Kyle’s picture leapt onto the screen of Margot’s iPhone, habitually set to silent while a client was in the boutique. Why did he ALWAYS call when she was with a customer? Her son had no sense of timing – or a perfect sense of timing, depending on which way you looked at it. The phone buzzed insistently on the shop counter but Margot hurried back to the fitting room to serve the potentially profligate client with highly suggestible tendencies who was hopefully going to help her break even this week.

“How did you go with the print blouse? Can I get you another size? It also comes in a teal…” Margot’s mind was only half on the answer as the client thrust a hand from behind the curtain and handed back a pile of rejects. Margot circled past the counter to drop them off and saw that it wasn’t just one call she’d missed, Kyle had called several times.

Honestly, that boy! Although to be accurate, he was 25, and right on the point of tipping her over the edge. Still living at home, he claimed his God-given right as a member of his generation to milk his parents dry until he ‘could afford his own place, which would be NEVER thanks to you leeching Baby Boomers buying up the ENTIRE property market and negative-gearing the shit out of EVERYTHING’. Which was all just an excuse. Kyle didn’t want to do his own cooking, washing and shopping and just didn’t want to admit it.

Also, buying a house would entail having some sort of savings, and Kyle didn’t even have a job. Somehow when he was at school he got it into his head that he was going to be a professional tennis player, but when he missed the cut at pennant when he was 17 he started to lose interest. By that stage he’d chosen a mixed bag of subjects at school – Human Development, economics, Language Studies, Media, Outdoor Ed – and had no real idea of where to go after school finished. He wasn’t interested in a trade, and when Margot had suggested TAFE for hospitality or even sports science, he’d simply grunted and declined. He now spent his time playing XBox in his room, going “out” and seemed to have no further ambition.

Margot returned to the fitting room in time to ‘suggest’ to the client she could certainly justify purchasing enough clothing to dress a royal and internally high-fived herself as she rang up the total at the register. Ka-ching! The wolves would not be at the door just yet.

That was the thing – Kyle’s generation thought Margot’s had had everything handed to them. Those kids sat back and let their parents do all the heavy lifting – earning, supporting, washing, cooking and cleaning, sheltering, advising, and moreover – FUNDING – the lives of the whingeing children who thought the world owed them, well – everything. But Margot worked bloody hard running her own business and worrying about how she would live when she could work no more..

No doubt Kyle was ringing for money. Or there was no food in the house that he wanted to eat. Or maybe his nail artist girlfriend had dumped him, or de-friended him or whatever they did these days. Or he just wanted something right NOW…

Or maybe he was hurt. Maybe he’d had a serious accident and that was why he’d rung so many times. Maybe it was actually the hospital ringing on his behalf because he was incapacitated and had lost the use of his limbs… or brain… or perhaps even worse…

Margot’s blood went cold and she almost pushed her meal-ticket client out the door before hurrying back to the counter to 12 missed calls and a single text.

“Can you come get me mum?”

Now, his car had run out of petrol. Thank Christ! Not dead.

But a ‘please’ would have been nice.