School’s Out!

© Jenne Gray

This challenge is produced by GirlieOnTheEdge with the following simple rules:
Write six sentences, no more, no less.
Use the current week’s prompt word – STRIKE

School’s Out!

I see them marching towards me down the High Street, Dad in front pulling a toddler along beside him, Mum following with the baby in the pushchair and two older boys trailing behind, muttering and girning, and this can mean only one thing – schools are out for the summer and the city has come to the coast.

The other constant during seaside holidays, besides the inevitable preacher promising that God will strike us down when we least expect it, is smir – not quite rain, more of a steady, fine drizzle which might just pass, and so this family, full of optimism, is carrying buckets and spades, blankets, a picnic, a brightly-coloured beach ball and, amazingly, a golf umbrella to shelter them from the sun – pause for raucous laughter.

As usually happens, when they reach the beach the smir gently eases off, lulling the family into a sense of security, that is abruptly cut short by the customary vertical downpour, and as the baby cries, the toddler screams and the boys fight, Mum and Dad struggle to get everything packed away and the children under the golf umbrella, which now serves its true purpose – minus, of course, the golf.

From here they will head for the ubiquitous amusement arcade where the parents will either spend too much money on games in order to prevent the kids from killing each other, or, as an alternative, limit them to one game each, which will result in a fight over who gets the baby’s game and the children assuring the grown-ups that they are totally mean and they hate them forever, which will turn out to be until ice cream cones are suggested or, on really, really wet days, a fish supper.

There’s no time for dallying on the way to the arcade, and so Dad is not amused to see the boys stopping to stare at a man, sitting on the sea wall squeezing toothpaste out of a tube and rubbing it into his ankles, and to his cries to his sons that it’s rude to stare, the man replies, ‘Och, they’re fine, I’m just rubbing the toothpaste in because it’s the only thing that takes the itch out the midgie bites,’ and with that he gives the boys a big toothless grin.

The lads immediately run after their Dad to ask about midgies and if they put toothpaste on their ankles, will they lose all their teeth too, and so the bliss of the seaside holiday plays out, generation after generation, in the beautiful land of Scotland.

To explain…
To girn – to complain peevishly
The midge, otherwise know as the midgie: https://www.smidgeup.com/beasties/midges/

34 comments

  1. Aye, in the beautiful land of Scotland.
    It is so good Jenne ( no surprise here) that I literally shouted, here have your damned arcade game and…be on your merry ways lol
    The raucous smile was mine also when I read the line about the inevitable preacher…you’ll know why.
    👏

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Spira. Yes, the repressed anger of the summer break! But it is indeed a beautiful country.
      As for the preacher, I actually heard one this morning as I walked through town giving it hell and damnation, and if I hadn’t been so tired, I’d have gone and … Well, possibly punched him, peace-loving person that I am!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pure delight from a more innocent time, Jenne. Laughed out loud at ‘The lads immediately run after their Dad to ask about midgies and if they put toothpaste on their ankles, will they lose all their teeth too’.

    Like

    • Thanks, Doug.
      I had the inestimable joy of hearing a preacher promising me hell and damnation as I walked through town this morning. I honestly thought all that had been done away with. Seems not. Well, at least the company will be good!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. A masterpiece surpassing anything that the Weekly News ever printed.
    Made even funnier by the fact that I’ve been everyone in the story (apart from the Mum, of course)!

    Like

    • Thank you.
      And the Weekly News – I remember it well.
      As for your having been everyone in the story – which made me smile – I suspect that also excludes the preacher?
      I actually heard one such in the High Street this morning, still promising me hell and damnation, and if I hadn’t been so tired, I’d have gone and socked him in the jaw – but nobody was listening to him anyway.

      Like

  4. what’s the deal with the inordinately high-percentage of Sixarians being (currently or retroactively*) citizens, denizens or otherwise quite familiar with the sea/ocean side life.
    hmm interesting demographic implications

    being a denizen (at various times in life) I can identify more with the old man than the young buys (or the father, for that matter).

    Transportational Six** this week, Miz J

    *the slightest of rogerian expressions
    ** not even close to being a ‘real’ adjective

    Like

    • The writer’s soul longs for the sea? Who knows.
      Glad I called up a memory for you, Clark, and thanks for reading.
      PS Adjectives can become real through use… Like The Velveteen Rabbit! 😉

      Like

  5. I read your story. Then I had to reread to find “strike.” It’s a good story when the prompt word just fits smoothly into the tale. 🙂
    We were all there in the story and not just observing.

    Like

    • That’s what I was thinking too, Mimi. Passed one such preacher in the street on the day I wrote the story and was sorely tempted to remind him of that.
      The beasties you have sound every bit as irritating as midges! And a splodge of toothpaste but on the bite – not rubbed in, I got that wrong! – does ease the itch.

      Like

  6. This is So Fine, really enjoyable–and an easy read due to carefully thought out sentence structure and descriptions! 🙂 Question: does toothpaste really work if rubbed on itchy spots?? And if so, what’s the magic ingredient?

    Like

    • It does work, Staarlz, but you don’t rub it in, I’m told. You just put a splodge on the bite and leave it. No idea what the magic ingredient is, but it does help. Thanks for commenting so kindly on the story.

      Like

      • Great advice–thank you! And you’re welcome to my sincere comments (I always say “sincere” because I think sometimes “kind” sounds like it’s just “polite” 🙂 Have a great July!!😁

        Liked by 1 person

        • What you say makes good sense, Staarlz. I think kindness is important, but maybe I use ‘kind’ in this context because I don’t have enough belief in my own writing. 😉 Working on that. But thanks for being honest about ‘kind’ and ‘sincere’!

          Like

          • Well it’s just me–kindness is wonderful, but only if it’s sincere. Most people currently use “kind” a lot–and that’s fine, but I want to make sure people know who I am, that I am sincere…particularly on the Internet, where we really don’t know who we’re talking to and what they’re about 🙂 I use various aliases in blogging–but that doesn’t change who I am at heart ❤ And as far as "not having enough belief in your writing"–toss doubt out the window!!!

            Liked by 1 person

  7. Absolutely brilliant Jenne, you had me grinning from beginning to end. So many bits took me back to when my kids were small. The annual invasion of my seaside town has just begun, oh dear!

    Like

    • Ah Keith, I wondered where you were. Got email alerts that you had commented but no comments. I’ve just found you languishing in Spam for some reason. But now you’re back where you belong.
      I’m glad some of the happenings took you back to when your children were small. Thanks for that comment. And the annual invasion of my new home town by the sea has just begun too… 😉

      Like

  8. Pretty darned accurate telling of a familiar story for anyone living coastal for sure, Jenne. I lived in Narragansett, RI, a street over from the sea wall. The “summer influx” immediately noticeable beginning with, as you point out, classes letting out for summer. Bet you exhale a huge sigh at the end of the season when traffic eases, and the tourists slowly return to where ever they came from and quiet returns.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s