A battle of wits ensues as Jason tries to stop his captive from squirming out of his promise. Encounters that initially sound like fun end up getting heavy, and Jason’s summer holidays get messed up by pushy reporters and resentful townspeople—not to mention a professor who seems to be on both sides at once.
Jason finds that things aren’t as simple as he first thought. With a deadline approaching, he has to decide whether to force Graham to honour his promise, or admit that he could actually be mistaken.
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Sample Text from Who Will Save the Planet: Chapter 1 Preparations
‘Idiot!’ said Jason. He made his hand into a pistol shape and fired an imaginary bullet into the car’s radio.
‘Keep your hands on the wheel,’ said his father, staring through the windscreen with eyes wide open.
‘Well, he is an idiot.’ Jason skidded the car slightly as it rounded a corner on the dusty track.
‘That’s the Prime Minister you’re talking about.’
‘Then he should know better.’
‘You just worry about your driving. And be careful. This isn’t our car, you know.’
Jason kicked it up into third gear, this time without eliciting any crunching sounds from the gearbox. How dumb that he still had to wait for years before he could get his license, when he could drive perfectly well right now.
The radio continued on with its story:
‘So, Prime Minister, does that mean you won’t be signing up to the emission control targets at the Rotterdam Environmental Conference next month?’
‘I didn’t say that. I’ll be announcing the government’s position on the Rotterdam targets in a few days time. My point is simply that last month was the coldest November we’ve had in over a decade, so global warming isn’t obvious.’
‘He’s got you there,’ said Jason’s father.
‘No, he hasn’t. Just because one month was cold means stuff all. You can’t just look at one month—’
‘Watch out for that tree!’ Jason’s father gripped the dashboard in front of him with both hands.
‘I can see it. I do have my glasses on, Dad.’ Jason deftly manoeuvred the four-wheel-drive around the gum, secretly enjoying giving his passenger a scare. Two magpies thought it was a bit close for comfort, and abandoned the tree in favour of peace and quiet elsewhere.
‘Anyway,’ said Jason’s father, ‘you should be glad it’s so dry. If Mr McKenzie could get anything to grow on his land, you couldn’t practice driving on it.’
Jason waved a hand at the radio. ‘The Prime Minister’s just being selfish! He keeps talking about how much it’d cost to fix the environment, and he won’t cough up.’
‘It’s not really his money. He gets it from taxpayers like me.’
‘You and mum always tell me off when I’m selfish. Not that I ever am, of course,’ said Jason, managing to keep a straight face.
‘I guess you’re entitled to your opinion, but so is he. And so am I, for that matter.’
Jason nodded slowly. He had to keep reminding himself of that. Sometimes it wasn’t easy.
‘I’m getting a bit sick of this environmental stuff,’ his father went on. Maybe he was entitled to his opinion, but he was also entitled to another little thrill, so Jason steered towards the dry creek bed. It was almost two metres deep in places; not something you’d want to drive into.
‘Careful of the creek bed,’ said Jason’s father, with forced calmness.
‘I can’t hear you over the radio.’
Jason spun the steering wheel hard, spraying a shower of
rubble from the back wheels into the gully. Jason’s father was thrown against the car door.
‘Sorry about that, Dad. There’s a dry creek bed just there.’
‘I think I’ve had about as much of this as I can hack. Anyway, we’ve got to get ready for that church picnic your mother wants us to go to.’
‘Oh yeah. Bummer. Anyway, thanks for the lesson, Dad.’
‘If you really want to thank me, you can lug that tanbark around the back sometime. There’s a ton of it, though.’
‘No, I’ll do that.’
After Jason parked the four-wheel-drive in the shed, he and his father trudged across the stubbly paddock back home, which was just next door. A cloud of dust, kicked up by Jason’s driving, hung over the whole field; it was so thick that it made their teeth gritty.
‘Don’t forget to thank Mr McKenzie for letting you use his car and field,’ said Jason’s father.
‘Why don’t you get a four-wheel-drive, Dad? Then I could hoon around here whenever I wanted. School holidays are coming up, you know.’
‘They’re expensive, is why. We won’t be getting another car for yonks, I’m afraid. Maybe never, if the government does all those environmental things you want them to.’
About the Author
Peter McLennan served for 28 years in the Royal Australian Air Force, where he focused on strategic planning. He has tertiary qualifications in engineering, information science and government, and a PhD in planning for uncertainty. He has had several non-fiction titles published. Peter now writes fiction from his home in Canberra, Australia. His hobbies include playing computer games badly and developing software badly.
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Home page: http://writer.catplace.net
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