The Red Badge of Courage: Fibrotown edition (an update)

Posted on March 14, 2011

Remember this story about the girl at the supermarket checkout? The one with the dreams of being a police officer and an HSC exam to get through?

It’s been nearly six months since that post and I have an update. Our checkout paths crossed again today. Finally. I could hardly wait for her to get through the usual ‘How are you today? Do you have a [insert name of loyalty card] card?’ before the question came gushing out.

“How did you go?”

She looked at me blankly. “Your HSC,” I said. “The police force.”

She smiled. “I got the ATAR* I needed,” she said.

I cheered. But wait, I thought, she’s still here. At the checkout. Not at the Police Academy.

“And the police force?” I asked, crossing my toes, hoping against hope that this wasn’t going to be one of those moments where I wished I’d kept my mouth shut.

She looked sad. “I have to wait until July to apply,” she said. “You have to be 18 and a half.”

So she’s waiting. Which, as we all know, is the hardest part.

Stay tuned.

*The primary criterion for entry into most under-graduate university programs in Australia, giving you a rank in relation to the rest of the student body that sits the year 12 exams that year.


  1. Kymmie

    Thanks for the update. I loved the first chapter of this story. Beautifully written as I recall. And I just had a friend who’d been waiting a few months before he heard anything from the Police Academy. Last week we all received a text message: “I’m in!” We’re all celebrating! xx

  2. Deer Baby

    So glad you updated. I often think about people you have written about in fibrotown – the Romeo & Juliet teens, the widower with his shopping basket.

    The waiting is definitely the hardest part.

  3. Miss Pink

    Awww i think it’s fantastic you asked! I bet she was quietly touched that you remembered.

  4. Sarah

    So this is kind of the middle of the novel isn’t it? The bit referred to as the wasteland, where you’re neither here nor there. Sounds like our heroine will make it though. Keep us posted.

  5. Maxabella

    She’s got a ticket to ride! x

  6. ClaireyH

    I am sure she will get in, who wouldn’t want her to be part of their organisation, and if she doesn’t, then someone else will be very lucky to get her in their business.

  7. Cate Bolt


  8. Penny

    O what a lovely story! Great that you were able to see her again.
    P.s. I’ve had one of those moments at a checkout where I wished I had kept my mouth shut. She was pregnant around the same time as me when I first saw her so I was excited to see her again and see how it was going. Check out uniforms are baggy so I didn’t notice the lack of tummy. Turns out she’d lost the baby. Horrible moment!!

  9. mamabook

    Love this story. Does she realise that we are all cheering her on!

  10. Rhi@FlourChild

    Ooh, that’s excellent.

    Now can you let us know how your little Romeo and Juliet got on too? I think about them quite a bit after your post… 🙁

  11. Lucy

    Phew. I was dreading a less hopeful tale. Fingers crossed for her.

  12. Naturally Carol

    Funny though, she doesn’t know that all of us are now waiting as well, hoping that her dream stays alive for her! LOL.

  13. allison tait

    @TheRhythmMethod – I think it is specific to the police force. I’m sure they still let you start uni before that.

    @Cate – your friend sounds amazing!

  14. Cate

    Some people are just amazing! One of my very good friends from uni (an ex of my brother) had moved out of home, lived above a local pub, worked in the pub at night and studied fulltime during the day. About half way through 3rd year her brother murdered her mother and step father…and she still graduated and went on to a postgraduate qualification…
    where as I couldn’t never find a pair of jeans that I really liked (my life was so hard)

  15. Salamander

    How excitement!! Isn’t it funny, how having to wait for something for 6 months is an eternity when you’re 18…waiting for 6 months when you’re *ahem* 35 feels like the blink of an eye?
    Good luck, check-out chick!!!!

  16. therhythmmethod

    Wow, I did not know this about university entrance scores.
    I started uni at 17 yrs, 10 months: that means I wouldh’ve had one more year with the parentals. HOW HORRIBLE!!
    We will wait for the next installment.

  17. Katy

    That is fantastic… I hope she follows her dreams 🙂 Thank you for the update x

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