Friday, August 31, 2012

It Rains And It Rains.

“Do you think he’s dead?”

It’s not a phrase you often hear at two in the afternoon.

I join the rest of my colleagues at the window on the second-floor of our building.

Me: Christ. How long has he been there?

The rain pounds down, as it seems to have done for the last two months. The city looks set to flood again. Again.

Colleague#1: About half an hour.

We’re looking at a man slumped on the pavement across the street. It’s difficult to see any detail due to the black sky. The rain is so heavy it is also hard to see more than a few feet ahead.

A biblical clap of thunder shakes our windows followed by forks of lightning you only see on specialist satellite television channels. The man does not move.

Me: If I were him I’d have gotten-up by now.

Uncannily Similar: He’s dead.

We’ve all stepped-over bodies on our way into work of a Monday morning. It’s that sort of city. But this is unusual of a Wednesday afternoon. Considering the weather.

Colleague#2: He’s probably a tramp or something.

Colleague#1: Have you seen his trainers? They’re spotless. There’s something badly wrong there.

Thirsty Kirsty: Let’s just go down and have a look.

Fuck it. Yes. Why not.

Me: Right. Come on then you lot.

I grab the nearest umbrella and head for the double-doors that lead to the lift. I dramatically smash them open and turn around to see that everyone is carefully inspecting their fingernails. Like that scene in Jerry Maguire.

Me: Great. Brilliant. Thanks.

I stab the ‘G’ button in the lift with unnecessary vehemence.

The six wide-eyed ladies on reception look at me.

Me: When was the last time that dead bloke across the street moved?

Head Receptionist: Oh God at least forty-five minutes. We don’t know what to do. Somebody passed-by and shook him and he just fell over.

Me: Right. I’ll have a look and if it’s grim we’ll call the paramedics.

H.R: Oh thaaaanks Tired.

Me: Yeah. Ok.

This is bollocks, I think to myself as I cross the street. I was quite happy sneering at my twitter feed and pretending to work. It’s fucking pouring-down out here.

I shake his shoulder. Nothing. He’s as limp as a Rich Tea biscuit that’s been dunked for too long. As my knowledge of rigor-mortis is based on having seen two episodes of Silent Witness I don’t know what this means. But he’s not responsive.

Aware of the dozen pairs of eyes watching me from across the street I shake him a bit harder. He moves his head, thank fuck. And makes a ‘aaampphh’ noise. I’m hit with a blast of raw alcohol.

It’s raining. My sympathies are running low. I shake him some more. Quite roughly now. He is annoyed, from what I can gather. No-one likes rude awakenings, I suppose. Although I’m now quite pissed-off also.

Me: Have you been drinking?

Stupid question, really. He nods a bit. The white trainers were a red-herring – they’re actually filthy, as is the rest of him. Alcohol is not the only stink now apparent. He’s a young man and hasn’t shaved or washed in at least a week.

Me: We need to get you out of the rain, ok? You’re going to get pneumonia.

Despite his unhappiness at been aroused from his slumber I hook an arm under his right armpit and attempt to haul him to his feet. I think of Colleague#2 who plays rugby at weekends and is warm inside and not dealing with someone who could stab me at any moment whilst all nine-skinny-stone of me is out in the rain dealing with this cracker.


It’s fucking pouring down.

Me: UP!

Between the two of us I walk him the twenty yards to a small precinct. It contains a Ladbrokes and not much else. He slumps to the ground once more.

Me: Sleep it off, eh?

He’s already unconscious, but at least there’s a roof over his head. I head back to my building and update the Reception ladies.

Me: He’d just had a skinfull.

Reception Ladies: Awww thaaaaanks Tired.

I don’t tell them his drinking binge probably started weeks ago, that any spare food money he had he’s spent on white cider and that it’ll probably be weeks until he stops, at which point he’ll realise he has nothing at all.

I press ‘2’ in the lift and go and wash my hands. I stink.

And it rains and it rains.


Blogger justrestingmyeyes said...

Noir as all hell and ten times as good.

12:48 am  
Blogger Tired Dad said...

Do you remember when this used to be quite funny? Oh well. I'm taking the MASSIVE compliment, though.

