Thursday, August 10, 2006

Image copyright Alan Edwards. No unauthorised reproduction
Beach Scene, Majorca
A family of four upper-middle class English holidaymakers are preparing to leave the beach. It's mid afternoon, the temperature is 34 degrees, and all four are pink from exposure to the sun on what is probably their first day there. Dad (name unknown) is medium height, overweight, and looks as if he may be a stockbroker or lawyer in real life. He is rummaging noisily around inside a small blue polystyrene tent, talking to himself. Mum (Maggie) is a small chunky woman with large breasts which wobble beneath her voluminous white t-shirt when she becomes agitated. She has a plummy accent, bobbed black hair, piercing blue eyes and bright pink cheeks and nose. She looks as if she is about to flip her lid at any minute as she tries to gather all their stuff together while her boys (Nicholas, aged about 10) and James (about 8) engage in a running battle around her.

Maggie (grabbing nearest child by the arm): Stop it NOW!
James (whiningly): But Nicholas STARTED it!
Maggie: I don't care who started it. Take this rubbish to the bin immediately.
James: But you can't put that in the rubbish!
Maggie: Just do as you're told!
James (sulks): I'm not taking it to the rubbish...
Maggie: Right! Right! I'll do it myself! (storms off)
Dad (from inside tent): Nicholas pass me my t-shirt.
Nicholas: It's not here...
Dad: Yes it is, pass it in Nick, now!
Nicholas: I can't see it ... it must be in the tent.
Dad: Look, I'm in the tent, and I'm telling you it's not here!
Nicholas: Well it's not here either ...
Dad (emerging, red in the face): OK, I'll get it myself! (finds t-shirt lying nearby on sand)
Maggie (back from the rubbish bin): James I told you to put your t-shirt on...
James: I can't, it's all horrible and wet and covered in sand...
Maggie: I can't believe you just said that. We're on a beach for heaven's sake!
James: Well I'm not putting it on.
Maggie: Yes you are. Do you want to burn? (wrestles with James and t-shirt)
Dad (dismantling tent): Would someone please help me flatten this tent...
Nicholas: You can't flatten it, there's a towel underneath.
Dad: I don't care about the towel, help me flatten the tent!
Nicholas: But it won't go flat with a towel...
Dad (interrupting): That is ENOUGH Nicholas!
James: Nicolas threw sand at me again.
Nicholas (holding half-empty bucket of sand): I did not!
Maggie: Put that down this minute Nicholas and help your father!
Dad (exasperated): Would someone help me flatten this tent?
James (tearfully): This t-shirt is hurting me.
Nicholas: Well you shouldn't have been throwing sand everywhere.
James: You started it...
Maggie (incensed): Look, I just want to make it clear to the two of you that this is absolutely the last family holiday we're going on. Next year I'm going to Ibiza with Brenda.
Dad (looks up): Oh no Maggie, let's not go down that road.