Me and My Fake Girlfriend talk about leaving kids in the car on a hot day.

“I was left in a car once,” I said.

“When, last week?” snorted Annabelle.

“No.”

She continued, “When I got some nuggets?”

“No.”

Annabelle’s been grinding on my patients in recent weeks. In review I realise that sentence should read as grinding on my patience, though the imagery of me being a doctor and her rubbing her lady bits against some geriatric bed-bound asthmatic gives me the giggles. So I’m leaving the error as written. She could be grinding on patients for all I know. She’s hypothetical after all.

We, that is to literally say I, were walking home from Bendigo city in the heat of the third forty degree day in a row. The fun of the heat wave had worn out two weeks ago during the first stretch of forty degree days. By having fun with the heat I mean the kind of joy one gets from spilling water in the sun and then counting the seconds it takes to evaporate. That is to say very little fun was being had.

So there we/I were, walking along, passing a car dealership. In the yard of were many hatchbacks and four wheel drives. I don’t know why. Perhaps Mr Bendigo likes the convenience of a hatch when placing his shopping in the boot and Mrs Bendigo is a fan of seeing over the hills around the Cathedral. Anyway, each of these cars had the hatch up or the windows down. One suspects because the interior would be getting very hot, and while I’m sure that cars are built to withstand internal heat on the fabric and plastic, the dealers would probably rather a test of this withstanding happen after the sale.

This internal baking reminded me of news stories about children stuck in cars. How that, on a clear day, if the external temperature is 25oC then internal temperature can be 45oC. Therefore, using this theory and excluding a scaled gradient, if the external temperature is 45oC then the internal will be 81oC. I was once locked inside a car on such a day.

“When was this?” asked Annabelle, suddenly interested.

“Well, I wasn’t in school yet, I might have been in kinder. I think I was, so I was five. Let’s say I was five.”

“Did your mum go to the casino?”

“No, she went to the bank. Which is kind of the same thing. She said she’d only be a minute and, well, at first it was ok. I played missiles in the car. Pretending exhaust vents were missile silos and blowing up headrests and stuff. That’s what I usually did.”

“You usually got left in the car.”

“Sure. You do the same thing.”

“I suppose.”

“After a while people started to gather around. Mainly those parked next to me. Then they started to ask passers-by if they knew who owned Mum’s car. I remember this because it did get hot inside and I did start looking out the windows to see when Mum was coming back.”

“Huh hah.”

“As you would.”

Annabelle nodded, “As you would.”

“I seem to recall people asking me who my Mother was, or where she was. Calling at me through the window. I didn’t answer. There was a bit of stranger danger fear I suppose, and I wasn’t actually sure where was. She must have been to the bank by the time people started to care. Anyway, I didn’t have an answer, I was a kid locked in a car on a hot day. What did people want from me. A map?”

“So what happened?”

“Mum got angry. She came back and told the people to leave her alone because she hadn’t been gone for too long and it wasn’t that hot. They told her the reverse. Opinions were largely at a loggerheads. She had keys and a car so we drove away. She wasn’t happy with me either. Calling attention to myself, making a fuss. She hadn’t been gone long. I should have just waited.”

“Hmm.”

“So yeah.” We, meaning I, were almost home. As I had no moral to my story it ended rather flat. I unlocked the front door, put some shopping away, and turned on the air-conditioning.

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