Birthday Boy


Exterior – Atherstone Market – Day. Terry Richards, a forty year old unemployed father of two, strolls barefoot through the busy town centre at a calm pace. He is fairly well dressed and distinguished, cheeks carpeted in black stubble. He laces through the hive of charged up shoppers. His hands are filled with shopping bags, one of which houses a single balloon, boisterously blue, flitting only inches above his shoulders. Interior – Train Station – Day. Terry makes his way down the stairs and heads for platform 2.

Stand well back from the platform edge. The next train at platform 3 does not stop here.

Terry leans his back against the unreliable embrace of a confectionary vending machine, scowling at the layers of tacky gum and spilt tea littering the floor. He crouches his shoulders in order to rest his assortment of bags not on the floor, but on the tips of his pale toes. Opposite, on platform 3, a boy no older than four, darting around his tired mother, halts to attention. Bemused by Terry’s kooky stance, the mischievous boy crumbles into a disorderly laughter before disappearing into the whizzing fog of lightning grey. Terry shuffles uncomfortably. Seconds later, track cleared, Terry’s cheeks drop in dismay as Boy, who now holds a small audience captive like little planets in his palm, points and continues to laugh uncontrollably in Terry’s direction. 

Stand well back from the platform edge. The next train at platform 2 does not stop here.


Interior – Living Room – Night. A deflated Jaxon Richards [9] sits lifelessly in his father’s armchair watching the six o’clock news. On his lap, a birthday cake with candles burnt down to the bud.

London Midland have confirmed that trains at Atherstone station will be back up and running within the next hour.