His life was in the dumps. He lived in a one-bedroom apartment, all alone. He often ate Captain Crunch cereal for dinner and worked full time at a Target store at the customer service center. Ken wasn't proud of his life. After all, he had graduated from college with a degree in radio and television. He worked at a TV station for 3 years before the recession happened. Once he was fired from being a cameraman for the five o'clock news, Ken had no idea what to do. Due to the poor economy, the only job he was able to get was at Target, with the help of his younger sister Marie who worked as a cashier there. He was thankful for it, but missed working in the TV industry.
Ken hadn't had a girlfriend for over a year. Deena, his last girlfriend left him when she found a man that had a job. So much for the promise of for richer or poorer. Ken was glad he had never married her. Sure, he was lonely but he figured once he got back on his feet, he'd be ok. Little did he know that Target customer service jobs don't pay as well as cameramen jobs. He could barely pay his rent much less afford food. He got discounts because of his job there, but sometimes it wasn't enough.
He lived paycheck to paycheck just like a lot of other people. He got up around nine each morning, took a shower, drank his coffee, went to work, came home after ten at night and got up and did the same thing the next day. He was stuck in a rut and he knew it. He wanted to have a better life. He wanted to have a woman. He wanted to get a better place. He wanted a new car. He wanted so many things, yet he couldn't. He figured things could get better but as the months went by, he knew he was trapped in a rat race.
The show was called Dared. It aired every Thursday night at eight o'clock. The show was about doing daring deeds. They'd ask you to do something that you never thought you'd do for a certain amount of money. Some people let spiders crawl on them. Some people walked on glass, some were kept underwater until they nearly passed out. They offered good money. Any range between $50,000 to $250,000 depending on how daring the stunt would be.
He host of the show, Rick Vee, a 30-something year old that shaved his head and wore a goatee, traveled from town to town getting people that were just walking by and asking them to do something disgusting or dangerous for money. It was simply a show that let you see how desperate people were for money.
Rick Vee loved to select people who seemed to be down on their luck. He figured those were the easiest targets. Those people would do anything for money. They were the people that kept the show on the air. Without the naïve and desperate, Dared would bomb.
Ken was an avid fan of Dared. He made sure that he had no major plans on Thursday nights and even offered to work Saturdays just so he could be off on Thursdays. Even when it was reruns, he still loved to sit back with a Bud Light and watch just how far people would go for money. It was a show that helped him escape his reality and made him think if HE'D do anything for money. He'd always keep tabs where the show would be at each week and hoped the show would be in his town.
Ken rang up that last customer of the night. A short woman returning a DVD player that she said never worked. Oh well. Ken knew it would only be repackaged and put out to be sold again. That was the Target way.
"Hey Kenny, you think you can work for me tomorrow?"
Ken turned to see his coworker Zac, a 22 year old surfer guy. Zac had a crooked nose, long blonde hair and a dark tan.
"Naw, Can't. I'm busy," Kenny lied.
Zac shrugged. He looked at Max, Ken's other coworker but Max stopped him before Zac could even ask. "Don't even ask. I'm busy too and so is everyone else," Max said bluntly.
Zac groaned. "Oh man, it's my birthday tomorrow. Can't you guys give me a break?"
Ken laughed. "Yeah, I thought your birthday was in December?" It was not the middle of March.
Zac laughed. "Oh yeah. Damn I forgot you were at my party."
"Fuckin' pot head," Max said and went to the back to finish stocking. Zac shot him an evil glance.
"Sorry bro," Ken smiled.
Zac shrugged. "It was worth a try. I wanted to go to The Raveonettes concert. I'll probably just call in sick."
"Watch out, they might fire you," Ken warned.
Zac scoffed. "They'd be doing me a favor."
Ken nodded. "Ah, I suppose you don't have to worry about paying rent huh? You live at home and you're still young. Oh those were the days."
Zac laughed. "Living at home sucks major balls. I can't even bring chicks over."
"Well, maybe if you concentrated on working instead of always missing work, you'd have money to get your own place."
