Saturday, December 20, 2014


The security guard waves us into a parking space, then waits for us by the supermarket door as we fetch out some bags from the ambulance.
‘It is okay,’ he says, leading us in through the automatic doors, along the fruit and veg aisle to the back of the store. ‘This young person he had a fit of the shakings, like this...’ The guard hauls up suddenly and gives us a surprisingly vivid mime, rolling up his eyes and jerking his arms down by his sides, like someone unexpectedly wired to the mains – much to the astonishment of an elderly woman picking over some tangerines – ‘... then he fell down upon the floor.’ The security guard carries on taking us through, talking happily the whole while, waving to colleagues across the store as if to say It’s okay, Don’t worry. I’ve got this.
‘This young person he get better very quickly. We tell him don’t move, the amb’lance is on its way, but he said no no, I am not hurt at all, and he got himself up. We put him out back where it was a bit more private for him, then we gave you a call on the nine nine nines.’
He jabs out a code on the keypad by the back door, then pushes it open and takes us through.
Past shelves of shrink-wrapped trays of tins and packets and jars, the stockroom smelling of plastic and dust and old cardboard, out to an office, where Cameron is sitting on a chair, the hood of his sweatshirt fully up, his legs crossed, arms folded.
‘I’m fine’ he says. Hello. Sorry. I didn’t ask them to call you.’
‘Okay now?’ says the security guard, smiling broadly. ‘I’ll leave you to do it.’ He pushes his cap a little further back on his head, and saunters out.
‘So. Cameron. Tell us what happened.’
‘It’s all perfectly predictable,’ he says. ‘I’ve come down on a visit. I suffer with epilepsy, but it’s all well controlled with drugs. I tried to get a repeat scrip before I came, ‘cos I found I only had one left, and I need three a day, breakfast, lunch and supper, but the doctor was on holiday or some such bullshit and it was all going to take a bit longer to put through. So mum said I should go anyway because otherwise my supersaver ticket wouldn’t work, and I could go to the walk-in centre when I got here, because they’d be happy to give me a scrip, and everything’d be fine. I just popped in here to get a few things when I got off the train, and the next thing I knew I was on the floor. It wasn’t a bad fit or anything. I know my own body – as far as that goes! So I’m fine, really. It’s just I need to get some more Epilim, otherwise it’ll probably happen again.’
‘Did you bash your head at all when you went down? It’s difficult to see with that hood on.’
‘I did a bit, but honestly, it’s fine.’
‘Let’s have your hood down so we can have a good look. Is that all right?’
‘Sure,’ he says.
He flips the hood back.
It’s difficult not to take a step back. Cameron has a full, honey-brown Afro, except the centre has been cut away, front to back. It looks like someone went for a joyride on a lawnmower, crashed through the middle of a topiary hedge, and carried on.
‘What do you think?’ he says.
‘About what?’
‘About getting a scrip from the walk-in centre?’
‘Yep. Worth a try.’
‘Good. Let’s go.’
He stuffs his hair back into the hood, and we lead him out to the ambulance.

The security guard is back on the door. He smiles as we pass, lifting off his cap to reveal a veined, shiningly bald head. He wipes his free hand over it a couple of times, a stage magician proving there’s nothing there, then replaces the cap.
‘Have a wonderful day!’ he says, twitching the peak.
Then nods, turns and goes back inside.


TomVee said...

An inverse mohawk?

Spence Kennedy said...

A nohawk?

Maybe he asked for a Krusty...

jacksofbuxton said...

Maybe he'd annoyed his barber.

God knows I've been tempted...

Spence Kennedy said...

I thought about you when I wrote that post, J. It must be tempting when you're presented with a great big mop. I can just imagine you, revving your shears and smiling strangely...