Chocolate and TV both have the same effect on me. I never want chocolate till it's there in front of me and someone says, 'Have a piece, Amy.' If I take just one bite then I'm hooked and I can't stop until all the chocolate's gone or I'm sick, whichever comes first.




TV is the same. I have never turned on a television set in my whole life (unless asked to by Mum or Dad) but once it's on I just stare at it. It doesn't matter what the program is, I just forget everything else and stare. 'Days of our lives', 'the Simpsons', the news, any sports program, 'The Midday Show', 'Neighbours', M-rated TV shows, R-rated videos, gardening shows, quiz shows, home video shows, it doesn't matter what it is, I just go into another world.




I have even been known to hold a cup of hot chocolate in front of me un-sipped during the most pathetic old black-n-white movie like King Kong. Two hours later (ads included) I'm holding a full cup of cold chocolate.




Which proves that my addiction to television is worse than my addiction to chocolate.




I beg my family not to turn on the telly, but they say, 'It's not our problem, it's your problem. Do something about it.'




I didn't include chocolate in my likes because I don't like it. I love it. I can't get enough of it. It makes Tara sick with jealousy that I stuff into the chocs all the time and never put on a gram of fat. I sympathise with her, but that's just the way I am. My mother is the same.




I can't actually remember the first time I had chocolate, but my mother can remember the occasion. Sometimes I imagine that I can remember it, but it's only because of all the photos that I've seen of me shoveling chocolate into (and around) my mouth at my third Christmas.




The following Easter was practically a media event. It was written up in The Messenger. 'Easter bunny can't keep up with Amy.'




The only time I've every paused in eating chocolate (apart from sleep and sport and other necessary things) is when Hilary told me about the Aztecs while she was working on her project. When she got to the bit about how they used to drink the (unsweetened) chocolate I thought I'd like to try it too.




The nearest I got was to make a steaming cup of cocoa with no milk and no sugar. I didn't like it all that much. But it got me wanting to find out more about chocolate. Including, for instance, that it's got lots of chemicals in it that help your brain make you less depressed.




Not that I'm ever depressed. Perhaps the caffeine in the chocolate makes me hyped all the time. I'm always thinking, 'What am I going to do next?'




I'm afraid of getting bored. I always think of what it would be like to be older, to be buying lots of clothes and going to parties and driving a car and dating boys and having sex and getting a job in television and becoming famous.




If I was to sum myself up in a few words I would say I'm a grade 6 girl going on grade 13.




Other people say I'm really nice...but they don't know what I'm like inside. Often I get jealous of other people, especially clever people. It's true that I'm very organised and I think clearly (most of the time) but I'm not as smart as I first appear (except in maths where I'm probably better than average).




Dad is good at maths. But he's such a quiet guy. His main role in life seems to be going to the pharmacy and making money. He always talks about when he retires at 45 but I know he won't because he really likes going to the pharmacy and making money. He's so calm and methodical. Everything in it's place.




Whereas my mother is a maniac. She can never keep still. She should have a job to keep her occupied. But when we were little she and Dad agreed that Mum would never go to work while we (the kids) were still at school.




I wish she would go to work. It might stop her being so energetic and pestering us all the time.




We live in a new suburb with a long road with a school at either end. So there are always lots of kids walking up and down the road before and after school. But there are no safety houses in our area. So Mum has started a committee to make a safety house area in this part of Gillian Bay.




While she was down at the police station organising something for the safety houses she started talking about how we need a neighbourhood watch, too. Guess who's the new president of the Lunamana Neighbourhood Watch?




She's made me go around with Jessamy delivering pamphlets about how people can join.




It's all right while Mum's busy with her latest project. But as soon as she has a spare minute she'll decide to so something like reorganise the house. Unfortunately that often means starting with my bedroom.




It's a relief to go to Boompa's for a bit of piece and quiet. At least he doesn't mind me playing with crossword puzzles. He's got quite a collection&although I've never seen him actually put one together himself.




Maybe Mum is the one who I get my energy from. Although--as Boompa says--Dad's no slouch. I think Boompa really likes Dad because he never had a son himself. Dad's a sort of substitute son for Boompa. You should see them when they go off on Boompa's boat Tjuringa, his lovely daydream class ketch. They're drunk before they get out of the harbour. Mum goes mad at both of them but it doesn't seem to make any difference.




Jessamy has to have grommetts in her ears soon. She's been getting all her second teeth at once (well, almost) and her ears have got infected. All blocked up. She hasn't been able to hear what the teacher is saying. So the teacher thought she wasn't paying attention or else she was a bit thick or something. Mum says that Jessamy can't come to Karnyalimenya until her grommetts are out and she has learnt all her tables. I'm not sure what the connection is.




