Behind me, at this very second, they are putting the wheelchair back into the ambulance and packing up the fire truck. I gave the paramedics a wincing, rueful salute as they departed. To be honest I feel a bit like this is my fault. I mean, I was the one who called them out here when I probably should have gotten my Nancy Drew on and checked out the situation a little better.
I’ve been working night audits now at my flagship, Das Hotelienstien and the two other smaller sister properties in the area. It’s my first night at Casa Chupacabra, a property I’m completely unfamiliar with and completely untrained to work in. Night audit is the graveyard shift that runs from 11 PM to 7 AM. As a general rule these shifts are fairly quiet. There is less customer bullshit and slightly higher pay. While my chances of being shanked by a vagrant with a long term substance abuse problems are a fraction higher I have more time to focus on my comics and writing this blog that is mostly about stuff that happened to my boobs.
That general rule should have held true for tonight were it not for one minor detail.
The Giants won the world series.
An hour before work I logged onto face book to see a post from Mark reading:
Warning…. Giants Facebook Post Bombardment…. Warning… Giants Facebook Post Bombardment…
And then I heard the screaming and the car horns and the homemade fireworks start to go off.
I avoided all of the blocks with bars on them on the way down to work. Everyone was in a jubilant mood but it didn’t seem as swamped as I was expecting. Maybe everyone was still celebrating in their measured and dignified way with ass beatings at the local McDonalds and lighting god damned fires in the middle of the street. It was nice to have a warning about the oncoming aftermath of a sporting event for a change. Generally sports news flies over my head until I find myself caught in an LSU mob on Decatur Street or bar surge on Polk for the World Cup Games. The only language I speak is nerd and if it doesn’t involve Batman I don’t spreckens sie. You can imagine how hard it is for me to pretend to pick a team and try to blend in with these people until the danger of a flaying passes.
I had my lappy top all set up and was sipping my first cup of fresh “fuck your mouth” Wolfgang Puck coffee when a rubbery, frantic man fell out of the elevator doors. I froze with my paper cup to my lips and made eye contact with him through the wire laced back window of my lobby. He pointed at me and then the side window. I stood and waited for him to come round, which he did. To yank at the lobby door which is locked after 10 PM and will remain the hell so unless you are a granny with asthma because that’s the best opponent for me in a late night chance fight to the death..
I gestured him to the late night service window. He pressed his hands to the bottom of the glass.
“Listen, I’m a guest here.” He said in a faintly northern english accent. “My friend has fallen ill and I need to talk to my boss, Fred Gallows. I need to know what room he’s in!”
“Ok, sir one moment.” I pulled up the in house list to find that there were four rooms registered under that name. Now that’s not good. Hotels should have the name of each individual staying in each individual room in the event that there is an emergency and someone needs to be reached. Fred Gallows can’t be in all four rooms at the same time so that’s no help.
As I’m writing down the room numbers this dude is not in he asks, “And could you call an ambulance? He’s in a pretty bad way right now.”
“You want me to call 911? He’s that sick?” I wanted to make sure. You don’t call 911 for kicks. “You think he’ll need to go to the hospital?”
So I dial fucking 911.
The dispatch picks up and I relay the details. A guest in room 203 is having severe abdominal pain and is semiconscious and could you please send someone right away? Meanwhile the dude is scrabbling at the window and trying to get me to give him the room numbers so he can please, please tell his boss what’s going on. I’m still on the phone with the dispatch when I decide to buzz this fucker in because we can’t hear each other through the glass from 5 feet away and I need to give the dispatcher more info.
But I haven’t worked at Casa Chupacabra before so I don’t know where the buzzer is. I frantically feel around under the counters and feel nothing except for a sharp protruding nail that gauges my hand. I give up and manage to get off of the phone. I head out the back door and give the dude his instructions.
“Ok, sir, the paramedics are on their way. What I need you to do is go up to your friend make sure he is watched. Don’t let him eat or drink anything and send someone back down to meet the paramedics with me.”
The dude hustles back upstairs and I try to contact the other rooms under the name Gallows. No answer. I dither around the office for a bit, unsure of what to do but figuring that sitting back down and reading Cute Overload is inappropriate in the situation, I await the sirens which fortunately doesn’t take but five minutes.
To my dismay the sirens are not an ambulance but an entire goddamned fire truck. I shit you not six people piled out of that thing.
