Seven Basic Plots

Entry by: Olivia

29th January 2016
Seven Basic Plots

We all get born and most of us grow up. We find someone to live with and then we marry them. We have children, we grow old and then we die.

These are the options, do with them as you will.

Joanne did all of the above and Joanne got very bored. She grew up and was very sensible. She met Mark at university and he was very clever. Mark and Joanne got married and had two children, luckily one boy and one girl. Mark and Joanne were happy. Joanne grew old, she got cancer and now she’s going to die. Mark is sad but looking forward to a life without her because he hasn’t loved her for a long time.

George did none of the above. George ain’t got time for women, they’re a bloody nuisance. He ain’t got time for blokes either, they just piss him off, well, what do you expect? His mother got knocked abart by his father and George don’t trust no one. He’s ‘appy with his dog. He lives off the social, the doc says he’s not fit to work. He goes up the pub but only has a harf, no point goin mad. George ain’t bothered, death will come, all in good time.

Dorothy scans the ‘Soul Mates’ page every Saturday. Every week she highlights the best offers. She’s learnt, often the hard way, which ones to bother with and which ones to leave alone. She has learnt which ones just want quick sex (‘come and have fun with me’) and which ones are not wholly realistic. That’s the 60 year old insolvent bores that she can spot in the first line of their subsequent email. She used to be hopeful as she placed the call, using the code. Now she waits for the one or two who bother to phone back. She knows her accent (usually described as ‘posh’) puts them off, but so does their uneven vowels and dropped consonants. Dorothy fears the life of a spinster, already too old to have children she knows her life is not following the basic plot she had planned.

Bethany had never intended to get pregnant. She had let him carry on, she liked him being around and didn’t want to use him. She was only 17 and her periods were all over the show; it was weeks before she realized. It felt exciting once she knew for sure, anyway, she was too far gone to do anything about it. Her Mum was cross, but it was no different to what had happened to her, so there wasn’t much she could say. She hadn’t given any thought to how she’d get by and Pete was no bloody good. Little Luke was really cute but she was exhausted and fed up ‘cos she couldn’t see her mates. Luke deserved better, so really it was a relief; but she didn’t tell the social worker that. She didn’t want to make it easy for the stupid cow and she cried her heart out when they took Luke. Pete probably wouldn’t have hurt him really.

Elizabeth poured tea into the pretty bone china cups. Whilst they were her favourites, they weren’t her best. She kept those for really special days. She glanced around the room as the Chairwoman of the WI enthused about next year’s programme. The wallpaper was pricey but not showy and the soft furnishings matched so well. The book shelves neat and tidy with appropriate works and the fire gently blazing. John was at work and dinner was prepared. Elizabeth offered more tea and the vicar accepted, handing her his cup. She offered round the biscuits, her favourite from Harrods, but she had none, her iron grip on her figure never faltering.
John tucked in his shirt and smoothed down his hair, ‘bye my darling, I hate leaving you but you know I’ll be back soon. I must catch the 18.10 or Elizabeth will worry. I must be back for supper’.

Pete was sure that Lucy was the one but her arsehole of a mother was having none of it. They went out, slamming the door but her words rung in his ears. Her continual warnings about ‘bad crowds’ and ‘ill – gotten gains’ (whatever they might be) were constant. Lucy wasn’t strong and it troubled her. They played their ‘let’s do it’ game and planned a life of their own but she always got cold feet, too afraid of upsetting her mother.
Pete worked hard at the factory and put in the overtime. He knew he pushed out the boat a bit on a Saturday night but her didn’t knock her about and he always made sure she was alright. He didn’t see much point in working so hard if she wasn’t going to stay with him. His mates all told him that there were plenty more fish in the sea, but Lucy was his plan, the one he wanted.
The day she dumped him was the worst day of his life. It took a lot of Guiness to get over her.

They didn’t want a lot of fuss, all they had done was to stick to the plan. When Charles had come back from the war they had married. Margaret was a virgin on her wedding night, most of her friends were. There had been little chance to be other than virginal with all the men on the front. It had taken some adjusting to having him around and all that house keeping and rationing was tough. But they had managed a bit of give and take, that’s all it took. He’d worked hard back in the factory and she’d stayed at home with little Simon and Sarah. That was always the plan. They didn’t need much, just as well, they weren’t rich but they’d put a bit by. He’d always seen her right and she wasn’t a big spender. The children were long gone, oh they phoned and visited and fretted. They brought their children and noise and laughter. But Margaret loved tidying up ; the peace and quiet that they left behind.
They went gently up to bed that last night, same time as usual. They’d never spent a night without a kiss and a cuddle and this night would be no different. ‘Till death us do part’, that was always the plan