Tuesday, June 24, 2008

four out of ten

[Eight in the evening. A fifteen year old girl is having her head wound cleaned in the back of the ambulance]

‘What the fuck was all that about? I have no idea why that happened. We were walking along the street, feeling merry. I had my iPod on and I was singing away to something – I don’t know – being stupid – being happy. Then this girl’s face appears out of nowhere and she’s like “I don’t want you singing no more” and I’m like “Excuse me. I’ll sing if I want to” and she’s like “Do you know who I am?” and I’m like “No” but my friend pulls me by the arm and says she’s one of the Brookses, one of the hardest families in town. I mean, everyone’s heard of the Brookses. And I’m like “I was only singing”. The next thing, she smashes me over the head with a bottle, and then walks off. I mean – why the fuck did she do that? Why would you do something like that? But then the worst thing was, she came back about five minutes later and put her arms round my shoulder and starts to make out like she’s sorry and wants to take care of me. What kind of psycho would do that? Saying she wanted to know I was all right, she had things going on –family things. Well, I mean, I don’t give a fuck if she’s having a hard time at home. I just want her to leave me alone. She had her arm round me, started dabbing at my head with a hankie. And I’m so terrified I’m sort of just quivering and letting her do whatever she likes because all I want her to do is go away and leave me the fuck alone.’

***

[Midnight. A man is lying in the middle of a busy street, police cars in the fend off position to protect him, a small bunch of people trying to help and keep him still]

‘I’d had a few drinks, it was getting on, I thought – I’ll go and see my girlfriend at The Beggar. Brilliant. Impress her, impress her friends, impressive. Yah! So I start to cross the road, waving and that, and I get run over. By a taxi. Was it a taxi? How cocking stupid is that?
[We fit him with a collar]
There’s nothing wrong with my neck, mate. I feel fine. Fuck me. Who’d have thought getting run over would be so complicated?
[We log roll him onto a spinal board and strap him down]
Hey! What’s all this for? I’m fine. It’s just my knee. Jesus fucking H Corbett. How embarrassing. And I bet they’re all outside the pub looking.
[We lift him onto a stretcher].
Well. I suppose it’s not that big a deal, being hit by a taxi. Was it a taxi? Fucking taxis. Where am I?
[We load him onto the ambulance]
If I don’t show up to work tomorrow they’ll let me go. It’s tough in the building trade these days. You’ve no idea. Any old excuse.
[We examine him more closely]
Honestly mate. I couldn’t be better. Considering. I can’t believe it. Run over. By a taxi, yeah? How pathetic is that?

***

[Five in the morning. A middle-aged man is talking in the back of the ambulance]

‘I came home from the pub and I was feeling a bit hungry, so I had a look round for something to eat. There wasn’t anything in the flat except this one bag of pasta, and I’m no cook – I mean, I usually just have those microwaveables. But I was that hungry I thought I’d chance my arm and try a bit of cooking. How hard can it be? So I got half a pack of butter, stuck it in a pan, fried up the pasta in that. Well tasty. But I was stirring it round and round for hours and it wasn’t getting any softer. It really hurt my gums. And then all that beer started to catch up on me. So I lay down on the sofa for a bit. Next thing I know, the room’s full of smoke, there’s banging on the door, sirens out in the street, God knows what else. But I’m okay. The landlord says he won’t let me back in the building until I’ve been to the hospital for a check up, but that’s my business, isn’t it? I feel fine. Tired and that, but okay. I normally wheeze a bit. Nothing new there. I just need some sleep. God knows I won’t be doing any cooking any more.’

***

[Six in the morning. A young guy has propped himself up against a wall and is talking into a mobile phone. The left side of his face is covered in vomit.]
‘The ambulance is here. Are you the ambulance? Yes. They say they are the ambulance.
[He holds out the phone]
She wants to talk to you.
[I tell him I’m not speaking on his phone because it’s covered in vomit]
He says he doesn’t want to talk to you because the phone’s covered in vomit. She says what hospital are you taking me to?
[Are you injured or sick in any way?]
No. I didn’t call you. Someone else must have. I’m on my way home.
[Were you lying in the street at some point?]
Maybe. Resting. It’s quite a long way home.
[That’s why we were called, then. Someone saw you and thought you were in trouble]
Well, I didn’t call you. Hang on. She says she wants to know what hospital you’re taking me to.
[We’re not taking you to hospital. You don’t need hospital. You just need to get yourself home.]
Okay. All right, mate. Whatever.
[Into the phone]
I’m coming home now.
[Stuffs the phone in his pocket, staggers off up the street]

9 comments:

Louise said...

Nightshift variety is the spice of life!

loveinvienna said...

The Great British Public strikes again :S I feel very sorry for the girl in the first sketch - actually I feel sorry for both of them. The girl who was hit because she didn't deserve it and the girl who did it because something went seriously wrong somewhere. I can't imagine what her home life is like.
Liv xxx

Stan said...

Good old alcohol, eh? Were it not for the booze we'd all be out of work.

Cheers.

Stan.

cogidubnus said...

You've done it again Spence...got me hooked (and lined and sinkered?) ... was it Friday night/Saturday morning?

I wouldn't/couldn't have your job for the stars, and don't envy you anything, except that wonderful gift you have, (apparently effortlessly), of magicking the world into your blog...

Thanks again...

drunkenspaniel said...

Frying pasta???
Goodness me.

People are idiots once they've had a bit too much to drink....

Spence Kennedy said...

It's staggering how much alcohol accounts for our work load. I mean, I like a drink as much as the next guy, but honestly...

I suppose it's like Stan says, though. If everyone was teetotal I'd be out of a job.

(I have to say, though, that however bloody it gets on a weekend night shift, I'm never as stressed out as I used to be when I was a secondary school teacher. I can be up to my waist in vomit, and all it takes to restore my smile is the thought that I'm not teaching Shakespeare to the Year Nines.)

Cheers for all your comments!

:) S

judithb said...

I know what you mean about the stress of teaching. That is the worst. The UK can't be so very different from NZ in that respect.

Once again I salute your powers of observation! And I have this image of a drunken idiot trying to fry pasta stuck in my head...:)

Spence Kennedy said...

Even the most difficult, most obnoxious patient will only be on the ambulance for a little while. Some students you'd be stuck with for a whole year!

judithb said...

"Some students you'd be stuck with for a whole year!"

Exactly!!