On August 8th of this year, three youths, returning to Arbroath, from celebrations in the nearby town of Montrose were involved in a fatal incident. At around 6.15am BST their bay blue Vauxhall Corsa, hit a stretch of newly renovated and subsequently gritted road, causing the driver (23) to lose control of the vehicle and disappear from the surrounding area. Experts believe the car to have been travelling within the recommended speed limit of 50mph when the incident occurred.
Whilst a search party was being formed, local authorities denied any responsibility for the safety of the road. They claimed that road improvements are vital to the upkeep of the area and further resources for warning signage etc were ‘simply not achievable within the current budget structuring for the Road Generating and Maintenance department’. Local councilor, Angus Ferrier expressed his deepest sympathy at the incident, extending his deepest well-wishes to those families of the young people.
On August 15th, after a long search period organised by the concerned local community, the three youths and the remains of the Corsa were discovered on a rocky outpost a mile out to sea. Arbroath resident and garage owner Bobby McRae described spotting the car first as he drove his Mitsubishi Skyline along the cliff top road ‘I saw a glimmer out to sea and I knew it was them’ said Bobby.
The funeral ceremony had a large public attendance from the people of both Arbroath and Montrose. Following the service, a convoy of six hundred cars blocked the road connecting the towns, stopping any movement between the two. Early attempts to forcibly remove the cars were made using tear gas, however, when this proved ineffective, a military spec water canon was provided by Dundee district council. Protestors defended their lines with their more durable vehicles. After two further days of protest, Aberdeen & Angus council issued a statement accepting responsibility for the incident, and the families received compensation.
By now, the pebble-dashed beach had imprinted itself onto our skin and while we’d slept, the trustees had coated our legs in layers of industry standard cement. My eyes and then my mouth had been propped open by thin pains of glass, and at my peripheries, perennials grew.
And this drive way here is punctuated by bulbous pots, with a few weeds. A few of the paving stones have recently come up and underneath the grass has puckered up.
Later I took a turn round the town. I’d heard some really god awful things about it but there are some parts which are really quite picturesque. The sprawling public lawns and architectural planting sets of the lovely salmon pink of the stones. Further into town, down by the river trickle, a conscientious housing project has taken seed. Quirky maybe. Again that refrain, of the faded reddy frame, adorn door and window. And the bins are purple. And the grass is green.
Gentle, curvaceous ups and downs follow my feet through the town centre. I thumb through the second hand store. All families are like fudge – most sweet, with a few nuts.
I remember walking down here when I was very young
and everyone used to congregate on the corner
and some of the guys who owned the fruit and veg shop
would toast sweetcorn on a bbq,
just right out in the open on the street right there on the street.
Which was quite unusual at that time.
They stopped meeting like that when they built this place
and now they meet through the window of their car.
Which is actually much more convenient, especially in the winter time.
Especially when you need to keep your feet agile across the throttle and the brake.
As the people stopped meeting like they used to,
their conversations became quite different.
They talked in slogans and jargons
and if something mildly offensive had been said, windows were wound up and
expensive sound systems set to full.
It was still a thrill.
And we started to take drives all across the landscape in a way we’d never been able to before.
And I saw for the first time the sea at speed. And how it lost its definition and veered into simply colour. And the faster we went the less we saw, even in a brilliant storm the searing crests of waves couldn’t be spotted. And we’d go faster still till we couldn’t even distinguish the fields from the sea then the roads from the field from the sea speeding up so fast that finally I couldn’t tell myself from any of them. All of me was wrapped up in that skirmish between metal and earth and water and fire, rolling and turning and squirming with absolute glee the four of us, to the sea.
They found us several days later, stretched out across the stones down at Lunan bay. The tide had drifted further out than normal that day and we’d been caught up on those stones, amongst the shells and the gulls.
And whilst we lay, sunflowers and heliotropes spun up all round us, taking root in our navals and twisting round our follicles. I hardly even noticed the pain, my body so detached. The only thing that flared was my thumb.
There were four of us on the rocks and now there were three. I remember it quite distinctly, the passage of the sun over the sea. At first we saw a lot of it, but as time wore on it became less and less. Still, I suppose, it was good to really get to grips with nature. To see it and to feel it with our eyes and our bodies. To lie exposed, with no clothes, to the drift of the tides.
They soon came and picked the three of us out with the upmost ease. And with callous metal arms maneuvered us from our spot, ripping out the roots as we swelled higher to the surface. The frenzy soared, my bursting tum, my body wailing all over and it erupted round my jaw and along my tongue, across my teeth and lips till it vibrated into the misty, sassy early evening air.
The gulls shrieked.
As they laid me down in the hollowed out development towards the back of the town, the guttering that had come to replace my forearms caught on the claw of the digger and as it burst open, a fountain of wet birch leaves and earwigs ricocheted as blood.
They’d filled our assholes with silicon and hacked back our genitals, making sure to install the most effective alarm system on the market at that time. Our fingers bunched into keys and the flats of our feet became screens to keep the kids happy. As things rapidly returned to normal, the crowds, four or five to a car, started to tire. They turned all together, a wonderful choreographed three point turn and sped off back into town.
We watched as they took off
and we missed them once they’d gone.
The danger’s of drink driving, poor management and not learning from one’s mistakes.
The lecture was listened to throughout with great attention.
Thank you and good night