Today’s working day ended with The Fire Lecture. I was kinda looking forward to it – last year, we had some grimly fascinating footage of Folks About To Be Killed By Fires, although mercifully not the events themselves, along with the assurance that these buggers are quicker than you are – meaning the fires, not the folks – so get the hell out and do not go to have a gander. There were also many hilarious tales of our fire officer’s fights with the Powers That Be (he once got his arse kicked for attempting to close down an entire hospital as a death-trap within twenty minutes of getting the go-ahead to cross its threshold). I cannot wait for this year’s installment.
This year, however, the lecture hall was roasting hot, my Cellmate and I were falling asleep and the talk focussed mainly on… not putting oxygen bottles in prams? Righty-ho. No, that wasn’t it – always break the glass on the wee alarm box, even if you just smell burning or see smoke, that was it. Because at the Great Ormond Street fire (featuring the oxygen cylinder in the pram), nobody at any point smashed an alarm panel, even once the fire had been sighted. We were assured that you do not get into trouble for breaking the panel, nor does the fire brigade charge for a false alarm (oh, you bastards who ran my halls of residence away back in ’94 – I knew you were lying about the reason you took all our deposits away , but now I have proof).
You may, however, get into trouble for valiant efforts in fighting the fire with equipment with tiny ‘condemned’ stickers all over it. God bless you, Unknown Female who dragged a fire-hose through three sets of fire-doors, I’m glad they never found out who you were because I suspect the ‘nobody gets into trouble’ rule was as big a load of guff as the deposit-stealing lie.
So after an hour of this, plus the revelation that you should not abandon a hospital altogether if it is on fire, just move two fire-compartments away (how safe does that sound, seriously), the whole damn thing ran over for ages and I was already miles past my knocking-off time. My Cellmate stirred visibly when someone at the front actually started asking questions during the ‘asking questions’ bit at the end. But the question turned out to be the most interesting part – apart from the answer. Because it was, ‘is it true some of the fire-compartment doors in Apocalypse Central don’t work?’ and the answer was, ‘yes, and since the cost to get them working would be three-quarters of a million quid, there is no plan to have them operational any time soon’.
Hang on. We work in Apocalypse Central.
So all this, ‘two compartments away is safe’ is complete guff in our case, you say?
Oh no, apparently, the only fire Apocalypse Central had in the last year was a fairly major fire and that was kept under control just fine, there were patients right next door who didn’t even have to be moved.
There was a what? Where was it?
Right under our office, turns out. Wait, was that the time the four of us evacuated and nobody else did?
Holy Jesus H.
For some reason, I seem to be the only person worked up about this.
Well, that, er, fire lit under my arse marched me straight to the pub for a healthy belter of cheap red and the fervent thanks that I am still alive. And a wee blast of reading. Yeah, I know, Sums – but I only had half an hour left before fightclub. What possible – yeah, I know. Add up all the spare half hours and I’ve somehow managed to waste several lifetimes already, I suspect.
And at fightclub… the Cute Chick is back! Viva! She ran over and gave me a big hug, and then we knocked lumps out of each other. I was not even terribly tired by it (though she declined to try the move where she swarms up my back, wraps her legs round my neck and knocks me down while choking me. Well, I declined it too, but I’m bigger than she is; I was confident I could take her weight. If not hold the magnificent Elvis pose the Spoonatic maintained even when being knocked to the ground.)
On that note, my suspicions are growing that fightclub is based not only on ‘moves disqualified in cagefighting’ but ‘moves based on the life and works of Elvis’. And, to a growing degree, moves where you can suddenly pull a knife and start hacking away. Tonight a knife was pulled during the demo – a plastic one, I hasten to add, though disturbingly I am not a hundred percent sure just where that appeared from (not the kecks, surely?) I sense there are outside forces at work. Or maybe not – some of the old fightclub footage, which I checked on staggering home, had knife-wielding included.
Staggered, did I say? Why no! I practically bounded home. I feel grate, in fact! Like there’s lots of holes in me and I’ve been trodden on, to be precise! Well, fallen on – the Cute Chick grabbed me by the head, twisted and threw me on the floor, so far so good, then she overbalanced and all her weight landed on one knee… on the inside of my knee. That is gonna hurt. Still. Goodbye cold!