Listen to Winnie Dunn read her short story ‘Real fobs’.
ONLY BOGANS AND dumb ethnics go to Western Sydney University. Real fobs won’t even bother. But I am something different and better because I am half-white. At least that’s what I told myself back then. Dr Kindling, one of the English teachers, stands in front us in the lecture theatre rubbing the top of his receding hairline that’s shaped like the Macca’s golden arches. Flecks of blond and grey stubble shaved down to his milky-white scalp twinkle under the lecture-theatre fluorescents. The theatre is arranged like a mini footy stadium with the chairs layered from highest to lowest all facing a single podium and projector screen. Dr Kindling tells the five of us who bothered to show up for orientation, which is me, two white guys, a real fob and a Chink in a hijab, ‘If you’re thinking of majoring in psychology you might as well sign up for Newstart.’ His voice is crisp and soft like the turning of pages. This is how I know Dr Kindling is smart because only intelligent men are gentle when they speak. I know this because real fobs are always yelling Chur! and Eshayz adlayz! at each other whenever I walk past the Dawson’s Mall 7-Eleven. Idiots. I wonder if Dr Kindling will think I am smart too since I keep my voice at a whisper, am enrolled into a bachelor of arts and on Youth Allowance instead of Newstart. I want men like Dr Kindling to think I am smart because if they don’t, what’s the point of going to uni?
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