by Jim Gibson
Like all of us, Kane didn’t see his Dad much. So, when he came to pick him up for a day at Skegness, we were all sat on the wall to see him. We all made big statements about our dads (how they chain-smoked fags, were on the run from the police, had loads of women), somewhere deep down we must have understood how little they cared.
We smiled as he pulled up and we saw the reality. To say he wasn’t what Kane had made out was an understatement. He was a short man, losing his hair from the cranium outward. His tracksuit was worn out and a bit crusty like the skin on his face. He did drive a sports car though, we had to give him that one. It was a beat up MX5 that would rattle rather than purr. His girlfriend seemed closer to our age than his, but it wasn’t a glorious youthfulness. She looked like she’d had it hard.
He lent over the top of the car with a fag in his mouth and a harsh frown.
He nodded. ‘Ready Kane?’
‘Yeah.’ He shouted as he jumped down off of the wall, looking back at us with a grin.
‘Bring a mate if ya want to, like.’
I heard Akko exhale with a laugh. I looked around and the other lads’ faces looked as disbelieving as mine.
‘Josh, you coming?’
I hadn’t made eye contact on purpose but he’d still fucking asked me, hadn’t he. The others looked at me, eyebrows raised, relishing it.
‘Fuck it, why not?’ I slid my skateboard underneath the caravan on the garden.
In the back of the car our knees were in our chins. The drive was made longer by the two in the front gabbing on about people we didn’t know. Kane tried to join in at times, but was generally ignored. I didn’t bother trying.
At Skeg we just walked around. Looking. At the rides. Looking. At the arcades. Looking. At the peer. At crazy golf. The aquarium. Lazerquest. Looking… Kane’s dad didn’t pay for fuck all. He was just happy to walk around and canoodle with his girlfriend while we walked behind, kicking stones with our hands in our pockets.
Outside another arcade I turned to Kane. ‘Let’s lose ‘em.’
He tutted. ‘Don’t be stupid.’
‘This is shit, let’s bust a move!’
He looked over at his dad snogging his bird on the 2p machine, hand moving slowly up her skirt.
He bolted before I did.
All we needed now was a bit of money to start enjoying ourselves.
We found a spot and chucked our hats on the floor, sitting behind them. Dignity wasn’t an issue back then. Every person that walked past ignored us as we pleaded for money, coughing, spluttering. The coppers soon came and moved us on.
We sat on a wall at the edge of the beach looking out at families having a picnic. There were parents and children playing games that you’d never play anywhere else. They were kicking footballs, unsuccessfully, back and forth and laughing. We counted up the change in our pockets, there was a few quid each. As I stood up I coughed up a great greeny and spat it on the beach. One of the mothers tutted and shook her head. I looked her deep in the eye as we walked back off towards town.
We decided to go and see if the pub would serve us a pint. The barman just laughed when we asked. We walked into the large seaside smoking area and mine-swept a few dregs of pints in the heat. There were still some bottles lying over to one side but Kane didn’t look comfortable.
‘Fuck this, let’s get off.’
I shrugged. ‘Alright.’
Down the street Kane stopped and took me into one of those brick bus stops.
‘Some bald man was turned around chatting up the barmaid. I swiped this.’ He pulled a thick, black leather wallet out.
‘You sly bastard!’ I shouted in my tipsy state. ‘Crack her open then.’
We had to try and keep our excitement down to a minimum but we couldn’t help the yelps when we saw all of the 20s racked up in there. We took all of the money out, split it 50/50 – £240 each – and threw the wallet in the bin.
The rest of the day was a dream.
We licked four scoop ice creams with our feet in the water before nearly vomiting on every ride at Pleasure Beach. We annihilated a kid’s birthday party at lazerquest, diving, rolling, popping head shots before taking a hostage and being kicked out by the steward, the mother in tears shouting abuse behind him. We laughed about all of their faces as we saw how fast we could hit our golf ball around the loop-the-loop on the crazy golf course. The man at the donkeys said we were too old, but we stuck him an extra twenty and he let us on. We realised quickly how dull it was yet it was still fuck loads better than being with Kane’s dad.
We walked back down the beach front as it was starting to get dark. A horn blared out and we shot around quickly with our second ice cream cones in our hands. It was Kane’s dad.
‘You little cunts think you’re clever, ay? Let’s see how you like being fucking left here then!’ He laughed and his wheels screeched slightly as the car rattled off.
We shrugged, went to a taxi rank, paid up front and got home in far more comfort than we’d got there in.
The next day Akko and Matt came round for me. They asked me how Kane’s dad was. I said he was alright.
Jim Gibson grew up in the feral plains of England in an ex-coal mining village, Newstead, where the lack of employment was overshadowed by the grand home of the poet Lord Byron. This juxtaposition could have been the trigger that started him on his literary path. He is currently the fiction editor for Hand Job Magazine, where he tries to encourage the lesser voiced truths of our society.