July 10, 2011 by markstani
This is my latest short story from an upcoming collection based around the Olympic sports. This one’s an admittedly tenuous take on the modern pentathlon.
On Saturday I went to the beach with Kirk. Kirk’s my best friend, and we often go to the beach on Saturdays. It’s twenty-five minutes away by bus, or slightly less if Mad Mike’s driving. Mad Mike wasn’t driving this time. On Saturday it was warm enough to maybe go in the sea, so we took some towels and wore our trunks under our jeans. Kirk said there’d be lots of girls, as it was the Radio One Roadshow and McFly were going to be there. The girls would scream and cry a lot, and when McFly had gone they’d be all juiced up (Kirk’s words, not mine) and on the lookout for boys to do stuff with. Kirk said he didn’t give two shits if the girls shut their eyes and pretended you were the lead singer in McFly, just so long as they did stuff. I’d never done stuff with a girl, at least not proper stuff, so I was nervous and excited at the same time. Kirk said he had, but I didn’t believe him. Kirk’s always telling lies. Like the time he said he’d found his dad’s car with the keys in on the drive, and he’d taken it for a spin all the way to Whitby and had fish and chips and picked up a girl and done stuff with her on the back seat. He even showed me the back seat, and got mad when I said it was a Coke spill. Or the time he said he’d made a bomb and was going to blow up our school. It was just a wine bottle with some petrol in it. He pushed an old dishcloth half in and lit it, but it fizzled out half-way through his throw, and tinkled against the sports hall wall. He was expelled – not for trying to blow up the school, but for smashing a bottle.
When we got to the seaside, Kirk realised he’d got his dates wrong. The Radio One Roadshow was next week. I didn’t mind about McFly, but I was disappointed about the girls. Kirk said there would still be some about. It wasn’t as warm as we’d expected. The sun had gone in and there were spits of rain. Apart from some dog-walkers, there weren’t many people on the beach. We watched a woman let her dog do a huge shit on the sand. Kirk said we should make a citizen’s arrest, but we didn’t. Kirk just shouted that she was an old scrubber, and we ducked up into town. We looked in the joke shop and Kirk was going to buy the fake tits, but he decided he didn’t want to lug them round all day. He bought some itching powder instead. Kirk said he’d put some itching powder down a girl’s back once and she’d ripped her top off right there in front of him, not caring that Kirk could see her tits and everything. I didn’t believe him, but I liked the thought. On the way back to the beach, we got shouted at by a tramp for staring at him, even though we weren’t.
The tide was half-way down and we couldn’t work out if it was coming in or going out. There were a couple of kids playing with Star Wars light-sabers. There were two girls huddled with a pack of donkeys. No-one was riding them. The girls looked cold and fed-up. They were huddled in hoodies. Kirk said they looked quite fit. He said seaside donkey girls are well known for doing stuff. He said it’s a well-known fact that they are generally speaking quite mucky.
Kirk decided to impress the donkey girls by getting the two boys to lend us their light-sabers. The two boys looked like they might cry, but Kirk told them Luke Skywalker was his second cousin twice removed, and he’d show them how to sword-fight properly. We started having a proper sword-fight. Kirk’s better at things like sword-fighting than me. He also always wants to win, especially when girls like the donkey girls are watching. Kirk kept looking over at the donkey girls, and once when he was watching I jabbed my light-saber right through the middle and winded him in his ribs. He fell to the ground and struggled to catch his breath. When he got his breath back, he jumped up and properly attacked me. He kept hitting me round my head and it really hurt. He hit me so hard his light-saber got bent. He only stopped when we saw the boys’ dad marching up the beach towards us. He was jabbing his finger and swearing, and the boys were bawling behind him. We were a bit scared until he plonked his foot right in the big shit the woman had let her dog do. Then we started laughing, and the donkey girls laughed too.
