Tuesday, June 25, 2013

big moon

We follow the two police officers down the concrete steps to the front door of Basement flat 20A.
‘Have you seen this big moon then?’ says the male officer.
‘Big moon?’ says his colleague, a female officer who frowns at him as if he’s just used some inappropriate code word. ‘What big moon?’
‘The big moon. Apparently it’s going to be e-normous.’
‘Well – shame it’s so overcast, then.’
‘It’ll clear up,’ he says. ‘It has to.’
She sighs and rings the bell again.
A light goes on in the hall.
‘Doesn’t sound like there’s a crazy woman smashing the place up, does it?’ says the male officer. ‘Unless she’s very, very tiny and discreet.’
A figure approaches.
The chain goes back on the door; it opens.
A young guy, in a dressing gown, with a mug of cocoa.
‘Ye-es? What’s this about?’ he says, looking from the police to us and back again.
‘Did you call for help, sir? Something about a drunk lady smashing the place up?’
‘Er – no. I didn’t.’
‘You sure?’
The man frowns and nods. ‘Ye-es. As sure as anyone can be about these things. What did you say this was about?’
‘Not to worry, sir. Apologies for the interruption. Duff information.’
The man takes a sip of cocoa and watches us walk back up the steps.
‘I hope everything’s all right’ he calls after us, then quietly closes the door.
I radio Control to check.
After a minute or two:
Apologies – the address was misheard. It’s actually twenty-eight. Two eight. Received?
We walk a few houses further up.
‘So anyway, this moon, right, apparently it’s going to be so big it’ll knock your hat off.’
Another flight of concrete steps, not quite so well kept, with a container of dead plants by the door.
There’s already a light on in the hall this time.
The male officer knocks.
‘Why are you so interested in astronomy all of a sudden?’ the female officer says, pulling on some rubber gloves.
‘Me? I just like to know what’s going on. It’s all part of the bigger picture, Mary.’
The door opens. Another young guy, fresh out of the shower, bare to the waist, vigorously towelling his hair. He’s about the same height and build as the first – in fact, so much so that for a moment I could be persuaded he’s run round the back, thrown off his dressing gown and dumped a glass of water on his head for effect.
‘Yeah?’ he says. ‘Wha?’
‘Sorry to disturb you, sir. We had a call from this address regarding a violent incident. Do you know anything about that?’
‘Oh – just a minute.’ He leans back and shouts: ‘Sam! Someone to see you.’ Then to us: ‘You want Sam, mate.’
Then he turns and walks back down the hall.
‘Watch it when you come in,’ he says. ‘There’s broken glass everywhere.’
The fact that he’s barefoot and we’re in huge black boots doesn’t seem to strike him as significant.
Sam passes him in the hall, and he disappears off into a side room.
Sam is more subdued than his flatmate.
‘It’s my mum,’ he says. ‘She came home drunk, said she was going to kill herself, smashed the place up a bit, then ran off.’
‘Do you mind if we have a chat?’
‘No. Come on in.’
We follow him down the hall to the front room.
The plasma screen has a tear in the middle of it; there’s an ash tray shattered into pieces across the laminate flooring, and in the middle of it all, a white plastic phone, stamped into fragments.
Whilst the female officer talks to Sam, the male officer innocently looks around, shining his torch through the window out into the back yard, then drifting just as blank faced into the kitchen. The only thing he doesn’t do is whistle.
‘She’s not there,’ says Sam. ‘She says she was going to take all these pills but she left the packets. She just went mad, then ran out.’
‘Has she done this before?’
He looks down.
‘Yeah. Some.’
‘We’ll need a description.’
He gives it.
The male officer wanders back in.
‘You guys might as well stand down, seeing as there’s no patient,’ he says. ‘No-one to treat.
‘Thanks for coming, though.’
‘You’re welcome.’
We say goodbye to Sam and say we hope his mum’s all right.
‘Yeah,’ he says.

Outside, the cloud has cleared sufficiently to let the moon through at last.
I stand and look at it for a moment.
I can’t make up my mind if it is actually bigger, or only seems that way because the officer said it was.
It’s certainly full, though.
You can almost hear it.


California Girl said...

Poor guy. That enormous moon. Behavioural issues.

Spence Kennedy said...

Hey CG

It did seem as if Sam had suffered his fair share of this. Pretty devastating.

I know statistically there's not supposed to be any higher levels of mood disturbance during a full moon, but anecdotally... :/

jacksofbuxton said...

There are some people that believe the moon has an effect on human behaviour,although I prefer to believe this

Lydia said...

I know it's not funny but that copper's comment 'very, very tiny and discreet' was hysterical! :)

Daniel Rutter said...

I wrote a thing about the relative sizes of the sun and the moon at their nearest and furthest distances!


TL;DR: The moon really does significantly vary in size, though not MASSIVELY. The sun barely varies at all.

karensreflections said...

Hi Spence,

I was a telephone operator for several years hear in the US. My shift typically ran from 10 at night till 6 in the morning. I'm not sure about any scientific and/or statistical proof about the effect the full moon has on people but I can sure tell you I dreaded the full moon every month. The night or two preceding and following full moons were the most difficult nights I ever encountered. Of course, it may have been people just using the full moon as an excuse for their bad behavior. It sure did appear that the strangest people came out of the woodworks on those nights.

I don't know how you handle the things you see on your job. All I know is that I am glad you are there for those who need you, and even for the frequent flyers. You are a hero in my book.


Spence Kennedy said...

Jacks - A very interesting website. I'll have to spend a bit more time reading it, but that article about moon & psych connections (or lack of them) was great. I liked the quote: "Our expectations influence our perceptions, and we look for evidence that confirms our beliefs."

Lydia - He was great. Very entertaining (and effective, it has to be said).

Dan - Great blog! (Ashamed not to have visited it before). Will also spend time reading it...

Fascinating stuff about the moon & sun. I remember reading once that a dinosaur in the Cretaceous would not have experienced a total eclipse like we do now, because the moon was further away, smaller, and would only pass across the face of the sun and not perfectly cover it. (Is that right??)

Karen - Well... according to the website that Jacks was referencing, it would tend to suggest that your shifts were busy anyway. I don't know either way, but the website makes some pretty heavyweight claims.

I don't envy you working in control. It must be particularly frustrating & stressful, handling these calls without being face to face with the patients (which sounds weird to say, but if you're face to face, you have a little more control, in some ways, or at least more opportunity to influence things directly).


Thanks for all your comments! ;)