Just in Time is a story I entered for the Pittwater Library Young Writer’s Competition in 2008.

I knew I shouldn’t have. I knew it. I told myself so many times. But did I listen to my own compelling? Nope. I did it. I did the one thing that would make my life a whole deal harder now. I procrastinated. I mean, it’s really a simple logical equation. Get it done early, and there goes your worries, everything goes fine. Do it at the last minute… well you get the picture.

So what am I doing right now? What my mum predicted exactly, with creepy precision. I’m racing down my street on a three year old BMX. Only thing is, it’s small, it’s pink, and it’s not mine. People on the beach to my right and on either sides of the road are staring at me like it’s the most ridiculous sight they’ve ever seen. Then again, it probably is. I should probably start at the beginning, two weeks ago, when it all began.

My mum calls me from within the living room, as I enter the house and drop my schoolbag on the floor.

“Timothy! Come here dear!”

“Hi mum,” I reply in my everyday voice, “coming…” I walk into the room. As soon as she spots me, she gives me one of her lovely whale smiles. Oh man. You know what’s next. She’s going to ask me what happened at school today.

“What happened at school today, sweetie?”

This time I’m actually going to answer decently, I’ll tell her everything that happened today, and I won’t leave a single detail out.

“Nothing, mum.”

She rolls her eyes as expected. “There’s something on your desk I think you should have a look at.”

“What is it?” I ask, not entirely wanting to know.

“A story writing competition!” she exclaims, as if it had been my lifelong dream to take part in one. “Pittwater Library’s holding one and I thought, with your love of reading, you’d definitely be interested, Timothy.”

So much for mother intuition. “Yeah, I’ll check it out later, mum,” I say, walking over to the couch, without even a glance at my table. As you’ve probably guessed, I didn’t.

So now I’m speeding at breakneck speed down the fastest route I can think of to the library. On my sister’s bicycle. Don’t ask. As you can probably tell I did write a story, eventually, so I’m not that bad. I execute a perfect fishtail and skid straight in front of the entrance, neatly missing an old lady in the process. I race through the doors and down to the reception, puffing like mad. A shout of triumph and I land my entry, crumpled but still legible, smack onto the counter.

“Here’s my entry for the competition!” I manage to cry out, between huffs.

“Thanks,” smiles the lady, “though I should probably tell you that the competition doesn’t end until next week.”

As the words sink in, all I can do is stare. Oh man.