Kirk went up to the donkey girls and asked how much it was for a ride. We found it funny, even though the donkey girls didn’t seem to get it. The one Kirk liked had pale green eyes and freckles. She said it was one pound fifty but it was only for kiddies. Kirk said he’d give her two quid if she let him, but she still said no. The other girl was brushing the donkeys’ backs and not taking any notice. She was wearing jeans-shorts and had thin legs like spaghetti. She had her hoodie pulled up round her face. Kirk said our names, and the girl Kirk liked said her name was Cheryl, and her friend was Stella. Cheryl said she’d let us ride the donkeys if we swam all the way out to the Devil’s Rock. The Devil’s Rock was a small rock out to sea that the waves broke over. There were stories about the Devil’s Rock and how the swell around it could pull you under. A few years ago, a boy from our school had tried on New Year’s Eve and drowned. Some people said it was cursed, but others said it was just because the boy had drunk six cans of Tartan Special. We’d seen plenty of other boys make it. The tradition was you clambered up and pulled a moonie at everyone on the beach. Then you swam back and did stuff with the girls who’d dared you.
Kirk told the donkey girls we’d swum out to the Devil’s Rock a billion times. He pulled his jeans and top off, and asked them to watch them. I hesitated, then I did the same. It felt weird taking my clothes off in front of girls. I bent and tried to cover up. Then I ran in after Kirk.
Once, we met a boy from school at the beach. His name was Dave. Everyone said he was borderline special needs. We persuaded him to come in the sea with us, then we pulled his trunks off and ran out. We dumped his trunks and the rest of his clothes in a litter bin up on the prom. Dave stayed screaming in the sea for ages, then he got out and ran up the beach to the bin in the nude. Even though he tried to cover up, everyone could see. He fished his clothes out of the bin and they were covered in melted ice cream and tomato sauce. He stayed off school for the next three days. He said he got hypothermia from staying in the sea too long, and he was going to sue us for a million pounds.
I jumped straight in the sea, partly because if you go in slowly it takes all day, and also because the girls were watching. The sea was so cold it snatched my breath, and my hands felt like they had ice blocks on them. I was bit scared of going out to the Devil’s Rock, and I hoped Kirk would decide to turn back first. He was front-crawling ahead but the waves were big and they’d keep pushing us back to where we were. I kept getting mouth-fulls of salt water and I kept a look out for jellyfish. After a bit we heard shouting from the beach. It was a lifeguard who was standing up to his ankles waving us to get back. We were about a swimming pool length away from the Devil’s Rock but we couldn’t get any closer. Even though Kirk said we shouldn’t, in the end we swum back. When we got back the lifeguard said it was the bane of his life dealing with little nobheads like us who reckoned we could get out to the rocks without taking account of the tidal swell, and he had half a mind to let us get on with it and drown. Kirk called the lifeguard a stupid dick, but kept his distance. The donkey girls were laughing while they pulled a couple of little kids up and down the beach on the donkeys.
Even though we hadn’t done what the donkey girls said, they gave in as soon as Kirk got a packet of fags out. They were Kirk’s dad’s fags but Kirk’s dad got so many on holiday in Spain Kirk said he wouldn’t miss them. Kirk said he could blow smoke rings but it was too windy. I coughed mine down and dropped it on the sand when there was still more than half left. My clothes were sticking to me from the salt. The donkey girls smoked theirs like they smoked all the time. Cheryl asked us where we were from and when we told her, she laughed and called us farm yackers. Kirk said if we were farm yackers we should know how to ride donkeys. Cheryl pulled the biggest one up and Kirk clambered on. He crouched up like a Grand National jockey but it was going about one mile an hour. He started singing the theme to Champion The Wonder Horse. Stella pulled one up for me, and Kirk said we should have a race. Mine just stood still and wouldn’t budge. Kirk called his Desert Orchid, and jabbed it with his heels. It bucked a little bit and Kirk almost fell off. Cheryl told us to get off. Kirk asked her what time she clocked off for lunch. She said her older brother was due at about twelve. Kirk said we’d meet them both up at the arcades.
