The Spirit of Christmas – or Saturday night after the Christmas Fair (cont 3)

Blood cooling. Thick black pavement coating. Viscous, congealing. Scarlet spatters on the fluorescent vests covering his prone body, a flimsy shield against shock and cold.

They were getting bored. Had started to think about their bellies and began spilling into the Curry House. I stood hugging myself despite the heat from the kebab stake. I was waiting on the order, on my name being called, when the paramedics green flashing urgency overwhelmed the fairy lights, filling up the Main Street.

The interest reignited. The pavement filled again with gawkers. Hangers-on.

There is a curious silence – reverential – as the professional unpacks his kit and makes the assessment. A radio can be heard, garbled in the night air. There is a request for back-up, just when the police arrive, followed by the ambulance. Again the curious silence. Ears straining to hear the barmaid give details and names – pointing, gesticulating, being told to slow down by the young policeman. The police woman – tiny, blond, large-voiced – pushes the crowd back.

Robert and I unconsciously lean into one another. Then turn, suddenly ashamed by prurient interest, into the Curry House again. To be enveloped in the noise of pot-boiling and stirring and chopping, by the chefs Gujerati swearing. And we stood silent, unsettled by the working indifference. Just life going on, as always.