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“Hello, I’m Toni Jordan, and this is a reading from my book Fall Girl:
By nine Monday morning, as Daniel Metcalf’s black beemer pulls out of his driveway and purrs around the corner into Toorak Road, we are watching. We watch him sidle around a tram then queue at the lights at the entrance to the freeway, and then we watch him drive all the way through the city. The university I have chosen is the city’s oldest, built back when the land was newly stolen and a gracious seat of learning was considered the height of old-world glamour. It sprawls with entrances and accesses like a small city, yet we watch Daniel find a park with spooky ease. He parks at exactly the right entrance, on Royal Parade beside the Percy Grainger Museum and the Conservatorium of Music.
For this job we need two wall men, responsible for keeping one eye on the mark while scanning for potential trouble. Beau is the first, the one who waited for Daniel outside his house and followed him on his drive. From his car on Royal Parade, Beau whistles into his mobile.
He has good parking karma, I’ll say that for him. It’s been a while since I’ve seen parking karma that good.
Right, I say. I am inside the zoology building, with my mobile. Thanks for that. I’ll make a note.
In the last twenty minutes of Daniel’s drive, Anders will have entered the zoology building by the front door. He is wearing the uniform of the university’s property and campus services division, who really should deadlock their storage cupboards. Anders wears steel-capped boots and a set of keys hangs off his belt loop. The navy and fluorescent-yellow shirt is slightly tight around his chest; the trouser legs were let down by Aunt Ava very late last night but are still a little short. Anders carries a long thin aluminium strip and walks with the hip roll of someone who has not much to do and all day to do it. He looks sleepy but works fast. Using a tool from his collection, he will open the dinky locks on two glass display cabinets in the building’s foyer. Students and academics will walk back and forth past him–they will not give him a second glance.
Anders does not suffer from nerves and has no fear of discovery. He knows the magic power of the uniform, a lesson his father taught him; for one whole year when my Uncle Syd was young, before security tags on clothing, he made a good living wheeling racks of expensive frocks right out the front door of department stores.
Not only are people in uniform never questioned, but no one ever looks at their faces. To make doubly sure of his anonymity and freedom to do as he pleases, and also in cases where a uniform is not appropriate, Anders knows to carry a clipboard and pen.”
ABOUT TONI JORDAN:
Toni Jordan is an award-winning, best-selling novelist. Her debut novel, Addition, was published in 2008 and was longlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award and won best debut fiction in the 2008 Indie awards. In the UK, Addition was a Richard and Judy Summer Read.
Her second novel, Fall Girl, was published in November 2010 in Australia, with the UK, Germany, France and Taiwan to follow. Toni has been a columnist for the Age and her short stories and articles have appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald, the Courier Mail, the Herald Sun, the Australian and the Monthly.
“I first visited Varuna as a runner-up in the 2005 Varuna Harper-Collins awards. Since then I’ve stayed at Varuna privately twice in 2009.” – Toni Jordan
Fall Girl, 2010