Windows of the Soul…!

January 30, 2009

Bintown Estate

Warning:contains scenes of a gruesome nature!

Night. Pitch black, cold and uninviting except to the occasional rat as it scurries across the waste ground in search of a discarded takeaway. The four figures in their black garb hunker down at the edge of the building facing the block of flats some 100 metres away from them. Silence hovers all around them…no voices  to be heard…no bodies to be seen. 3 am and all was quiet…so far. All four figures keep their ears and eyes open in scan mode just in case any night people are about. Night people tend to be skulking around seeking out an opportunistic mugging of a late reveller returning home or a quick house burglary through an open window.

A slow flurry of hand signals between the four shadow warriors sends two of them forward. Quietly they make their way to the block of flats unobserved. Using a ‘skeleton electronic key fob’ they move inside the foyer and wait inside the dark recess of the hallway. The foyer/hallway is bathed in a dull light not through using energy efficient tubes but due to the fact that most of the light fittings have been smashed. The CCTV in the corner has long gone and all that remains are the taped up wires and bolt holes. The all pervading smell of piss masked by cheap disinfectant permeats the cool, night air.

 The first figure in black takes up sentry looking out of the foyer for any possible interruption. The second figure carefully prises open the electrical fuse box inside the already open maintenance cupboard. Using a tiny red light from a pencil torch he scans the many fuses and circuit breakers in the open box. A quick reference to a wiring diagram in his hand and its done. The fuse is pulled out just enough to disrupt the circuit. Power to their targets flat has been cut off.  Quickly putting away the torch and diagram he moves back out into the hallway. A slow hand signal is given and within seconds the other two figures are inside.

Silently they make their way up the stairs to the top floor. Six flights of stairs take them through the middle of this block of flats in the centre of Bintown Estate. Most of the original tenants moved out years ago. Then it was seen as a breakthrough in modern, urban community housing. Now it was a dumping ground for all the misfits of society. Most were on benefits, some were on drugs and a few on both. The dealer of their escape from reality and provider of their despair lived here…on the top floor. Known as ‘Hawkeye’ due to his almost animal instinct for evading justice, he ruled the roost in this corner of Bintown.

Along the landing of the top floor three flats lay either side. Hawkeyes flat was the nearest to the stairwell. Covering the front door was a solid looking metal gate. A typical drug dealers door curtain. His own portcullis to defend himself against the intrusions of the Police or the attentions of other drug dealers. Moving towards the gate one of the figures inspected the heavy duty padlock. The others crouched down facing outwards and watched for any movement or noise from the landings or stairwell. Seconds later the padlock is safely opened and placed on the floor near to the door frame.

Reaching inside his black jacket the lock picker produces a small tube and quickly lubricates the hinges of the gate. Smoothing over the hinges so as to minimise detection of the lubricant at a later date, he takes hold of the bars and swings it open just enough to inspect the front door of the flat. It is the typical two windowed council door. The glass being frosted and wire meshed. Through intelligence gained from the Police the team know that this door is locked and double bolted. Still no words are exchanged between the figures in black…they know exactly what they are doing. Reaching once more into his jacket another small tube is produced. Carefully squeezing the contents around the beading and putty surrounding the glass, another of the team places a small suction handle onto the meshed window.

Thirty seconds later and the chemicals within the tube have dissolved the putty and loosened the tack nails. Carefully and with only the tiniest amount of splintering the beading is prised off one by one and placed next to the padlock on the floor. Gently pulling on the suction handle the glass window comes away from the door. One by one the team crawl through the gap into Hawkeyes domain. Knowing exactly where they are going and using their night vision goggles the team silently move to the first room on the right. Suddenly the room door flies open and Hawkeye is standing there. The team can see him..but he cannot see the team. Hawkeye flicks the light switch on and off, nothing happens. ‘Bastard lights!’ he mutters under his breath. It has not dawned on Hawkeye that he is not alone!


Standing in the hallway of the flat the team are spread out along the wall. Hawkeye, a green spectral shape, in front of them. Without a word one of the team reaches out and spins Hawkeye round while another grabs him from behind and presses a chloroform soaked cloth against his face. Hawkeyes brief struggle lasts a few seconds until he sinks to the floor. More furtive hand signals are given. One member of the team crouches near the door and pulls the gate to. The others take hold of Hawkeyes arms and legs and lift him through into the living room. The last team member gently closes the living room door.

Moving over to the dark shape of the settee the team place Hawkeye there. An O/P airway is inserted into Hawkeyes mouth to prevent airway occlusion. The nearest figure in black holds his hands up and motions that they have ten minutes to complete their task and exfil. Taking hold of Hawkeyes head while the other pins his arms down just in case, a small glint of light bounces off the metal implement in his hand. Reaching over Hawkeyes forehead the syringe wielding figure in black pulls back his eyelids. Staring up at him are the top of Hawkeyes pupils. Quickly and carefully the figure in black jabs the syringe into Hawkeyes pupils and syringes a noxious substance into them. Hawkeye makes an involuntary movement, the chloroform is beginning to wear off.

