Nurse, Laundromat, Bully, Superhero Story, Stop Sign

Fiona climbed down the ladder that connected her lair to the street. Her orange and yellow costume dripped with the green innards of the alien that she had just defeated by leaping into its mouth and generating a whirlwind within the digestive tract using a combination of speed and agility.     The whirlwind caused the alien to explode leaving Fiona tired and covered in alien guts.

‘Other super heroes have cars, or helicopters, or at least can fly,’ she muttered to herself as her foot slipped and she fell the last couple of metres to the floor of the cave.

An extremely frumpy old woman in a pantsuit stood at the bottom of the ladder with a silver tray containing a glass of sparkling water and a white, pressed towel. Fiona gave her a dirty look as she heaved herself to her feet and grabbed the towel and wiped her face clean of goo.

‘Other super heroes didn’t waste their parents’ trust funds on trivial things like attending university or housing their grandparents in a five-star home.’

‘Thank you, Helga. Thank you for mentioning my waning fortune yet again.’ Fiona threw the towel toward the tray but missed, then grabbed the glass of water and downed it in one long drink. As she finished, she let out a large belch and then caught sight of the clock on her wrist. ‘Shoot! I’m late!’

Fiona race off down the tunnel. She slipped on the goo trailing from her thigh high yellow boots, then hopped as she unzipped them and threw them to one side, continuing barefoot.

Helga stared, then slowly leaned down to pick up the towel, shaking her head with disgust.

 

A WHILE LATER

 

Fiona walked at speed down a hospital corridor, her sensible white tie-up shoes clacking on the polished lino floor. Her uniform is a white pinafore with white stockings, a short white cape over her shoulders and a starched hat pinned to her hair that is held back in a small bun.

She arrived at the nurses’ station and was in the process of signing in when Matron appeared. Matron was a small woman, barely four foot tall, and seemed almost as wide. Fiona often wondered how her little nurse’s hat remained balanced on the shiny, stiff black bob which Matron sports. Fiona jumped at the sound of Matron’s booming voice.

‘Four-oh-three, Nurse May. Do you think that is an acceptable time to be signing in for a four-oh-clock start?’

‘No, Matron.’

‘What time would be a good time to be signing in for a four-oh-clock start?’

‘Four-oh-clock, Matron.’

‘Yes, that does sound better. Now, Miss May, I have not seen your completed certificate of your MIUSG training. Have you completed this training?’

Fiona thought back to a couple of hours ago, sitting at the computer at her local library, nearly falling asleep as she attempted to complete an online training module. Her wrist watch had buzzed alerting her to the invading aliens and she was off… one question left to be answered.

‘Almost, Matron-’

‘Almost is not completed, Nurse May. As previously advised, as it was not completed by today you will not be eligible for the 2% pay bonus for this shift, and you will not receive this until the necessary certificate is handed to me and processed.’

‘But I was only one-’

‘No buts. Now, we have several patients who require checking, I have sent those who were here at the start of their shift to deal with the general hand over. You can start with Mr Jones and his sponge bath – please be careful not to get any of the sores wet. After that, we have a new arrival in room 208 – Mrs Sampson – she requires delousing, a thorough scrub and moisturising. Get to it.’

Matron turned on her heel and disappeared as quickly as she had appeared. Fiona slumped.

‘She really does hate you.’ Daisy, Fiona’s best friend, handed her a coffee.

‘You are my superhero!’ Fiona said, taking the coffee and embracing Daisy in a hug.

‘Euw, what is this?’ Daisy pulled her arm back from Fiona’s neck – her thumb was covered in green alien goo.

‘That is the reason I was late. Stupid creature couldn’t have timed the attack on my day off.’ Fiona grabbed a paper towel from the nurses’ station and wiped Daisy’s thumb clean. They started to walk down the corridor together.

‘I still don’t understand why you do this when you could just do that…’ Daisy mused.

‘Because my trust fund was considerably smaller than Bruce Wayne’s, and besides, I love my job.’

‘Mm-hmm.’ Daisy didn’t sound convinced. She stopped at a room and held the door open for Fiona. ‘Well, enjoy your time with Mr Jones.’

Fiona shuddered and handed the coffee back to Daisy, along with the dirty tissue.

‘Thanks.’

 

YET AGAIN LATER

 

Fiona staggered out of the room, removing rubber gloves and dropping them into a nearby bio-hazard waste bin. She leant against the wall to catch her breath then sees Matron walking across the corridor ahead. Spookily, Matron turned her head to stare at Fiona, who immediately snapped to attention and raced to her next assignment – Room 208.

‘Hello, Mrs Sampson,’ she called as she entered the room. ‘I’m Fiona and I’ll be your… oh, holy shit.’

Sitting on the bed was what appeared to be a ten foot turd with eyes and a large, open mouth. Brown drool gushed from one side of the mouth. The room stank.

‘Who are you?’ Fiona reached into the front of her dress where she had a locket.

‘I am Oobleplop from Uranus and I have come to drain this world of its methane to ensure the survival of my species. I also intend to kill you all. Starting with you, Swiftwing!’

Hearing this exclamation, Fiona pushed the button on her locket. There was a bright flash and suddenly, Fiona had transformed into her Superhero alter ego, Swiftwing, leaving her nurses clothes in a pile in the corner. Oobleplop lurched at her and she leapt out of the way, crashing through the window and landing on the street corner below. The giant turd followed her, landing in a squelchy splat. It took a second to pull itself back together, and Swiftwing looked around for tools. She raced to the corner and pulled out the stop sign from the footpath. As Oobleplop staggered toward her, she swung it like a samurai sword and sliced the poo in two. It screamed as it collapsed in on top of itself and melted into a gross pile of brown grossness.

