I lost my hands in an accident with a rubbish compactor. It wasn’t a bad compactor, what I mean is that it was a machine used for compacting rubbish.

My hands are replaced with prosthetics – thank you NHS.

Day by day, life continues pretty much as normal. The replacement hands are dexterous enough for my job down at the recycling yard. And my hands are never cold in winter, like they used to be.

Asks a bloke: “Are those real ‘ands?”
Me: “Well, they do exist.”

My task today is to grab any unsuitable plastics or other rubbish from the recycling conveyor belt. I must only let through PVC, uPVC, polythene, polypropylene and HDPE. That’s high density polyethylene, if you don’t know.

I see a huge leg of lamb (wrapped admittedly in polythene) approaching – it is writhing with maggots, glistening and green. There’s no way I’m touching it, even with these hands.

So I let it go by, and watch it move slowly towards the end of the line. It enters the mouth of the compactor, and before I can look away it is burst by the force I know too well, and the festering slime explodes across the yard, across my face.

The seagulls that circle constantly are immediately upon me, feasting on maggots and the rank flesh. I wildly shoo them away from the machine, and in doing so my right hand comes off, goes straight into its crushing jaws.

I can’t believe this has happened. That was LDPE.


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