Saturday, September 22, 2012

the time

Mrs Blake is lying where her sister found her, face down on the carpet, one arm crooked through the legs of a nest of mahogany tables, a scattering of custard creams and an upended Tupperware container lying on its side just away from her other, outstretched hand. I struggle to disentangle her whilst Rae moves some furniture to make room enough to drag her out. Once Mrs Blake is on her back, I start chest compressions whilst Rae works around me, cutting through her clothes and sticking the defib pads on.
A second crew arrives to help.
We work through our protocols.
After every aspect has been played out – almost an hour in this case - we review the facts, and decide to stop.
‘What time have you got?’ says Rae.
‘Eleven o’clock.’
Suddenly there’s a frantic whirring and popping noise from behind us up on the wall – a cuckoo clock. A little door just below the roof of it swings aside, and a crazy-looking wooden bird crashes out. It hoo-hoos the hour, jerking its body up and down, flapping its wings in time to the striking of a bell inside. The moment eleven has been counted, the bird disappears back inside - and the little door slams shut.

8 comments:

Mike said...

If that had been a horror movie there would have been a scream or two.

Spence Kennedy said...

It seemed a bit scripted, I must admit!

I couldn't help thinking about the thousands of times the clock had sounded in the past, and the significance of this particular episode. Morbid, I know. Just one of those things. I suppose the truth is, we're surrounded by an infinite number of coincidental details like this - details which in themselves are quite meaningless, but now and again seem to be something else. :/

Thanks for the comment, Mike.

Lynda Halliger-Otvos said...

Startle reflex still working well here !~!

Spence Kennedy said...

Hi Lynda
You know - I think cuckoo clocks are cute and I'm full of admiration for the mechanics of it all, but I'm not sure that if I had one I wouldn't have completely lost my mind by the end of the week. :/

jacksofbuxton said...

Don't be so gloomy. After all it's not that awful. Like the fella says, in Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love - they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock. So long Holly.

Spence Kennedy said...

Talking about Orson Welles - I knew he was a precocious actor/director, but I didn't know to what extent. Apparently he was only 6 months old when he played Harry Lime. They had to pad his trench coat with newspaper and put inserts in his shoes, but still, quite impressive. They also had to edit his cuckoo clock speech quite heavily - he kept crying because the hat was itchy. And to think he ended up advertising sherry. Damn you, world!

Deborah Parr said...

You did very very well if you didnt burst into hysterical giggles when the cuckoo popped out!

Spence Kennedy said...

I think I may have flinched a little, actually! I bet the Grim Reaper can't resist finessing these scenes sometimes with a little dark humour... :/