“Medic 9 and Ambulance 9, with Engine 68, the overdose. A third party caller.”

We round the corner into the square to see Engine 68 pull out into rush-hour traffic ahead of us. It seems to lumber away from the station, 350 horsepower held back by 17 tons of steel and aluminum. As we fall in behind I try to listen to the engine’s siren and set mine to a different tone. We settle on Wail for the engine, Phaser for me, and a Yelp for the ambulance bringing up the rear. It’s an incredibly dangerous moment. Traffic is surprised by the fire engine; they never expect a second or third vehicle to be following it. We hang back and heighten our senses accordingly.

Following the engine always elicits a grin. I imagine a running back, tucked in behind a large offensive lineman for the charge down field. He cuts left around an obstacle then back to the right. The defense parts, and we slip through their lines toward the end zone.

We arrive on scene to find we’ve been given the wrong address. Back through the square. . .