‘That didn’t take too much work,’ Daisy puffed, running up to Fiona clutching Fiona’s nursing uniform.

‘I know. It was a really shit villain.’

‘You did not make that joke.’

‘I totally did.’

‘It’s terrible.’

‘You’re terrible.’

‘Your outfit is terrible.’

Swiftwing looked down at her costume, now covered in poo. People were starting to swarm to the area, pointing at Swiftwing. She grabbed her clothes from Daisy and raced inside to change. Lugging her costume in a garbage bag, Fiona walked into Matron.

‘I do not know what you think you were doing in Room 208, but the window is broken, the patient is gone and there is shit all over the street. I have had a brief word to the Hospital Administrator and she has agreed that you should be sent home from the afternoon pending further enquiries into the events of this afternoon.’

‘But-’

‘Go.’

Fiona threw the rubbish bag over her shoulder and walked out. She turned left and walked along the street barely noticing the van that had slowed down in front of her. The passenger window opened as the car stopped.

‘Fiona!’

Fiona looked up to see Helga shoving a plastic bag though the car window. After it dropped to the ground, Helga shouted:

‘The machine at home is broken. Do it yourself.’

‘What?’

Helga pointed to a laundromat then threw a small purse with coins to her.

‘Do it yourself!’

The tyres screeched and Helga was out of there. Fiona wandered into the laundromat, started a load and slumped into the corner. She scratched her head and, pulling her hand away, it had a streak of poo on it. Silently, she sobbed.

 

Advertisements

Man at a tram stop

He had the top two buttons of his dark suit jacket done up and a navy, mohair scarf tucked warmly beneath the lapels. His grey, striped tie and crisp, white shirt were visible in the gaps of the scarf. The straight line of his trousers had only a gentle kink where his knee bent. The shine of his shoes reflected the headlights of the cars as they crawled past the tram stop in the dull, winter morning light.

Ashley stared at him out of the backseat of her dad’s Lexus. He was so smart. Not like her dad. He went to work in jeans and thongs. Even in winter. Mrs Knox always said that the way you presented yourself to others showed how much you respected yourself. The man at the tram stop clearly respected himself a lot. His eyebrow was furrowed as he stared at the ground and Ashley tried to spot what he was staring at.

The car vibrated as her father put it into gear and started to move. Ashley looked at the man for one last moment. He looked up at her and stuck out his tongue. Shocked, Ashley burst into laughter and her father turned up the volume on the radio.

 

Winter Sunlight

The shadows are long and I’m blinking slowly, wanting to close my eyes against the bright, yellow sunlight, wishing that I was able to stay inside in the warm. The tram groans as it rounds the corner and I know I’ve missed that one. I have more time than I expect, so I can walk, provided I keep up the pace. It will be nice to have some sunlight on my face, even if I’m still breathing out clouds. A cloud draws across and the warmth of the rays is gone. Everything seems more real, more ugly. I trudge up to the next tram stop and decide to wait.

 

Nerves

The teeth tap and the jaw clenches. The skin on the face feels heavy, dragging the eyelids shut. The breaths are shallow and irregular. The neck is tense and the shoulders tight. The stomach alternates from sinking low with despair to rising up with nervous energy. The gut churns and the bowel shudders. The leg jumps up-and-down and the hand placed on it is not strong enough to stop it. 

 

Personification of vehicles

Cars always made her smile with their headlight eyes and grinning grills. Her favourites were the sports cars with the lights that popped up when turned on – she liked to imagine them sleeping when their lights were down, or winking when one was broken.

She really liked buses. They always seemed happy, even when you could see the growling driver through the window. Trains were alright, but her favourites were trams – especially the bendy trams. Different models had different personalities – a lot like the cars. Some seemed a bit stuck up and some more welcoming. Some had even seemed somewhat imposing, but she had never been scared of one until now.

It was dusk and she was walking up Lygon St, just approaching the bend that turns Lygon into Holmes. A tram slunk around, with the screeching and rattling that turns usually caused. The sight of it made her shiver. One headlight was almost broken, and the other slightly dimmed. This wasn’t a wink. Not even a creepy wink. This was a pirate – a scary pirate who loved to kill – with his eye patch over one unseeing eye. She knew it was crazy, but she couldn’t shake the thought the whole way home that the pirate would be back.

Life?

It didn’t matter how many internet searches she did, she could not find the meaning of life. She could find information on Monty Python, various philosophic arguments for and against this and that, and a lot of stuff about the number 42, but nothing concrete. Nothing that told her why she had consciousness. She shut down the computer and put on another episode of Sex and the City.

I miss London

I miss the walk through the ice to the Tube station. I miss the number of people everywhere, all walking with their chins tucked into their scarves and tears from the sharp wind staining their face. I miss the iconic landmarks that appear when you walk around a bend in the road or get off at a different station. I miss the pubs with wooden floorboards and pints and football on the television. I miss lock-ins with the lights off. I miss Camden Market and all the rubbish there. I miss the polite drivers who always wave and let you in. I miss sweet and savoury popcorn at the cinema. I miss the art galleries. I miss the voices. I miss my friends. I miss the idea that something exciting could happen at any time, even though it usually didn’t. I miss the slightly warm days when so many people would attempt to sunbake in the parks. I miss the television. I miss Friday nights watching TFI Friday before heading to the pub. I miss having a family that weren’t my family but mostly let me in. I miss being homesick and writing and receiving letters. I miss London.