[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’.”
“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.”
“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.”