Chapter 10




Brenda pulls Amanda close to her chest. 

She fends Brenda off wheezing like an asthmatic.

“Jesus,” says Amanda. 

“You’ve never held me like that.”

Brenda is stuck for words.  Then it comes to her.

“I left you with that sort-of-a-dad.  He was a good man and funny.”

Amanda chooses to take the gentle road into this chat.

“I know that. He raised me. He’s dead now.”

“I know,” says Brenda.

“He left me that lovely apartment I grew up in.”

“I know that too.”


Mary sees the bond between the crying mother and daughter(s). 

Helen knows Mary’s looking over. She waves her arm wanting her company.

Mary hesitates. She feels not confident about this one but there is no getting out of this. She gulps down the 2 full glasses of French champagne. They instantly hit the spot. She places them gently on the black glass table behind her then makes her own way over.

Brenda sees Mary coming. She opens her own loving arms. Mary doesn’t stop getting into the embrace.


Dennis is oblivious to the current family drama.  He is finishing his ninth beer now. The chat and welcoming laughter with the excited guests is escalating.

He looks over, sees all the women he loves plus a few extras hugging and crying. 

Amanda sees Dennis. That was what she came for. Stephen is out of the picture now. She knows Dennis is a better bet.

“Jesus.  Don’t come over,” she mutters to herself.

Mary’s hug with Brenda is real and warm.  They look at each other with serious intent. They know they are on the same page.

Stephen comes along side Dennis.

“You ok dad?” asks the middle, warmest son.

‘It’s a good day today,” says 9-beer- by-now Dennis.

“What’s going on over there?” he asks Stephen pointing.

There is a moment here to collect a thought.

“Don’t know,” says Stephen.

“Early party chat?”

He looks at his father trying to figure out what’s going on in his huge noggin.

Stephen knows that it is Brenda commanding all the attention.

“Don’t get involved dad,” he says.

Not one to take advice, only offer it to family, Dennis turns to his favourite son.

“It’s Amanda’s birthday today you know,” says Dennis.

Stephen is stuck.

“Fair enough,” he replies.

“Do what you want then.”

Mary sees half-cut Dennis striding over.

Amanda-with-intent walks towards Dennis, puts her hand on his chest. “That Brenda,” she points to her, “who’s Helen’s real mum, is my mum too.”

Dennis stares at Amanda realising she’s his “kind of but not really” daughter.

This stops him completely.

A massive pain hits his chest.  His face turns reddish blue.

His hands smash into his chest

Mary looks up and runs over.

“Jesus he’s having a heart attack.”

Dennis falls on to his knees redder in the face now.

Amanda gets on her knees and screams. 

“Dennis. Just breathe.”

Dennis goes head first into the grassy earth: lifeless.

Deader than a dead thing.


Cor blimey. You've got Ray's disease Ken...people dropping dead. Deader than a dead thing. That is quite a line. You can't get much deader than a dead thing.
I felt this story could have had more fluidity and flow. It seemed to jump about and the characters never fully formed in my mind. I wonder what other people felt. I hope they will leave some feedback.
All I can say is I deny I have any kind of literary disease but with most lifeless bodies there is a good story to tell. I think Ken has done extremely well although yes, in places the dialogue caused a small hic-cup. This was a conversation/domestic mixed up family piece and I am sure anyone who has attempted this knows how hard it is to keep things on the boil. As I said before, I could see within this the outlines of a TV script. Overall, clever, Ken. I liked this a lot and what a change. It's great to see writers leaving the norm and having a go at a challange. This line is a typical Ken observation. "Amanda chooses to take the gentle road into this chat." (Ken-speak) One last crit. I was reminded of something Suraya banged into me. When characters speak - they do not stand still. How do they look and what are they doing as they speak. Loved it, Ken. OF course, with dead bodies - they don't move or speak.
My take on 50:30 in 10 chapters is it's first draft material. The story is there it just needs fine tuning to improve and impress.