• [Doped Out Doper]

    Yesterday, the sunlight called to us through the open window. Putting aside our duties for part of an early afternoon, we went promenading in St. Ann’s Well Garden, a local planned garden spot, occupying a few city blocks. On our way back, we stopped to stroll through Brunswick Square. Brunswick Square is the slightly more upscale and definitely more beautiful residential square in our area. Unfortunately, the less savoury elements who inhabit the closer Norfolk Square have migrated the few blocks down the seafront to this beautiful Regency square. On this particular day, we had walked through almost to the seafront entrance when we passed a person lying passed out along the path. Passed out drunks are a relatively common fixture around this part of Brighton, even in early afternoon, so we did walk past initially, our eyes flickering over the sight as we continued our banal conversation on a bright day. Something wasn’t quite right. The image passed again quickly through my mind and I doubled back to be sure. This wasn’t a passed out drunk. A capped needle lay nestled in the crook of his neck and a small serum-sized bottle on top of the bench nearby. He was out completely, hardly moving. I couldn’t tell by looking if he was breathing and his eyes were mere whites, rolled up into his head.
    Caught without our cellular phones, I ran towards a man yabbering away on his and begged him to call 911. He instead pointed me to a telephone booth on the other side of the hedge. While I was on the telephone with emergency services, my conversational partner was dispatched to check on the poor man’s breathing and try to rouse him. Within a short time, we were attended by an ambulance. The man had just returned to the mundane world, but he was confused and seemed concerned with the fact that another man had perhaps run off with his money. He denied to the ambulance crew that he took drugs, but the needle so carefully crooked capped next to his neck had been used. The bottle on the bench had been painkillers. He’d knocked himself out or been knocked out by his accomplice on a combination of painkillers and cooked smack. He stumbled away, refusing assistance from the ambulance crew, and headed in his shambling, confused way down the street. I, choked up with emotion, watched silently, wishing him well. Had I helped him? Perhaps not. But at least I hadn’t blindly walked on by.