by Laura Solomon
and Kerryn Young
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Philip and I became joined
at the hip. I didnt mind that he was twice
my age in fact, I liked it. He was worldly
wise, he could teach me the ways of the world.
However, the first time I entered his bedroom I
did notice that the walls were plastered with
pictures of young women women in their
late teen and early twenties and I did wonder why.
How come youve
got all these pictures of women around? I
asked. Wheres my picture?
I thought I was
special and unique.
All these girls were
special and unique, said Philip in his deep
manly voice, the voice I could not resist.
He put his arm around my
shoulders. Come on sweetheart. I promise to
put up a photo of you. You can perch between
Stella and Sheryl. They thought they were special
and unique too.
I didnt like being
perched between Stella and Sheryl
much, I wanted a whole wall to myself but I put
up with it because I was so keen on Philip.
I had been seeing Philip
for about four months when Sammy appeared to me
in a vision. I was washing my dishes at the
kitchen sink when he descended in a cloud of gold
O Sammy, I thought. How
tacky. Surely you can do better than gold glitter.
Whos the other
man youve been galavanting round the town
with then?, Sammy demanded.
Hes not a patch
on me. Doesnt even own a Harley. Whats
with that tacky red sports car?
I couldnt believe it.
Sammy was jealous.
Oh, come on Sammy,
I said. Play the game. Youve been
dead for over a year and a woman has
Youre free to sew your wild oats. Dont
they have women in the afterlife?
None that I fancy.
Theres a headless horsewoman up here and Ive
seen Joan of Arc strutting her stuff down heavens
main thoroughfare but none of them are you babe.
Cant you just wait till you die and then we
can be together for all eternity?
O Sammy get a grip. I
cant go without
Cant you understand that?
I guess Ill
just have to come to terms with it, he
replied sulkily. Just remember though
I can see everything from my vantage point
and I dont like seeing you in the sack with
loser. Hes a right
sleaze. Whats with all those pictures of
other women on the bedroom wall?
They were just
friends, I said quickly.
Yeah right. Special
and unique. God, what a line.
And with that the vision
began to crackle and fade, like an untuned TV set,
till it disappeared completely.
I didnt bother to
find other work. I just lived off the money my
Dad sent each month. Philip was overly fond of
the white powder. He spend a fortune on it. I
just dabbled. I worried that he would lose his
septum and look like Daniella Westbrook. One
summer evening we were together at his place
after having a few drinks, when he bought out not
just one but two bags of the stuff. I gasped.
Philip, I said.
Are you sure? Theres just the two of
us. I cant do a bag on my own how
much are you going to do?
Enough, he said
I giggled and rolled up a
ten pound bill. Snorted some of the icing
sugar. Started buzzing.
Well, God only knows what
happened after that, but the next thing I knew
one of the bags was empty and Philip was rolling
on the floor, clutching his chest and groaning.
Quick babe, quick,
call an ambulance. No wait. Theyll know weve
been doing cocaine. You drive me you can
drive cant you?
I nodded. Id had a
couple of driving lessons out in Essex once when
I was fifteen.
I thought quickly. I hauled
Philip to his feet and put his arm around my
shoulders, then half-dragged him down to the
street. The red sports car was parked up against
the curb. I positioned Philip in the passenger
seat, then hopped round to the drivers side.
Started the engine. Vrooom. We were off. I had
been given driving lessons in an automatic and
this was a manual so we bunny-hopped a bit but
Philip was in too much pain to notice, groaning
and clutching his chest and carrying on. We didnt
have a map but Philip had a GPS system so I
programmed in Kings College Hospital, which
was the hospital my Nan died at. The GPS system
started narrating Dalberg Rd 200
metres turn right. I bunny-hopped a bit. I
breathed deeply into both nostrils. I obeyed. I
turned right. Barnwell Rd 500 metres, turn
left. I turned left into Barnwell. This was
a breeze. If only Philip would shut up he was
disturbing my concentration. Railton Road,
200 metres, turn right. I was falling in
love with the GPS. It made things so easy. If
only life had a GPS, telling you what direction
to take when you became unsure.
