May I Please Have Seniors Discount?

[Fiction] Friday Challenge #158 for June 4th, 2010

A Coming of Age Tale

Jack looked at the festive decorations, plastic champagne flutes filled with cheap bubbly and the banner, “Congratulations on your retirement” before moving alongside his colleague of twenty years.

“Do you think it’s ethically wrong to leave your own retirement party?” he asked George.

“Perhaps, but the only reason to leave your retirement party if it was in the back of a police car or an ambulance.  At your age though, I’d think you’re more likely to go out in the back of the ambo, with a paramedic shouting ‘Clear’.”

“Very funny.”

“So, what are you going to do in your twilight years?  Buy a Harley, a hair piece and get an young attractive woman?

“No.  I am going to buy a Volvo, in beige, and a beige cardigan and a beige driving hat.  If I’m feeling really adventurous, I’ll buy a convertible Volvo.”

George laughed.  “Glad to hang up the suit are you?”

“I remember getting my first suit as a young lad of sixteen.  It was Sunday best. And for wearing to weddings and funerals as my mother said.  I have worn a bag of fruit for work for the past forty-nine years.  Now, they’re just for weddings and funerals.  But, I’m thinking more funerals than weddings at my age.”

“Going to buy a caravan and become a Grey Nomad?”

“Haven’t thought a lot about travel but might do some but we travelled a lot when the kids were younger.  Might be nice as just the two of us again.  We’ll see.”

They took a sip from their drinks and watched the milling throng of well wishers pass them by.

George asked, “Looking forward to that gold watch?”

“I have never really understood the gift of the watch.  I understand that it represents all the time you have spent with a company and I’ve been here since I was sixteen.  I just don’t want a watch to remind me that every passing second leads me closer to a meeting with my maker.”

“So what’s it going to be?  Golf clubs?”

“No, couldn’t think of anything more unrealistic.  Now if it was a nice set of lawn bowls, that would be something.”

“You’re incorrigible.”

“Thank you.  Of all the presents there is only one that I want,” said Jack.

“What’s that?” asked George.

“My senior’s card.  I can ride the trains or buses or ferries for $2.50.  All day.  I get cheap coffee at McDonald’s.  I get concessions at the movies.  What’s not to like about being a senior citizen? I get to ask, ‘May I please have senior’s discount?’  And I get to play with the grandchildren some more.  And then there’s the garden to potter around in.  Might get a chance to display some orchids at the local show this year.”

“Sounds like a second childhood, getting all that time to play.”

George took two fresh glasses from a proffered tray.

“Here’s to retirement and coming of age.”

“Cheers.”

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14 responses to “May I Please Have Seniors Discount?

  1. This week’s prompt had limitless possibilities. I went away from my normal teenage protagonist to one who is in retirement, partially inspired by my father who got his seniors card a couple of years ago. His friend made him a t-shirt that read, “May I please have seniors discount” which became the title of the piece.
    The difficulty lay in finding a way to get across the change in the person. This is perhaps easier in a young protagonist; here it works to a certain extent.
    I wanted to let the dialogue tell the story without too much descriptive interjection, and it is partially successful in my mind. It is a draft after all.

  2. WOW!! thank you for steering away from the predictable and delving into the possibilities of older age.
    well rounded dialogue which rolled along, with the feeling of the party and well wishers passing by easily and comfortably. I could almost hear the humm of conversation. setting was well set up…

    visitors and other players can find mine here:
    http://annieevett.blogspot.com/2010/06/of-lawnmowers-bowties-and-blowflies.html

  3. Excellent first draft. Choosing an atypical protagonist was a smart move. I wouldn’t have thought of retirement as coming of age, but through your dialog you’ve portrayed this life-changing event in a whole new light.

    I especially liked this line: “George took two fresh glasses from a proffered tray.” Not sure why. It just sounds right.

    Check out my entry here:
    http://rachelspillowbook.blogspot.com/2010/06/fiction-friday-coming-of-age-18.html

  4. I sympathize! My dad started claiming to be a senior pretty early, for all these discounts. It really is a second childhood. Nice. 🙂

  5. Ah, and I meant to say, nicely done with the idea of “Coming of age” not being for children.

  6. Oh I like this. I like the fact that he’s looking forward to being able to spend his time doing things he enjoys, and the fact he’s excited about a senior’s discount says it all! Wonderful take on the prompt – nice to see you thinking outside the box, as usual!

  7. Definitely not what I would have expected from a coming of age story, but I loved it. It reflects on exactly what I look forward to in retirement.

  8. Not what I was expecting but I enjoyed the story. Reading it put a smile on my face.

  9. I definitely like your take on the prompt. It makes me think that I’d love to postpone my own “coming of age” until well into my twilight years.

  10. Great attitude! Between you and me, you missed a closing quote after a question; you might want to fix that.

    I always wondered why they still give gold watches. Does anyone wear watches anymore? They check the time and date on their cell phones/iPhones/Blackberrys, etc. don’t they?

  11. Wow! Sign me up for retirement. Actually, I am much closer to it than most of you youngsters. I am looking forward to it too. You paint the picture I dream my retirement will be. A second childhood. Good story on this prompt.

  12. I liked this! I just had a conversation with my father-in-law a few days ago where he was saying how much he hated ‘seniors menus’ at restaurants! I would be the opposite! I love the idea of getting a good deal! Hehe.

  13. What a hopeful peace about the possibilities of growing older! Nicely written with natural and believable dialogue. Lost myself in it completely. It is easy to like Jack. Nice work.

  14. I really liked the way you took the prompt away from what was expected. It’s a nice heart warming little piece.

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