On being hit in the head (for David Lang)

—— Page 2 ——

… two at a time and I can hear him below,

he’s panicked, rushing and then a door slams, boom.

I’m close on his heels but when I burst out on Level C all is quiet.

An engine starts. Howl of tyres, motor roaring and he’s gunning it, swerving right at me, the crazy mother. I leap out of the way as he flies past, smacking my head into a pylon, and you know what? It’s my car he’s driving. Well, it looks like my car; the white V6 with black trim is very popular.

And sure enough, my parking space is empty…


‘…he’s not getting away with it,’ I say to the taxi driver.

‘You want me to catch him up?’ asks the driver. ‘It’s a fifty zone but I could catch.’

I tell the driver to cool it, let’s follow the beast to his lair.

‘Just keep him in sight,’ I say…


… this is what happened when I got you-know-what in the head the first time (not the second time).

‘Mr Lang,’ they said. ‘…don’t worry…just do exactly as we say.’

‘Of course,’ I replied.

‘I thought you’d want to know how you stand,’ they said.

‘Yes,’ I agreed.

‘It’s not good…I said it doesn’t look good,’ they repeated. ‘Mr Lang? We’re going to move you soon.’


…wasn’t hard working out where he was going. I knew these streets; I’ve been living here for years.

We pull up outside of my house and the front door is open like a hole in a smile and there through the windows I can see him moving about, touching my stuff…


… always been a peaceful guy but in these last few days I’ve realised that becoming a victim is as easy as flipping a coin or bumping into someone.

No matter how you live your life, adventurer or fieldmouse, there’s always a particular moment coming when you either have to stand up for yourself or end up on the floor having been hit in the head.

So I’m creeping through my house armed with a tennis racket (of all things). Next I hear music. He’s upstairs at the piano. It’s the same piece that I’d been rehearsing, Schnitke’s second. But his left hand is slow and there’s way too much sustain. As I reach the top of the stairs the music stops mid-passage. Slowly, I nudge the door open, racket raised and…


…what! What just happened? That was a blow to my head. Will I be all right? I’m lying immobilised on the floor of my studio and there’s a pair of white shoes in my visual field and then a voice says—

‘Don’t worry Mr Lang just relax. You’re on the ground. You’ve had a nasty. We’re going to move you soon. Who did this?’

‘It was de Lang,’ I say.

‘What’s that?’ the voice says. There’s some shuffling out of view and then someone puts their face right up close to mine and then there’s an ear up against my eye. ‘Again,’ says the ear.

‘de Lang,’ I repeat.

‘Oh,’ says the ear. ‘Sorry, Mr de Lang. We’re going to move you now.’ And as I’m being stretchered and clunked and bumped down the stairs, the piano starts up again…


…and that’s the last thing I remember —


— until this morning waking up in hospital.

On the table next to me there’s a tumbler of water with an articulated straw and a vase with a bunch of flowers—lilies I think or lilliums, white, green and rank—

and a card.

I reach for it but a sharp young nurse snatches it. ‘Get well soon, DL,’ she reads. ‘DL?’

‘It’s me. I’m DL. David Lang,’ I explain wearily.

‘Can’t be.’ she replies reading from her clipboard. ‘Says you’re Mr de Lang.’


Marginson’s on the phone. ‘Lang? David? Davey boy it’s terrible, terrible…you’ve had…’

‘It was a blow to the head,’ I say.

‘Do you think?’

‘I’ll be fine,’ I say.

‘…for tonight?’ he asks.

‘Sure,’ I say trying to reassure him, ‘I’m just going home to change and I’ll be right there.’

‘You won’t…?’ he says, ‘with your injury and all…?’

‘No chance,’ I reply.


And of course, the rest you know: I was tying my tie to get ready for the performance when someone silently crept up behind me, and there I was, hit in the head again…

Illustration – © 2014 Game.Aquarius. Licensed under CC-BY.

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