After concluding his final two years of high school in the midst of a global pandemic, local 18-year-old Benny Lockwood has had a lot of youthful milestones robbed from him.

In an out of lockdowns, he was lucky to be invited to two 18th birthdays that weren’t cancelled at the last minute, and his schoolies week was a scaled down no-dancing version of everything he had spent the last couple years dreaming about.

With an overseas Contiki trip well and truly off the cards for the next 6 months, Benny has had to find a way to spend the next year, before he decides whether or not he wants to pick up a trade or go to uni.

This dull, socially-distanced suburban life is miles away from the stories he’s heard from his older siblings youth – or even his parents.

In fact, there’s not much excitement in Benny’s life at all nowadays. After breaking up with his high school sweetheart in the final weeks before graduation, he’s also now learning that it’s almost impossible to meet girls his own when half the city’s nightlife is shut down and Queensland health restrictions still in place.

Bored with no cash, he reluctantly accepted a labouring gig that was advertised online.

A long, hot week of shovelling rocks and filling skip bins – Benny made uneasy peace with the idea that this might be all that his most exciting years have in store for him.

That was, until this afternoon, when Benny got his first taste of what it feels like to wrap up a week of hard honest work at 3pm on a sweltering Summer afternoon.

With a carton of lukewarm Coronas in the tray of his dad’s Hilux, and a piss up organised at his mate’s house, Benny is currently in the midst of a wave of euphoria he did not expect to feel after a 5 days of manual labour.

The ‘Friday Arvo Sting’ as it is known to blue collar workers, is the sheer and unadulerated joy that comes from leaving a worksite at the end of a week with somewhere to be.

With Triple M blaring on the radio, and his eyes stinging from the crusting sweat on his face, Benny will remember this feeling for the rest of his life.

“Oi” he yells down the phone to his mate Timmy, while illegally driving and dialling.

“I’m just leaving work now. You got ice?”

“I got a change of clothes with me.”

“Ok sick. See you in like 15”

“Oi. Wait up”

“Any chicks coming?”

“Ok sick. Fuck yeah”

“See ya soon”


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