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Whatever Happened To Lucky Eric? (part 8)
bibliomaniac
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SELLY OAK HOSPITAL

Lucky Eric and Jimmy The Con finally find a parking space about a mile from Selly Oak hospital. As they crunch across the last frozen twenty yards to the admissions doors, Eric sees some heartless bastard pull out of a space just a spit away from the doors. They push through the doors, which are heavy, wire-reinforced glass and wood buggers, fitted with springs strong enough to repel all but the fittest of patients.

“I fucking hate hospitals.” Jimmy The Con says as they enter the pea green reception.

Boiled cabbage, disinfectant, fear, and despair invade their nostrils.

“Really, Jimmy?” Lucky Eric says, “How unusual. Every other bugger I know loves them!”

“Sarky bastard.” Jimmy The Con mutters as they approach the duty nurse’s desk.

She looks up at them, her expression fierce enough to empty beds.

“Yes?” she says.

The woman is a genius. With that single word, she manages to convey her opinion that anyone having the gall to turn up at her hospital is nothing but a malingering hypochondriac whose sole purpose in life is to
waste her time.

“Come to get a second dick grafted on.” Jimmy The Con says, and Lucky Eric elbows him.

“Well, have you now?” the duty nurse says in a smooth Irish brogue, dripping mock concern, “Well why don’t we start you off with just the one. See how you get along with that.”

“Ron Dogberry, please.” Lucky Eric says.

She looks down at the watch pinned to her iron-clad bosom.

“It’s not visiting time for another ... seventeen minutes.” she says.

Lucky Eric and Jimmy The Con go and seat themselves on molded plastic chairs that have been carefully designed to deform spines.

“How did they say he was doing?” Jimmy The Con asks.

“They didn’t. Wouldn’t tell me over the phone. Well as can be expected. Whatever the fuck that’s supposed to mean.” Eric says.

“Yeah. Given some tosser just rammed eight inches of Sheffield into his guts.”

They sit in silence as the minutes drag legless torsos around the clock.

“Still,” Jimmy says cheerfully, “At least they didn’t send us down the morgue.”

“Yeah.” Eric says, “At least.”

The ward where Ron is, for all they know, fighting for his life, turns out to be in another building. A temporary, pre-fab annex, about a mile away. Right next to where they’re parked. It’s snowing heavily by the time
they reach the annex.

As they approach the bed Lucky Eric and Jimmy The Con see the usual drip in the arm, but there are also a couple of tubes up Ron’s nose, and a sinister thing that looks like a vacuum cleaner hose that snakes up under the covers near his stomach.

“How come they haven’t got his leg up?” Jimmy The Con asks

“What?”

“His leg. It ain’t up.”

Then to Ron, who’s dozing,

“Shouldn’t they have your leg up, mate?”

Ron’s eyes flutter and open, he obviously doesn’t quite know where he is.

Then realization and pain cloud his features.

“What the hell are you on about Jimmy? Alright Ron?” Lucky Eric asks.

“I’m just saying that in all the films I’ve seen, whenever someone’s in hospital they always have his leg up.”

“He was stabbed in the fucking stomach Jimmy, not the sodding leg. Haven’t you ever actually visited anyone in hospital.”

Jimmy the Con sniffs.

“No. Well, it don’t do to mix business with pleasure.” he says.