Archive for March, 2010
by Jennifer Walmsley
The horizon shimmers. Sultry heat sends clouds of flying ants up into a pale sky. Swallows and gulls soar and dive, enjoying this rare summer feast.
The sea sloshes in lethargic motion. An amputated crab’s claw waves from the sand. A middle-aged man, his head red and peeling, scratches wet, hairy armpits and belches a cider belch. His wife, wearing a Kiss Me Quick sun hat, nudges his ribs to show her mock disapproval. They get up, sand sticking to the backs of their white skinned legs, and gaze down at litter left over from their al fresco lunch.
‘Fancy an ice cream?’ she asks, puckering sun-dried lips.
Her husband farts a cheese and onion fart. She responds with a lager sodden laugh and, arm in arm, they sway like tipsy dancers in the direction of Holly’s Café to join a queue that snakes out onto melting tarmac.
A beer can rolls against the husband’s ankle, spurting warm lager onto his aching bunion. His wife glares at the culprit; a teenage girl wearing what appears to be lurid tattoos and strips of pink cotton that don’t leave much to her husband’s imagination.
‘Who’re you gawping at?’ The girl shouts out above the murmurs of waiting customers.
Her boyfriend, with rings dangling from various orifices, says, ‘Drop it, Sheri.’
‘I’m looking at you, you tart,’ the middle aged woman shouts back. Her husband tells his wife to shut it and cool down. ‘Who are you to tell me to shut it?’ His wife turns on her husband.
‘He’s speaking to the monkey,’ the teenage girl sneers.
‘Who are you to call me a monkey?’ The middle aged wife demands, stepping out from the queue.
‘With all those whiskers and tram lines down your face, you look like one,’ comes the reply.
Both women advance towards one another. The older woman grabs hold of the girl’s blonde hair extensions. The girl grasps a handful of dyed auburn locks, and screaming, they tumbled to the ground, scratching and punching one and other to the tune of ‘Here Comes Summer,’ bellowing out from the café’s speakers.
Then, as the brawl continues, both husband and boyfriend melt away from the gawping spectators and, as the sound of a police siren grows closer, both head for the Jolly Roger pub at the end of the road.
Jennifer Walmsley was born and brought up in Wales, and has had short stories published in both women’s and Welsh literary magazines.