Friday, September 26, 2014


Three o’clock in the morning. Outside one of the nightclubs down on the promenade, a crowd of clubbers is reaching critical mass; shifting, breaking at the margins, reforming, drawn by the thumping beats to one small gap in a safety barrier. A luminous cloud hangs above the crowd, the smoke and heat and animal press of it all rising up into the night beneath a bank of halogen spots.
 We make our way through as best we can, resting hands on shoulders, ambulance, excuse me, mind your backs, until we’re far enough forward to catch the bouncer’s eye. Without any change of expression he sweeps a few people aside, unhooks the rope behind him, nods us through. Another bouncer is waiting at an open fire exit off to the right; he waves us to go that way, and we enter a corridor at the side of the club.
Vittorio is sitting on a chair with his head tipped back, whilst a bouncer dabs at his eye with a wet gauze.
‘Oh, hi chaps,’ says the bouncer, stepping back, hands crooked up in front, the artist interrupted. He looks like a rockabilly on steroids, his quiff shiny and black in the harsh emergency lighting, the sleeves of his shirt rolled up over great ropes of muscle intricately covered in tattoos. ‘What you see in front of you is a twenty-year-old fella, took a punch to the right eye, no loss of consciousness, neck pain or so on, no vomiting, neurological deficit or other concerns. GCS fifteen throughout. Small but deep laceration lower orbital region, no damage to the eye as far as I can see. Needs a trip up the hospital for further assessment and some max-fax, but I’ll leave that up to you. Shall I continue?’
‘Fine. Good job.’
‘Okay then, fella. Tip your head back.’
Throughout all this Vittorio chats excitedly to a guy called Sam, standing off to his left. At first I think Sam’s simply a friend giving him support, but it gradually becomes apparent that Sam is the one who punched Vittorio in the first place.
‘Here’s twenty quid’ says Sam, trying to press the notes into Vittorio’s hand. ‘I’m so, so sorry.’
‘I wasn’t looking at her like that. You know I wouldn’t,’ says Vittorio. He turns to look at me, and when the bouncer corrects him with a knuckle to the chin, he slides his eyes sideways instead.
‘I ducked when I should’ve dodged’ he says. ‘I’ve done martial arts. But let me tell you – it’s always the ones you don’t see that do you the most damage. I’m fine, really. It’s nothing. A few stitches and I’ll be good as new.’
‘Mate! Let me know when you get out and I’ll come pick you up,’ says Sam, texting something at the same time.
‘No worries,’ says Vittorio, standing up when the bouncer lets him, and grasping the bloody shirt that Sam passes to him. ‘Okay. Ready? Let’s go!’ 


Wayne Conrad said...

What do you make of the bouncer that seems to know so much about triage? Does that come with the job?

jacksofbuxton said...

Pair of drunks who have already made up,but I'd suggest the bouncer might be handy to take on one or two of your more interesting trips out.

Perhaps the frequent flyers?

Chaz said...

I love this one Spence! Great scene-setting and top quality characters.

You could write a book, just with these people.

Spence Kennedy said...

Wayne - He's pretty good. Either a defrocked para, one that's moonlighting, or maybe just a punter who's got a few too many ER box sets.

Jack - He was definitely a handy guy to have around - he'd f**k you up or fix you up, whatever you want, really...

Chaz - Thanks very much! The bouncer would make a good character in a short story. Psycho-Doorman, que est-ce que c'est...

Cassandra said...

Ok, the bouncer was definitely a surprise. I'd go back and give him some sort of ribbon or certificate or something for being the Most Knowledgeable Bouncer, Patron Advocate of EMT's. (He can't be a saint; he's not dead yet!)

Spence Kennedy said...

He could totally do with something. Maybe he does already - an EMT 'caduceus' tattoo? ;)