THE BLASTED DESERT Chapter Twenty-one

1 Mar

21. THE PACEMAKER

From their position not so high above it, the four in the helicopter watched as the ambulance pulled up in a bay near the A&E department of Brumpton Hospital. It was still summer, there was a fair at Swanspottle that was proving very popular so there were few patients needing care and attention. After a great deal of fussing and exaggerated rushing the patient was pushed on a trolley straight through the ultra-modern swing doors and into the hospital.

This was seen by the airborne quartet, hovering far too close for anyone’s comfort, and Enid decided to land. She might have chosen the clearly-marked landing pad on the roof, but she turned to the other three, smiled that warm smile of hers, the sort that assured everyone that besides good natural-looking teeth and luscious lips she must surely have perfect legs, and said,

“I think the car-park because it’s all right being on the roof, but how does one find one’s way down to reception?”

It was, thought Imageous, a good question.

“I know the way,” volunteered Alphonse.

“Of course you do, but you’re only a surgeon and might forget the way,” almost chided Enid. “After all, you sometimes can’t find your willy when you want a wee until you’ve wet yourself! No, I’ll park down there,” and she pointed into the car-park.

There were a lot of spaces free of cars in the car-park and Enid landed across four of them before stopping the engine and providing them all with a very welcome sudden silence.

“That’s better, Mother,” sighed Bertie.

“This is going to cost,” she said, indicating the parking-prices board. “You’d think it would be free to worried relatives in pursuit of an elderly lady who might well be dead, wouldn’t you? But no, they want to drag every penny out of you.”

“Hey!” called an angry voice from a small attendants box, the sort the rain would blow into if it chose to be a wet day, “you can’t put that thing there!”

“I have, darling,” smiled Enid as she climbed down from the pilot’s seat and exposed far too much thigh for the attendant’s good. “We’ve followed an ambulance and won’t be two twitches of a mouse’s tail. It’s a genuine emergency and you look such a sweet soul. Be a darling and keep an eye on her and there’ll be a reward for you when we come out…”

The attendant stared at the acreage of exposed thigh, patted his own chest and then replied, contrary to his every instinct, “that’s all right, madam, I see your point,” in a quavery sort of voice that suggested he’d be best seeking medical help before something really unpleasant and possibly terminal happened to him.

Enid gave him a cheery smile and led the way through a revolving door into reception.

“We’ve followed an ambulance,” she purred at the receptionist, who was a bitter old crone in her mid thirties with four kids and an abusive husband and not a kind word to say for anyone. Life can teach some people tough lessons, don’t you think…?

But Enid’s purring was enough to soften the receptionist until she was no harder than granite, so she pointed to a sign that read EMERGENCIES before turning away for fear of melting.

“Come on,” almost chirruped Enid, and she led the way through the door and onto a long corridor. Their progress had been so swift that they could see two paramedics pushing a trolley along at what looked to be the other end of the corridor, and the faint female urging “faster lads before I croak it” from its passenger.

“She’s alive,” whispered Enid, “but it might be best not to shock her too suddenly. After all, she’s not seen her son in seventy years and might find recognising him a tad difficult.”

“I know that voice!” squawked the trolley. “Is that you, Enid, my dear? Are you still on the game? I wish I was…”

“She’s got good hearing,” mumbled Bertie.

“It comes from a life on my back with my legs in the air!” cackled the trolley.

“Now, Fanny, that’s enough of that sort of talk! You’ll give us professionals a bad name!” reproved Enid.

“Is that you, mummy?” called Imageous, his voice collapsing into little more than a whisper as emotion grabbed him by the testicles and twisted them.

“My darling boy? My little angel in his short pants and twinkling eyes and a wee willy winkie? The bosom of my agony and creator of my lonely years? The razors of my talons…” replied a startled trolley. “Where have you been all my life, sweet Iggy?”

“Iggy?” croaked Imageous, “Why Iggy?”

“Because that’s your name, sweet breath of my bosom and candle of my wax! And I’m so sorry, but when it came to registering your birth I was stammering with the cold and not being helped by a beau who kept tickling my fancy, so I couldn’t quite say Digory before the overworked and underpaid woman in the register office had written Iggy. I’m sorry, Iggy, but it would be quite wrong for me to call you Digory now after all these years, don’t you think..?”

By this time they had managed to catch up with the trolley which still seemed to be at the other end of a very long corridor that somehow managed to stretch apparently endlessly in front of them.

“Where are they taking you, Fanny?” asked Enid. “We’re visitors, but I’m afraid I parked a bit awkwardly.”

“You tell her, Buster,” motioned Imageous’ prostrate mother to one of the two men anxiously pushing her along.

“We’re on our way to the cardiac department,” replied the paramedic. “She must have had a heart attack, or something like it, because she was dead till my mate here thumped her chest a bit.”

“Set me pacemaker going again,” croaked Fanny, “the battery must have got disconnected and the thing stopped when I heard you were coming to see me.”

“Who told you?” demanded Fanny, “we made our minds up on the spur of the moment and didn’t tell a soul. So how can you have known?”

“Cardiacs,” announced the paramedic before she could answer, and he turned to the four visitors, “and this is as far as you come until we tell you how she is,” he added.

“They’ll probably fit a new battery,” squawked Fanny. “And then I’ll be right as rain.”

I recognise that squawk, thought Imageous, stopping dead in his tracks, I’ve heard it before…”

TO BE CONTINUED…

© Peter Rogerson 14.02.17

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