Short story: A Day at the Seaside.

“I’ve told you, you’re not having it. I’m not made of money.”
Claire looked at her son’s face trying to judge whether he would kick off. There was about a fifty fifty chance. Sometimes she gave in to him, just to shut him up. It was all very well people saying you shouldn’t but they didn’t have to take the consequences when you said no to the little bugger. The other thing that she got told all the time, especially by her mother, was “you should have put your foot down years ago.” Yeah right. He’d wanted his own way since he was two. If babies could talk she’d probably be saying that he was born that way. He just hadn’t been able to do anything about it while he was stuck in a buggy. Other than cry. She watched him slouching along the pavement way ahead of her. Twelve next birthday and look at him. You could hardly see his face, his hands were deep in his pockets and his jeans were hanging down. If you saw him on CCTV you’d think he was up to no good. He wasn’t, mind, or not so far as Claire knew. He was just ignorant. Pig ignorant. It was starting to look like he might stay that way as well, especially with the lessons he got from his father every other weekend. Well there’d be no giving in to him today. There was enough money for two pasties for lunch and just enough petrol in the car to get them home, and that was it.
“Wayne! Gerrear!”
He turned and looked back at her blankly. He knew that would wind her up and she knew that she hadn’t got to let it.
“What?”
“Nothing. I just want you here that’s all.”
“What for?”
“Because I said so.”
He just kept staring, standing in the middle of the pavement and getting in people’s way while she caught him up. That was another thing they all said. You were meant to give reasons. Claire had found out that giving reasons didn’t work. It was hard work thinking of them and it made no difference. Money. That was the only thing that made a difference.
“I don’t want you wandering off.”
He rolled his eyes.
“What do you think I’m going to do? Sit on a bench with some old grannies?”
“You used to like coming here.”
“I never.”
That was why Claire had brought him to Filey. He used to spend hours on the beach when he was little, digging holes or kicking a ball around with his dad. With his dad. Well his dad wasn’t here now and he wasn’t little. Anything but. They should never have come. He was bored, and when he was bored he was always dangerous. Claire was bored herself come to that. She didn’t remember there being so many old folks walking slowly and standing still suddenly for no reason back in the day. They even drove their cart things along the pavement now. Where had they all come from?
“Mam, you said I could have that game for my X box.”
That was a tactic which Claire was well used to. He often claimed that she had promised him something when she hadn’t.
“I did not. You can have a pound if you want to go in the pound shop.”
Wayne wrinkled his nose. Claire could see what he was thinking. He wanted to tell her to get stuffed, he didn’t want a poxy pound coin, but if he said that he wouldn’t get his pound, would he?
She knew what would win. He shrugged.
“Suppose.”
She took the pound coin out of her grubby purse and gave it to him. He said thanks but he might as well not have done. He specialised in meaningless thank yous.
“I’m off then.”
“You don’t go anywhere else. Do you hear? I’ll follow you on.”
He slouched off. There was nothing to show her that he had heard. A few yards further on he crossed the road in front of a small grey Nissan Micra, looking at his feet and booting an empty can of shandy across the cement ahead of him. There was a screech of brakes.
It was the second time that Reg had driven round trying to find a place to park. He should have known better. It was getting to the time of year when it wasn’t worth bothering getting your car out when you came into town. Bloody visitors. They wandered anywhere and everywhere without a thought in their heads, leaving their rubbish, shouting at their kids. It would be like this for months now. Queues at the veg shop, chips all over the pavement and teenagers screaming out for no reason and frightening you to death. There was nowhere safe once Easter got here, not at weekends anyway, and there’d be six weeks of it in the school holidays. Now Bessie was gone he didn’t know why he stayed in Filey. He could move nearer to Karen and have a bit of peace. Only Bessie had liked it. She was the one who had wanted to come and there was her bench up on the country park where he could go and sit. There were a few of her ashes scattered up there and he could go and have a chat, tie some flowers to the handrail, make it feel like she was still close even if she wasn’t. He looked along the side of the road. It was a solid row of cars. There was nowhere to park along here. He speeded up, ready to try again round the corner. Then he saw the little yob kicking a tin can out into the road in front of him. He stamped his foot down on the brake, dislodging his cap and stalling the engine. Silly little sod. The tin can crunched under the wheel. He wound his window down.
“We’ll be knee deep in shit afore you lot go home!”
The mother was right behind the lad, ready to have a go.
“He were only kicking it!”
He raised his hands in despair, started the engine again and drove off.

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One comment on “Short story: A Day at the Seaside.

  1. Jane Walker says:

    Reads like the misery my step mother endured from my brother.. he is sweetness and light now..

    I like all the different perspectives in this..

    J xx

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