Sat on a bench in a park, three hipsters found him, phoned the police, who phoned us.
“We didn’t know what else to do.”
I don’t bother with “Having asked him if he was ok and he replied yes, you could let him carry on with his evening.”
Thank them, good night.
He’s leaning forward, spitting and hawking onto his shoes.
He can walk…sort of. Legs like loose linguine, he’d probably be fine to stroll home if he just sat for an hour and let the night air into him a wee bit.
But we’d only be back. Better to clean up the streets and drop him somewhere safe.
“What’s your name, pal?”
“Where do you live, Mr Mainwaring?”
I feel slightly odd calling someone “Mr” who was barely born when I started High School, but never mind.
“At the barracks, sir.”
A plan ferments in my head.
“What’s your rank, Mainwaring?”
And then, just to see how far this will go.
“And your number?”
He rattles it off, stopping to belch in the middle.
I look at the map.
The ED is 15 minutes away.
The barracks 5.
The perfect disposal for drunkards is to their parents, assuming that their parents aren’t asshats. What you want is someone sober and responsible, with just the right mixture of gratitude, irritation, anger, embarrassment and common sense. A drunk tank run by old school nurses would be just the job. But we’re not allowed one of those, because of the importance of the basic human right of people to drink themselves shitless and then call on their state to bail them out.
“Right Rifleman Mainwaring. Get in the vehicle, let’s take you home.”
He nods, gives us a thumbs up.
A few minutes later I’m pulling into the barrack’s front gate, a soldier stops the vehicle, shouts into the guard house and an officer walks out.
“No. Got one of your lads in the back.”
“Fuck’s sake. Is he injured?”
“No, he’s just made a twat of himself.”
He laughs and a little contingent of guards crowd around the back door, Mainwaring lurches towards the back step and is helped out of the vehicle.
“Get him to his bed. Mainwaring?”
“See you in the morning, son.”
He nods, raises a thumb in approval.
“Sorry to bother you, gentlemen.”
“No hassle mate. G’night.”
Two days later I’m proposing the barracks as a drunk tank to a senior clinical manager.
I don’t think he went for it.