As I have mentioned before, I live in the town of Slobbering-under-the-Bed. My best mate lives in the neighbouring town of Paralytic-in-the-Wardrobe. He visits me. To my shame I seldom visit him, as the asylum doesn't often allow me out unless they are very sure of my medication.
Today was different. I'd got a day pass and intended to visit Roth. He is the God of Extremely Tall People and an Expert Pizza Worrier.
Our preferred meeting place was the Paralytic-in-the-Wardrobe pier. I arrived and noted today the tide was out. In fact the tide was always out. It was out 30 odd miles, and had been for quite some time.
Just after the Second World War, the town council, after a particularly long meeting and one or two strong bevvies had decided that what town could do with was more tourists and holiday makers. What brings in tourists and holiday makers more than being a seaside town, they reasoned. A couple of dissenting councillors mentioned a small matter of geography but they were firstly shouted down, and finally had their glasses topped up.
Construction began immediately on all the facilities a seaside town needed. They built a pier. Then a second pier. Then burnt one down. They created an electric fun railway. There was an amusement arcade. There was even a man employed to rent deck-chairs. The smell of fish-and-chips was pumped into the air day and night. Lights were hung along the fence that was to be the sea front. A local celebrity was to turn them on every November as soon as a suitable wander-lead was found.
When global warming was first recognised in the 50s, the councillors and townsfolk were overjoyed. It was just a matter of time before the tide came in and they had a beach, they felt. A matter of time before binge drinking on the seafront, they thought with glee.
In case of a shark attack, the search went out for a police chief who looked a little like Roy Scheider. Roth's grandfather went for the job, although for reasons he'd never let on, he didn't get it. Too tall I expect. This was a town in love with the romance of the sea.
Anyhow, I ramble. We met at the land end of the East Pier. Actually land end as a location isn't helpful. Both ends are painfully land-lubberish. It's probably the lack of sea that does it. Yes, now I come to think of it, that'll be the case.
I walked over to a fortune tellers booth. She told me "you'll meet a tall dark stranger". "Yes, I know", said I, "he's standing right behind me and you don't get stranger than Roth".
"Flat, Authentic and Boring Pizza?" said Roth.
"I thought you didn't like that place?"
"It's not as good as The Wrong Topping Pizzaria in Slobbering", he admitted.
"Let's go there instead", I suggest
"Can't", he said, and added, "It's being redecorated"
"Oh. Another buffet accident?", I smiled a knowing smile.
The pizza was memorable. It had that kind of three-in-the-morning memorability about it.