1:01 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a interesting read, in many ways, I enjoy reading your writing. It's funny. But tinged with a bit of misery. I always looked upon drunks as wasters of space, until my very good friend became one himself. Of course none of us knew till he passed away, from alcoholic poisoning, on his own. He felt unable to tell anyone of his friends and family how bad life was for him in his darkest days. So I wonder of this is true, what happened to the poor chap you picked up. I'm glad you went down and moved him.

7:01 pm  
Blogger Tired Dad said...

Hello Anon, whoever you are and thanks. It is true and I don't know what happened to him. I'm sorry to hear about your friend.

9:36 pm  
Blogger Ellie said...

Stepping over bodies is definitely something for Mondays. A bit callous for Wednesdays though, I agree.

10:04 pm  
Blogger Tired Dad said...

It would have been a bit 'off' wouldn't it?

10:16 pm  
Blogger sb said...

I bet it always leaves a Kevin Carterish taste in the mouth to put something like this into print, doesn't it? Even when you're helping him out more than anyone else, making that essential human(e) connection more than anyone else.

But as long as you feel you're able to write this sort of stuff, then please keep doing so. I confess that this particular post has been quite difficult to read, but that's only a testament to how good it is.

8:15 pm  
Anonymous Em said...

You really are quite nice, aren't you? In a good way.
Isn't it summer where you are?

5:33 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was you! Thanks TD!

3:06 pm  
Blogger Twisted Scottish Bastard said...

At least you tried Tired. Well done.

Don't worry, he'll be dead of cirrhosis quite soon I expect.

6:26 pm  
Blogger Alison Cross said...

You did the right thing by him. So you'll never regret your moment of kindness.

Unless you end up with impetigo, of course.


9:00 am  
Blogger Furtheron said...

There but for the grace of God and all that stuff...

We actually did have a stiff in the gardens (that is a laugh naming it that!) here on Tuesday morning. In the end I think it was decided natural causes rather than something else but we had a lot of activity first thing.

It was a good deed and sadly I have to side with you about what will happen, he has gone over that edge, to get back is extremely hard - I know I teetered there some years back and only stepped back as I had big reasons too but it was a hairs breath away. I know if one of those restrainers had been taken away I'd have gone over that line, why not? In some ways you have to look at your actions and say you've given him a chance to sober up and not catch his death that day. Will he wise up before he final does though?

1:41 pm  
Blogger Sewmouse said...

Dear friend of mine works for the Scottish ambulance service. Does that sort of thing regular. Kudos to you for doing it yourself instead of just phoning 999 and expecting someone else to shoulder the problem.

4:49 pm  
Blogger Tired Dad said...

sb: Hello. Thank you. I'm not sure what else I could have done. I encounter the hopeless every day on the streets where I work. "I can't help you" I always say. And I'm pretty sure I'm usually right.

Anyway, thanks again and hope I haven't stirred-up too much.

Em: Actually, I'm really not. And no, we didn't get a summer this year. We must have been bad.

loob: Brilliant.

TSB: You may well be right.

Ali: Perhaps. And I haven't.

Furtheron: I must confess to feeling rather fatalistic about the whole thing. And it'll take more than the occasional stranger dragging a person out of the rain to change things.

Sew: Hello again. Not so sure you're right, but thanks.

11:28 pm  
Anonymous Rachel_Eating Raoul said...

Crapping Ada. This has all gone a bit holy and serious in the comment department hasn't it?

I love your posts and am glad that since I haven't read any for months, you haven't really done any for me to miss. Cheers for that! I hate having to play catch-up, it means all the things I want to comment on are all too old.

You are good people TD.

5:18 pm  
Blogger Tired Dad said...

Rachel: Hello again. Sarcy.

5:26 pm  
Blogger Tired Dad said...

And I think you sent me a message on Twitter then deleted your account so I couldn't reply. Oh, YOU.

11:11 pm  
Anonymous Rachel_Eating Raoul said...

It was too Mr Darcy. Plus being elusive suited me last week...

2:21 pm  
Blogger Tired Dad said...

I really don't mind a bit of sarcasm. Oh well, be all 'elusive' if you must...

12:39 pm  

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