A tongue-in-cheek yarn that I wrote for a short story competition.
Swimmers, surfers, sunbathers; all flocked to the quaint little Cornish hamlet of St Mary Meadows in high summer. All day long children built sandcastles, parents prepared picnics, grannies slept in deckchairs and shapely young ladies in two-pieces went fishing… but not for anything with gills.
Watching over them all were the men and women of St Mary Meadows Lifeguard. Throughout summer and beyond they rescued bathers, watched water conditions, administered first aid, found lost children and kept an eye out for crime.
Each morning, the lifeguards met at Lifeguard Headquarters to discuss the day ahead. This ugly concrete edifice perched at the western corner of the St Mary Meadows seafront, sticking a middle finger up at the village’s bucolic charm.
“At least we’ll be safe if a nuke hits,” quipped Elliott Wise, a jocular young lifeguard with wavy blonde hair and nut brown skin, when he first saw it.
One bright August day, the lifeguards were surprised to find Chief Constable Rod Bower, the daunting, ginger-bearded head of the local police force, intruding on their morning meeting.
With him was Doctor Eva Styles, Truro’s leading police psychologist. Poppy Grace, a pretty young lifeguard with waist-length blonde hair plaited into a thick braid, took in Doctor Styles’ lank black tresses, sour, middle-aged face, sickly green blazer and matching skirt.
She could have been my least favourite teacher, thought Poppy.
“Roight then, boys an’ girls,” Chief Bower rumbled in his West Country burr, “Oi’ve been gettin’ reports of a young rascal ‘o’s bin gropin’ young wimmin round ‘ere; pinchin’, chasin’, grabbin’ their bubbies, that sort o’ thing.”
A couple of the men sniggered, but Bower silenced them glare and a zipping motion across his lips.
“We don’t believe this man is dangerous or violent,” Doctor Styles brayed in highbrow tones, “Just misguided. But he should be remanded into care for his own good and the good of the community.”
“Oi’ve no pictures or footage of ‘im yet,” Bower continued, “But we do know ‘e’s about 30 years old, woite, shortish, average build, with straight, brown ‘air.”
“Just radio in if you see any suspicious characters who match that description,” Doctor Styles said primly. “Plain clothes officers will be on site to apprehend him. With luck, we’ll be able to…”
“Spoil his fun?” Elliott sang out.
Gales of laughter swept through the office. Poppy and some of the other women rolled their eyes. Chief Constable Bower and Doctor Styles simmered with anger, but silence only fell when a short, thick-set girl with brown, bobbed hair leapt to her feet.
“Don’t worry, Chief,” she barked. “This perv ain’t gettin’ past me.”
“Thank you,” Doctor Styles said frostily. “It’s nice to see someone taking this seriously, Miss…”
“Bull,” the girl replied. “Kirsty Bull.”
Kirsty sat back down and the two officials stood aside to let the rest of the meeting proceed as normal.
Four hours later, Poppy was sitting on top of an observation tower in the centre of the beach, clad in her red halter and trunks. It was the kind of day that quickly turned sunbathers into boiled lobsters and she was thankful for the parasol attached to her chair. The beach was full to bursting, but the day had been uneventful as yet, with no sign of anyone who might be the man Chief Constable Bower was after.
There’s not actually that many women a red-blooded man would chase after, Poppy thought, chuckling to herself. She had learned from long experience that anyone who thinks Baywatch accurately reflects the average figure of beach-goers is badly mistaken.
“Any signa the perv yet?” an angry voice snapped at the bottom of the tower.
It was Kirsty, ready to relieve Poppy for her lunch break.
“No, Kirsty, no sign of him,” Poppy called down.
Kirsty’s expression could have turned milk to cheese.
“Gor, what sorta chauvinistic creep goes around parpin’ girls’ tits like they want ‘im to?” she growled. “I ‘ope they catch that rapist-in-waitin’ and toss ‘im into a tank o’ sharks.”
“Don’t be horrible, Kirsty,” Poppy chided. “Doctor Styles says he needs help, not a gruesome death.”
Kirsty scoffed. “Gah, yer too soft, Poppy. Honestly, if all women were like you, we’d still be workin’ as scullery maids and wouldn’t even be able to vo…”
Suddenly, Kirsty stiffened and jabbed a finger towards the crowds.
“THERE ‘E IS!!!!”
With that, Kirsty was off like a hare running over hot coals. Poppy picked up the powerful binoculars that lay beside her and peered through them in the direction Kirsty was running. She gasped, then seized the radio clipped to her trunks.
“Control, this is Tower 2!” she cried. “Suspicious activity near marker 6B!”
Legs pumping, arms pumping, snarling like an angry wolf, Kirsty charged down the beach towards her target. Just ahead, a brown-haired young man in board shorts was chasing after a bosomy young redhead in a tiny bikini. His expression was lustful and his reaching hands were grasping hungrily at rump height. Kirsty barrelled into him like a freight train, wrestled him onto the sand and pinned his elbows down with her knees.
“Got you, sicko!” she yelled. “You’re goin’ down for this or I’m Michael Caine!”
“What the hell are you doing, you crazy cow?” the young man screamed.
“Like you don’t know, scumbag,” Kirsty retorted. “They’ll probably give me an award for this.”
She tugged the radio off her trunks and hollered into it, “Control! I’ve just captured the perv!”
“Actually, Kirsty, that’s where you’re wrong.”
It was Elliott who said it, just arriving on the scene. With a smug grin, he pointed to another part of the beach.
“Poppy’s already found our guy. Look over there.”
Kirsty followed his finger. She gaped as though Count Dracula had just told her Christmas was cancelled. Two other beachgoers, presumably Chief Constable Bower’s plain clothes men, were jostling a man with greasy brown hair away from a gaggle of young women. He had swarthy skin, a leery expression and wore a t-shirt bearing the phrase “CONSENT IS FOR LOSERS”.
“There,” said the redhead, glaring down at Kirsty. “Now do you mind letting my fiancée stand up, please?”
Kirsty climbed off the young man and let him stand.
“But… why where you chasin’ ‘er?” she asked sheepishly.
“It’s just a game we like to play,” the man explained, dusting himself off. “Avril’s mother was a Hill’s Angel, you see.”
“An ‘ell’s Angel?” Kirsty repeated.
“No, Hill’s Angel,” the beautiful redhead said impatiently, “On the Benny Hill Show. Peter likes to pretend to chase me around, just as Benny pretended to chase women like my mother around.”
Kirsty sighed. “I dunno what to say, except… sorry guys.”
“I know what else you can say, Kirsty,” said Elliott.
“What?” Kirsty said, with a weak smile.
And putting on his best Cockney accent, Elliott squawked, “You’re only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!!!!”
Elliott and the young couple howled with laughter as Kirsty slunk away, red as a glacé cherry. She still needed to relieve Poppy, who would hopefully have something to say to comfort her.