A late job, but central. If we crank it out without too much fuss we should be fine.
We’re backing up a car in town, to a big pub with a late licence and a female, unco.
The car’s already blocking the street, so I park up behind it.
One of the bouncers holds the door open for us, jerks a thumb inside.
A band playing, so loud you have to lean in and watch a person’s lips to have any hope of understanding.
Callum, the paramedic on scene, shows us the patient, a girl in her twenties slumped over in a corner. Her boyfriend is with her, a guy as heavy and square as the table. He’s pawing around at her ineffectually, getting in the way. We move him aside as tactfully as we can, but he’s pretty drunk and immediately angry. Two bouncers close in and stop him from doing anything whilst we clear as much space as we can and move the girl onto the chair. She’s not unconscious, but whether her floppiness is due to alcohol, drugs, a medical condition or anything else is impossible to ascertain in these conditions. I have the head of the carry chair; I wrap her in a blanket, snap the safety belt together and draw it tight. This seems to enrage the boyfriend, who must think we’re arresting her or something. He manages to break through the cordon of bouncers and grabs me by the shirt. ‘Hey!’ he says. ‘Don’t you fucking do that…’
The bouncers haul him back.
We carry the girl out into the street. Whistles and cat-calls from the crowds out there. A taxi-driver caught in the traffic jam, hugging the steering wheel and staring mournfully on the scene; I nod some kind of apology to him as we wheel the patient onto the tail lift. On board, with the lift stowed and the door closed for privacy, we top-and-tail her onto the trolley.
I put the chair away as Rae starts to assess her.
It’s at that point that the girl suddenly sits up.
‘I’m fine,’ she says. ‘I’d like to go back inside now, please.’
The change is remarkable, incredible, from unresponsive to perfectly normal in the space of a few seconds. Rae starts to question her closely and severely whilst I run through some obs, all of which are perfectly normal.
‘So what just happened?’ says Rae.
The girl shrugs.
‘I’ve been silly,’ she says. ‘Please can I just go back? I want to see my boyfriend.’
‘There’s no way your boyfriend is coming on this ambulance,’ I tell her. ‘He’s aggressive and obstructive. He’s lucky I didn’t call the police.’
‘He’s Irish,’ she says. ‘Can’t you just let me go?’
‘So how do you account for the fact that just a moment ago we had to carry you out of the pub on a chair?’ says Rae, folding her arms, looking even more furious for the contained way she holds herself, like a dam about to fail. ‘We carried you! Out of a pub!’
‘Don’t call the police,’ she says.
‘Because you know what? If you can’t account for it, I’ll have to assume you’ve suffered some serious neurological problem, and we’ll take you up the hospital for a check-up.’
‘I don’t want to go to hospital. I just want to go back inside. I’m sorry I wasted your time.’
The girl starts to cry, a corner of the eye affair as fake as her nails.
Rae softens a little.
‘Is it your boyfriend?’ she says. ‘Did you fake all this to get away from him or something?’
‘Get away from him?’ says the girl, laughing. ‘Why would I want to get away from him? We’re on holiday!’
It’s hopeless trying to make anything more of this, and anyway, we’re conscious of our finishing time. We get the girl to sign the non-conveyance form, she puts her shoes back on, straightens her skirt, and steps back outside.
When we’ve tidied up the cabin and climbed back in the cab to drive, we can see the girl laughing on a street corner with her boyfriend, his arms around her, her right leg crooked back, the shoe almost falling off as he lifts her into the air.