Zac rolled his eyes. "Oh yeah. I'd make lots of money working at this dump. I'd be filthy rich."
"Hey, it's better than nothing bro. Be thankful you got a job. A lot of people are homeless."
"I got my mom and pops to take care of me. It's all good."
Ken laughed. "Whatever man." He looked at the clock and it was closing time. Thank God. He went to the back to take some more returned items and found Max talking to Ken's sister, Marie. Marie was only 20. She was still going to college and working part-time as a cashier. She was the one that had gotten Ken his job. She was waiting for Ken to drive her home. She was still saving up to buy her own car and lived at home with their mom since their dad was passed away when Marie was only four and Ken had been eleven years old.
"Kenny," Marie called out. Her dark black hair was pulled back in a ponytail and her pale blue eyes looked tired.
"Hey sis. Ready to bounce on out of here?"
Marie laughed. "Stop trying to sound hip. But yes, I'm ready to go."
They all turned to see Lily walking towards them. Lily was tall, slim and really, really pretty, at least to Ken she was. She had shoulder length brown hair, soft brown eyes and an inviting smile. Ken had liked her immediately but felt she might be too young for him. It was his rule to date females 25 and up. He was ready for a serious relationship and really young girls only wanted to have fun.
"You forgot your phone," Lily said breathlessly handing Marie her cell phone.
"Oh shit. Thanks. I forgot I had left it at my station."
Lily laughed. A sweet harmonic laugh. "I heard your phone go off. I think you got a text message. That's how I knew you'd left it."
She looked at Ken and smiled shyly. Marie noticed the intensity every time Ken and Lily were around each other. She wished that they would just start dating instead of being so damn shy.
"You remember Kenny right?" Marie blurted out.
Lily looked at Ken and nodded. Her face was turning red. Ken was blushing as well. "Hey," he said quietly.
"Hey Lily you going with us after all?" Max interrupted Ken and Lily's moment.
"Yeah. I already got my tickets."
"Where you all going?" Marie asked curiously.
"The Raveonettes concert. It's tomorrow night," Max answered.
Ken stared at Lily. She seemed excited to go to the concert. Although he never really heard of The Raveonettes, he wanted to go too. "Oh yeah? Are they sold out?"
Max nodded. "Nah. Why? You want to go too?"
"I want to go!" Marie yelped.
"You like The Raveonettes?" Max asked.
Marie nodded. "Of course! I just hadn't thought of buying the tickets because I didn't know any of you were going!"
Max laughed. "No, I was asking your OLDER brother here."
Ken smirked. "Yeah, yeah why do you always got to tease me about my age bro? You're only two years younger so shut the hell up."
Max playfully punched Ken in the arm. "I'm just playing. Yeah why don't you two come along too? Missy and Joe from electronics are going with us. We'll make it a group thing. We're all meeting up at the concert."
Ken's heart leaped. He didn't think he had enough money to buy tickets but he was going to find a way to get the money. A chance to hang out with Lily was one he could not pass up. He had a few CD's he no longer listened to that he could sell and some books. He thought of heading over to the electronics department to purchase The Raveonettes CD so he wouldn't be totally clueless about their music. He had all night to stay up and listen to it over and over again. He'd sleep during the day. He'd be missing Dared, but it was worth it just to hang with Lily.
"That sounds fun. Hope you two can make it. I got to get going," Lily said before flashing a sweet and sexy smile to Ken. "Bye guys," she waved and walked away slowly.
"Bye," Ken managed to say several seconds later.
Marie rolled her eyes. "You ready?"
"Wait," Ken said and turned to Max, "is the electronics department still open?"
He got lucky that Joe from electronics had let him take The Raveonettes "Lust, Lust, Lust" CD for free. After ken told him he wanted to join them for the concert. He put it on in his car CD player as soon as he dropped Marie off at home. He liked the music and thought Lily had great taste. The songs were catchy and had that noisy cool beat to them.
After getting to his apartment, he put the CD in his CD player and turned it up. Not too loud after all his neighbors might get upset. It was Wednesday night and people had early jobs to get to in the morning.
.... There is more of this story ...