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On witnessing the horrific

29th March 2012

This blog comes with a warning. There’s stuff on here you might not like. I hope that will be enough to keep you reading. If you do you will be rewarded by my ‘news’ at the end.

Last Tuesday I went to work. I rent office space from Regus on the Euston Road and cycle there most days. On this particular day I caught the tube. It gets more interesting so hang in there.

As I approached the office from Warren Street tube I noticed police and ambulance services down the side of the building. I was curious and had a brief glimpse but all the action was hidden from view so I walked on, signed in and called the lift.

“Wonder what was going on down there?” I said to a woman as we both waited in the lobby. She smiled back.

There are eight lifts in the building. Seven take you up inside the guts; the eighth is built onto the outside and constructed from glass. This means you can see all around as you elevate.

The outside lift pinged and we go in.

Lifts are awkward places. Being yourself is tricky and breaking wind wildly unpopular so I looked out of the window. As we climbed I could see more of the milling below. There were far more police and ambulance technicians than I’d realised.

The lift pinged. Third floor. My floor.

I looked down.

A naked man, lifeless on his back, bloodied face, surrounded by paramedics

“Oh Jesus,” I said to the lady. She looked too. “Oh god,” she said.

I got out, felt unusual and headed for third floor reception.

“What on earth?” I asked.
“They think he jumped,” said the receptionist.
“From the 16th floor?”
“They found his clothes on the roof.”

This was some distressing shit.

I called Joan, who works next door. Actually next door.

“Hi Joan, it’s Wordy here. I’ve just seen something distinctly unpleasant and I need a cuddle. Can we meet downstairs?”

We met and Joan duly obliged.

Feeling better I ventured back indoors. The outside lift was now shut off.

When I arrived back on the third floor a new story was taking shape. It seemed the man may have jumped from one of the floors. Apparently one window on each floor opens. They took me round and showed me. The line of the window corresponded with where the man was lying.

I felt sick. We all did.

I went back to my desk but remained distracted. The man in the office with me couldn’t give two hoots. Moments after I told him what had happened he asked me how to get to Euston station. Life goes on.

I strolled back to reception.

“Now they think he climbed up then fell,” said the receptionist. “We saw him being taken away. It took them ages to get him into the ambulance but he was still breathing.”
“What about his clothes?”
“Apparently the paramedics cut them off.”

What I had seen – the image I was struggling to wipe from my mind – was not as it had first appeared. Slowly I absorbed the new truth. Slowly I was able to get on with my work.

It remains a sad, distressing tale. The man clearly wasn’t of sound mind. No one knows how far he fell. The police aren’t giving away any details. There was nothing in the paper about it. Life goes on*



* Joan and I are to become parents in September.