The Angry Corrie 51: Sep-Nov 2001
The Thrutch, the Nurse and the Doctor
He's back - and
WE STOPPED THE CAR about halfway down Glen Etive. It was a fine evening in late summer although the weather had been changeable for the previous few days. It was uncertain that the morrow would bring pleasant walking.
My companion, the Nurse, also known by me as Domatronix in more intimate moments - eg during colonic lavage, intravenous injection, ear wax removal - is a true devotee of The Great Outdoors. She possesses a natural ease with, and an enjoyment of, Nature's nitty gritty. On the other hand, my enjoyment of the primal has become more discerning over the years. I like the smell of bog myrtle. The rest of TGO I experience as I experience TGC (The Great City), or TSI (The Small Indoors): confusedly, aghastly and/or numbly.
Why were we together? I pay her.
In Glen Etive the sun set behind hills and clouds although the air remained still and warm. We got all the gear to our campsite and I prepared to pitch the tent. My personal best achievement in this essential skill was established a couple of years ago in Torridon. A throw of 42 metres. (Poleless Terra Nova Quasar. I had forgotten the poles.) Within minutes, massively thick superclusters of Thrutch condensed around the Nurse and the Doctor. We scrabbled for midge hoods and dragged them on, alas, far too late to preserve my ever fragile composure.
What about those hoods? Please, please, please, someone out there, design a decent one. They could be so much better. For a start, the visibility factor: night or day they are going to reduce your vision by half. This is dangerous. I know four people who have sustained broken noses while wearing hoods, admittedly during a drunken brawl in a Brodick "beer garden". For fight fans, the final score: dope fiends, nil; beardy geezers, four.
Also, they are terribly hot and I am sure the sweat-lash they induce must draw in Thrutch for miles around. Imagine this circumstance in conjunction with the added disaster of a hole in the hood. Eek! and Eek! again. I have witnessed this horror, terror, call it what you will. The tragic holey midgie hood-wearing Thrutch afflictee drowned himself in a burn only two inches deep, thus demonstrating more steeliness of purpose in dying than previously in living.
Additionally, the neck end rides up, exposing the jugular and more to the micro-drakuls.
More positively, at least for drug addicts, hoods are tea- and smoke-permeable. Indeed, as things turned out in Glen Etive, the permeability attribute enabled hood function to be considerably extended.
Let us return to camp. The Doctor has been plunged into gibbering Thrutchophobic uselessness. Fortunately the Nurse, bristling with nursiness, has single-handedly erected the tent. Now, for some atavistic or intra-uterine reason, I love being in a tent. Most campers will enjoy the gurgle of a burn, the sweet smells of the night and popping one's head out to be dazzled by the vaulting splendour of starry firmament. I prefer my tent set up in the house, but wherever, I find the enclosedness a balm to the vaulting horror of paranoid infirmity.
Despite refuge gained, I was still twangingly disturbed and lay down with closed eyes, to collect myself as Nurse prepared an emergency injection to calm, yet lift, my troubled mind. (Essence of Toadskin and Paraldehyde.) The sting of the needle alerted me to the prospect of relief, then as warm woolly waves, interspersed with playful psychedelic quanta, rolled over me, I opened my eyes. It was some time before I realised I was screaming. Gone was the golden and optimistic glow of the inner tent; instead, a seething blackness dominated my visual field. Thousands of Thrutch were poised, ready to feed. At its apex, the tent door gaped open for about a foot in slack-jawed, moronic mockery. My wretchedness was limitless. Constituent elements of my personality fled. Farewell, Pride and Prejudice. Occasional visitors, Sense and Sensibility, vowed never to return. However, the foundation, Addiction, trembled (as per) but remained. Thank Yaweh, a sign of redemption. Immediately I began construction of a Burning Bush Ultra Mega Hyper Reefer, ingredients: 18 red Rizla, 3.5gm skunk, 2.5gm tobacco, 2.0gm black hashish, 0.5gm opium. The Plan. I would initially stupefy the Thrutch, then wreak a biblical-style purge before they got the munchies. So I huffed and I puffed and I blew my mind up.
As I lay, star-spangled and unable to move, it occurred to me that the Plan had been flawed. Despite large tracts of my consciousness being occupied by strange thoughts, I realised this was a tricky situation. Immobile, how was I to render the literal fly-sheet back to inner tent before the Thrutch came to?
"Kill the Thrutch Nurse!" my mind screamed. "Gaa di utchuss." mumbled my mouth. She looked at me quizzically. "Pardon?" "No, forget it, Doctor. Well, if the Thrutch are as wasted as you, it's time to get rid of them." Despite the paranoia this remark instilled, I resumed my conversation with Noddy as she squished, squashed and smeared the inexorable and ravenous insects into the mystery of death. After the carnage, she got into her bag, rather annoyed about the tea-making ban imposed to prevent further Thrutch ingress. Her lovely face loomed over me. "If you come to in the night," she breathed huskily, "forget about Doctors and Nurses. Goodnight."
Pulling her midgie hood on, she further enclosed her head in sleeping bag and snuggled down. I told her that she wouldn't need the hood, but all that emerged from my mouth were two saliva bubbles that made no sound at all.
Just then, Mr Plod dropped his blue serge trousers and extracted his truncheon, which Noddy seized with both hands. How it wriggled and writhed! Some say Noddy is a boy but he was a goblin now. "Ho! Ho!" chortled Mr Plod and he reached out and pulled off Big Ears' beard to reveal, Goodness Gracious! the smiling face and twinkling eyes of the Prime Minister. McSharkie of Baker St had a case.
Many years and many miles later, case solved, I returned to Glen Etive. It was dark, the blackness full and oppressive, as was my bladder. I was going to have to leave sanctuary and go into the night. I rummaged desperately for my Petzl, as one does in such pressured extremis. The wash of light revealed, No, No, No, No, No, black inner tent and a foul abundance of aerial Thrutch zigzagging in manic Brownian motion. The tent was fully zipped, what was going on? Any reservations about exiting exited until I shone the beam into the misty night - which, on more focused assay, was not misty. But there was no hygienic alternative; I had to go out. A dreadful choice remained, I dreadfully chose, dreadfully acted and dreadfully went forth into the teeny-weeny, but multitudinous, jaws of Hell.
Several hours later, after the evacuation evacuation horror, after their feasting, after the eventual discovery of the Thrutch entrance I had unwittingly prepared in the groundsheet with burning fallout from the BBUMHR, after the karmically disastrous slaughter of countless Thrutch, after morning's arrival, Nurse awoke.
She scrutinised my face. "It's as well I have a strong stomach, Doctor. Your visage resembles ... actually, I don't know what it resembles. WHAT HAPPENED?"
Through lips that could not move I said, "Ah ha oo oh ow ghor ah kee ass nieti." Low grade diction was supplemented with high grade mime. "Why in John Merrick's name weren't you wearing your hood?", her tone was incredulous.
"Ah oz erring nie ood!" I asserted.
"Ah" said Nurse, spotting that jaundiced and redolent object as she rummaged to prepare my morning suppository, "Ah".