|The Soaring Kiwi and the Sauerkraut||
|The Soaring Kiwi and the Sauerkraut||
Sentenced to Life with a Grumpy Cabbage
"One more torturous treatment and you're terminated", declares the German nurse, as she marches out to the supplies cupboard. "I’ll be back."
Ok, so she didn't say that. Exactly. Although a true translation of intent would not be too far away. But then maybe I am not thinking so clearly. Since very cleverly snapping the bottom part of my leg like a long dried chicken drumstick, in what could be considered a slightly less than perfect hang gliding landing two hours earlier, this now soring Kiwi has the overwhelming wish to utter strange squeaking sounds, grow a tail and run around on the remaining healthy three of all fours.
"Nein! Are you a man or a mouse? Scissors are not necessary", replied my previous collision with the compassionate world of German nursing scornfully, as she shredded the intravenous drip, no relation, and hair plaster from my forearm. "See", she said gleefully, holding an arm scalp triumphantly in the air. "You didn’t need scissors."
Yet overwhelming wishes and soring aside, a true Kiwi would never squeak, sprout a tail or partake in animal behaviour experiments. It couldn't. In fact the kiwi that is commonly known around the world as:
a) a small brown furry fruit
b) a brand of shoe polish
c) a motorcycle helmet
is actually a small brown, nocturnal, flightless bird, unique to New Zealand. Somewhere back in our short history we New Zealanders, lacking other fierce wildlife, decided it would be a good thing to be named after something brave enough to wander alone in the bush at night. Not that this explanation helps much in parts of the world where the only kiwi known is a). While it would certainly be no problem to be called after a motor cycle helmet and being a shoe polish could be useful for job interviews, no true Kiwi male would ever call themselves a fruit.
Now what was that about one more torturous treatment? Triumphantly the nurse pulls out something resembling a dry roll of high tech carbon fibre. Adding fluid to the fibre roll, she starts wrapping it around my leg. This is Germany the land of advanced high quality engineering. Who would use heavy, messy outdated plaster from France when a lighter, more efficient alternative is available?
Then it dawns on me. She is going to set my leg. Without painkillers. Us Kiwis being tough manly types, see above, I start shaking uncontrollably while searching frantically for a bedpan. I ask if they don't have any laughing gas or other painkillers I could use.
"Oh no, we don't have that here, just grit your teeth".
The torment begins with a light pressure on the undersurface of my foot, before vanishing again as the empathetic envoy of medieval medicine disappears to the cupboard for forgotten instruments of torture. All that is missing from the interrogation scene of one of those really bad Nazi movies I remember from my childhood, is the lamp shining in my eyes, an old piece of leather between my teeth and the heavily accented voice telling me there are vays I can be made to talk.
Reappearing victorious at the foot of my bed and broken leg, the nurse applies pressure once more, increasing it slowly as my foot is pushed back. As bone pieces grind slowly into place I discover the roof is closer than originally thought. By this point I'll confess to almost anything. Even that no Nazi ever said what I remember them saying. So how did I end up here?
I suppose it all really began one day in June 1998 in a local pub on one, which if truth be told was a lot more than one, beer fuddled evening in my home town of Wellington in New Zealand. Two and a bit years and even more beers after this first evening I find myself standing on Brooklyn Hill in Wellington about to marry a grumpy cabbage.
The Soaring Kiwi and the Sauerkraut is available as ebook and paperback at Amazon.
Other bookstores to come..