When Rob Got Hit by a Car – Dan Melling

Rob ran across to the bookies after eight pints of 70 Shilling, got bounced off a car bonnet.
Rob was lying all splayed in the road and the woman who’d hit him had her head in her hands. Another woman who’d seen from the pavement was telling her to breathe. A big man who’d stopped his car in the junction and put on his hazards was kneeling near Rob telling people to get back get back don’t try to move him. People waiting at the bus stop had come into the road and one of them was calling an ambulance.
The ambulance came and some policemen blocked off the junction. The ambulance carried Rob away all strapped to a plastic thing to keep his neck still. They put on their sirens and sped down towards the sea. The police left and then the big man left and then the people got on their bus and the woman who’d hit Rob left. The normal traffic flowed past.
A man in a Parka came into the pub and tried to sell the punters big blocks of cheese. I told him to be careful because the police might be coming in.
‘Are you kicking me out?’ he said.
‘No, but you should be careful because the police will probably come in soon and they’ll know you stole that cheese.’
‘Are you kicking me out?’ he said and I said no.
Then Katy came down from the top bar and said ‘you can’t sell that in here, mate.’ He asked if she was kicking him out and she said yes. The man left.
I talked to the punters about the man and they told me he was charging the same as in the shop, even though the cheese was warm from his tracksuit bottoms. They said he could get to fuck. We talked about Rob and how we all knew it’d happen one day because he always ran across that junction. I told them about another night when I’d gone out for a cig and I’d seen him shitting behind a bin. I felt bad for telling them about the bin and tried to back-peddle saying maybe he was just pissing or maybe picking something up but we all knew he’d been shitting. Rob always smelt like he’d done a shit behind a bin and not been able to wipe. We talked about football and boxing and snooker and horses and greyhounds. We talked about losing money and some memorable times that we’d won. We talked about a time a cat had been hit on the same junction and had been torn apart.
I called last orders and poured the drinks and then Rob walked in. He had a gauze on the front of his head and there was a peal of orange blood. He walked fine.
‘Pint of 70, Dan,’ he said and I asked why he wasn’t in hospital.
‘Discharged myself,’ he said, ‘pint of 70.’
‘I’m not sure, y’know, Rob, you got hit by a car a few hours ago, maybe you should go home.’
‘Are you kicking me out?’ he said and I said I wasn’t sure. I didn’t want to kick out a regular. I try not moralise when I’m bartending but he’d hit his head hard. He’d flown in the air. I didn’t know what to do.
Katy came down from the top bar and asked him if he’d discharged himself.
‘Yes’, he said, ‘and now your boy won’t serve me.’
Katy said that she wouldn’t either. Katy said that he should just go home and rest. A punter chimed in, told us all that you shouldn’t sleep if you’re concussed. That you might die if you do that.
‘See?’ said Rob.
‘Well we don’t serve people with concussions,’ said Katy, ‘not in here.’
‘Well where am I supposed to drink then,’ Rob said, ‘if my local won’t serve me because I’m concussed?’
‘Not in here’, Katy said, ‘we don’t serve the concussed.’
‘Discrimination’, Rob shouted. ‘This is discrimination against the concussed.’