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A Scarecrow’s


Elaine Chan

Isobelle Carmody Award

for Creative Writing

Highly Commended

Under the scorching heat of the sun, your reflection lingers constantly in my

marble eyes. I greet you with arms wide as you walk towards me in your mud-

crusted boots and faded overalls. How is your day? How is the business? A million

questions press against the seams of my mouth, threatening to slither out. You look

around at the vast green plains surrounding us, the fruits of our labour. ‘Look at

all this!’ You praise me with a bright smile, ‘You’ve worked hard, my friend!’ I

struggle against the lifted corners of my mouth. But then you reach out for the

straw hat sitting on the hollow surface of my head, and my smile fades as fast as it

had appeared.

Greed: a source of motivation, it leads to a path of self-destruction

. The

farmer looks around alarmingly, like a blind man seeing the world

for the first time. The shallow colour of the fruits and the worm-

bitten leafs suddenly seem apparent to him. Confusion and

dissatisfaction rush through him as he tries to grasp the root of the

problem. His thoughts are interrupted by the dismal arrival of grey,

stormy clouds from above, and the farmer soon finds himself

drenched in sweat and rainwater, his hat shaking unsteadily at the

turbulence. Pushing past the walls of humidity, he wades clumsily

towards the brightly lit house, leaving a trail of broken stalks behind

him in his unease.

The farmer leans into the doorway, a puddle of water forming

where he stepped along with a muddy footprint on the polished

floor. ‘Monica, how ‘bout a beer?’ He glances at the boy beside him

who is staring with a gaping mouth at something on the ceiling,

‘Look son, you’re going to have to step up your game,’ the farmer

crosses his arms, ‘after expanding the business, there’ll be plenty of

supply and demand flooding in, and I want you beside me, alright?’

The farmer feels a tap on the shoulders, and takes the beer from his

wife’s outreached hands.

‘We’re expanding the business?’ A look of worry fleets across her

face, ‘but we’ve just gotten back on our feet with the mortgage and

Emily’s school fees.’

The farmer takes a swig of the beer, ‘You don’t understand Mon,

I can make multimillions out of this,’ he gestures at the farm and

chuckles, ‘and isn’t it about time we take Em out of school? She can

help out around here. You know she loves the farm.’ He grins at the

boy who remains aloof from the conversation for its entirety, ‘but

you, young man, we’ll be the father and son pair at the top of our

game.’ For a second, the farmer thought he saw a shift of fabric in the