Barry’s big brother Neville had been staying over for a few nights but he was beginning to feel restless and confined, preferring open spaces and seeing the stars than four walls and a ceiling
His constant pacing around like a caged animal was beginning to get on Barry’s nerves, even when he was quiet, he wasn’t – forever sniffing, coughing and mumbling to himself.
“Come on Nev, lets go down the pub?”
“Ok, thats a good plan Baz…but I’m a bit short at the moment.” As he emptied his pockets, 15p and half a pack of dusty Woodbines tumbled out.
“My shout, you can owe me one.” Barry said knowing that may not happen for a long while.
“I’ll try and get you on the bins with me, we’re a lad down since Arthurs accident.”
“Cheers.” Although Neville was hoping for a musical related job rather than hard graft.
In the back bar of ‘The Jolly Sailor’ sat Burt quietly mulling over the remnants of his last pint, he perked up when the boys burst in.
“Two pints of Best, Cheryl….and a pint for my mate Burt” Barry was feeling generous, it was the day after payday and he still had a wad in his pocket.
Burt, Barry and Neville toasted each other, awkwardly the conversations started then stumbled as Neville was only giving one word answers, eventually Barry asked Burt a leading question to rev up his storytelling yarns.
“Have you ever been shipwrecked Burt?”
“Have I ever….it was late summer when a freak storm hit our boat….”
*FLASHBACK CAMERA WOBBLES*
As the salty sea waves crashed over the crude raft, a recumbent figure was drenched for the umpteenth time. Not a flicker of life was to be seen as the sea birds circled above hoping for a tasty titbit.
Dawn had broken revealing a calm horizon after the furious tempest that raged all last night.
Burt was lying unconscious, as the raft was gently carried on the prevailing tides, he had no idea how long he’d drifted; only aware of his gnawing hunger and overwhelming fatigue as each day gradually became night.
As if in the far distance, the familiar sea sounds drastically changed as he fell in and out of consciousness, the waves became louder as they rhythmically pummelled the soft yielding sand and withdrew fulfilled swirling spume and shingle until the next one rushed in.
Over the beach the girls playfully chased and dodged each other while they enjoyed the first day of their weekend break.
Giggling and splashing along the shoreline in the soft sand and shallow warm waters, they stopped in their tracks at the strange sight; half scared and half inquisitive the girls approached the raft, desperately hoping not to see a gruesome sight.
“Is he dead?”
“How should I know, poke him.”
“No you poke him”
The recumbent figure didn’t look dead, just very wet and a bit sunburnt, as the girls argued about what to do now, whether to call the police or coastguard?
His head felt heavy and was throbbing incessantly, the high pitched sounds pierced his eardrums as Burt gradually came to with a grunt.
The noise continued as the girls squealed their surprise at his sudden movement.
“Oh my gosh, he’s alive!”
“Are you alright?”
“No,” grunted Burt hoarsely, he suddenly became aware of how thirsty he was, his mouth was drier than a crisp packet.
All Burt could see was a lithe pair of firm tanned female thighs.
‘Am I in Heaven?’ He blinked tightly and tried to focus again.
“Oh you poor thing.”
“Let us help you.”
Burt was so weak and his legs were wobbly, between both the strong strapping girls they managed to support his manly form and slowly he limped back to their beach encampment.
Stacey was quietly reading her book when she spied her friends returning.
“What the devil! You girls are fast worker.” She chuckled, thinking at first Burt was drunk.
“We saved him!”
“Yes, he would have died if we hadn’t have rescued him.”They seemed very pleased with themselves, although Burt was close to collapsing again.
” Wat – er… water.” He whispered weakly.
“Oh dear, we’ve only got beer and some bottles of Lambrini.”
Then Burt knew he really had died and this was his heaven. Glugging down a small bottle of beer, then another and another to quench his incessant thirst was the last thing he remembered.
“Aw, he’s gone to sleep and we don’t even know his name.”
“He must have an exciting tale to tell, wonder where he comes from?”
“Do you think he’s a natural blonde, lets check?”
“Barbie! Leave him alone.”
Burt suddenly sat bolt upright and alert,
“Where am I? How did I get here?”
“We were going to ask you that.”
“…and where is my shirt?” Barbie just tittered while she rubbed sun lotion into his arms and back, “Oh what firm muscles you have.”
” …and that’s how I first met Stacey.”
“What happed then?” Barry was curious, Neville was silent.
“Er, well that’s the tricky part.” Burt explained, “I was reported as missing presumed dead…and I still am where the official records are concerned.”
“Bit like me, under the radar.” Muttered Neville, more to himself than a general statement.
©Juliette Dodd 2019