They sat around a table full of muffins and a bizarre Rice Krispie/toffee concoction, cackling and talking about Coronation Street. Once again I was the new kid, quietly and politely sipping tea even though I don't drink tea, but I couldn't just sit there looking like a pussy who doesn't drink tea.
One of them plonked down beside me and peered at me all too closely. The hue of her thick sunbed-toasted face reminded me of the cows on our farm, with deep wriggly crevices like soil erosion. She had cropped bleached hair and her eyes were almost black. She reminded me of someone who would bash you up in the canteen line at school if you didn't surrender your lunch money.
"Have I met you?"
"No! I'm Shauna."
"You're SHOR-NA!" She smirked. "Are you from where I think you're from?"
"I'm from Australia."
"AH-STRAY-LI-UH! Whereabouts in AH-STRAY-LI-UH?"
"I'm from Canberra."
"KEHHHHN-BRUH! Why don't you live in Sydney?"
"Ha! How long are you working here for?"
"Just this week. I'm temping."
"Just this WOIK. You're TEMPEN."
"Yes. Yes I am."
"Well I gotta go. NOICE TO MEET YA MATE!"
A few hours later I was waiting for the bus when a young man with equally dark eyes shuffled up beside me. He smiled and mumbled something in a thick Scots accent.
I smiled helplessly. "Sorry?"
"I'm really sorry…"
He rolled his eyes. "Nniiidddeee?"
"You need change? For the bus? I don't have any, honest. I just use my bus pass thingy you see…"
"Noooo! I said, nnniiddeee?"
Did he want to kill me? There was noone else around. I shrugged meekly.
"OH! Nice day? Yes! Yes I did have a nice day. Thanks for asking! God I am so sorry, I –"
"Noo. Noo. I am so sorry."
He rolled his eyes again and disappeared before I could explain about being Australian and particularly stupid.
The next day at work I wandered down the hall to the kitchen when I heard those mocking tones behind me.
"Well well well. It's SHOR-NA from KEHHHHN-BRUH!"