Some time back, I did the taxi survey of Newcastle, which involved spending a lot of time sat in a parked car on the Bigg Market on a Saturday night, counting taxis and ignoring drunks. I was lucky that the person I was counting with was a fellow diver, P, with whom I swapped many tales of fish and other interesting things. He told me a couple of stories from his time as a fireman, one of which you can read elsewhere on the blog ("Gordon, Don't Be Such A Dickhead"), and another which I shall recount here.
He and his friends were once working a late shift one Friday, when the call came in to go out to a car that was parked on the Town Moor. Was the car on fire? No, the car was not on fire, but the people in it couldn't get out.
P and his colleagues hopped in the truck and went round to see what the trouble was. It was something which I suspect did the rounds of all the shifts that week, and for several weeks after.
A couple had parked their Porsche on the edge of the Town Moor to enjoy a little recreational fornication. They had put the front seats back as far as they would go, and had been trying to have sex on the back seat. Sports cars not being especially roomy on the inside, this involved a certain amount of contortionism, and the man (who was on top), had thrown his back out completely and was unable to get up. His extremely irate partner had called the fire service.
P and colleagues stood around for a minute or so assessing the issue, then P leaned forward and spoke through the window: "Sorry, there's no way we can get him out without cutting off the roof."
The woman began shrieking that they couldn't possibly do that, the car was worth an enormous amount, she would sue, they couldn't possibly cut the roof off. The shrieks were so long and so loud, that P and colleagues agreed to try opening the door and getting the chap out that way.
They tried valiantly for twenty minutes, but it was clear that, due to a combination of the size of the now-wishing-the-earth-would-swallow-him-whole man, the tiny size of the door, and the fact that he was clearly in too much pain to be easily moved, this was not going to be a goer.
P leaned in through the window and explained the situation. "I'm sorry, but there's no way we can do this without taking the roof off."
He leaned back to avoid the shrieks, and, seeing her left hand, added: "Sorry, but it's the only way we'll get your husband to the hospital."
The woman fixed him with eyes like daggers of ice, and spat: "He's not my husband. This is my husband's car."
They did, P told me, eventually have to cut the roof off the car. How the woman explained this to her husband is anyone's guess.
(I doubt it would be any consolation to her to learn that this sort of thing happens to other people too - from the excellent Nee Naw blog: 101 Embarassing Sexual Accidents.)