50:30 (Single Author)

Written by: Ken Burns

The deafening screech of a skill-saw keeps Dennis happy. He picked the skill 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 is currently his weekend project. During the week building the cancer unit for the local hospital fills in his time. In addition to being very skilled at nailing and cutting, Dennis also excels when his number 1 driver hits the centre of a new golf ball off the first tee on the public course. When it comes to competition he loves the added feeling of being alive. Dennis is always happy coming back from the course with the same ball.

Gaining respect from his children is paramount in parenting three identical triplet boys: Michael, David and Stephen plus an adopted girl Helen (who is getting the house). Dennis’s wife Mary (not partner, they dislike that term) of 27 years equally believes in loyalty and truth. 

Dennis’s idea of philandering is staying at the golf club longer than he intends. He lives his life believing and instilling in his children that truth and loyalty are the foundation of any happy life. Being loyal is the key ingredient (with a little bit of lying about nothing major) to having a successful relationship.

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

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. 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 reluctantly and shared views. The ones that made the effort were as desperate as Amanda for company.

“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,” mumbles Amanda.  Everyone stares at her showing their own 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 rings.  Looking up at the cctv monitor Amanda sees it is Dennis.  She brushes herself down and goes to the front.

Dennis’s presence makes Amanda feel warm and human.

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

“Amanda,” Dennis says with a nod.

“Hi, Dennis.”

He looks composed.

“It’s Good Friday next week. I’m 50.”

The radio station in the background is playing a Rolling Stones song…

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

Amanda’s face becomes an unstoppable, embarrassing red. 

Comments

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.