• Vol. 02
  • Chapter 05
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High Hopes

Joe had high hopes for the end of season staff party. It would be his last chance to cop off with Maria before they went their separate ways. From the day she joined the holiday camp staff as a waitress he had been unable to take his eyes off her. She had turned him down when he asked her out at the end of her first week but now they had been in the same gang for over a month, hanging out together, laughing at the same jokes, he knew their time had come. So far it was going well. He had brought her a drink and they were chatting away about the season’s highs and lows. Her smile was making him feel giddy. When Ged and Pete joined them he went to the bar for another round. Nothing could stop him now.

But when he returned he noticed Ged slip his hand around Maria’s waist and Maria lays hers gently on his. Joe took a few good gulps of his pint then announced that he was going to the toilet.

Pete noticed Joe walk straight past the toilet and out the main door and he decided to follow. Outside he spotted him on his way back to the staff accommodation. Pete jogged through the cooling autumn air to catch up. Joe was carrying something.

‘What have you get there, Joe?’

‘The plaster donkey from the Kids’ play castle,’ said Joe without looking round.


‘I’m kidnapping it. A souvenir of a wonderful season.’

They walked on in silence.

‘Look, mate,’ said Pete, it was never going to happen between you and Maria.’


High Hopes

Joe said nothing and kept walking, the donkey in his arms.

‘You’re just not her type.’

Joe remained silent, staring ahead.

‘You’ve seen the type she goes for - fast but a bit slow. And she’s bored as soon as she’s got them. Always got her eye on the next prize. Like a race horse.’

Joe pulled up and faced Pete.

‘While I’m left with the fucking donkey!’

Pete thought Joe was going to smash the donkey to the ground but after a moment he sighed and put it down. Its comical face gazed at a fence beyond the recently emptied swimming pool.

‘At least you won’t lose a fortune on a donkey,’ said Pete.

Joe grunted.

‘Come on,’ said Pete, taking his arm, ‘it’s a pity to miss a good party. The night is still young.’

Joe allowed himself to be steered back towards the hall, where the music had just been turned up. The donkey stayed where it was, looking out over the hard, white swimming pool. A breeze stirred the multicoloured leaves that were collecting at the bottom.