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Beach Rage


“You need a break,” they told me after Bill got himself mangled in the machine at work. “You’re working too hard,” they said. “Take some time off,” they said. “Go to Blackpool and have some fun.”

            Fun. That’s a laugh. Call this fun. I’d have had more fun back on the shop floor building car engines and laughing and joking with the lads. It’s hot on the shop floor too, but at least you’re not crammed together like sardines. At least you can move when you want, go and get a drink when you want, and not have to queue for the toilets.

            I told the missus we should have gone to Cornwall. “Not so many people in Cornwall,” I said.

            But no. Ethel knew best, didn’t she? Everyone she knows has been to Blackpool. “It’s great,” they said. “You’ll have a wonderful time,” they said. And so Ethel had to come. She knew best, and once she’s made up her mind that’s that.

            We could have had some peace and quiet in Cornwall though. I’m certain of it. And peace and quiet’s what we both need. Now that the children have flown the nest we could do with some time on our own. Some quality time on our own. We could get to know each other again, see if we could find something in common again.

            Ethel had made up her mind though, so we came to Blackpool. “It’ll be fun,” she said.

            Only it’s not fun. No fun at all. It’s too hot for one thing, and there’s too many people about for another. Wherever you go you can’t move, you’re either in someone’s face or someone’s in your face all the time. And you can’t even go to sleep in the sun there’s so much noise.

            I should never have let Ethel talk me into it.

            And what with all this heat, and being squashed up with all these people I don’t even know, it’s driving me crazy. Crazy like that red-hot day in the factory when Bill died.

            It’s driving me fucking crazy, I tell you.

            I don’t know whether I can survive another five days of this.

            Not without killing someone.

           The End


Copyright Stuart Hughes 1996.

Beach Rage has been previously published in Flickers ‘n’ Frames #26 1996, in Ocean Eyes 1997, the Derby Telegraph 2011, on the TTA Press Advent Calendar 2010, and on This is Derbyshire 2011.