My good friend and personal chef J. Green has a nice flat in a nice part of town, and sometimes reflect on the dark days he lived on the "other side" of Aberdeen, i.e. where I live now. Whereas his side, the West End, glitters with class, my side, the East End, drips with menace.
However, in a head-to-head contest of unruly incidents and circumstances, Green's has been nudging mine. On my side, my neighbours grow weed in the shared attic, sometimes play their music loud, somebody from the block once set fire to the paper notices on the main door and wrote on the walls, and about a month ago I passed two policemen outside someone's door, as well as there being a steady pile-up of cigarette butts and plastic kebab forks. However, Green has been troubled by noisy neighbours - above and below - for over a year, I once found a 12-year-old boy asleep on the stairs, and his neighbour above had to be rescued from the police after attempting suicide by hanging. I think he wins. Out of doors, there's no doubt my flat on Market Street is a little rougher, with hookers parading their wares, the working class spilling out of low rent bars, and kebab sauce flowing like sewage. Nonetheless, very near Green's, I once witnessed a rough-looking girl vomit as she walked, and a nearby flat sometimes opens its windows to show off a bunch of vested skinheads playing trance at an abysmal volume.
This morning, though, saw me score some more points. At about 9.30am I left on my daily hour's walk, and at the bottom of the stairs, curled foetally, was a young gentleman with an obvious head wound. Ahead, the main door had been forced open (and now won't lock) and blood was smeared on the wall. The young gentleman was conscious, but his head and hands were buried in his hoodie and he didn't respond until I prompted him with a light shove. His response was slurred and incoherent and I thought, "Hell, hopefully he'll have crawled off and died somewhere else by the time I get back."
I pondered the situation on my bracing walk down the beach, and thought perhaps I should call the police or something if he was still there upon my return. But as I came back through the main door, I was relieved to see he'd gone. My mail was still there too. It was climbing the several thousand stairs and spotting the trail of blood that it became apparent that, in fact, he wasn't gone. He'd simply gravitated upwards, closer to heaven perhaps, in a quieter spot to curl up and die.
This is what greeted me outside my door.
Though it's not clear from the photo, his face was covered in blood, with an obvious wound most likely from some kind of "street fighting" with a fellow "tough". Indeed, not a gentleman at all. He was a little more coherent though, as he bled onto my hallway armchair, insisting in slurred tones that he was alright, and lived on the level below. I would have invited him inside for a coffee and chat but he seemed fairly settled and I was worried he might bleed over a housecoat.
I phoned the police just to let them know that there was an injured, drunk, bleeding guy camped outside my flat, and they duly popped by to ask him the same questions I had, and appear to have left him there to continue his bleeding.
Anyway, I'll leave it for you, dear impartial reader, to judge whether this levels me on points with Green or even nudges me ahead. Green - it's your move.
In fact, I do the police an inservice. They just knocked on my door and told me they'd taken him to a different address presumed to be home. His claim of living in this block seems to have been erroneous. They also admired my antique typewriter.