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Waiting for the Green Man

Another complete tale from my second book of short stories - Roads Less Travelled.

There I was, on the edge of the pavement, waiting to cross the road...


‘Oooff. Uff.’ I toppled forward, staggering a bit off-balance. Stick out to stop myself falling.

I waited. Gertrude, my carer, started finger-writing on the palm of my hand as I turned in the direction of whatever had slammed into me. She’s very good like that – always likes to keep me up-to-date with everything happening around me. It helps me to feel still attached to the world, not merely floating disembodied through it.

There I was, on the edge of the pavement, waiting to cross the road, when I was abruptly crashed into. I mean – when you have no vision at all – not even an odd stray beam of light – and are totally deaf, you can feel a wee bit cut off from the world. So being bashed about comes as something of a surprise. A shock, even. I just hadn’t been expecting it. Took the wind out of me.

I was trying to figure it out from what Gertie wrote, but I got pushed again. I got cross: it felt deliberate, intended.

‘A man is shouting that he’s blind,’ according to Gertie’s swift hand-scrawling. ‘He demands all-round attention from everyone on the street. He wants you to get out of his way. Very loud, he is.’

I’ve since been told that his white stick whirled round twice, flailing at me, before it caught me on the head. I felt that, alright; there’s nothing wrong with my senses of touch, pain, and affrontedness.

Now, I’m not violent by nature, and I’m not vindictive or sadistic. However, this guy was asking for some natural justice. Really, he was. Even Gertie signed so. But I’m not ill-tempered. My retraining has helped a lot.

I wasn’t in the least tempted to paste him one on the end of his nose. That was largely because I couldn’t tell where his nose was, how far away, or how tall he was. That sort of relevant factor.

‘Duck.’ Gertie wrote, and I felt her bend down.

Just as I was wondering what tonight’s meal had to do with it, I realised that I probably should have ducked, because that was when I received the blows that split my left ear, my nose and my forehead.

‘No, the other injuries are from rolling round in the gutter.’

As I said, I am not naturally given to violence, but, ‘Well,’ I was thinking, ‘If that’s what he does with his white stick, then a) he doesn’t need one, and ought to have his benefits withdrawn, b) he should be charged with carrying a dangerous weapon, and c) there’s a more appropriate place where he might keep it.

‘Could you roll up my sleeves, please, Gertie?’ I asked my carer.


Reporting restrictions on the case of the Black and White Traffic Lights incident – as it has been dubbed – have been lifted today. Here’s a special report from our legal correspondent…

Reports on the social media, including graphic footage of the incident, have been checked by experts, including our own. Internet exposure has generated massive interest on the social media from AzUlikeIt to Zee!, and many news-sharing outlets.

‘Additionally, many eye-witness accounts have been taken into account,’ police say. They now confirm, ‘The incident did take place exactly as the footage shows; it was unaltered.’ One particularly distressing clip has been shown in its five-minute entirety, receiving fourteen million hits Worldwide, averaging one million per day.

‘The event is believed to be heading for record viewings on YouTube, although we can only show a much-abridged clipping of it here.’ So said that Soapy woman on BBC.

‘This was the core event of the encounter, in which one of the protagonists took the white cane off the other, and “Performed an act of insertion”, as Mr Dillywhite, leader of the Senior Surgical Team explained. ‘This was an unprecedented act, in my experience, with approximately seventy centimetres of the cane being inserted into the body of one of the persons involved. That’s a little over two feet for we decimal-phobes.

‘Police have admitted that they are unable to separate the two antagonists with regard to blame,’ Soapy on the News was saying. ‘In the interests of public good, charges of violent public affray against both participants have thus been withdrawn. In a face-saving compromise for the police, both assailants have agreed to accept an official warning, although the actual responses by both persons are not repeatable before the watershed.

‘The individual who had initially been standing at the pedestrian crossing waiting for the Green Man, is said to be a Mr White, a former SAS sergeant. It is believed that he is currently in the Bahamas on a holiday, thought to be paid for by a spontaneous crowdfunding reaction on the Internet. Sufficient funds have also apparently been raised to pay for the repairs to his prosthetic legs.

‘The other person involved has been identified as a Mr Black, who has moderate visual impairment in one eye only. It is rumoured that his allowance and benefits are currently being reviewed. He is reported to be still recovering in the Nottingham Queens Hospital, where it is believed that the removal from his body of the white stick was particularly difficult as it is formed of twisted cane. It also had a large reinforced rubber ferrule on the end. This has not yet been recovered.

If nature does not take its course in the next few days, hospital sources say, another operation will be required.’

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