The Beach Diaries 2012 – #34
* Two old women sit next to me on a bench. They chat to each other about the last time they came down to Littlehampton, and had to go home early because the pale skin of “a ginger bloke — do you remember?” had attracted thousands of flies.
“Ooh, he was covered in them. You do remember, don’t you? You could still hear him screaming when you were halfway to the carpark.”
* The surface of the prom is covered with a canvas of words, etched out high and wide in different-coloured chalk. The largest is a delicately coloured, ten feet long mural that reads ‘LITTLEHAPTON’ with a tiny little forgotten M scribbled above the A and P. But otherwise, there’s a running theme.
BMX 4 LIFE
Future historians will mark these as the opening salvo in the BMX/Skater war that consumed the planet. After the assassination of Tony Hawk in 2013, Obama really had no choice but to launch a nuclear strike against his own countrymen.
* Certain combinations of people and actions will always be jarring. Dads crying. Teachers implying that they know something about popular culture. On the walk into town, a man coming out of a house meets the postman coming up his path.
“Anything good?” he asks.
“Just the usual shit,” says the postman, wearily handing over a stack of envelopes. Usual shit? Fine, he was probably younger than me, and took the role out of a need to pay the bills in a horrendous job market rather than it being a lifelong calling, but still. Uniforms give the aura of authority, and hearing a postman swear is rather like watching a policeman pissing over a bus.
* The kids have gone back to school. It’s like that scene in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang where they first walk the streets of Vulgaria, and Benny Hill hides them all in his cellar. In a heartbeat, the families that packed this place for the last few months are gone, and the entire beach is of legal age to booze, smoke, fornicate, and huff on £10 worth of crack atop a pile of freshly slayed corpses, while Johnny Law can’t do a damn thing but stand there and watch.
* An empty wheelchair stands alone on a stretch of beach. Fifty yards away, in the ocean, a frail woman glows with laughter as her husband, carrying her gently in his arms like a child, dips her body into the waves.
* Shirtless old man. Shorts hiked right up to the nipples.
* On the back wall of a toilet cubicle where a fresh piece of graffiti on the door requests yet more ‘suck fun’ (“Teens only”), there’s the unmistakable sight of two grubby, perfectly formed handprints, either side of the pipe that comes out of the cistern. The placement of said hands suggests bending, and balance. Their grimy nature — a binman or tramp.
* A pair of lads approach, exchanging stories with bawdy enthusiasm.
“How old was she?” asks the older of the two, whose head is a matted mess of grey.
“Thirteen, fourteen…” he says, with a giggling pride.
“What?!” Grey Hair’s sudden, genuine outrage instantly puts his mate on the back foot. He didn’t see that coming, and it knocks the gleeful chuckles right out of his mouth.
“Nah, nah, only joking. Not fourteen. Definitely not. Just a joke.”
* Overheard conversation snippets. Teenage girl lazing in the shelter to her two friends.
“I didn’t know where the toilet was, so I went in the desk.”
* A pack of late-teens girls amble past, well within my earshot.
“Oh my God,” says one, “that guy looks like a really ugly version of your ex!”
“Right there. With the long hair, reading.”
“Eww, yeah. Yuck.”
The complete collection (plus appendices) of 2011’s Beach Diaries are available to buy for the Amazon Kindle for £1.99/$2.99. If you don’t have a Kindle, Amazon have a free Kindle app for PC/Mac/phones/tablets, available right here.
~ by Stuart on September 5, 2012.
Posted in the beach diaries
Tags: benny hill, bmx, cheap ebooks, cheap ereads, cheap kindle books, chitty chitty bang bang, ebooks, kindle books, public abuse, the beach diaries, the child catcher, ugly men are the most oppressed minority, utterly horrifying things, yuck