A Chapter by Peter Rogerson

We meet two new characters


Afternoon was well under way, the run was hot and beat down from a clear blue sky, yet there was a cooling breeze from the direction of the nearby sea. The two women, dressed for summer and both exposing as much leg as they decently could made their way towards the entrance to the campsite.

There was a desultory sort of tune escaping from a Merry-go-round that probably first saw the light of day before the Victorian age was over, or so it appeared. An untidy and miserable looking young man was leaning on its railing, probably hoping for customers seeing as he had none. But there were few to be had: the ride was more for children than it was for adults, and the few children present were paying attention to a Punch and Judy drama, giggling from time to time at jokes they were too young to understand.

Want a ride, ladies?” called the bored youth. He was Bernie Elliott, known by the other stall holders and any friends he had inadvertently gathered in his short walk through life as F**s.

Trayda looked his way, and smiled. Another ‘type’ that she recognised from her years as a policewoman and then police detective.

We’re a bit big for those horses,” she called back.

Half price, then?” he offered. He wasn’t likely to explain to his customers, but the ride belonged to his out of work and frequently drunken father who expected him it to fund his vices.

Shall we?” whispered Angela, “it might be fun!”

You’ve always had the weirdest idea of what fun means,” Trayda told her, “but okay, let’s give it a whirl, but I warn you: if I fall off or in any way damage my delicate flesh I’ll hold you responsible.”

If that does happen I’ll treat you to a nice big glass of red later, at that bar,” smiled Angela, indicating a small and ancient looking public house, the Shell and Cockle, close enough to the caravan site for it to be called a neighbour.

You’re on, then.” Trayda was already fumbling in her handbag for the money to pay for the ride.

What’s your name anyway?” she asked the young man. He looked to be in his twenties and bored silly.

You can call me F**s. Everyone else does. It’s because I smoke f**s, when I can get them.”

Well, we can’t help you there because neither of us smokes,” said Angela.

Well, there were no harm me mentioning it,” he grinned back at her.

You’re not doing much trade,” pointed out Trayda.

There’s not many kids here this week, and when there is they don’t find it interesting, not in the age of computers and such like. If I were a kid I wouldn‘t find it interesting, but maybe you ladies will. Best if you sit side-saddle, for modesty and comfort.”

They climbed on, and Angela grinned at Trayda in her tiny summer dress. “I see what he means about modesty,” she said, “when you climbed up there I could see everything you’re wearing!”

Phooey!” smirked Trayda.

The Merry-go-round had never been much of an entertainment though there probably had been a time when young children, lacking just about any form of entertainment, bothered their parents for a second ride. The music it blared out was distorted and in no way related to the age of the ride, it being played from a recording of a recent and not very attractive pop song, and the up and down of the wooden steeds was unlikely to excite anyone, or lead them to believe they were riding the range in the cinematic and very distant west along with brave cowboys chasing their Indians.

After too long, though it can’t have been more than a minute or two, the women climbed off and dusted themselves down.

Well?” asked F**s, “did it do it for you?”

Do what?” asked Angela.

Take you back to when you were nippers at the fairground?” grinned F**s. “There was a time when this sort of thing was all the rage, but these days people aren’t so fond of remembering the good times of their childhood.”

Maybe,” suggested Trayda, “because the good times had nothing to do with wooden horses and cracked records. Still, thanks for the half price and we’ll try and send punters your way, if we meet any.”

If you spot any of them naturists lost and far from their tents you can send them this way,” chuckled F**s, “I don’t get many thrills doing this job, and they might give me one!”

If we spot any we will,” replied Angela, and the two wandered off to look beyond the narrow strip that the small fairground was on and to the rocky beach and crashing waves of the sea.

I think Sandy Shores,” murmured Angela, “there’s the shore all right, but where’s the sand?”

Look, over there!” pointed Trayda, “that’s a beach, isn’t it?”

A mini-beach,” conceded Angela, “let’s go and have a look. Maybe it’ll fill me full of longing for the good old days and buckets and spades and starfish in the rock-pools.”

Why, you have lived!” laughed Trayda, “come on, down here, let’s see what we might see.”


Madame Helena, real name Dolly Smith in the real world, sat in her tent and toyed with a chip on her crystal ball as My Punch in the dull world outside cackled one time too many and the Merry-go-round man chatted up two women loud enough to waken the dead or at least disturb the dying.

At least she liked to think of the object in front of her as a crystal ball, but in reality it was plastic and had been bought cheap by a different Madame Helena a few years earlier, at the sale of a deceased magician and escape artiste who had managed to escape life for one last time by very deliberately standing in front of an express train at Southwesthampton station as it raced by.

Dolly had once been an actress, and she sometimes found herself resorting to the nirvana brought on by cheap gin when she remembered how she had taken her first teetering steps into the bright lights and the immortality of fame. She had even appeared on television in a long-defunct soap opera. She had signed up for five episodes and had lasted for six, when her character met a violent and very conclusive ending because the director didn’t want to leave it open for her to return.

Her problem, and a few close friends tried to suggest it, was that she wasn’t a very good actress. Or at least, hadn’t been back in the hey day.

But now she knew she was.

She had done everything she should do, and because of the location of Madame Helena’s tent, she’d had plenty of lonely time in which to do it, and more.

Sometimes she found herself wondering if there would ever be anything more to life than this. She still had some contact with the man who had said he was her agent, and he proceeded to condemn her to being Madame Helena until, he had suggested, something else turned up.

Nothing else had turned up. Or almost nothing. She’d experimented with being in what was euphemistically called an Adult film, but has refused to remove her panties for anyone, least of all the director. She’d had an audition with a woman from Midsomer Murders to be cast as a corpse, only to find she just couldn’t stay still enough to be dead enough for the part. And that had been that. She couldn’t even play dead.

But she could tell punters their futures. Little things gave her clues and those clues could be blown up into great big juicy facts and guide those unfortunate enough to seek her view of the future along fresh paths in their lives. So the little white mark on a woman’s finger where a ring had once been became the entrance of a tall and (snigger-snigger) well endowed stranger into her life. And if that fell on barren soil then she would see, in her crystal ball, a shining light as a love she thought was gone for ever returned with boxes of chocolates and bunches of flowers and promises based on eternity.

But in order to enjoy the fantasy worlds she crafted for others she needed the punters, and they were few and far between. She’d even taken to offering free advice to her fellow stall-holders. Why, only yesterday, when there had been nobody around and the stalls were all closing up, she had been visited by David Stokesey, ice-cream seller and womaniser, and had playfully offered him a glimpse into the future whilst gazing into her plastic crystal ball.

Be warned, David,” she had said, her eyes twinkling, “it’s a woman that will bring you down, yes it is, a woman who will be the cause of all your grief...”

Aw shucks,” he had grinned in reply as he stroked her free hand with a delicate ice-cream flavoured finger, “I wonder who that might be?”

And her reply had been a very theatrical wink whilst in her secret heart she had hoped beyond all hopes that it might be her. But he, probably, was too young...

© Peter Rogerson 21.03.19

© 2019 Peter Rogerson

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Added on March 21, 2019
Last Updated on March 21, 2019
Tags: caravan, beach, fairground, merry-go-round, fortune teller, ice cream man


Peter Rogerson
Peter Rogerson

Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom

I am 79 years old, but as a single dad with four children that I had sole responsibility for I found myself driving insanity away by writing. At first it was short stories (all lost now, unfortunately.. more..


A Chapter by Peter Rogerson

2. WET 2. WET

A Chapter by Peter Rogerson