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Lisa Heidke studied journalism at Queensland University, fled Brisbane and settled in Sydney where she worked in book and magazine publishing. After many years living in Sydney’s inner west, Lisa woke up one morning to find herself married with three children and living on the North Shore. In 2005, Lisa’s This Wife’s Life was shortlisted for the Varuna/ HarperCollins Manuscript Development Awards and then in 2006, Lucy Springer’s Story was shortlisted.



gets eveN

A smart, fuNNy NOvel about

triuMphiNg Over adverSity




First published in 2009

Copyright © Lisa Heidke 2009

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publisher. The Australian Copyright Act 1968 (the Act) allows a maximum of one chapter or 10 per cent of this book, whichever is the greater, to be photocopied by any educational institution for its educational purposes provided that the educational institution (or body that administers it) has given a remuneration notice to Copyright Agency Limited (CAL) under the Act.

Arena Books, an imprint of

Allen & Unwin

83 Alexander Street

Crows Nest NSW 2065


Phone: (61 2) 8425 0100

Fax: (61 2) 9906 2218

Email: [email protected]


National Library of Australia

Cataloguing-in-Publication entry:

Heidke, Lisa.

   Lucy Springer gets even / Lisa Heidke.

   ISBN: 978 1 74175 583 1 (pbk.)


Set in 12/15.2 pt Granjon by Bookhouse, Sydney

Printed in Australia by McPherson’s Printing Group

10  9  8  7  6  5  4  3  2  1

For Grant, Josh, Noah and Mia


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Day 1

Last night my husband, Max, looked at me over his half-eaten Pad Thai and, in calm, measured tones, said, ‘I’ve had enough.’

I took him to mean he’d eaten enough dinner. He’s been on a health kick recently, prompted by watching The Biggest Loser.

I was preoccupied thinking about our two children, who’d left on a school camp that afternoon, and so didn’t pay much attention as he pushed his plate away, stood up and disappeared out the kitchen door. A few minutes later there was a clatter as he pulled his surfboard from its wall bracket. It’s been a long time since Max has hit the waves. And besides, it was dark. I went to the window just in time to see him reversing his car down the driveway at considerable speed, his bright red board strapped to the roof-racks. Stopping briefly to check for oncoming cars, he screeched onto the road and accelerated off into the night.

It’s now three o’clock the following afternoon. He’s not back and I have a sneaking suspicion (well, not that sneaking really) that he’s not surfing because:

1. It’s a cold August afternoon.

2. Nineteen hours is a long time to stay out waiting for sets.

3. Max has been pissed off for some time now.

The cause? We’re three months behind schedule in our renovation process, and said renovations are taking considerable time - and money.

Max, I hasten to add, is the one who insisted on renovations in the first place. He’s also the one who decreed that we stay in the house during the demolition - now complete - and construction - very much incomplete. Instead of the brand-spanking-new kitchen, family room and bathroom we envisaged, the downstairs of the house is a shell, and we spend most of our time huddled in a laundry/storeroom that’s currently doubling as a kitchen and family room. Four people confined to a tiny room in the middle of winter, with a piss-weak bar heater, no hot water and no kitchen is no picnic, thank you very much. The builders haven’t even poured the concrete slab for the new floor yet, there’s an inconsistent flush in one of our two working toilets, and the latest hiccup - a leaking roof.

Bella and Sam, serial school-camp refuseniks in the past, fairly jumped at the opportunity to go to Bathurst and spend their nights in sleeping bags in sub-zero temperatures because the payoff was hot showers, flushing toilets and, conceivably, the absence of bickering parents.

My advice? Be very careful when choosing tradesmen. Do not, I repeat, do not under any circumstances hire someone who drops a flyer in your letterbox and answers to a name like Spud. I did, and . . . well, let’s just say we need to replace the sewer line and no longer have a watertight roof.

No wonder Max has bolted. It’s okay. I’m not hysterical. He just needs time to unwind, to get his head around the mind-boggling cost of Carrara marble benchtops, under-floor heating and the whole ongoing fiasco. He’ll be back.

Day 2

There’s no sign of Max. Along with a suitcase and his favourite clothes, his essential grooming items - his magic Fudge hair cream, nail clippers and Clinique Men’s Moisturising Cream SPF 25 - have also disappeared.

I call his mobile. It’s switched off.

I phone all the larger hospitals. Nothing.

I call the police. They make it clear they think Max has done a runner. Charming. They take down his details. And mine. ‘Just in case.’

I consider phoning his secretary, Sally. But I just don’t have it in me. It’s not that she isn’t nice; it’s just that I can’t face her cheery, mindless small talk at the moment - the weather, the kids, Madonna’s marriage woes, the latest with TomKat’s daughter, Suri. Rumours about Angelina being pregnant. Again.

I pace around the house - the bits I can get to - looking for . . . What am I looking for? A note? Maybe. Something, anything, that will

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