11 May, 2007

BiohazardIs this thing on? Testing. One. Two. Three. Just play that back … OK, right, let’s get on with it then.

I was shopping in the Bell Tower Centre with my friend, Jo, when I first saw him. I thought he was a crazy guy and I tried to get out of the way. He was going up to people and grabbing hold of them and he seemed to be pleading with them. I just thought he was drunk, or one of these care-in-the-community people or something, so I tried to steer Jo the other way, but she hadn’t seen him and before I could do anything about it he had grabbed hold of her arm.

What was he wearing? I can’t remember. He was white, and he had dark hair, a bit long and really scruffy, like wild. He was dressed like a homeless person. Hang on, come to think of it his clothes were good really, like expensive, just scruffy. Dirty and rumpled like he’d slept in them. Like he’d slept in a rubbish bin. And tall – not, like, really tall just a bit taller than me I suppose, and young, and a bit gorgeous, like Hugh Grant if he’d been sleeping rough for a week. He was, like, “Help me, please help me,” and Jo was trying to get her arm free, and I was helping her, trying to pull her away.

Jo was like “Get off me!” and pulling her arm away from him. She was pushing him with her other hand and trying to get free. And I was like “Leave her alone you disgusting wino!” and pulling on her, and then she got away and we legged it. I was worried he’d run after us but he just fell on the floor and shouted “For God’s sake will somebody help me?”

So me and Jo went to a cafe and I bought he a latte to calm her nerves. But she’s really soft and she kept saying “I wonder what’s the matter with him?” and “Did you notice his eyes?” She said he had nice eyes. I just wanted to go home. We’d pretty much spent our money and I’d got the shoes I wanted and no way did I want to bump into that creepy guy again. But Jo persuaded me to go back and try on a skirt I’d been looking at, and it turned out it was just a trick. ‘Cause when we saw the guy again she went running up to him on purpose and asked him “What do you want? How can we help?”

So we went back to the cafe again with the wild looking guy. Jo had a point because he was a bit yummy when he calmed down. I went and got the coffees again and when I came back he was in the middle of telling Jo some story about a disease. I didn’t hear the beginning of it but it was something about his flatmate who worked for a drugs company. Or did he volunteer for drugs tests? I didn’t really understand it, partly ’cause it was all like science-babble and partly becuse he was getting excited again and he wasn’t making a lot of sense. But the flatmate had died, and the drugs company had come round to the flat in protective gear and taped it all up with big plastic sheets and stuff.

Look, do you know what any of this is about? Is that why I’ve got to make my statement through a glass screen like I was some sort of dangerous criminal? Because I’ve done nothing wrong. If you’re going to charge me with anything I want to  speak to a lawyer. OK. OK. Yes, I can help you with your enquiries, just as long as we’re clear I’ve done nothing wrong, I’m an innocent victim. Can you just at least phone my mum. She’ll be expecting me back by now and she’ll be worried sick if I’m late. Especially if she hears anything about what happened at the mall. OK.

So, the guy was telling us about his flatmate who died. He says it was really horrible. He didn’t go into the details. But he said he phoned an ambulance and then he needed to go outside for some air ’cause he was really freaked out, and when he went back he saw there was no ambulance there but people from the drugs company like I told you with the bio-hazard suits and the plastic sheets sealing the whole place up.

After that he said he ran away because he was scared. He had been right there with his friend when he died, and if the drugs company guys needed all that protection just to take the body away then what would happen to him? He wouldn’t tell us how his friend died. He just shut his eyes and stopped talking. And that was the creepiest thing of all, ’cause this guy never stopped talking, just yammering on and on “Please help me, help me” all the time. So when he stopped, I felt someone walk over my grave, know what I mean?

Then he started to retch. I thought he was just remembering how the flatmate died and it made him feel sick, but he stood up suddenly and knocked the table over, and all the coffee and frothy milk spilled all over the floor. And he was screaming. Or was it us? And retching and then he started being sick, but it was like all blood. And where it fell on him his clothes like dissolved, and his skin. His face was dissolving where the blood was coming out and there was loads of screaming by then and people running everywhere.

How is Jo, by the way? Have you heard from the hospital?


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