too!” I scamper off before she can give it a second thought.

Whilst Mr Lambert dismantles the swing set, I clear the rotting mandarins carpeting the front yard.

Mr Jeffers ambles up the Lambert’s front path just as the cake comes out of the oven.

After my second piece of cake, I leave the Lamberts and Mr Jeffers laughing together on the verandah.

Over the next few weeks, I clang, I bang, I clatter.

With the help of Nanna’s observations, I gather the bits and bobs that people throw out.

Mrs Wu gives me some metal sheets.
Clang! Bang! Clatter.

Mr Kyriacou gives me some wooden crates.
Clang! Bang! Clatter!

Mrs Richardson gives me some old cushions.
Clang! Bang! Clatter!

When Mr Jeffers gives me some old fence palings, I know my project is almost finished. With an unsteady hand, I paint “The Gathering Spot” on one of the palings.

I’m driving my hand-painted sign into the ground when the first of my neighbours arrives.

The Richardson kids run straight to the swing set. “Look at how you’ve used my old cushions to turn those crates into comfy seats!” exclaims Mrs Richardson.

“It’s lovely to see kids on our play equipment again” smiles Mrs Lambert, placing a bag of mandarins on Mr Marco’s old table to share with us all.

“One person’s trash is really another person’s treasure,” says Mrs Wu as she inspects the cubby house I’ve made out of her metal sheets.

“This really is a place for us all to treasure,” murmurs Mr Jeffers.

“How did you do all this?” whispers Nanna, with glistening eyes.

“It’s what happens when your Nanna drives a garbage truck,” I whisper back.

Shannon Wong-Nizic is a Kindergarten teacher who believes that reading is as important as breathing. 

She blogs about picture books, sweet treats, craft and life at Oh Creative Day.

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.