We made it to the hospital.
I got out of the car and gave myself a big pat on
the back and said Well done Tiff!
There was just a small amount of paint removed
from the side of the car from where I had side-swiped
another vehicle but nobody had noticed. We walked
through into A&E and I sat Philip down in a
hard plastic chair. I walked up to the counter.
The nurse was on the phone.
No Timothy, she
was saying. You leave the microwave popcorn
in the bag. You need to cook it for at
least 10 minutes or it wont be done
properly. Alright. Dont break anything
while Mummys at work.
She hung up and shot me a
How can I help?
having a heart attack.
The phone rang again. The
nurse picked up the phone.
No Timothy the
saveloys stay in the water for at least fifteen
minutes until they start falling apart. I got you
three big bags of crisps to keep you happy - they
are on the bottom shelf of the pantry. Theres
always the toastie pie maker if youre still
I stomped my white tasseled
high heeled boot upon the floor.
Excuse me lady,
I said. A mans life is in danger here
and youre on the phone chatting to your son
about saveloys. Dont you think you should
get your priorities straight?
The nurse put down the
Well get to you
in a minute. Youre not the only one waiting.
Cant you see A&E is full of casualties.
What make you think youre special and
unique. We see heart attacks every day
most people live through it.
I needed something to calm
my shattered nerves.
Could I have a cup of
chamomile tea please? I asked a nurse who
was walking by.
This is the NHS love
its gumboot or nothing, came the
Philip clutched his chest.
Im dying here.
Then die quietly,
snapped one of the friendlier nurses.
I looked over at the
nursing station. Through the glass I could see
that two of the nurses were checking their
Facebook accounts while one of the male nurses
appeared to be looking at a porn magazine. I
rapped on the glass near the male.
Hello, I said.
I know you might find XXX hot sex bunnies
very engrossing but my boyfriend is having a
heart attack could you please help us.
He put down his magazine,
looking flustered and guilty.
keep yer knickers on. Everybody round here needs
help. Im sure somebody will get to him in a
He went back to his
magazine, flicking a page as he did so.
I breathed a heavy sigh and
got us both a drink from the water cooler.
Christ, I said.
What do you have to do to get some
assistance round here?
Philip fell to the floor.
His lips were turning blue and his eyes were
rolling back in his head. He was gasping for
Quick, I said.
Somebody get that vibrating machine thingy.
Finally, somebody came
across with a big machine, unbuttoned Philips
shirt and put some sticky pads on his chest,
obeying the voice prompts. They began pushing
buttons at random and Philip twitched violently
upon the floor. My God they were
electrocuting him! The nurses started arguing
amongst themselves about how to use the machine.
They pushed some buttons again and sparks flew
out the sides of the pads on Philips chest.
He spasmed and was still. I raced to his side and
checked his pulse. Nothing. I took my makeup
mirror out of my handbag and checked for his
breath. Nothing. Philip was as dead as a dodo.
Electrocuted by A&E staff.
I burst into tears.
This is appalling,
I sobbed. Youve murdered Philip. He
was a lovely man, wouldnt harm a fly. I
want to talk to management. Heads must roll.
Somebody must be held accountable.
One of the nurses trotted
away and came back with the head doctor.
Hi Im Trevor,
he said, looking me up and down. What seems
to be the problem?
My boyfriend is dead,
I said. He came in here having a heart
attack and nobody attended to him on time.
Oh dear, he
said, staring at my boobs. Dead you say.
Thats no good. Why dont I take your
number and I can investigate and let you know the
results of the case.
I took a pen and paper out
of my handbag and gave him my number, flattered
by the attention. Satisfied that all had been
resolved, I made my way back to the sports car
and drove home, hoping that Philip hadnt
made a will so that I would be able to keep the
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