At work, I hear a lot about ‘risk-taking’. Version 1: the stupid decisions that youngsters make that lead to their imprisonment. Version 2: those initiatives that seek to encourage dull-witted ‘professionals’ to think and behave differently.
Shane: Lily said you talked at the weekend.
Ken: Weekend? Ye-es… Oh yes – Lily – weekend – yes, we did talk – about her sister and stuff – she seemed cool.
Shane: Yeah, she is. I don’t know her sister so well.
Ken: She’s cool too.
Ken: (pause) What?
Shane: You talked to Ellie? Like you said you would?
Ken: Yeah, Lily fixed it up, actually no – we fixed it up - my plan, she went along with it… not that I’d be possessive about that sort of thing you understand.
Shane: No, of course not. (pause) So, Ellie – how was she, what impact did you have, is she processing the whole Turkish lover thing with a bit of a… with a dose of reality now?
Ken: Mm, hard to say really. On the whole, I’d say… I had no significant impact - she still thinks she’s in love and that the Turk is her knight in sun-lotioning armour.
Shane: (head-shakingly) So no impact at all then?
Ken: I wouldn’t put it quite like that.
Ken: (lightly clears throat)
Shane: Okay, no need for the ‘man of mystery’ routine – what happened, what did you talk about, did you in any way refer to her having her head in the clouds, taking advantage of her mother and not really playing the part of ‘responsible mother’ so well?
Ken: (pause) Hard day at the office?
Ken: I told her it’d be a highly informal chat – which it was - very loose references to relationships research stuff –
Ken: - and so I asked a few questions and she did the starry-eyed thing –
Shane: (shaking head, quietly) Not good.
Ken: Ah! But! Then, I probed the closer-to-home stuff – her kid, earning a living, the fundamentals – she became more vague - as Lily predicted on Saturday.
Shane: (pause) Okay-. It’s a partial commentary. And?
Ken: My assessment… is… that Ellie is… - wait for it - … she is… bored.
Shane: (uninspired) And lonely?
Ken: Mm, not necessarily, but it is straight forward – work is dull, she’s feeling like her life is not her own, but then she feels attractive and youthful in the presence of lover-boy – it’s, y’ know, straight forward.
Shane: Ri-ight, so what do you suggest?
Ken: I have a plan – it’s a bit rough around the edges, but it’s a plan nonetheless.
Shane: (pause) More forthcoming, Kenneth, more forthcoming.
Ken: She’s very fit, y’ know – have you ever met her?
Shane: Er, briefly, quite a while ago – she was harassed and in a hurry – I remember a streak of blonde hair and er-... - hold on a minute – how do you know she’s ‘fit’? I presume we’re talking ‘good-looking’?
Ken: Very good-looking actually – in fact, this holiday romance has done wonders for -… (amused) whoops! Sorry – wrong thing to say.
Ken: After we talked, I emailed a bit of background on my research – the real stuff – an old document, though she wouldn’t know - and a few references. Not long after that, she Facebooked me!
Ken: We are now ‘friends’.
Shane: Och. You as well -
Ken: Emma’s on Facebook – why aren’t you?
Shane: I haven’t got the time, nor the desire. I’m sure your Facebook friendship is all very sweet, but I’m not sure how useful it is.
Ken: (pause) I’m going to meet her.
Ken: Ellie – I’m going to meet her.
Ken: (pause) Saturday.
Shane: (surprised) That sounds… inconvenient.
Ken: Far from it. She’s staying with friends near Milton Keynes over the weekend - before pissing off from Luton to Turkey again, on Monday.
Shane: That’s, er -
Ken: The kid is with his Dad over the weekend – you know how these things work.
Ken: I’m quite looking forward to it really.
Shane: (a bit perplexed) I’m… a bit perplexed. You’d never heard of her until, like, five minutes ago, and now you’re meeting up at the weekend?
Ken: It’s not that odd – she’d mentioned that she’d be at a loose end for much of Saturday – her friends are working, I’ll be based at my folks’ house - looking after the dogs. It’ll be all very casual.
Shane: (pause) You’re flirting with her?
Ken: (silently smiling) Outrageously so, Shane.
Shane: Is that it?
Ken: (amused) Who knows.
Shane: Do not upset her – I don’t want to incur the wrath of her sister or mother.
Ken: Trust me – I know what I’m doing.
Shane: (reluctantly) So what has Saturday got in store for you – both – then?
Ken: I don’t know yet. Like I said, the plan is a bit rough around the edges – but I’m working on it. (pause) Any ideas?
Shane: (pause) No. This is your… doing.
Though I can’t quite put my finger on it, I sense risk-taking.
I will talk to Ken on Sunday evening.