There are half a dozen pigeons sheltering in the lee of the sandwich bar. They’re huddled up in an orderly line, perched as best they can on a ledge out of the rain. They only blink as we pass.
The guy in the sandwich bar stands behind the counter with a half baguette in one hand and a buttered knife in the other, fifty-fifty whether he feeds us or stabs us to death. No, there hasn’t been anyone in asking for help. No, I haven’t heard anyone saying they’re depressed. Everyone’s depressed. I’m depressed. Look outside. What else you gonna be?
We thank him for his time and back away.
The sandwich bar sits on the street side of a small green space, an iron-railed square of lawn with a couple of benches, a few maple trees – just enough room to swing a baguette, make a phone call, call an ambulance. On a sunny day, maybe. Today, a kingdom of cloud has fallen to earth, and nothing that isn’t desperate, waterproof or a good swimmer is abroad.
We call Control and tell them we can’t find our patient. They tell us to stand by whilst they try to get more information.
We retreat back to the cab.
The notes are pretty specific, if badly typed.
Male, thirty-two / hx bipolar and dpressin / meds not wowking / worried will loose control / was watching tv prog about war / now in sandwwch bar.
We sit in the cab and wait.
The high street traffic shushes by in super-wet slo-mo, headlights on in the middle of the day. Those people who absolutely have to be out are walking quickly, hunched forward, prisoners exercising in a yard.
We both take something out of our lunchboxes and eat quietly, watching it all, listening to the radio. Gotye: Somebody that I used to know.
Rae turns it up. There’s something peculiarly fitting about that xylophone riff, something darkly comic, like a toy robot wound up and set walking towards a drop.
Control call us back.
Stand down higher priority.
We move off into the traffic.