The jogger is obviously relieved when I tell her we’re fine, thanks for your help, we’re good from here.
‘Stay safe, Nige, yeah?’
She jogs on.
‘Let’s get you up, then.’
We help him up.
His trousers fall down.
We haul them back up.
‘Sorry about that. Sorry. But look - the awful thing is – I appear to have lost my keyssss...’
‘We’ll have a scout about in a minute, Nige. Let’s get you on the ambulance and see what’s what.’
What’s what turns out to be concussion, a piece of plastic from his shattered glasses frame poking out of his cheek, and a potential discrepancy in the size of his pupils.
‘You need to come to hospital,’ I tell him.
‘Really? The thing is, I think I may have lost my keyssss...’
The way he says it, his teeth clamping together on the last syllable, squeezing the sibilant ‘S’ through the sides of his mouth.
Rae jumps out to have one last look around with her torch whilst I take a bit more history.
On ‘gardening leave’ for an unspecified misdemeanour. Spent the evening in the pub. Made it off the bus. Fell over and cracked his head. Vomited twice. Coronation chicken.
‘The thing is, I think I may have lost my keyssss...’
Rae climbs back on board.
‘Come and have a look at this,’ she says.
‘Hold that thought,’ I say to Nige.
Rae points her flashlight at something, a pile of faeces on the driveway where he fell.
‘That explains the trousers,’ she says.
When I rejoin him on the back of the ambulance he has his arms folded, looking about the cabin.‘Hello!’ he says. ‘Well! This is all very strange. The thing is, I think I may have lost my keyssss...’