There is a high-fenced enclosure by the sea. The sun beats down. Security guards watch the perimeter. The inmates are tagged for identification. A sickly, scorched fatty smell lingers in the air. From a distance you can hear the clanking of machines and instruments of torture… and the screams.

I call it Guantanamo.

A pre-teen and three of her friends call it a birthday treat.

Mrs R. calls it parental duty.

We arrive early before the queues. All the money is taken from my wallet. We are tagged and admitted. A guard dressed as a smiling bear waves at me. Without mercy.

Inside the perimeter we are separated from the children. They are dismissive of our advice.

“What shall we go on first?” Asks Mrs R. too enthusiastically.

“The freshly baked doughnut stall?” I suggest hopefully.

We go to a rattly, bumpy rollercoaster. There are just two other people sitting at the front. The operator-in-chief locks us in with a metal bar across our legs. He carries a stick.

Up, up we rattle and clank in the pitch darkness. I raise my sunglasses and everything is illuminated in ultra-violet. Mrs R.’s teeth are glowing. Because she is smiling.

Down, down we thunder into the sunlight. Round, round we whip along. The back of the seat raises a bruise on my spine.

At the end we draw into the “station”. There is no queue of waiting inmates. The torturer-in-chief does not raise the bar that clamps my legs.

“Who wants another go?” He exhorts.

Three people say “Yes!” I say nothing. I know what he wants. But I won’t talk.

We go round again. My teeth begin to come loose. The bruise on my spine is leading to epidural paralysis.

We stop again. There are still no inmates waiting. “One last time!” Chortles the executioner-in-chief. And again into the darkness we climb. The horror. The horror.

At the final stop the executioner releases the bar. I step out of the damp plastic seat on two pillars of jelly. Mrs R. bounds out chuckling.

“Now let’s go on the dodgems,” she commands.

3 Responses to “Detention”

  1. 1 Derek Wright

    You have my sympathy, Alex. The horrors which are concealed by the euphemistic ‘parental duty’.

  2. 2 JGodard

    I don’t see how a socialist view of Obama is related to this. Although Rollercoaster Socialism has a certain ring to it.

  3. Aah, Pleasurewood Hills

    It could be worse Alex, you could have to go on one of those upsy down barf inducing monsters at somewhere like Thorpe Park instead! Be thankful for small mercies.

    Being the coward that I am, I once decided to go to Thorpe Park for my birthday and, having worked myself up, decided that the first thing we would do when we got to the park was go to “Nemesis” and get advance purchase tickets, then I’d have all day to psych myself up for it – alas, we got there and walked straight on – I had to be escorted off after the clenched shut eye ride by two large but friendly chaps who were quite keen I didn’t vomit on the stairs.

    Next time, I’ll come and join you at the doughnut stand and Mrs R can go on the rides with my suicidal husband!

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