He sits on our stretcher inside the Medic 9 looking slightly dazed. The firefighters and police officers have retreated to their respective vehicles, their part in our little drama now complete.
As I peel back the layers of sweatshirts to check his blood pressure, he fixes me with an alcoholic gaze. His eyes struggle to focus, and I’m reminded of my trusty Nikon trying to decipher a complicated scene. In, out, in. Bzzzt. Finally the image resolves itself into something coherent.
“I know Mike Smith,” he tells me.
Good for you, sir. “And who might he be?”
“You know, the Smiths. They own this ambulance company.”
Oh, the SMITHS. Why didn’t you say so sooner? Of course, I know the Smiths too. One of them signs my check every week. I may never be invited to their home for dinner, but I’ve met them all and had conversations with them.
I’ve never heard of one named Mike. If there is a Mike in the family tree, he must be way out among the leaves.
“So do you drink with Mike Smith often?”
“Yup, every day.”
Uh-huh. Let’s go see the nice nurses at Local Suburban Hospital, shall we? I think they know Mike Smith too.