I got to thinking (Uh Oh) about a few things that I have seen and done. Probably not a good idea.
In the Job you get to see quite a lot. I never got to see the sporty car that flipped down Brixton Hill and smeared the top half of the driver like a snail trail. We never got jumpers because Brixton was at the end of the Victoria Line. But I have seen some things.
One morning, at about 5 or 6 I got booted by the driver of Lima 3. I had been keeping a close observation on the insides of my eyelids. She said “We’ll take that” and shoved her foot down on the loud pedal. “Eh, Wassah?” but I got on the wireless and acknowledged that Lima 3 were on way. I asked her what the bloody hell we were going to and she told me that it was an ‘approach with caution’. Oh dear. ‘Aproach with caution’ meant exactly that. We were the first ones there.
You have probably never seen anyone who has come off a tall building. He was obviously dead and had a mangled broken leg to go with it. He had a black bin-bag over his face and tucked into a denim jacket. Not much point in an ambulance and we were nearly off duty and had to get the wireless car back for early turn.
Up the building I went. On the landings were louvre glass slats and on the 8th floor he must have put his bin-bag on his head, tidied himself up, and taken a run down the landing and out into space. Then the wind must have caught him because he blew a load of slats out on the 5th floor and then bounced out, to his death, on the concrete beneath.
Half the Factory turned out for this one. The Skipper found the letter in his jacket pocket. We just took the car back and went home, probably to get drunk.
It turned out that his brother had jumped into the next world off a building in Clapham.
The first dead body that I ever saw had been murdered. Nude, up an alleyway, and she’d done a poo. The Guv introduced me to this like I was supposed to be scared or something. Except I wasn’t. Just really interested. I kept my guard and it wasn’t me who let the bin men empty the bins, oh no. Someone else got a massive bollocking for that but that was later when I was back at the Section House getting wrapped round a bottle of Scotch.
Another night a flat went up in flames. Booze + Chip Pan = Death. The Brigade had pulled this poor sod out to die on the grass so I had to stick to him until the mortuary for continuation of identification purposes. He had conked out next to the gas fire and burned his leg off. His sister turned up but we would only show her his face and she cried and cried.
These days, well, things like this don’t bother me. Little things can really tick me off but dead is dead and that’s that. I can go into a kind of autopilot mode where feelings don’t get anywhere near it. When a friend of mine got murdered and they found her head on a roof I just blanked it all out.
The world can, indeed, be cruel but tomorrow is another day. One day will be your last and, on that special day, you will be right. But don’t make it too soon, eh? I’ve seen some horrible things and done some things that I am frankly ashamed of.
But tomorrow is another day. Forgive yourself. If you don’t then I will do it for you - I’ve seen too much.