Chapters 13-20

After catching Miss Payne receiving a suspicious package at the warehouse, Calma and Kiffo are more determined than ever to find out what she’s hiding. On her way to the shops one day, Calma sees The Ferret heading to a restaurant. She exchanges clothes with Rachel Smith and unconvincingly poses as a waitress to listen in on his conversation. Events take a turn for the worst when Calma accidentally bumps into Miss Payne on her way home. Both Calma and Kiffo receive a visit from the police that ends in a fiery argument with their parents. Calma once again reveals how strong her friendship is with the troubled teen: “I don’t know – I still don’t know – how I could feel so close to Kiffo, so intimate in a way, yet be excluded from so many important parts of his life and his past.” During this part of the novel, Kiffo also reveals how his family is connected to Miss Payne. Calma resolves to write down the whole business with Kiffo and The Pitbull as life insurance just in case something happens to them. On a poignant note, Kiffo urges her not to mention his brother: “I don’t want you bringing…him…into all of this. You know what I mean. I know you, Calma, but what’s gone on in the past isn’t important. And I don’t want his name mentioned.” Although some new evidence comes to hand suggesting Miss Payne might be a “pillar of the community”, the pair decide to give their investigation one more go…


Throughout the novel, Calma writes witty star signs for people.

[Miss Leanyer – Aries. There will be challenges in your career today, precipitated by those who have the flimsiest grasp of your  true merits. Avoid arguments with young people sporting red hair and few discernible moral scruples.]

[Vanessa Aldrick – Scorpio. You seem to labour under the delusion that wearing appalling 1960s clothing and affecting an air of considerable boredom makes you an interesting and mysterious character whereas you are, in fact, a royal pain in the arse.]

[Jonno – Taurus. Your sensitive and aesthetic nature is much in evidence today. You will find opportunities to engage in fruitful and creative activities, like the gratuitous bludgeoning of old people or tearing the heads off chooks with your teeth.]

Write similarly witty and sarcastic star signs for each of these characters in the specified chapter:

• Rachel Smith (Chapter 13)

• The Ferret (Chapter 13)

• Miss Payne (Chapter 14)

• Kiffo (Chapter 14)

• Calma’s mother (Chapter 16)


In Chapter 16, Calma and her mother have an argument. Describe what the argument is about. What else do we learn about their relationship?

Key Quotations

• “…you see something in his expression that you have not seen before. It looks like love.” p.153.

• “He told me also to think about the pain I had caused my mother, who was doing her best to raise me properly.” p.158.

• “I did it for you. So that you could have a good education, have all the things you need to make a success of your life. Because there’s one thing that terrifies me, Calma, and that’s the thought of my daughter working in a supermarket or a pub for the rest of her life, scraping by, never able to dig herself out of the poverty trap.” p.151.

• “And if you stopped being such a bloody for a while you might be able to spend some time with me. You know, do what mothers and daughters are supposed to do. Have a relationship, talk, that kind of thing.” p.162.

• “I hardly ever get to see you. How do you suppose that makes me feel? I’ve got a mother but I forget sometimes what she looks like. And, okay, I don’t go without stuff. But even you, Mum, even you must know that’s not enough. Give me less stuff and more time.” p.162.

• “Memories are sometimes all you have.” p.165.

• “Some things are conversationally out of bounds and it doesn’t matter what you do, you’re never going to break through the barrier he puts up.” p.171.

• “I don’t know – I still don’t know – how I could feel so close to Kiffo, so intimate, in a way, yet be excluded from so many important parts of his life and his past.”p.171-172.

• “My relationship with my mother hadn’t exactly been ideal before, but now it seemed to be torn beyond repair.” p. 183.

• “I was without a real friend, other than Kiffo. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not ashamed of him or anything. Far from it. But, as I’ve said before, there are just some things you can’t talk to Kiffo about.” p.183.