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Dirty Dancing
Robert Knox


Donald was sixty six years young. And very active for a pensioner. He was a member of various clubs and societies.
Monday he went bowling.
Tuesday was dominos.
Wednesday it was the Action Centre.
Thursday it was the Blackwood Model Boat Club.
Friday it was an art class at the community centre.
His weekends were taken up with the Rotary.
Donald was a private man. He lived alone. He had family somewhere. Kids. Grand kids. He had lost contact over the years for no reason. No one really to blame. Just life and what it can do to you.
He preferred his own company and was comfortable living alone. His wife had passed away some five years ago and since then he’d grown used to himself. He didn’t mind quiet nights at home in front of the TV. He had started drinking since the loss of his wife and would end most nights with a whisky nightcap.
His favoured past time was the Action Centre. It took place at the Brigadoon Complex. A lottery - funded centre for the aged. Every Wednesday he would be guaranteed a good day out.
Old people were not safe out at night in Blackwood.
Most people were not safe out at night in Blackwood.
The elderly found it more difficult to run. Or fight.
The Action Centre opened at one o’clock and closed at eight. It was licensed to sell alcohol and the staff were great. They had karaoke parties at three in the afternoon. Mini sausage rolls and cheese sandwiches.


Martha was sixty eight years old. Her husband had died six months previous. Two months short of their Golden Wedding Anniversary.
She had spent most of her life with Dick.
That was his name.
Well it was actually Richard but they hailed from innocent times.
Couldn’t imagine any one calling themselves Dick these days.
Her whole life was centred around Dick. She knew nothing else. She was lost without him. Her only living relative was her grandson. She’d see him once, maybe twice, a year.
After she laid her husband to rest she carried on in a trance - like state. She had the appetite of a sparrow. Pecking away at nightly microwave meals. She lost weight. She found wrinkles. At least two etched into her face with each new day.
She was given the services of a home help. Twice a week. Tuesday and Thursday. A woman in her mid thirties. She was nice. Chatty and friendly. She did her best for Martha.
She pestered her to get out and about. Carry on with her life. Said she wanted to see her happy. Martha was reluctant. She was still grieving.
The home help, Michelle, kept going on about the Action Centre. Insisted Martha should make the effort. She said she would enjoy it. A lot of her clients went and they all had good things to say about the place.
Martha wasn’t sure.
She didn’t even know how to play bingo.
Michelle insisted. She said she would arrange it all. In her own time. She would collect Martha from her home and drop her at the Centre.
Once the home help had left Martha tried to talk herself out of it.
She lost the argument.


Donald was woken by his internal alarm clock. It was seven o’clock. He got up. Once he was dressed he went to the corner shop and bought a pint of milk and a newspaper.
He was in a good mood.
It was Wednesday.
Action Centre day.
He had porridge for breakfast. Lightly coated with sugar. He’d always had a sweet tooth. He’d always been a bit of a rebel.
He had a bath and pottered about the house until late morning. Then he got dressed in his best clothes. A tweed suit over a striped shirt and a bowtie. Brown brogues and yellow socks.
At twelve forty five he headed for the Brigadoon complex.
It was a special.
Dirty Dancing.
He couldn’t wait.
He felt like dancing.
He felt dirty.
It was icy underfoot and he walked slowly. It was only a short distance form his house yet it still took him over half an hour to get there.
He was late.
His usual seat had been taken. Taken by Peter the Ponce. The old git had done it on purpose. He knew it was Donald’s seat. He was just trying to piss him off. Get one up on him.
Donald would have the last laugh.
He bought a double whisky at the bar and scanned the room for a seat. There was an empty table at the back of the room. Two empty chairs. As he walked past he caught Peter looking at him. Smugness written all over his face.
Donald sat down.

Martha was a wreck. She’d tossed and turned all night. Standing in her kitchen at three o’clock in the morning watching a kettle that would never boil.
She was dressed and ready for half past nine. And sat staring at the walls for three hours.
The home help arrived just after twelve. Assured her she would have a good time, bullied her into a car and took her to the action centre.
When Martha entered the hall she was transported back in time.
Michelle ushered her to the bar. Martha ordered a glass of port. They looked around for a seat. It wouldn’t be fitting for a woman of Martha’s age to be seen propping up a bar.
It was very busy and there weren’t many seating options. Michelle noticed a man sitting at the back of the room. Sitting next to an empty seat. She nudged Martha in his direction. She spoke to him.
His name was Donald and he would be more than happy to have Martha join him.
Martha sat in the seat opposite.
Michelle left.
Her nerves were burning. She hadn’t sat and had a drink with any one, other than her husband, for almost half a century. She didn’t know what to do. She kept her head down, averted her eyes and sipped on her port.
Donald glanced over at Peter surrounded by old hags. He waved. Peter blushed as he looked back.
Donald swaggered to the bar. A whisky and a port. He bumped into Peter on the way back. On purpose.
He sat down and raised his glass to Martha.
Then the karaoke kicked off.
Five glasses of port further on and Martha wanted to dance.
She slid off her shoes, left them under the table, and dragged Donald on to the small dance floor.
They danced to four songs back to back.
She was actually in physical contact with another man.
Donald couldn’t believe his luck.
She couldn’t keep her hands off him.
As they danced he backed her towards the toilets.
They ended up in the ladies. In a cubicle. Together.
He groped her tits. Saggy as they were. It took him five minuets to find a nipple.
He turned her around and pushed his hardness against her. She spread her legs around the bowl. Held on to the cistern and pushed her arse in the air.
Donald hoisted up her printed dress. Fumbled down her support tights. Down past her knees.
Donald hadn’t had real sex for over two years. For Martha it was nearer five.
He battered it in to her for all he was worth. She was moaning. Grinding against him.
He was close to coming.
He thrust harder. Pushed deeper.
Her cries changed from pleasure to pain.
Donald rammed harder. Turned on.
He couldn’t help himself. He couldn’t stop. Years of frustration pumped out of him.
Martha let out a final agonised groan.
Donald heard a distinct crack.
Like a winter branch snapping off the tallest tree in the forbidden forest.







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