Blues on, sirens going and the truck leans over precariously as we make a sharp right at the end of the street. Ahead of us sees the full splendour of urbanite decay…knackered fridges and cannibalised cars in peoples front gardens. We slow down to negotiate the speed bumps, put in place years ago to slow down the joyriders who nick cars around here as if its a social prerequisite. All its ever done is give the joyriders more of a challenge and pissed off the decent car drivers who suffer the wear and tear on their vehicles.
As we slow down to weave between the abandoned wheelie bins which have been thrown into the road, I take another quick look at the screen to confirm the address we are going to is correct. ‘158 NohopeStreet’ on the ‘Barricade Estate’. Our lights are off and the sirens are silenced…we ‘run silent run deep’towards our destination. It doesnt pay to attract too much attention to ourselves around here.
Half way down the street we make a left into a cul de sac which is a posh way of saying a potential trap! Our eyes are scoping out the doorways and alley ways looking out for the tell tale signs that we’ve been set up. All is quiet on this dark street with the only illumination coming from the one street light that has so far survived the attentions of the kids with their air rifles and cross bows! The address reveals itself to us near to the end of the close.
Getting out of the truck I subconsciously check that I’ve got the hand held radio and mobile phone…just in case. And I make sure that I have my large heavy duty 3 cell Mag-lite with me also…JUST in case! Picking the green bag up and waiting for my crew mate to lock the truck I look at the front door of the address. Its like any other council door on any other council estate…its seen better days! At first sight it looks like a work of modern art until on closer inspection the door is actually a patchwork quilt of wood a result of previous visits from all and sundry.
The door is slightly open and a male voice beckons us in. “This way lads, sorry to have called you out and all that but its the wife…I cant get her to wake up!” This does not bode well. The male looks to be in his late thirties so how old is his wife and what does she suffer from at her age? These thoughts pass through your mind all the time as you continually reassess the situation. “Shes up stairs. We’ve just got back in from the pub like and she collapsed like!”
Making our way up the stairs we follow the male into a well lived in bedroom. I’ve seen worse…not much worse. And there she is laid on the floor covered in vomit and stinking of kebabs! (Always does it for me!) Inwardly I breathe a sigh of relief that she is okay and that all the husband wants to do is make sure she is alright, “She can hold her drink can our lass! Shes only been out since two this avvy!” I mentally count down the seconds until we are going to hear that well known expression…5, 4, 3, 2, 1….”Do you think her drinks bin spiked lads?”
A quick look at her pupils and trying to avoid the second hand kebab around her mouth so I can properly check her airway is met by“Waaaa thhhhefffff……geroff yer fffffff…..!” Marvellous! Grabbing an armpit each and carefully lifting her up we place her on the bed where she starts coming round and attempts to focus on the two hi-viz jackets in her bedroom. “Hey I,m real sorry lads! I thought she was like real poorly like!” the husband offers his profuse apologies. “No harm done mate. Just need to do some paperwork then we’ll leave you to it!”
My mate bimbles off to the truck to get the paperwork which we need to get signed before calling clear. As I’m talkng to the husband about the latest football scores and the weather and occassionaly helping his wife to sit up straight, a sudden commotion is heard from the bottom of the stairs. “Bollocks! The f****** dogs got loose!” exclaims the husband. All I can hear is banging and struggling and muffled sounds as if something with fangs is trying to bark with a mouth full of ambulancemans trousers!
The husband flies out of the bedroom followed by me just in time to see the door being slammed shut and to hear the pavement being slapped with a pair of size nines running towards the truck! I momentarily recall that my crew mate has a morbid fear of dogs…and cats…and birds…well any animal really! “Can you grab the dog and I’ll check on my mate?” I ask the husband to put the dog in the back room. Up until now I’ve not seen the dog yet. “Tyson! Tyson! Ged ere you mad b*****d ….!” I hear the husband calling to mans best friend as I wait at the top of the stairs.
Once the beast has been calmed and secured away in the back room I make my way to the truck to find my crewmate locked in the cab. “You okay?” I shout through the side window, “Have you been bitten?” Nervously he holds up his leg and displays the tattered remains of his left trouser leg. “B*****d nearly had me throat out!” he states as a matter of fact. “So what happened then?” I ask again through the side window.
“I was just coming back in the hallway and looking down at the first step on the stairs when I looked up and came face to face with a snarling, face full of teeth and spittle!!!” He looks petrified. “So I spun round as fast as I could but me f****** hi-viz got caught on the banister and no matter how hard I tried I could not move. And the vicious b*****d had me! Until I managed to slip out of me jacket and leg it through the door!”
I leave my crew mate in the safety of the truck and return to the house to retrieve his hi-viz jacket. The husband apologises for everything which makes a pleasant surprise for this area. “Hows the dog?” I ask. The husband opens the door and in trots Tyson’ into the hallway. I take a quick pic on my mobile phone to let the lads back at base see this monster ‘Hound of the Baskervilles’.
And here Ladies and Gentlemen is the nearest picture to preserve confidentiality that I could find:
“TYSON the scourge of Ambulancemens trousers every where!”