The NEEDLE!

It was a Saturday afternoon and me and D were playing on the back streets. We’d exhausted our repertoire of football games and were looking for something else to do. D suggested that we could go and explore the roof of the tweed mill behind our houses. He even knew how we could climb up onto the roof. So off we went.

In less time than it takes to say “Christ, it’s high up here” we were on the roof running up and down, leaping from section to section, peering through skylights, and having a whale of a time. But then, as all good things must, the fun came to an end. It was time for us to get home for dinner. We slid down the part of roof above the stairs we had used to get up. And it was then that the excrement struck the air-conditioning unit.

We slid down over a skylight which creaked dramatically. I skidded to a halt just after crossing the skylight and put my right hand down on its glass to stop myself from falling back. The glass broke beneath my hand and a sharp bit of glass impaled my palm. The pain hit instantaneously and intensely. Blood flowed freely. I held up the injury for closer inspection and D took one look and scarpered. I never knew he could run that fast! So I was left to make the rest of the way down myself, bleeding over everything, crying and thinking about how much trouble I’d be in when my father got home.

I made it back to the house and stumbled into the kitchen, bloody hand clutched before me and wailing like a banshee. My mother took one look and did not freak out as I had expected. Instead she did what she could to stanch what I saw as a torrent of blood streaming from my wound then phoned the doctor – who just happened to be my grandfather. He arrived and made a fuss of me, bathed the cut and then told me it would need stitching. I didn’t like the sound of that. I assured me it wouldn’t hurt as he threaded a wickedly curved suturing needle. Like all doctors, he lied. It hurt. I screamed.

An eternity later, I sat with my hand bandaged and whimpered. My mother wanted to know how I’d cut myself but I wasn’t talking. She reminded me that my father would be home soon. I still wasn’t talking – taking the fifth I think its called in the US. My grandpa had gone but was coming back later to “give me a tetanus”. I wasn’t sure what that was, but felt sure it wasn’t a new sweet I had yet to try. I suspected it might involve another needle.

My dad came home and finally got me to talk. He wasn’t happy with what he heard but felt I’d suffered enough and had hopefully learned my lesson. I was to show him where the accident happened the next day. My hand hurt like hell but I had calmed down.

As promised my grandpa came back and I was called downstairs to see him. He spoke reassuringly to me then produced a syringe with the biggest needle I had ever seen attached to it. I ran away.

After a chase and struggle involving one of our neighbours I was captured, contained and injected.

In the bum.

I was not happy.

Not happy at all.

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