Wednesday, 22 September 2010

The Bronze Age

Here's something I wrote the other week:

The Bronze Age

It wasn't Kerry's fault that she'd lost her job. It was crap anyway. Over the weeks, she shut out everything else too. Just at the point where she'd stopped even bothering to dress and begun eating her main meals in bed, the television lit a firework of inspiration. She could be that girl everyone talked about. Even if she was a little dumpy now, with all the money and attention, things would change. People would want to interview her, ask her opinion about fashion and make-up. Politics, even. That job she'd had, that wasn't the real her. She would show the nation, the world, the real Kerry. On TV.

Kerry was lucky that she got on the show when she did. Outside studios, queues of unemployed office girls and waitresses shoved each other, trying to edge their way forwards to the front of the line. Doors slammed in the faces of the disappointed millions. The rest of the nation sat at home, watching the select few. Widespread unemployment pushed up viewing figures for such shows as the one Kerry appeared in. The trouble was that the TV schedules had to be balanced. For some reason, some people wanted to watch news and documentaries about people dying in other countries. Budgets were at an all time low and so there was only one way to quench the thirst of the public for a reality outside of their own restricted, little lives. Repeats.

At first, Kerry blossomed. It didn't matter that she came across as an idiot, that she thought that Houston was in London or that there was a railway station called St Pancreas. The excitement caused her to lose weight. She got freebies from exclusive beauty salons, was sprayed bronze and her hair was tamed, smoothed and cut so that it swung and fell gracefully back into place. Kerry's introduction to the show made tabloid headlines, her gaffs endearing her and giving hope to others who saw themselves as much more likely to be successful had they only managed to get past the front of the queue that day.

Six months on, Kerry walked down the High Street. She only wanted to buy some cotton wool. She'd learned to park her Porsche in the darkest corner of the car park, well away from the footfall of window shoppers along the main thoroughfare. She couldn't sneak around to the back of the chemist's because knocking on the door itself would attract attention. It was pointless trying to disguise herself because she'd tried every combination of glasses, hats and big coats already. She'd have to tough it out.

Wealth did have some advantages. She could afford to educate herself. From home, of course. She was studying for a degree in archaeology. It was always interesting to know how people lived, even if it was in the past, wasn't it? The field trips weren't a problem because no one there watched the endless, daily repeats of the show featuring Kerry.

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