The Quarrymen

Photo courtesy of Tim Parkin

You’d come here as a boy, not for years, not realising, remembering, how far down it actually was.

Quarries are high, deep, you think to yourself and look up at the edge. For a split second you think you see someone, movement, another human looking over the edge, looking at you, but the seagull flies off and leaves the rock, the face-like rock, sitting staring at you, a silent witness to your downfall, the misjudged edge.

You have other company, human, but you know there’s no more chance of it helping than the rock-face.

It, him, Charlie – you don’t know his second name – was luckier than you, as you fell together, in a fury embrace, you heard his last breath, the expel of air as his body hit the ground, cushioned your fall, the bounce just a foot high.

It’s a full moon, a clear night, so you concentrate on the stars, wishing you’d paid more attention in physics. Or was it geography? Closing your eyes, you picture the teacher. Mr Phillpott, double L, double T, the not-so-jolly brown giant. Physics.

You could kick yourself for being so stupid, all the things you could have done, wanted to do, thinking you had forever, but your legs stopped working when you hit dirt.

You start singing ‘A Day in the Life’ and wonder how yours got so complicated, brought you here.

“4,000 Poles in Blackburn, Lancashire”. You wonder how many there are now, then you remember it’s ‘holes’, potholes to be exact, and laugh.

Then you remember; the envelope on the park bench – the bench you use every weekday lunchtime – the envelope stuffed with money, the envelope you’d stuffed into your jacket pocket, for safekeeping until you could go to the police station after work.

Then you remember the hand grabbing your shoulder.


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