“He was wrong though,” pronounced Matt, these days in a much more obvious burr, ”About the oil that is”
Jaz and he were sitting back on the front step of Joe’s house, now completely empty apart from the two of them.
“How so ?”
“Well, it seems to me that we’ve kind of royally screwed up as far as our lifetimes have gone and we might even have stuffed it up for good. But what we didn’t realise is that we were living in a golden age – well, a pretty good time to be around anyway.”
Jaz nodded with something approaching pity.
“Like, we had a good run at it in when we were younger. No massive worries about the environment or global warming or exhaust fumes or whatever. Pollution was always a worry but not really a local one – it was always a bit of a vague threat that was happening somewhere else”
“True” chipped Jaz
“It’s only these last fifteen or so years where its got mad – Emmets every bloody where, cars clogging up every lane from Friday to Monday all through the summer”
“And worse in the summer holidays..” grumbled Jaz
“Right, and worse then I’ll grant. Beaches too bloody full, summer going all crazy and then the big storms that we seem to get more and more of. But,” He paused and repeated it for emphasis, ”but, we never had any bloody great oil spills – that we’ve been spared”
“There’s worse things tho’, those fuckin posh school types have enough shit on their hair to leave a slick when they get out of the water…”
Matt wasn’t to be diverted by Jaz’s pet topic, “But you see, I think that in an odd way it won’t take long before we get things back for ourselves round here and it’s all down to the oil again.”
“What d’you mean ?” Jaz’s interest was piqued
“Well, I reckon that if you and I were sitting here in thirty or fifty years time it’ll all be very different, yet a lot more like it used to be.”
“No, don’t follow…”
“Well, see – if the oil really is starting to run out, or, if people really are getting as worried about global warming as they seem to be starting to be and the government really does do something then that only means one or two things can happen. First off we’ll get fewer cars on the road, if any at all. Won’t be many of those cheap flights down to Newquay neither. Now if that happens it means we get less people yeah ? That in turn means that a lot of these here businesses,” he waved his hands in a flourish at the invisible line of shops somewhere in the dark below them, “these ones that don’t see a fast turnover will start to move out and just maybe the places will be more affordable to the ones who live here again. On top of that the sea’s going to get warmer – well, possibly anyway, but let’s hope it does – and the storms will get wilder, so that means bigger surf and better water to surf in. Forget for the time being that Bangladesh and East Anglia will be under water, one man’s meat and so on… Also, with all this fuss about sustainability and eco friendly living you know what I think’ll go next ?”
“Well, since boards see are mainly foam and fibre glass and they aren’t exactly the most healthy things to produce on the planet I reckon we’ll see people using the old fashioned boards a lot more – I saw three wooden longboards on the beach only last week – they’re expensive right now, right enough, but I think they’re the only way to go.”
“Suppose that’s wetsuits out too then ?” Jaz asked
“Well, if the water’s warmer….who needs them ? We never used to have any – you just stop surfing when it gets too bloody cold”
“Sounds like your vision is all back to the future then – like a kind of fifties’ travel brochure with girls in one piece swimsuits with pointy tits and the blokes with Charles Atlas muscles and twelve foot boards that take two of you to get in the water.”
Matt laughed, “Maybe, maybe not. Anyhow we won’t be worried about getting in the water then, let alone the girls with the pointy tits”
“Speak for yourself old man, if I live to be a hundred then I’m going to paddle out there on my hundredth birthday after deflowering some sixteen year old with pointy tits, then I’m going to catch that last wave in and not rot underground but go out to be fish food – or maybe for the sharks if the water really does warm up.”
Matt smiled and tugged his jacket closer against the cold, “ Jaz, I hope for your sake it works out like that. Something tells me that it might all be a bit more complicated, but we’ll see, we’ll see.
Right, enough of this vision thing, right now the only vision I’ve got is blurring – time to go, time to go. I’ll see you later on I suppose.”
With that he abruptly hauled himself up from the step, groaning slightly, and walked unsteadily down the hill, fading from view after a few hundred yards, leaving Jaz to sit alone on the granite doorstep, sucking in the night along with his last cigarette.
Feeling like this....