As we stood in the middle of the department, we had time to hatch a plan and had the routine rehearsed to perfection. All it would take was a little composure - easier said than done.
"No problem!" I said, "I'm sure Derek won't run off anywhere in the meantime."
Composure? Lost. Awful joke, I know, but when you've already got the giggles, it doesn't take much.
Only five minutes later than the promised ten, Jenny comes back to us.
"Right, now where were we?"
"Morning Jenny. This is Derek. He's a Greenpeace activi..."
"You DO KNOW about Greenpeace, don't you?" Derek's interruption was perfectly timed.
Jenny looks momentarily taken aback, but maintains composure.
"I do know about them, yes. Let me find out what the problem is, Derek, and then we can discuss it later."
"As I was saying, Derek was on a protest at the local building site. Apparently they're building on what he says should be left as a nature reserve, so he decided he would start a one man protest. Up a huge crane."
"You were where?" Jenny asks.
"Up a crane. They can't use the damn thing if I'm sitting half way up it!" Derek's performance was so convincing, even I was starting to buy it.
"Anyway, we were asked by the police to be on standby, should anything go wrong, whilst they sent some climbers up to bring Derek down. As they neared the bottom of the crane, Derek decided to jump about two metres, fell onto the grou..."
"I didn't fall!" He looked genuinely angry. "Those damned coppers brought me down!"
"Either way, he landed quite heavily, and we think he might have broken his hip. The rest of his observations are fine, and he's normally fit as a fiddle."
"Right." Jenny looked a little puzzled, had a quick look at the side of the paperwork that has all the observations but none of the story, and allocated us a bed without any further questions. "I'll help you get him across."
Derek took a few more deep breaths on the entonox as we lay him almost flat in order to slide him onto the hospital bed.
"We'll have you over in seconds, you won't even know it's happening."
"OK, just do it."
I placed the paperwork on the tray at the edge of the bed, and between us we moved Derek onto the slightly more comfortable hospital trolley. We had to take our cylinder of entonox back, so before we did, I went to find a hospital supply rather than leave him without. By the time I came back, Jenny was reading the paperwork. Story side this time, and tapping her foot on the floor.
We laughed, all of us. Derek and Jenny included.
"Excuse me, nurse. Can I ask you just one question?" Derek suddenly looked serious again.
"Of course you can."
"Do you really know anything about Greenpeace?"
Two green-uniformed men turned and ran, giggling away like school kids.