OUT OF SEASON
by Ian Watson
It’s winter in Blackpool. The golden mile’s just a mile and there’s no pleasure to be had on the beach but life goes on for the locals.
Tony is eighteen and in love from the underpants out. The object of his desire is a barmaid but there’s one thing he needs to do before she’ll give him an all-day pass to Mandyland- grow up.
He stumbles across an opportunity to prove his manhood and, in doing so, falls into a nightmare of very large, nasty grown-ups who want to either kill him or use him to get someone else killed, so he panics.
Enter Bene. Wise beyond his years and something of a guru he hatches a plan so utterly ridiculous that Tony rejects it out of hand and turns his back on his mate… who goes ahead with it anyway.
The whole story is heading towards a single night at the club. A night of violence. A night of secrets and lies and that’s just the staff. Everyone seems to have a plan that involves Tony… except Tony. He’s a man now alright but all he really wanted was a little ‘charles’ with the increasingly shallow Mandy.
He can’t run. He can’t trust anybody and the clock is ticking. Life isn’t a roller-coaster. There’s no wooden figure at the entrance with, “If you’re not as mature as me you can’t ride ‘Adulthood” written above it. Now he’s on it and can’t get off and there’s a massive drop ahead. All he can do is shut his eyes, hold on tight and prey he can still stand up when it’s over.
… oh, it would seem life is a roller-coaster after all.
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