Written by: Ken Burns
Maximum number of words per chapter: 500
Minimum number of words per chapter: 450

The deafening screech of the skill-saw kept Dennis happy.  He picked it up with ease, tearing his way through a pile of 4x2 cut-offs to be used as nogs. 

  A first new house for a pregnant, to be married daughter, was currently his weekend project.  During the week building the cancer unit for the local hospital filled in his time. Despite being very skilled at nailing and cutting, Dennis also excelled when his number 1 driver hit the centre of a new golf ball, off the first tee on the public course. When it came to competition he loved the added desire of being alive. Dennis was always happy coming back from the course with the same ball.

Gaining respect from his children was paramount in parenting identical triplet boys: Michael, David and Stephen plus an adopted girl Helen (who was getting the house.)  Dennis’s wife Mary (not partner, they hated that term) of 27 years was loyal to him. 

Mary still considers herself lucky with who she got.

 Dennis’s idea of philandering was staying at the golf club longer than he intended. He lived his life believing and instilling in his children that truth and loyalty were the foundations of any happy life.  Being loyal was the key ingredient (with a little bit of lying about nothing major) to having a strong relationship.

Dennis is turning 50 next Friday. He believes that is a cornerstone to more happiness.

 Amanda failed at everything her whole life.  Kicked out of school at 14.  Lost her first job at the department store for stealing.  Went on the dole for five years but was given a lifeline by Social Welfare to train as an office manager. This suited her as people would have to do what she said; just what was needed.

  Friday morning tea at the building supply company was never a momentous occasion. A few dishevelled employees intermingled. The ones that made the effort were as desperate as Amanda.

“I want a boyfriend.”

“I want to be skinny.”

“I want to have dinner with my real parents.”

“My grandma just died.”

“I want a baby,” mumbled Amanda.  Everyone stared at her showing disdain at her real-life admission of desire.

“I’m 30 next Friday. I don’t want to leave this life without a bit of me carrying on.”

The front counter buzzer rang.  Looking up at the cctv monitor Amanda saw it was Dennis.  She brushed herself down and went to the front.

Dennis always made Amanda feel warm and human.

Leaning on the counter with a list in his right-hand Dennis looked towards Amanda.

“Hi Dennis.”

He leant more on the counter.

“It’s Good Friday next week Amanda.  I am 50 and you’re 30.

 The words to one of my favourite Rolling Stones numbers is,

 You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might get what you need.”

Amanda’s face became an unstoppable, embarrassing red.  




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The usual interesting 'slice of life' starter from Ken. You bring out the 'realness' in the characters - They are not imaginary but real people like you and me going about their daily ups and downs. That's why I love reading your work; it's something I can relate to easily.
Thanks Hemali. Believing in what I write or read is really important to me. The moment I stop believing is when I stop following.