Monday, October 11, 2010

homework

Hassan is waiting for us in front of the department store window, lit from behind, looking up and down the high street with a mobile phone in one hand, one hand pressing a handkerchief to the side of his face, as if one of the mannequins had magically stepped through the glass and was standing there waiting to see what would happen next. When he sees us pull up he finishes his call and walks over.
‘Hi. Guys. Thanks for coming.’
‘What happened to you?’
‘Oh. These guys. They jumped me as I came past, punched me in the face, stole my bag. Fuck. I’m okay, though. I’m okay. I think.’
I open up the side door of the truck and he sits down on the forward seat.
‘Thanks. Thanks a lot,’ he says.
I turn on the examination light and check his injuries; a few scuffs and lumps, a line of blood running down the side of his face and congealing under his chin.
‘Were you knocked out?’
‘No. It’s fine. I’m okay.’
I carry on checking him over. There is a coolly competent air about him, something contained, that makes the whole job clean and quick, like opening up a car bonnet and checking the oil. I hand him some cleansing wipes.
‘Thanks.’
There is a knock on the door – a police officer, taking off his hat and smiling up into the truck.
‘Sorry it took a while,’ he says.
‘Ah. No worries,’ says Hassan. ‘I’m okay. Really.’
Frank has filled in most of the form. He hands me the clip board.
‘So. Are you working or studying?’
‘I’m a student at the university. I started my course a couple of weeks ago.’
‘What are you studying?’
He stops wiping his bloodied hands for a second and smiles.
‘Disaster management,’ he says.
Frank laughs and folds his arms.
‘What’s this, then? Homework?’

5 comments:

Tom said...

Bless him.

Is that what you call a 'bptism of fire' by any chance?

grumpy said...

Disaster management? oh dear ;)

Poor guy!

Spence Kennedy said...

I'm not sure what you'd do on a Disaster Management course. Module One: Don't Panic. Module Two: Intermediate Hysterical Screaming ... I think he'd do quite well though. He seemed pretty chilled. :)

uphilldowndale said...

I'd have been in a right old state.
Sounds like he could be cool in crisis

Spence Kennedy said...

I felt like apologising to him on behalf of the city. (He's come here to study, and he gets mugged). I suppose it could've happened anywhere. You just feel a bit ashamed it's on your patch... :/