It sounded like someone was in trouble. Possibly breathing their last, a tragedy unfolding and I had to do something about it.
Yup. Definitely desperation, but how come no-one else could hear it? The cries came from one of the offices at my new place of work. The door was closed, maybe they were trapped by an over-oiled swivel chair, spinning at speed, or expiring from sheer frustration while waiting for Windows to complete its Patch Tuesday updates.
Without knocking, I burst through the door, worried, frantic to find whoever was at death’s door, or maybe leaning out of mortality’s window. Everyone stared, I assumed they were in a state of shock, brought on by the horrific and impending casting off of a mortal coil somewhere in the room.
Then I realised they were staring at me. ‘Errr, is there someone in here in trouble?’, I asked, pulling my emergency first aid kit free of the chewing gum that had fixed it to the bottom of my bag. I knew I would need it one day, though the non-latex gloves, triangular bandage, box of safety pins and Lillet’s tampon were probably not for this day.
Granted this was the emergency care team, so they would definitely know an emergency when they saw one. They could even produce data on incidences of other such emergencies, the time taken for ambulances to reach the destination, the star sign of the medic who met them at the hospital door and details of how much it would cost the taxpayer. But they were looking very calm to say they were in the presence of blood-curdling screams. I began to doubt my own sanity and not for the first time.
I could definitely hear cries and pointed towards the window. They looked and shrugged, there was no-one there. Only a plant, a very poorly-looking plant which was sobbing its little leaves off.
“Help me!” it pleaded, its feeble stems shuddering as it spoke. “I’m thirsty and hungry. And it smells of Pot Noodles in here. I hate Pot Noodles”
The team had returned to their work, and their Pot Noodles, not knowing where to look.
‘Um…err…can I give this plant some water?’
“We have a plant in here?”
I took that as a ‘yes’, grabbed it and made a quick retreat to my office where the plant and I did a bit of bonding. He’s called Godfrey and likes a drink of tea on a morning. I can see we’re going to get along just fine. He can come home and join Beryl who I rescued from the toilets at another place I worked. She had no light, no friends, just the flush flush flush of toilets and whirr of hand dryers. Funnily enough, no-one heard her cries either. I think I must have special plant-rescuing powers.