Photo and texture by Lisa Shambrook - Madeira Drive, Brighton
(Please do not use without permission)
Rumble in Brighton
Tanya stared down at her fingernails peeling off a chipped strip of Constance Carroll’s ‘Shimmering Twilight’. She flicked it and watched it glint and flutter like a cheap butterfly in the morning sun. She looked up and gazed at the river of cubic zirconia cast across the ocean by the early morning sun. She peeled away more nail polish, until an inhibiting hand rested gently on hers. Tanya sighed and tucked her hands between her thighs, deep in her lap. She gazed out across the promenade, between the green, seafront railings and watched the glittering water. Morning’s breeze blew away the fog.
“Tanya, come here.” Steve’s wet kiss smeared her cheek as she avoided him. “No, a proper one!” He caught her chin and planted his lips squarely on hers. She hoped her smile was an accurate portrayal of devotion, but her stomach crawled and knotted with disgust.
“Let’s parrrrtay!” Gary grinned and pinched Zoe’s bum. Zoe slapped him and Tanya’s smile broadened.
Steve grabbed Tanya again and the smell of cheap beer soured his lips. “Tan, you’re mine tonight. I’m not doing this without my girl.” He looped his arm around her waist and pulled her close, his stubble grazing her neck. “We’re gonna have some fun tonight.”
The sound of mopeds buzzed along Madeira Drive and Gary whooped. “C’mon, let’s go!” He straightened his leather jacket and stroked his skinny jeans suggestively. “I need lubrication, got any Brylcreem?” he quipped.
Steve laughed and flicked his cigarette. “No, but I did shave just for the occasion!” He ran his hand across his newly bald scalp. “Like it Tan? ‘Cos I sure like what you’re wearing tonight!”
Zoe snarled. “I thought Brylcreem was the fifties, not seventies?”
“Don’t matter!” Gary shook his head. “We’re re-enacting and it’s the eighties, who cares about accuracy?”
“It’s a party!” Steve twirled Tanya. “So let’s do it!” He raised his can of Stella and showered Tanya.
The party broke down when bicycle chains and razor blades appeared, and all hell broke loose. Blue lights and sirens lit up the strip and Steve dragged Tanya through the heaving throng. “Don’t want no trouble…” he said, “Let’s have fun on our own…”
They stumbled across the railings and Volk’s railway track, and onto the dark beach. Tanya fought to stay upright in her white stilettos. Away from the anarchy Steve pushed her against the concrete groyne and chuckled. “We’ve got a ringside seat for this…it’s going mental up there!” He stared wide-eyed up at the raucous on Madeira Drive then he spun back and grabbed Tanya’s hand. He kissed her fingertips then thrust her hand down to his belt. He pinned her against the groyne and pressed his lips against hers. Tanya’s head began to swim. “Steve, don’t…” she tried to speak.
Steve pressed his mouth harder and drowned out her words, instead his hand slid up her thigh, beneath her denim skirt, and Tanya shifted sideways. Her foot twisted on the pebbles, her heel snapped and as she slipped Steve forced her down onto the stones. She tried to cry out, but the noise up on the strip was too loud. Steve came down on top of her and began unbuckling his belt. Tanya fought, and pebbles bruised her spine as he held her down.
Tanya’s head whirled and she fought the urge to throw up. Instead she rolled her hand up Steve’s leg and moved her fingers towards his groin. He moaned in anticipation as she slipped her hand inside his pocket, feeling for the bulge she knew was there, caressing exactly what she was looking for.
Tanya stared absently across the beach and untucked her hands. The wind raised goose bumps across her flesh and she lifted her chipped fingernails to her face. She began to pick at her nails again, and the WPC beside her shook her head. “Forensics need to examine everything, even your nails,” she said. Tanya watched as policemen clambered across bloodied pebbles, and she smiled as a cop finally raised his arm, holding Steve’s own blood-stained flick-knife aloft. Tanya sighed and the morning sun sparkled on the handcuffs entwining her wrists.