Silently the team backtrack from the flat, first removing the O/P airway and replacing the mesh window and beading with fresh non smelling putty. The gate is closed and the padlock replaced. Moving silently down the stairs two of the team walk out of the building while the other two replace the fuses in the maintenance cupboard. Within a couple of minutes the team are hunkered down across the wasteground looking towards the block of flats. Its 0320 am. Its still pitch black and cold. SWAB Team 6 then dissolve into the night.

And thats when the screams begin!

Hawkeye has woken up. Blind and not knowing anything of what is happening, he thinks he is having a nightmare. It is going to be a long nightmare…and a long pitch black nightmare forever!

Too Close for Missiles I’m Switching to Guns…!

January 5, 2009


Rocking up to the entrance to A/E we joined the rest of the ‘Ambulance Armada’ parked under the canopy. (We must have historical Naval connections as the press always say that ‘the patient was ferried to hospital!’) Unloading our newest customer on the stretcher we made our way towards the automatic doors. Even before we entered the ‘Temple of Doom’ the shouts from inside could be heard loud and clear.

As we step inside the A/E department we both take a double look to check that we are in the right building. There are Police everywhere. Two officers are wrestling with a ‘patient’ trying to get him to the floor. The ‘patient’ does not want to play and he is giving a good account of himself probably due to the copious amounts of alcohol and/or drugs in his system. Another ‘Two Can Van Damme’ merchant!

Further down the corridor four officers are waiting outside an examination room for the go ahead from officers already inside to enter and restrain another unhappy ‘patient’. There’s not much room in the cubicles so two officers have had to dart in and grab the reluctant participant of a normal life before he trashes the place. The doctors and nurses go about their duties as normal hardly giving a second glance.

To our far left another Police officer with a PCSO are in earnest negotiation with what is colloquially termed a ‘gobshite’! He is kicking off because the security guard had asked him not to smoke and could not believe that he had to abide by the hospital rules on smoking. In fact he could not believe that he had to abide by any rules at all!

Seeing a spare trolley we place our patient onto it. She is in her seventies and looking frail after a fall at home where she had laid on the cold floor for several hours until found by relatives. After checking her over and discovering the possibility that she had a fractured hip, we spent the rest of the time with her trying to allay her fears about going into hospital. Giving her bags of reassurance and explaining the routine process of these things put her mind greatly at ease.

To her left on another trolley is a scrawny woman with scrawny arms and legs. She stinks! The stink of ulcers and burst abscesses through too much IV drug abuse. At least she is quiet. On the right is a trolley containing the hulk of a man who has been battered in a fight in which he had come off worse. Both eyes were blackened, top lip split and his nose pointed the wrong way! He is getting more and more agitated as he believes he should be seen right now, this minute, he pays his taxes!

A scream goes up! Followed by the clattering of chairs and trolleys as the ‘reluctant one’ comes staggering out of the cubicle with various Police officers attached to him. ‘Just drop him!’ I think to myself. Meanwhile the tag team Police near the entrance have got their man on the floor at last and are now attempting to cuff him. He resists more forcefully and one officer goes for his CS spray. ‘No, not in the department!’shouts an observant receptionist. CS gas hangs around for ages in enclosed spaces. Option 2 then…forearm across the back of the neck and knee in the small of his back with good use of weight. His partner grabs the legs and fold them back whilst pulling hard enough to snap him like a Christmas cracker!

Suddenly more Police come through the other entrance and split up into two teams. Three go to the officer and PCSO who are trying to extract their ‘customer’ from under the metal and plastic seating. Two others run past us and wade into the trussed up Christmas cracker on the floor. For a couple of minutes all that can be heard are the scuffs of boots on floor as purchase and grip is sought to gain the upper hand. Muffled grunts and groans and heavy breathing can be heard reminiscent of some 1970s low budget porn film. (According to my dad!)

And in the middle of all this chaos there are still real patients, with real complaints and illnesses who look on thinking where the hell are they? What has happened to society to make A/E a regular battleground? There is a running theme in all these close quarter battles and that’s alcohol coupled with a big dose of serious attitude problems!

Diplomatic Enforcement And Tactical Healthcare

Diplomatic Enforcement And Tactical Healthcare

My solution…‘Go in hard, go in fast and dont take any crap!’  In an ideal world the hospital could contract SWAB Team 6 for a couple of lads to use their particular skills in Diplomatic Enforcement And Tactical Healthcare or ‘DEATH’ as it is known. Somehow I don’t think that will happen and these events will continue and get worse with someone eventually being killed in the department. And the doctors and nurses and us will carry on as its becoming the norm rather than the exception.

Whole Lotta Soul…!!!

January 3, 2009

Indulge me for a moment whilst I play one of my favourite tracks from my Northern Soul days.

The Snake by Al Wilson

And here’s a little introduction to the basics of Northern Soul dancing. I’m already digging out my Oxfords and getting my Loafers polished! Keep the Faith!

The genre of Northern Soul always brings a smile to my face…good memories of good music, good dancing, good mates and fantastic fashion sense!!!

I advocate that all Ambulance Services (and possibly Police forces) should arrive on scene and through the ‘medium of dance’  deal with patients (or criminals)! It would lead to a fitter service and encourage patients (or crims) to take up Northern Soul. It could one day take the place of wars and instead of heavy bombardments or invasions opposing countries could have a ‘Dance Off’ instead! Sorted! 

All over the UK

All over the UK