I didn’t think there was any way they’d come, but Kirk said it was for certain. Kirk said the best way to get girls to do stuff was to make them laugh. He said once you made them laugh they would usually let you do anything. He said he told some good jokes to a girl on the pier one time, and the next thing he was fingering her round the back of the beach huts. I asked him what the jokes were, but he said he couldn’t remember. I said we could go back to the joke shop and buy some, but he wasn’t listening.
We got a tray of chips each and when Kirk squirted on the Ketchup he called it virgin blood. The spits of rain came back so we ducked in the arcade. We played the penny-push machines and got warned we’d be thrown out if we kept banging the glass. The most we got was nine pennies in one go. Kirk almost got a key-ring but it dangled over the slot and he couldn’t get it even when he felt his fingers up. We went on the horse race game but we kept guessing the wrong horse. Kirk said it was rigged because the machine knew which horse you’d put your money on so it made a different win. Then a kid came up and put some money on the pink one, which never won. It won and the kid got one pound fifty. Kirk shouted that the game was a bunch of shit. The arcade man threatened to chuck us out again.
While we were waiting for the donkey girls we went on the Star Wars shooting game. You used plastic guns that you pointed at the screen. If you put fifty pence each in you could play against each other. I hated shooting games and Kirk won every time. Before I even got him in target he shot me. Kirk found a way to put the fifty pences in and kick the coin slot at the same time, so the money came out but we still got the credits. We got it up to five pounds and Kirk said he wouldn’t quit till he got a new high score. Kirk said his uncle was the cop who’d shot Barry Larkin. Barry Larkin went on the rampage a few years back and shot dead a couple of cops before hiding out in the forest. After about two weeks they tracked him down and shot him. Kirk said his uncle had met the Queen and got the Victoria Cross for his bravery.
The donkey girls came in and Cheryl got my gun and beat Kirk straight away. Kirk said he let her, but he obviously didn’t. She beat him three more times and Kirk said the game was shit. The donkey girls went for chips and got them free because they knew the boy was serving them. I wondered if they got them free because they let him do stuff with them. Kirk said he knew a place they could sit and eat them up by the beach huts. Cheryl said they only had a half hour or her brother would kill them. Kirk and Cheryl sat on one bench and me and Stella sat on the other. Stella let me have half her chips because she said they were minging. There was way too much vinegar on them but I didn’t tell her. We shared a fag and Stella asked me if I’d ever had a blowback. I said no and felt myself going red because I didn’t know what she meant. She tucked her hair back in her hood and asked if I was ready. Then she took a big suck of smoke and leaned him and clamped her mouth to mine. I broke off coughing and she whooped laughing. We tried a second time and it lasted longer. Then we just started normal snogging. I moved my hands up to her tits but she pushed them off. It was disappointing as over her shoulder I could see Kirk had his hands on Cheryl’s. I tried to think of a joke but my mind went blank.
After a bit, Kirk and Cheryl pulled apart and sparked another fag each. Cheryl asked Stella if she wanted to swap and Stella shrugged okay. Cheryl’s breath tasted smokier and she smelled more of donkey. I watched to see if Kirk would move up to Stella’s tits and what she’d do but instead he felt in his pocket for his itching powder then he rubbed some up under Stella’s collar. Instead of ripping her top off Stella pushed Kirk off and started screaming he was a moron. Knowing my time was running out I quickly moved my hands up and squeezed Cheryl’s tits and it was just at that moment I felt a big clout round the side of my head. Cheryl jumped out and slapped me and I fell face-first into the bench. I blinked up and I guessed it was Cheryl’s brother standing over me getting ready to give me a boot. I scrambled up and me and Kirk started legging it back down to the beach with Cheryl’s brother chasing. We got to the beach and he was gaining on us so we ran out in the sea and stood up to our knees while Cheryl’s brother stood on the sand saying he’d kill us if he so much as set eyes on us again. We waded right round to the pier before we got out to be safe. I told Kirk we should come back next week for definite, as the Radio One Roadshow’s in town and we all know what girls are like when they get juiced up.