Countdown to going solo 7…

Sherlock Holmes: Felt tip/MS Paint (c) Lisa Scullard 2011

Okay, sometimes I hear things wrong. But I’ll need to see a transcript of that Burger King commercial to be convinced one way or another if they’re advertising “New King Nuggets” or “Nuking Nuggets.” Seeing as it’s connected to the Transformers sequel release, I’m inclined to think it might be “Nuking.” 😉

That’s one of my graphic image experiments above, done for Phil van Wulven, whose Sherlock Holmes stories are on Smashwords and Kindle. I only have a very basic version of Paint, but the limitations are kind of helpful if I wanted to do graphics in that style – in terms of keeping a very basic consistency going. But the stuff I like – as in Abnett/Harrison’s Durham Red trilogy, and now the amazing artwork in Zombies vs. Robots: Aventure  is a far cry from my scribble above. It’s more about proper acrylic and oils, mixed media, and much more advanced digital techniques.

The Terrible Zombie Of OzThe image for Dorothy on the cover of The Terrible Zombie Of Oz is oil pastel on black paper, and I drew it around 15 years ago. The sketch was originally meant to be Kim the Blackmailer from Living Hell, but didn’t look as I pictured her when it was finished. So it just went straight in my portfolio of random stuff. I still haven’t done a definitive picture of ‘Kim’ the same as I don’t have one yet for ‘Lara’ in Death & The City. I know what each of them looks like in my head, but not in artistic represenatation yet.

However, when I was looking for a cover image for Dorothy, this was one image I had a digital copy of at the time, scanned by a former workmate ten years ago for my website that he’d designed. As soon as I put it together in the cover, it was obvious that this had always been ‘Dorothy’, even though the book came much later. It’s weird looking at the picture now on the cover of my book, and remembering drawing it all those years ago, and thinking how strange that this is where it was always destined to end up.

I’ve had that feeling before. I was working in a nightclub in Southampton, in my security post. A new doorman approached and asked if I was the First Aider, which I was, and asked if I would go to the cloakroom to see a lad about a cut on his eyebrow. As my usual route was blocked with customers, I took an alternative way around through VIP.

I was just in time through VIP to see one of the bar staff grab a doorman and point to a group who were arguing, so I went over to the group to see what the problem was – and just as I reached them, bits of glass exploded everywhere, and the nearest customer had his throat cut with a bottle.

I think the most I thought was along the lines of “You’re mine, then,” and grabbed him around the neck, closing off the wound, which I could feel trying to pump blood out against my hand. Unfortunately, he didn’t realise the extent of his cut, and thought I was doing the old-school ‘door-staff chokes out customer’ routine. So he was trying to shake me off and trying to get back into the fight, and I was keeping my grip even though he was getting more and more slippery.

I got sprayed with blood head to foot – in my eyes, in my mouth, on my boots – eventually the realisation from this that he wasn’t going to end up with much left circulating in his body, had me yelling at him to come and get First Aid, or he was going to bleed to death. I then walked him out onto the pavement yelling at the bemused manager to call an ambulance right now.

Then the customer and I sat on the pavement by the railings in a big puddle of blood, and had a nice chat about who he was and who was with him, keeping my hand around his neck, until the ambulance arrived. Some police arrived first with rubber gloves and dressings and gave me a hand with what was left leaking out that I wasn’t already wearing.

Once he was in the ambulance, I remembered there was another casualty in the cloakroom, and went to see about him. His face was a picture. “What happened to you?” he asked. “Oh, it’s not mine,” I told him. “Someone just had their throat cut in front of me.”

I cleaned up the second guy and recommended he should have stitches in his eyebrow, and walked him out, where the police were taping off the railings where I’d sat with the other victim. Everyone was looking at me oddly. I vaguely noticed one of my work colleagues following me around with a spray bottle of D-10 and a handful of paper towels, cleaning all the doors after I walked through them.

The head doorman, Dominic, said I could go and get cleaned up, so I went to the disabled bathroom and saw what was in the mirror.

I looked like Sissy Specek in that scene from Carrie.

So I washed off what I could see and went back to watching the club. I got a glass of water, everyone asked if I was all right, and I said fine. It was only when one of the others came and tapped me on the shoulder to ask if I could start the incident report as soon as the customers were cleared out, that I turned my head sharply, and found my ponytail was full of blood as well. So he let me go and wash that out too. I still had customers to walk out at the end, and tried to discourage them from hugging me, as I didn’t know yet how much of my black uniform had blood in it. Everything felt pretty sticky.

After I got home, I peeled off the uniform, and it was all the way through, all the way down. I sat on the sofa with a cup of tea going cold for about four hours, like Simon Pegg in Sean of the Dead, before I eventually pulled myself together and had a bath. It was still coming out of my nose and ears and tear ducts the next day.

CID phoned me in advance of taking my formal statement, pretty much to say thank you. They said exactly what I’d been thinking ever since, which was “If you hadn’t been exactly where you were at exactly that time, he’d be dead.”

It gave me a really weird feeling about destiny. That all the times I’d quit other jobs, or taken up martial arts, or studied Anatomy & Physiology, or got my First Aid certificate, or moved across the country for no particular reason, or got over the fear of blood I’d had as a kid, or basically just happened to take that particular route on that particular shift, had all occurred so that I would be there at that exact moment in time, without any fear of blood, or fear of being punched, or fear of what people would think. I was just there to save that guy’s life.

In the newpapers later that week, a photo of the customer and his stitches was featured. He’d sustained a one-inch cut, half an inch from his jugular. Any closer and this would be a different story.

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