The Beach Diaries 2012 – #24
* I drag myself out of the house for the first time in a week; a week that’s been choked by my sweaty, rasping sickness. On the way, I pass a human turd on a wall, and by the time I get to the river, I’m soaked in a sweat that’s half sickness, half summer sun.
* A pallid corpse-man shuffles along the prom, amid tourists and families, and girls giggling at the flirtations of shirtless men. “This was a bad idea,” he thinks, feeling untethered and unsteady, like every footstep could take him down instead of forwards. People bake their flesh in desperation; this rare day of heat in the summer that wasn’t, and the corpse-man wonders how many others forced a bellyful of boiling soup down their necks before they left the house. A shirtless bloke flexes. A girl laughs. A corpse-man splutters a hard cough that shakes loose a lung, and then takes out a notepad, because that’s all there is.
* A loose dog’s wagging tail pats against my arm. “Hello,” I say, in my ravaged Bea Arthur voice, and she runs away.
* An autistic teenager on a day trip makes a break from his group with his fingers in his ears, in panicked distress at the noisy chatter of the prom.
* I honk my nose loudly into a tissue. I look up to see the autistic boy — passing again — flinching in terror at the parp of my hooter.
* Overheard conversation snippets. Small boy to his dad.
“The Batcave smells of farts!”
* An old man gives me heavy stink-eye as I leave the toilets without washing my hands. I absolutely guarantee that the surface of my cock is cleaner than any of the taps, dryers or handles in that piss-drenched Cottagers Clubhouse. You could eat your dinner off the end of my penis. In fact, I recommend it (Michael Winner gave it a full five stars). Besides, old man, I somehow managed not to urinate all over my hands. As always, I open the door with the bare-minimum physical contact, and cleanse myself with a small bottle of medical gel that I carry with me, while the old man no doubt returns to his wife up to the elbows in the piss, poo and cum of a thousand different men.
* There’s a rare kind of happiness purveying the mood of the crowds down here today. The sun’s out, we’re at the beach, and Great Britain are doing pretty good in the Olympics. Everyone seems to be smiling or laughing, relaxing or flirting. Except in the car park. Down there, a lone traffic warden is on patrol, moving between cars like an urban fox glanced beneath street lights on bin night. He’s about sixty, with a long, rocker’s hair and beard, and a line of rings punched through his ear. What happened to you, man? You were at Woodstock, flipping off security and kissing a stranger until the sun came up, and yet you spend this beautiful day prowling for cars parked a half-inch over the white line, so you can drop an arbitrary legal robbery under someone’s windscreen and ruin their summer? I think about going up to him and yelling that I’m glad Hendrix is dead, so he doesn’t have to see this. But I don’t.
* A mother bellows at a boy of five.
“Stop asking stupid questions!” Behind her back, he balls his hands into fists and raises them to his head, mouthing a silent, tooth-clamped “RRRGGGH!” of frustration at the sky.
* A dad changing out of his swimming trunks fumbles, with the towel slipping out of his grip to briefly expose a couple of inches of flaccid, flapping nob. His wife’s face wears a weary, loveless disgust that says “I’ve seen enough of that thing to last me a lifetime.”
* A man eats an ice cream. At his feet, a little dog stares so intently, you can almost hear his eyes.
“No,” says the man, “It’s not for you. Not for you.”
* I get a round of sarcastic wolf-whistles from a group of cackling youths on the long bench as I pass. This really is the summer for it. Once I’m past them, I check my flies, just in case.
* I have one of those moments where a man’s base, animal instinct causes their world to skid on its axis. You’re just minding your business, and then, one glance in the wrong direction. Boom. Women like this should be hidden away where they keep the Ark of the Covenant. What good does it do to be confronted with such sights? She arches her back, flicking the sea-soaked hair out of her face; sunlight illuminating water droplets against her skin, and highlighting curves like something airbrushed on the side of a pervert’s van. If this were a movie, everything would be going slow-mo, cutting between the kind of indescribable hotness that deserves better than this scuzzy place and these pitiful words, and my own gawping face. I -
“No. It’s not for you.”
“Not for you.”
I go and stare at the river instead.
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