Hilary was heading home, drunk, when she stumbled over a kerb, landed on her arm and broke it.
As we pull up in the ambulance she’s propped up against a telephone junction box, leaning forwards, her left arm and her long, blond hair hanging down in front of her.
‘I’m sorry. I’m sorry,’ she slurs, lifting her face approximately in our direction. ‘Mr Ambulance people. I know you’ve got better things to do. I’m sorry to take your time, okay? But I’ve been well and truly fucked over by this stupid kerb and I don’t know what to do it hurts so much.’
We help her on to the truck and settle her on a seat.
‘Don’t cut the jacket,’ she says. ‘The fucking kerb’s not getting that as well. I’ll take it off. Okay? Just wait!’
She makes a couple of drunkenly ineffectual moves, then slumps forward again.
As gently as we can we ease the jacket off, then gauge the extent of the injury and splint the arm.
‘How was your night, then, Hilary?’ I say as I work. ‘Apart from breaking your arm?’
She squints up at me through a haze of alcohol and hair.
‘That’s outrageous,’ she says. ‘I can’t believe you just said what you said.’
‘You’re right. That was outrageous. What was I thinking?’
She stares at me some more. Eventually she says: ‘This just gets worse. You’re not even hot.’
I make a Soprano-style Ohh! and we carry on immobilising her arm in silence.
Finally we help her over on to the trolley and do what we can to buffer her with bags and blankets for the journey. When she’s reasonably comfortable, Rae jumps out and goes round to the cab.
Just as we move off, Hilary squints at me again.
‘I can’t believe you said what you said,’ she says. ‘Out- fucking-rageous.’
‘Never mind. Least said soonest mended.’
‘What? Oh – and a c**t as well, apparently.’