The Clueless Companion by Frank Kusy

When Frank starts working with Dennis he worries he might be out of his depth. How right he is.

Frank has a problem. He wants to retire, but his wife won’t let him. ‘What do you mean, you want to retire?’ she scoffs. ‘You’re only 62!’ With that, she encourages him to try a new career in the arena of social care: ‘You’re a very caring person; you’d be good at it.’ Frank is not so sure: according to his late mother, he hadn’t a caring bone in his body.

Enter Dennis, a young man with learning difficulties who will test Frank’s caring side – and his patience – to the limit. He talks non-stop, has a thing about women in baths, and hates cats. He also has an inordinate interest in Frank’s wife and why her coq au vin exploded out of the oven. ‘What’s cock o van? Did she put the chicken in the van and drive off with it?’

Over the course of 16 months, Frank learns a lot about the world of autism – and about himself – as he staggers from challenging (and surreal) encounters with Dennis to just as challenging yoga sessions, bridge gigs, and German beginner classes. Retirement? Frank has never been so busy!