And I remember thinking: “Well, this is kind of overkill, isn’t it?”
“Hiiii…” I said to the first guy that came into the garage with his blue bag slung over his shoulder. “Are yoooooou…. here for us?” I don’t know why I draw my words out when I’m nervous but I can never seem to control it. It’s like a marquee over my head that says ATTENTION CITIZENS! I AM OUT OF MY DEPTH AND HAVE NO IDEA WHAT TO DO!!!
“Yup.” Said the paramedic stiffly. It was probably turning out to be a busy night for him. “Which room?”
I led my strapping line of ducklings through to the elevator and up to the second floor and to the room number. The Dude was nowhere in sight. I knocked on 203 which swung open to unleash a cloud of sickly sweet booze fumes and a man in his underwear, knobbly bits all on display, holding a beer bottle.
“Oh no. Oh no no no no god how could I have not thought this involved shitfaced people. I just called the emergency line for a bunch of wasted motherfuckers with the inability to tell whether the have the Hanta virus or whether they just need to sleep it off . Oh god oh god ohgodohgodohgod…” My internal monologue began to jabber.
The paramedic in front took charge.
“Sir, did you need medical attention?”
“Huh? Oh no that’s the other guy. He’s in pretty bad shape.” Family Jewels here gestured with his beer bottle vaguely.
“And is he in the room with you, Sir?” The paramedics craned their heads into the doorway.
“What? Oh no he left, Man…”
The Paramedics are at this point not happy.
“Well where did he go? What’s wrong with him, was he delirious….”
“No he just rolled out his testicle is huge, Man. His one testicle is like the size of a tennis ball.” We all stared for a moment. Then Family Jewels seemed to suddenly come into himself and once again gestured with his beer bottle, this time at his genitals. “Hey ,sorry about the way I’m dressed.”
There were more questions and answers for a few minutes of which I did not hear because that word echoed through my skull like a shout in a church.
What the hell happened to abdominal pain? No where in any of these exchanges was the subject of malformed scrotum broached.
I turned to one of the paramedics lining the hall, a younger, pretty, blond woman.
“I’m going to call my manager. I’ll be in the lobby if you need me.”
After a ring or two Javier, who lives on site, answered groggily and my words rushed out.
“I think you need to come down here because I called 911 because there was a sick guest but all of the room names are the same and now he’s gone missing and they are drunk as skunks and it wasn’t a tummy ache one of his nuts is broken pleasecomedownhere.”
A pregnant moment of silence.
“I’ll be right there.” Click.
I went back out into the garage and dithered some more because once again it didn’t feel right to sit down. Javier showed up and we went upstairs again to find another door open and the paramedics leaning in. Through the door I could hear some one say “It’s just that my ball…” and then nothing. Javier and I stood there awkwardly for a moment. Family Jewels had managed to find some jeans and stood out in the hall way with the Dude. He looked at Javier.
“So is there any thing you need to know?” He asked casually. I noticed that he had a new beer.
“I’m going back down to the office if no one needs me.” I announced to the hallway and then took my ass back down to the office to find the blond lady paramedic coming towards the elevators again. An ambulance was parked in front of the garage and yet another four paramedics were approaching, one steering a wheelchair. I held the door open as the blond paramedic and I waited for her fellows and tried to make some small talk.
“Soooo. How’s his ball?” I asked casually.
She smiled. “Oh he’ll be fine.”
“Look I’m sorry. I didn’t know this was testicle related when I called you….”
She waved it off. “This actually happens a lot. Don’t worry about it.”
I tried to imagine other scenarios like this one but was coming up blanks. They packed themselves into the elevator and I went back to the office to await my manager and my possible notice of termination for not being able to tell the difference between a genuine medical emergency and some drunk jack ass who whanged his nards on the corner of an open drawer and got em’ all swoll’ up.
Javier was surprisingly genteel about being woken up at two in the morning to examine a guests ballsack with a bakers dozen of long suffering city paramedics.
“He refused treatment so I doubt we’ll get a bill for it. They will probably just bill him.”
“I don’t feel bad about that.”
“Me neither. You did the right thing.” He sighed. “When something like that happens you need to let me know.”
I felt relived. At least my boss would back me up. We parted ways for hopefully the last time during a Night Audit but not before he showed me where the fucking buzzer was for the lobby door.