Ragged clouds, brilliant light, squalls blowing in over the sea; people running for cover, seeking shelter in the arcade, they gather, waiting for the rain to pass over.
Standing at the entrance watching the sky clearing, families herd children out into the late sun. Tensions rise and fall, but with the rain passed over, the pier begins to stir again.
I watch shadows lengthen, the pier take on a more solitary aspect. Night draws in and others emerge, lonely souls, each gravitating towards the deep warm darkness of the arcade. Inside, games machines compete for attention. The air vibrates with confused, chaotic rhythms. Snatches of banal repetitive phrases cut across each other, insistent, discordant.
Two young men fall into the arcade; boys out for the night. One drops a can, spilling liquid across the threshold. He swears, his friend laughs, drinks, throws his can out into the night. They swagger and sway making their way deeper into the chaos. These young men, they don’t see, don’t register other drifting presences in the gloom, silently moving, beginning to encircle them.
They find a game, and one of them, let’s call him Jimmy, fumbles, drops coins. His friend, John, mocks him, shoves money in the slot, picks up the gun and begins to play. Jimmy’s sorted himself out now and has his gun. Both concentrate. Aim, fire short bursts, delight in screen deaths.
John’s money runs out first, the silent gun returned to its cradle. With nothing to do but watch Jimmy, he senses the pale figures hovering silently, expectantly, shuffles nervously waiting for the game to finish.
The money exhausted, game over, they retreat from the pallid faces, escape from the arcade out into the night.
Less certain now, with nothing of the warmth, the vitality of these young men, the silent souls disperse, leaving no one to witness how, across the screen of the deserted arcade machines, mute figures stir, shattered limbs heal, the dead walk, wait.