I suppose Alex will be next in line for some of Mum's attention. Mind you, she could do with it. How come she's allowed to run riot in the house while Jessamy and I have to be goodie-goodies?




Though we're not always goodie-goodies. When I was at Fuzzy's one day she showed me a Muscle and Fitness magazine. There were some humongous guys in there. They sort of fascinated me and repulsed me at the same time. They were too muscley. They all looked as though they loved themselves, I mean, were deeply in love with themselves. All that time posing in front of the mirror I suppose.




But the girls were different. I mean, they had muscles, but they were sexy. It gave me a few ideas about what I could look like when I grow up. I mean, I'm already a bit muscley (like my mum). Ms Rubenach says I've got amazing calves and shoulders. And I've got heaps of energy (like my mum).




Anyway, when she could see that I was interested, Fuzzy said, 'Have a look at this, then,' and produced a video from the last Ms Olympia.




I mean, one of the women (Sharon someone?) was doing these cartwheels in mid-air and coming down and flexed like a cat. Meeaow. You should have seen her. It made me sick with jealousy to think she could do that and I couldn't.




So I decided to try, then and there, in Fuzzy's bedroom. And Fuzzy thought she'd try too (she's not quite as athletic as me though she's pretty fit). But there wasn't enough room in her bedroom so we went prowling round the house till we came to her parents' bedroom.




It's a really big room with a good run-up on one side of the bed. The room was a mess because Fuzzy's mum was in hospital at the time and her dad spent so much time visiting her that the housework sort of slipped.




But the good thing was that it was a big bed. So we cleared Fuzzy's dad's undies and things off it and pulled back the sheets. Then we tried running at it full tilt and doing a somersault on the bed and landing on the other side.




It was brilliant fun. We got better and better at it.




Then Fuzzy said, 'Watch this,' and she started to run extra hard at the bed.




I could tell straight away that she was going to go too far. Her hands and head landed almost off the other side of the bed. She did her somersault all right. But she landed feet first against the wall and broke right through the plaster. It was an old house. You could see the wooden battens or whatever they are sticking through, broken. A big, dark hole.




Fuzzy ran round and round the bedroom whining and clutching her head. She was really scared about what her dad would say when he saw it.




I said, 'Why don't we try to fix it?' I had seen my mum mix plaster when she was renovating (she was always renovating). It shouldn't be too hard.




Fuzzy said we had about one hour, max.




We looked around in their garage and found some Solbey's Kwikfix and mixed it with some water. At first the mixture was too watery so we added more Kwikfix. The mixture in the bucket got warm so I knew it was working. We stuffed newspaper into the hole like my mum does and then slopped on the Kwikfix.




It worked all right, but it was a bit lumpy and it didn't look as if it would be set properly in an hour. So we got a hairdryer and in five minutes it was practically white, it was so dry. Then we sanded it. Then we filled in where we damaged it by rubbing too much with the sandpaper.




Then we dried that, too.




That was when we realised how lucky we were that that wall was painted and not wallpapered like the rest of the bedroom.




Fortunately there was some spare paint, just the right colour. We put on one thick coat and hoped that would be enough. Fuzzy said she would try to keep her dad out of the bedroom for as long as she could. She opened all the windows so the paint smell wouldn't be too obvious.




Two minutes later Fuzzy's dad walked in. He mumbled something about looking too innocent but he didn't seem to notice anything.




Fuzzy is not my only weird friend. One of the others is Samantha Jones from Mr PB's class. She's the one who models herself on Joanna Lumley...or, more precisely, the character Joanna Lumley plays in Absolutely Fabulous (which I am not allowed to watch but I have seen it on video at Samantha's place...and laughed a lot).




Samantha told me she has read everything about Joanna Lumley, including the fact that she (Joanna Lumley) wants to be recycled when she dies.




I said, 'What's wrong with being cremated?'




Samantha said, 'Mercury and other noxious vapours.'




Apparently if dead people have mercury fillings in their teeth then the mercury is vapourised when they are burnt in the gas oven at the crematorium. The mercury goes into the atmosphere. Crematoriums are usually in populated that's a lot of dangerous heavy metal pumped out into the atmostphere. (I know, it doesn't seem a lot, but it all adds up. I read somewhere that more than 1.5 tonnes go into the air this way in America each year.)




Samantha says that wetsuits are worse! (A lot of surfers who drown are buried or cremated in their wetsuits. Imagine what that smells like when it burns.)




And there are other problems with burial. If someone is embalmed then, as part of the process, their blood is drained away. That's about 100 000 litres of blood per year that flows through the sewers of Australia. What if some of that blood has HIV/AIDS in it?




Samantha says that in England people can be buried in a biodegradable shroud and have a tree planted over them. I like that idea much better.




God this is morbid. I must get off the subject.