Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Two Seats

A pair of expensive-looking trainers adorned the feet that stuck out from behind the bush. It was the only part of Jacek that was visible from the street. A concerned member of the public walking home late at night called the ambulance when he thought someone must be lying dead. It's a good thing he waited, because we'd never have spotted the shoes from the road.

"He's in there. Not sure if he's breathing or not, didn't want to get too close."

At five in the morning I had to ask what he was doing walking around the streets.

"I was on my way home from work. I do funny hours too."

"Oh really? What do you do?"

"I'm a nightclub bouncer."

I should have guessed really. Six feet four in every direction, close cropped hair, and a badly fitting suit - a perfect stereotype. The fact that someone who intimidates people for a living was a little nervous about approaching a pair of shoes, or at least whatever or whoever was attached to them, seemed a little ironic. I shook the patient's legs and one of the shoes fell off, making our bouncer friend visibly recoil.

A groggy mumble of "Go away!" from deep inside the bush only added to his discomfort.

"Do you still need me here, or am I alright to go home?"

"Yeah, sure. We're OK here. Thanks for your help."

He practically ran away from the scene.

After a few more attempts at waking up our patient, he finally relented and climbed out of the branches, hampered slightly by the thorns of a lone yellow rose. His face appeared last bearing a five o'clock shadow, but at the wrong five o'clock.

"Go away! I'm sleeping!"

There's gratitude for you.

"You can't sleep here. People will think you're dead and call ambulances!"

"Go away! I'm sleeping!"

"Where do you live?"

"I live here. Go away."

His clothes, other than the odd branch and a few green leaves, were clean, maybe even new. Not exactly the attire of a long-term homeless man. 

"Do you have any family in the area?" 

"No. They not live here." I guessed by his accent that he must have left his family in Eastern Europe somewhere. 

"And friends?" 

"My friend he is here." 

"Where's here?"

He turned round and looked back into the bushes.

"Here!" He points aggressively at the broken branches. "Don't you speak English good?" 

I looked at him, looked at my crewmate, shrugged my shoulders, and climbed half way into the bushes looking for a drunk friend. 

"Jacek, There's no-one in here!" 

"He is there! You not see him!"

I look again.

"There's definitely no-one here!" 

"He is there! Only I see him. You no see him!" 

I climb back out of the greenery, and look much the same as our patient with leaves and bits of broken branch all over me. 

"You mean to say I've gone looking for an invisible man?" 

My crewmate takes one look at me and tries to stifle a giggle. We help Jacek into the ambulance and as I'm about to take my seat, he suddenly shouts. 

"You not sit there! Friend - he is there!"

All of a sudden, the trolley seems a much better choice of seat. At the hospital, the waiting room is busy, and I take a minute to look around.

"What are you waiting for?" asks my crewmate.

"Just trying to find two seats together." 


Fee said...

Randomly sleeping drunks are bad enough without them bringing imaginary friends into the mix! LOL at the bouncer, though.

Chris S said...

Did you complete two patient report forms?

Cbp222000 said...

Lol how rude of you nearly sitting on his friend  what is wrong with sleeping in a bush at 0500am normal for many ppl obviously!!!

Anonymous said...

Excellent. I suspect you get lots of cases like this - the 'late' Tom Reynolds often wrote about them. To whom do you send the bill?

The Rumanian government? His mother? A commenter on this blog? The editor of the Guardian? Or do we simply declare "It's their NHS!".