THE BIG FINISH
By: Brooke Fossey
Published: April 14, 2020
In just five days, life as Carl and Duffy know it is forever changed. It’s a day like any other at the Centennial Assisted Living facility. Carl and Duffy, roommates and sometimes friends, are awakened by someone coming in through their window. Carl and Duffy have no idea what lies ahead for them when the young woman crawls through their window.
Duffy, an 88-year-old former alcoholic, is a bit of a cranky old man and is happy with that label. He just needs to be careful so he doesn’t tick off the new administrator and shipped off to the hell of all nursing homes.
Carl, a widow, has secrets that due to their recent visitor are coming to the forefront whether he is ready for them or not. Josie came through their window with the sole purpose of meeting her grandfather, Carl, for the very first time. What we learn over time is that Josie is in a bit of trouble with her ex and she has a problem with alcohol. With no place to go and the need to hide from her ex, Duffy concocts a plan to hide her out at Centennial.
First of all, I was engaged in the story and found it entertaining, if a bit repetitive. I loved the sideline characters of Alice, Anderson, and even Sharon, the administrator who was just doing what she thought was best for the facility. These three plus the other residents brought a realistic look at life inside a residence full of older people that live for daily activities, meal-time chats, and the occasional day trip.
Secondly, the cover threw me a bit because it is a bit misleading. It gives the impression that Josie and one of the older men escape the home and go for the journey of their life. Now, that isn’t in the description, but it did give me that impression. There is a motorcycle ride for Duffy, but it is just a few miles and it was not a joyous ride and certainly not with Josie at the wheel.
There is a good build-up to the end of the story leading up to what caused Josie to come and find her grandfather in the first place. A lot happens in these five days and the ending was bittersweet. I thought it was just the right ending for the story and left me sad, yet joyful at the same time. The title leaves you thinking there will be a “big finish” and there is, but maybe not in the way you are thinking.
This story includes some laugh-out-loud moments, some tense moments, and some really heartfelt conversations. What I was left with was a reminder that sometimes it’s okay to break the rules a little bit, it’s a good idea to step out of your comfort zone, and later in life when you get to an assisted living facility, make sure you befriend the cook and stay loyal to your roommate.
Brooke Fossey was once an aerospace engineer with a secret clearance before she traded it all in for motherhood and writing. Shes a past president and an honorary lifetime member of DFW Writers’ Workshop. Her work can be found in numerous publications, including Ruminate Magazine and SmokeLong Quarterly. When shes not writing, you can find her in Dallas, Texas with her husband, four kids, and their dog Rufus. She still occasionally does math.
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