I’ve been out of the cab less than 30 seconds when Regular Partner ‘burps’ the siren to get my attention. Dinner will have to wait.
As is often the case when potential food is involved, the call is clear on the other side of the city. We set off as fast as reasonably possible through the evening traffic, for the “suicidal female, possibly taken an unknown quantity of an unknown medication.”
We make decent time, and I don’t have to invoke my Moses impression. RP does catch me reaching for the microphone once and chides me.
We turn into the block to see the fire engine lumbering away, silent and dark. This can’t be too serious, then. They will get to eat on time. A police officer meets us in the parking lot, advising us that no one here knows anthything about the call.
Great. “Medic 9, we’re clear.”
Downtown, a carnival has arisen in a vacant lot. I didn’t notice it there earlier in the shift. A Ferris wheel, resplendent in blue neon, towers over the small commercial buildings. At mid-week the crowd is non-existent, yet the rides spin and blink merrily, reflecting their glow out onto the harbor.
We flash past, crossing town yet again; our red and white strobes mixing with the blue neon and adding to the surreal atmosphere. I wonder if I could find the time for some fried dough.
We eventually find a crowd, this time of firefighters. The trim on their coats blinks, reflecting the fury of our arrival. Chocks, tarps, and tools, both hand and hydraulic, disappear into the scrum. As we approach, the line parts and we see a car on its roof.
Twenty feet away sits an empty chld seat. The driver claims to know nothing about it. We never do locate a child.
Much later we clear the hospital. It hasn’t rained tonight, but the dew has left enough moisture to make the streets shine. A man in an electric wheelchair zips down the street, moving at a speed I didn’t think possible. He hunches forward with one hand on the controls, running against the flow of traffic and weaving around parked cars like a madman.
I wonder aloud where he could be going with such urgency at 0400 in the morning?