Here comes a true story: like all true stories, it’s shockingly unbelievable. I’ll tell you this in two ‘bites’ – starting with what happened LAST and moving on to what went down half an hour before….
The time? December 1994.
The place? An estate agent on the High Street in Broadstairs, Kent.
The people? Two elderly applicants and one rather chubby and incredibly inexperienced estate agent, aged 16. His name’s Dave, and he’s only been out of school for two weeks.
Dave is copying some details for the old couple on a big, hefty photocopier. He’s talking quite a lot as he’s doing it: a big talker, our Dave.
‘You’ll like this one, I’m sure: it’s a three bed semi in a lovely part of Broadstairs, very close to the beach. Here, take a look-“
Dave walks over to the desk, but instead of handing the details to the couple, he does four things really, REALLY quickly: so quickly, in fact, that the old couple sitting in front of him have absolutely no time to prepare or react.
1. Dave falls forward, face first. He doesn’t trip, or stumble: he just goes DOWN. Unfortunately, he’s standing over a desk….so he actually falls forward onto the flat surface of the wood.
2. Dave’s head smacks off the top of the desk like a cannonball, snapping his neck back and sending him crashing into a mountain of files behind the desk, where he lies – completely unconscious – on the floor of the office.
3. Dave wets himself: a dark spread that completely soaks his trousers.
4. Dave begins to shake pretty violently and turn blue.
Sometime around No.4, the old woman starts to scream. Her husband, who has seen at least two episodes of Casualty, immediately decides that he’s out of his depth and goes bolting into the office at the back of the room to try to raise the alarm. Through a vague, semi-conscious sort of haze, Dave can hear the old guy shouting:
“You have to come NOW! It’s the ginger bloke that works for you: he’s just passed out, pissed himself and turned blue!”
The man in the back has nothing to do with the estate agent. He is, in fact, an insurance salesman working for the same company. He is also, however, a good friend of Dave’s and has seen this happen before. He also has an extremely warped sense of humour. Thinking on his feet, he follows the man back out into the main office and steps OVER his prone friend.
“Oh, don’t worry about him,” he says, in a completely relaxed voice. “He does this stuff all the time. What was he copying for you? Was it these details? The big place on the seafront? I’ll just get them into the envelope.”
Bewildered, confused and unable to take their eyes off the dazed guy on the floor of the office, the old couple just nod and begin to ask all the expected questions.
“Will he be okay?”
“Seriously, just leave him alone: as long as he’s lying flat, he’ll be fine.”
“Does he usually wet himself like that?”
“Not always: it kinda depends if he needed to go when he hit the deck. He’s a bit of a practical joker.”
“But he hit his head on the desk!”
“No worries; we’ll get your details sorted and then I’ll make sure he’s okay. He’s sleeping pretty peacefully there: look at him.”
“Well, if you’re sure he doesn’t need an ambulance-“
“Ha! He’d be dancing around again by the time they arrive. Now, let’s get you these particulars….”
When the couple have finally been ushered out, the insurance salesman locks the door of the main office, sits on a chair and waits for Dave to come round.
Dave twitches once, twice. His eyelids flick open, and he slowly sits up.
The insurance guy folds his arms, looks down at Dave, and says “I told you that would happen. You DICKHEAD.”
Thirty minutes before the above event, Dave brings a sandwich into the lunchroom, and goes to wash his hands at the sink: there’s a bit of blood.
“What’s up?” says his friend, an insurance salesman. “You cut yourself?”
“Yeah, on the bloody door handle. I’m going to serve an old couple that just came in – then I’ll take a break.”
“But, wait – you’ve got that weird thing with blood. Shouldn’t you lie down for five minutes?”
“Nah: it doesn’t happen every time. Besides, if I lie down, they’ll probably leave…”
“I’ll serve them. Remember when you fell down the stairs in the basement? Nobody found you for two hours!”
“Seriously – don’t worry: I’ve got it covered. Anyway, this is different: the cut is tiny. I don’t feel that bothered at all! I’m fine!”
“If you’re fine, why are you jiggling up and down like that?”
“I really need a wee. It’s okay: I’ll have one after I’ve served them.”
NOTE: The above condition is actually a ‘response’ to any penetration of the skin. It’s called Vasovagal (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vasovagal_response) and I used to be totally plagued by it. Thanks to a very talented young lady I used to go to secondary school with (and who is now an extremely competent nurse), I don’t really suffer as badly with it, these days. I had a therapeutic ‘tapping’ session with her a few years back which went some way to help with the problem. However, if I do slash my hand on anything sharp, I make sure that I rush straight to the nearest toilet. I’ve made a lot of pretty horrific mistakes in my life, but I do try not to make the same one, twice.