Good Reading : March 2011
MARCH 2011 ı goodreading 49 shift stretched out before her like the road to hell. He said, 'You know what they say about actors?' 'You already told me.' 'Those who look good, model. Those who don't, act.' Carly flung the ambulance around the corner into Iredale Street and smacked off the lights and siren. She spotted number 355 on her left and pulled over. Aidan released his seatbelt and reached for the door. 'The job's at number 11,' she said. He raised his eyebrows. 'I don't know for sure, because I'm just a stupid trainee, but I have a feeling that might be up the other end.' 'So why have I stopped here?' 'Probably to lecture me about something.' She squeezed the wheel. 'What are we going to?' 'Domestic.' 'What's the first thing you consider in going to any job but especially these?' 'The address.' 'Safety.' Idiot. 'Look down there.' Aidan stared out the windscreen. 'Any cops?' 'Oh,' he said. 'No.' 'Look like anyone is out and listening, or upset about hearing something?' Aidan shook his head. The street was quiet, the twilight shadows deepening. A man walking a fat brown dog looked curiously at them. 'Think that guy would look so relaxed if the shit was hitting the fan down the way?' 'No.' Snippy now. Carly gritted her teeth. 'So what decision do we have to make?' 'Whether to stand off or go closer.' 'That's right,' Carly said. 'Your thoughts?' 'It'll be all right.' All trainees took that stance. Carly had done so herself once upon a time, before a bullet whistled past her ear. Now if she felt so much as a twinge at the back of her neck she stood off. She released the park brake and lowered the windows and dawdled the ambulance towards the address. Even doing this was too much on some jobs because people got the shits if they spotted you and you wouldn't go in. If she'd seriously felt there could be trouble she would've hidden in a side street out of sight. 'If --' Aidan began. 'Shut up.' She heard no fighting or screaming. Her neck was good. She parked close to the address and tur ned off the engine. 'Okay.' Aidan grabbed the Oxy-Viva and first-aid kit and headed for the low gate. Carly followed with the drug box and monitor, still listening. No sound other than the sigh of tyres on the street behind her and a newsreader being all serious on a television somewhere nearby. Two steps led up from the footpath to the townhouse's small porch. The black front door was closed. A window beside it was protected by black bars, and a heavy curtain stopped them seeing in. Aidan glanced at Carly. 'You happy?' she said. He nodded and reached for the brass knocker. The sound was dull and flat. Carly listened closely. Sometimes this was when the screaming started. The woman who opened the door after a minute was red-eyed but held her chin high. She looked about thirty. Her light brown hair was tied back in a ponytail. Drops of blood marked the left shoulder of her grey T-shirt and the leg of her jeans, and she pressed a folded wad of tissues to her earlobe. A twist of silver hung from the piercing in her right ear. 'Oh. Hello.' 'Are you okay?' Aidan said. 'It's nothing,' she said. 'Certainly not an emergency.' 'How about we come in and make sure?' 'Really, it's fine,' she said with a smile. 'Who else is here?' Carly said. 'My husband. He's also fine.' 'Mind if we speak to him as well?' 'Of course you can,' a male voice said from down the hall.The man who walked towards them wore jeans and a green jumper. He looked older than the woman, maybe forty or so. His short dark hair was flecked with grey. He smiled at Carly. 'Sorry that you guys got called out. I don't know who rang but it wasn't us.' 'Neighbours sometimes wor ry,' Carly said. 'Understandable,' the man said. 'Would you like to come in?' 'Thanks,' Carly said. 'We're pretty much required to check you out once we're here.' The man nodded and the woman stepped back and held the door for them. Aidan and Carly followed the man down the hallway to a dimly lit lounge room. Carly looked for signs of the fight but there were none. 'So what happened?' she asked. 'Just a silly disagreement,' the woman said. 'That resulted in you tearing out her ear ring?' Carly said to the man. 'It got caught.' He fingered a loose loop of wool on the wrist of his jumper sleeve. 'And it didn't tear right out, just pulled it a bit,' the woman put in. 'How about I have a look?' Aidan said. 'Is there anywhere with better lighting?' 'The bathroom,' the woman said. Aidan took the first-aid kit and followed her out of the room. 'Caught on your jumper,' Carly said to the man. He smiled sheepishly. 'Sometimes she gets in this hyped-up state and the only way I can get her to calm down and listen and talk sensibly is to hold her.' Carly raised her eyebrows. 'You hear that type of story a lot, I suppose.' 'The police hear it even more,' she said. 'The police are coming?' 'You don't want them here?' Surprise, surprise. 'It's just unnecessary. I feel like all you people have more important things to do. I mean, you can see it was nothing much.' 'It's procedure,' Carly said. 'So are you hurt?' He shrugged. 'Isthatayesorano?' The man pulled up his sleeve to reveal a scratch along the inside of his forear m. 'Like I said, it's nothing.' 'How'd you get scratched like that if your sleeve was down to catch her ear ring?' 'I don't know.' 'Anything else?' 'I know you don't believe me --' 'It doesn't matter what I believe,' Carly said. 'Are you injured anywhere else?' 'No.' 'Okay then.' She took her notebook from her shirt pocket. 'I'll need your name and date of birth.' 'What for?' 'We have to document all this, which means I have to write down who I spoke to.' She was getting fed up, and Aidan and the woman still weren't back though all he'd had to do was check the wound and clean it. Carly hated working with trainees at times like this when they were out of sight and earshot. Aidan had rocks in his head and she never knew what odd thing he might do or say. 'Connor Crawford. Eighth of November, 1970.'