— 1 – Mickey’s Story

It was 7:25. He knew it was 7:25 because the DJ on the radio told him it was 7:25. He drove down the steep hill past the shabby chalets, and turned right into the car park. It was raining. It was raining that kind of rain you get every November when the wind is blowing. He left the windscreen wipers and headlights on so that he could see what was around him in the car park. Nothing, nothing at all. There was not another vehicle in the car park. He checked his rear view mirror, no, not even a late night dogger or early morning jogger was in sight. Apart from his dog asleep in the back Mickey was alone in the car. Mickey was alone in the grey misty car park.

He just sat there staring through the windscreen towards the beach. Dave The Dog stirred gently in the back of the car, and did a doggie yawn and stretched. Mickey reached across to the passenger seat and picked up his cigarettes and lit one. There were now five smokes left in the pack. That packet was full when he’d set off just shy of four hours ago. Fifteen fags in barely four hours, He thought to himself that if he didn’t cut down he’d be heading for a slow lingering death. He certainly didn’t have that in mind. Slow lingering deaths weren’t nice, especially when there’s a better alternative. Mickey opened the glove compartment of the Volvo and took out a carton. It was about the size of a child’s shoe box, and in fact it was a child’s shoe box for it had the legend “Adidas” printed on it. Mickey sat with it in his lap whilst he continued to smoke his cigarette. He opened the box and slipped a gun into his pocket, and replaced the box in the glove compartment. The news ended on the radio – it was always wars and politicians these days -, and with that Mickey stepped from the car. Dave whined and Mickey opened the tailgate of the Volvo and got a face full of water. It always did that as an act of revenge for when Mickey had reversed into a lamp post cracking the bumper and bending and creasing everything else at the back. Volvos are tough but they don’t take too kindly to hitting a lamp post in reverse at thirty miles an hour.

Dave jumped out and happily bounced around the car park looking for somewhere to pee. Dave then found a suitable bush, cocked his leg and promptly emptied his bladder. Dave looked happier now, even though it was raining and he, like Mickey, was getting rather wet. Mickey looked across from the car park to the beach side cafe and could see the lights inside being turned on and took in the scene at this his favourite beach. The jagged seaweed stained rocks, the high cliffs with grassy outcrops, the majestic sweep across to the posh houses and flats – and on a day like this the pounding surf. Always did that surf – pound.

Mickey led the way to the beach and, Dave trotted happily by his side looking up at Mickey every few paces as if to make sure that his Daddy was alright. At the kerb Mickey stopped, Dave stopped and then after looking both ways they began to cross the road side by side. An errant cyclist dressed in luminescent lycra came shooting down the hill jammed on his brakes and crashed into a wheelie bin. Mickey and Dave just kept going and went down the few steps and onto the beach leaving a swearing and bleeding and bruised Day-Glo damp dork trying to extricate himself from stale chip fat, dog poo and candy floss and of course the giant bin.

Mickey had a thought, why was he concerned with a slow lingering death through smoking? Why did he look both ways before crossing the road? Were these the last desperate elements of self preservation? Or was he trying to send a lycra clad cyclist into a wheelie bin on purpose? He decided that it was the latter, the pleasure derived from sending a shaved legged, sunglasses wearing (in the rain), lycra clad smug git into a wheelie bin was just too good an opportunity to miss. Besides smoking and traffic wasn’t going to bother him much longer. His hand tightened around the gun in his pocket – it was just a case of when he was going to use it.

Dave was running all over the beach chasing seagulls and it looked like he was having a thoroughly good time. He was having the time of his life running and barking after anything that moved – and a lot that didn’t. Mickey lit another cigarette with great difficulty in the howling gale, 4 to go, and watched the waves crashing onto the rocks and Dave rushing into the surf to bark at them. Mickey was worried that the dog might drown, but that fear subsided when Dave turned his back on the waves and tore off down the beach chasing more seagulls and barking whilst wagging his stumpy tail.

Mickey walked to the water’s edge and watched the sea wash over his feet. He chucked his fag butt into the waves and watched as it washed back in towards him. Dave came running thinking that Mickey had thrown a ball into the sea. Dave looked into the surf and saw no ball so he just sat a Mickey’s feet panting and wagging his tail. Mickey looked down at the Springer Spaniel and he looked back, panting. Mickey, at that moment truly envied Dave and knew that no matter what he couldn’t ever harm him. That Springer Spaniel had fun in his acceptance of just being a Springer Spaniel and chasing seagulls and getting wet on a sodden South Wales beach.

“Somebody will find him and look after him. He’s a good healthy dog, he’ll be alright.” Mickey said to himself.
Dave let out a half whine, half growl and lay at Mickey’s feet. He seemed to know what was coming. Mickey pulled the gun from his pocket, looked down at Dave and said,
“I’m so sorry about this mate, but I’ve had it, I’ve just got to do it.”
Mickey put the barrel of the pistol onto the roof of his mouth and stood for a moment. Dave jumped at his legs and with that Mickey pulled the trigger.

CLICK – “Bollocks” said Mickey

Dave barked at Mickey. Over and over and over again.
“You stupid self centred swine” Dave barked.
“You drove me all the way down here and were just going top yourself and leave me alone on this beach in the rain?” Dave The Dog howled.
”You’re an idiot, a fool . Now go and get me a drink and some breakfast in the cafe.” Dave snarled.
With that Dave The Dog walked slowly up the beach towards the cafe and for all the world he seemed to be shaking his head from side to side.

Mickey just stood there looking at the gun.

“What a prat,” he said to himself, I’ve left the bullets in the car.”

Wouldn’t have have much difference anyway It was a toy gun.

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