Hard Times

Last weekend I found myself with some time on my hands and, as I like to do, had a flick through DeviantArt to see if there were any interesting images to use for some flash. I came up with this one. Click through the image for the actual image on DevArt.

Netta felt too old.

Only just into her thirties, all the companies seemed to be looking for younger dancers, these days. Her record – all those years with the National Ballet – seemed to count for nothing. Every role ended up filled by her younger, stick insect competitors.

It wasn’t even that Netta had lost her ability. She felt as if she were in her prime, was still as good as any one of those girls, better even, and was super fit from her daily routines, but to no avail.

“Ah, well.” She jerked herself back to the present. Deftly bunching her long, dark hair into a ponytail, she addressed boyfriend Liam. “Coffee? And do you fancy some croissants this morning?”. She still hadn’t become accustomed to Liam’s shaven head, which she thought was something of an extreme reaction to his thinning hair.

Liam looked up from his newspaper. It was a regional rag, just published weekly nowadays, but Liam felt that it kept him abreast of local issues, and he enjoyed flicking through it as part of a lazy Sunday morning. “Mmm… that sounds good. Do we have any apricot compote?”

A short while later, the oven pinged. Netta removed four freshly baked croissants, the compote, and joined Liam at the dining table. “They look good”. He gave his girlfriend a customary peck, before returning to the newspaper.

Netta was just spreading the compote onto the last of her croissants, when Liam murmured absent-mindedly, “Here’s something that might be of interest.”

Netta looked up. “What’s that?”

“There, look.” He handed the paper to her.

“Stylish? Dynamic? Self-motivated? Why, that’s you!”

Netta looked doubtful.

“Come on, Netta, you always knew that one day the dance work would dry up. Maybe this is the right opportunity to get you working regularly again?”

Netta looked doubtful.

“And fine food”, continued Liam. “At least that sounds respectable. You should find out more, at least.”

And so, encouraged by Liam’s cajoling, and her own difficulty in finding regular work, Netta found herself being interviewed at 10 AM the following Thursday, in the small, drab office, located above a smelly, gaudy fast-food outlet called Chickadee’s.

Sitting in front of her was an overweight, middle-aged woman who smelt of stale grease. On her head, she wore a net.

“Don’t worry”, remarked the woman, sensing Netta’s discomfort, “You won’t be working in here. Let me show you your uniform…”, and with that, the woman left the room, only to return a minute later with the uniform in hand.

Netta’s jaw dropped as she recognised the bright yellow chicken costume in front of her.

“Hold on a moment”, continued the woman, “Let me just find the shoes”.

Author: Mister Bump UK

Designed/developed large IT systems, interrupted by a stroke in 2016, aged 48. Now mix development of health-related software with voluntary work and writing. Married, with an estranged daughter.

13 thoughts on “Hard Times”

  1. This is too true. Once you hit a certain age no matter how good you still are things change. The younger ones become the one’s that are offered the positions. This occurs especially in the art, movies and theatre. And the boyfriend ?boy he was really in tune with her, No?

    Liked by 1 person

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