Barry Brown was a simple boy, who grew to be a simple man. He’d lived in the same seaside town his entire life and couldn’t even entertain the thought of living anywhere else. He went to London once, did all the tours and saw all the sights, as far as Barry was concerned that was as well travelled as anyone ought to be.
Barry had a good life, he lived in a small studio flat on the 3rd floor of a large complex, about 10 minutes walk from the seaside and the pier. He owned and ran a small bakery/ coffee shop, a job he was more than willing to get up at 4am for everyday. He loved spending all morning drinking in the gorgeous aromas of the fresh pastries he baked from scratch every day, the gently baking loaves of bread and the gourmet coffee he served with them all. Most of all, he loved the early finishes. He locked up every afternoon, promptly at 3:30, he methodically swept and cleaned the floors, wiped down every surface and did all the washing up himself. Everything went back into it’s place ready for the next morning. Then he would take the brisk walk down to the pier.
The multi-coloured flashing lights, the cacophony of sounds and smells from the hundreds of different bars, stalls and vendors called to him. No two days were ever the same down at the pier. He would spend hours at a time sitting on his favourite bench, watching the game stalls opposite him. He’d cheer to himself when someone shot all the cans, hooked the right duck, got the hoop over the prize they wanted. He felt genuine sadness for the people who left empty handed.
Everyone who worked on the stalls on the pier liked Barry, he was friendly with an easy smile and a comforting word or two. He was always bringing them cake and coffee from his shop. Always up for a chat to speed up a slow day and often encouraged tourists to try out the new games. Yes Barry had a good life. Until the accusations started.
Barry would never have done anything like she said he did. Honestly. He’d never dream of it but that didn’t matter in the end. All of his friends believed the daughter of the candy floss stall holder. She was 15 and despite the fact that she was always in trouble and had gotten herself kicked out of school and Barry had never done anything wrong in his entire life, all of his friends believed her.
Wasn’t it funny that he hung around day after day?
What a creepy dude, just watching us all the time.
The whispers followed wherever he went. There was never any evidence and the police let him go with no charges but Barry was no longer welcome in the place he’d spent his whole life in. They called him names and spat at him, if he was ever caught out alone, they’d hit him and push him around, laughing all along.
Barry no longer lives in his seaside town, he no longer owns his bakery, he no longer sits on the pier. Barry is a scared, lonely guy, who lives in the countryside far from the salt air he’s used to, far from the sound of the ocean and far from anyone who might ever be mean to him again.