by Clark Nidaserialised here by permission of the author.

it was the best day of my life

there was me lying in my bed like i always do and it was after breakfast and i was just thinking to myself how today wasn’t as good as yesterday and that hadn’t been as good as the day before and how it had gone on like this for a long time now when who should walk in the door but mr hall

he had mr pye with him and they were both in their street clothes because they were off duty and they came straight to my bed

i thought they were coming on duty but they said no they were just calling in to see me and billy and michael downstairs the boys who could talk

then they were going to find a pub and sit in it all day even when the pub had locked up around them for the afternoon so they would be first in and standing there at the bar when it opened in the evening

mr hall said is sister looking and when mr pye said no mr hall reached in his bag and took out a bottle of beer and they gave me some in a plastic beaker

all highly irregular mr pye told me with a big smile on his face and i wasn’t to tell anyone

they only gave me a drop because mr pye said i wasn’t used to it but it was better than largactil

fizzy and not so thick and powdery as largactil

mr hall said he’d put it in the fridge in a brown paper bag and mark it jackie’s special but mr pye said no because assistant matron would find it but mr hall said he’d do so anyway because he wouldn’t be here for assistant matron to give him a bollocking

mr hall was very firm i shouldn’t tell anyone it was our little secret

so i told him i had a secret too a week ago a man i’d never seen had come in and come straight to my bed and what he said was for mr hall’s ears only

not for mr pye not for anyone just mr hall

mr pye said that he’d go and have a slash but i said whisper so mr hall put his ear right down close to my mouth really right down almost touching my lips and i said thank you

mr hall looked puzzled

is that all he said yes i said

really said mr hall really said i

who was he said mr hall and i said i didn’t know him from adam

was there anything about him said mr hall and i said the man gave me a dollar i’d never seen a dollar before it’s locked up in sister’s office now being kept safe for me

all of a sudden the penny dropped with mr hall and the three of us looked at each other long and hard

so just to make chat i told mr hall my joke and do you know he laughed and laughed

he leaned right forward and slapped his knee and leaned across my bed and pushed mr pye on the shoulder and mr pye was laughing too fit to piss hisself

you’d have thought they’d never heard my joke before either of them

when they came back upstairs from seeing michael and it was time for them to go off to the pub mr hall suddenly stopped by the office and came back to me

i thought he was going to say something but he just bent down and planted a tiny kiss on my forehead

since then mr hall has not been back on the ward

they say he’s gone away and he won’t be back because he’s off some place up north miles away to learn a lot of new things but i think he didn’t need to do that because he was brilliant anyway and what did he have to go off and leave me for

ever since then it’s been downhill all the way

today was worse than yesterday and that was worse than the day before and it’s just going on and on like it

it’s got so bad i’m dreading waking up tomorrow and finding i’m still here



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