Thursday 14 December 2017

Ocupational Hazard

Dawn Knox

Lemon Barley Water – a favourite drink in hospital.

“Busy day?” Nurse Bunyan adjusted her cap and peered over her colleague’s shoulder at the paperwork on the desk.

“You could say that. One new admission. He caused us a few problems but he seems to have stabilised now. Derek Withers. Bed four. You’ll need to keep an eye on him tonight.”

Nurse Bunyan craned her neck so she could see bed four in the corner and winced. 

“Oh dear, he looks like he’s been through the wars. What happened?”

“Work accident. It was his first day too.”

“Building site?”

“No, Christmas tree.”

“Is he a tree feller?”

“Only in the sense that he fell out of a tree.” Nurse Boyle slapped her thigh and burst out laughing.

“But I shouldn’t laugh,” she said when she got her breath back. 

“What was he doing in a Christmas tree?”

“Sitting at the top.”

“Was it a sit-in or a protest?”

“A bit of both really. He was sittin’ at the top of the tree but after he hit the ground, he protested quite a lot.” Nurse Boyle guffawed. “Oh, I really shouldn’t laugh.”

“Well, are you going to tell me why he was sitting at the top of a Christmas tree when he should’ve been working?”

“He was working. He was the fairy.” 

“But didn’t you say he was a he.” 

“Equal opportunities. There’s no reason why the fairy at the top of a tree has to be female.”

“No, I s’pose not.” 

“Gender’s irrelevant… Shame no one asked him if he liked heights. Apparently, he made it to the top, got a touch of vertigo and plummeted to the ground.”


“Probably didn’t help that he got tangled in the tree lights on the way down. Nearly garrotted himself. It was lucky he managed to catch hold of a piece of tinsel and pull the lights from his neck. Shame the tinsel broke. He fell further down the tree and knocked himself out on a rather large bauble giving himself concussion. Unfortunately, as he hit the lowest bough, it bounced him into the wall. Multiple contusions and limb breakages.”

“Poor chap… I’ll keep a special eye on him. Who else has been admitted today?” 

“Bed two – man involved in a brawl over a tin of biscuits in a supermarket. Bed three – mistletoe poisoning. Bed five – young lad with Christmas cracker novelty up his nostril… Usual Christmas stuff.”

“Rightio. Well, leave it with me. See you tomorrow. I’m sure I’m going to have plenty to report to you in the morning.”

“Yes, I don’t envy you being on duty tonight. The staff Christmas party’s usually a very lively affair. If last year’s anything to go by, we had more members of staff in this ward the following day than in the rest of the hospital. See you bright and early in the morning…”

About the author  

Dawn’s third book ‘Extraordinary’ has just been published by Bridge House Publishing. She has stories published in various anthologies, including horror and speculative fiction, as well as romances in women's magazines. Dawn has written a play to commemorate World War One, which has been performed in England, Germany and France.

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