I took Bri to church with me and then we went to brunch. I tried to keep as much normalcy in our routines as I could. Here I am worried about the little terror dealing with our irregular schedules and she's there having the time of her life.
I don't know if it's a good thing or not– but Bri always seems totally unfazed when one of us has to disappear for a while. I guess it's the only thing she's ever known so she's used to it by now– but still...
I shouldn't have worried about the kid– she seems to be better at this than I am. Then again, she gets to see her daddy mope when I get called away.
Not that I got to mope long mind you. The manager made sure we had everything we needed, and then we had surprise guests at our table. I was starting on my second helping from the serving line when Bri let out a delighted squeal.
I looked up and was surprised to see Ethan and Therese standing there. Bri was already reaching up for her brother to pick her up and he obliged, with an exaggerated groan. I smiled and asked them to join us.
"I figured you guys where here," Therese told me as Ethan plunked Bri back into her high chair. She looked around for Case and then noticed that there wasn't a third place setting in use.
"On duty?" she asked.
"Since last night."
She nodded then gave me a once over. "I heard about what happened," she told me.
I smiled. I'd forgotten she was a reporter and heard almost everything that happened in this town. "Fortunately the spud slept through the whole thing."
Therese nodded, then let out a sigh. "I've got an assignment, down in Amazonia... I was wondering if you could take Ethan..."
Now, I have no problems with Ethan, he's a delightful young man– but what I do hate is when she has to hand him off like this. "Ethan?" I asked.
He smiled at me. "Its cool Jess– I've been there before and I don't really want to go back."
I laughed. "Okay then– all settled." I answered. It wasn't, but Therese knew we'd get the details taken care of– like classes and such. "Just as long as you be careful."
Therese laughed. "Me!? You're telling me to be careful?"
It was a nice brunch. By the time Case got home Ethan was settled in in his room and Therese and I were having ice cream in front of the trid.
Another day in the salt mines. I took Ethan and Bri to work with me this morning– got Ethan's transcripts and lesson plans together and contacted the local schools and Mom Walker. I wanted to give him as many options as I could, when he proposed staying home and working on his lessons from home.
I wasn't ready for that one– but he has been doing this a lot longer than I have. I was still wary about leaving him home alone– but as I said, he's a young man now. We talked it over with Case at lunch time and Case agreed– with a few provisos, mostly about getting his work done and following the lesson plans, and asking for help if he needed it.
He agreed, and so did Case. I still can't help but worry about the arrangement, I think that's the mom gene.
He did take an interest in the dispatching system and in the stats for the team. Its amazing what a few years can do.
I forgot how insane day shifts can be– especially during rush hour. I mean– you can't get anywhere because of the bottle necks and when an accident happens, and its bound to happen when people decide to start trying to put a five foot block of steel in a four and three quart foot space– or when two people decide to put their five foot blocks of steel in the same place– or people who are too busy gathering wool to notice that everything just stopped dead in front of them.
We had it all this morning. One accident caused a back up, which lead to another accident and then some body who was too busy reading the business section plowed into the back of someone else.
We had our hands full. I got to the first accident, Ray got the second and Roberts was on the third. Getting the ambulances in was a nightmare in and of itself.
I'm just glad rush hour only takes up about half my day.
When I got home– Ethan had dinner waiting for us. I was dumbfounded– Case just stared at him and demanded to know who he was and what he'd done with his son.
Seems Ethan's been fending for himself, and his mom these last few years– and he's learned to be a more than passable chef.
I warned him that if he cooks too well– he's going to end up with the job. He just laughed and said something about ‘self defense' and not wanting chili every night.
Not that I can blame him. Case checked over his lessons and then handed them to me. The kid was taking college level classes, and making them look easy.
I guess the travels have done him well– and like Bri, it's the life he knows.
I don't know if I'll ever get used to daylight... or in Seattle's case... that light gray that passes for sky. I do know I've been feeling a lot better about being able to see what's coming.
Either way– I was due for a change. The last thing you want is to grow complacent. We had three accidents because of the rain, and then, when the sun finally peeked out, we had a few more because of ... the light. I really don't understand people– but if it weren't for them I wouldn't be needed so I guess I can't complain too loudly.
The calls I really hate is where the patient is belligerent and combative. We had a few of those– seems adrenalin was the only thing keeping them up.
And well– it seems that Wednesdays are the precursors to Wednesday nights. Yeah– no matter when I'm on duty those– odd calls seem to show up. Odd– I never thought of ‘weird things' happening during the day, but I guess that's another illusion... there are as many shadows in daylight as there are at night.
Then again– maybe I'm just too suspicious.
I wasn't imagining things.
Seems last night someone broke into AZT's campus. They traced the escape route– it ended where there'd been an accident yesterday– and nobody saw a thing.
I checked on the patients from the accident, but it seems they all had checked themselves out of the hospital– without any paperwork. AZT had already been in checking on them, and they'd come up empty as well.
Just as well– I'd hate to be some poor schlep who'd gotten clobbered in an accident only to have AZT come down on top of me as I was recovering. I just sometimes wish we could bill these people for services rendered.
The day was rather smooth, which is just as well since the schedule shift is catching up with me. I'm working 1200-2000 now and let me tell you– its rough. I nearly got wiped out in an accident tie up when I was splitting lanes and someone in front of me threw their door open, figuring on seeing what was going on.
He almost got a lot more of a view than he'd expected. Fortunately the guy next to him saw and veered onto the shoulder. I had to duck mirrors, but I got through.
Still– I wish people could be patient– it would make my life easier, and who knows– maybe there'd be less accidents.
Well, I've survived a week with the new schedule– and remembered why I'd switched to the night shift. I really do hate large concentrations of people in vehicles trying to get somewhere– its just asking for trouble.
Then again– I have enough time in the evenings to remember what I hated about night shift– don't get me wrong, I love the job and I wouldn't trade it for anything...
No, that's not right either– if it were possible to keep everyone safe and to protect them from themselves and people trying to do them wrong– I'd be happy to find something else, but as long as there are people– I'm needed. That's a good feeling though.
Its funny though– people view us as white hats– do gooders– people who risk their lives to help and to protect when we're needed. The same thing applies to the Star, and for the most part– people view them as the enemy.
It just doesn't make sense, which goes for a lot of the things we're up against I guess. I look at Ethan and how far he's come and I hope he never gets as jaded as I think I'm becoming. And Bri– I dread the day when she finds out that the world doesn't make sense. I don't want to mislead her on that– but no matter how we prepare her for it– its going to be a rude awakening.
I read that and I have to shake my head. The girl isn't even two yet– and I'm worrying about her disillusionment– maybe I should try and recapture her wonder about the world. I'm just afraid I've seen too much.
Case figured what we all needed was a day off doing some family sort of activity so we all trooped off to the Sound with a picnic basket in tow.
Ethan thought it was artificial, I thought it was sweet and Bri– Bri was euphoric, she was going somewhere beautiful with her two favorite men in the world. She toddled between them– trying to hold both their hands– and pick up pretty flowers at the same time. That girl is going to be nothing but trouble when it comes time to start dating.
Even Ethan lightened up when he and his dad started playing catch with a hover disk, I think we all did. Especially since it had been modified by PC. Not only did the disk hover-- it had a remote control. For the most part, I just ‘kept it in bounds'-- but sometimes I teased them with it. We all had fun with it.
For a few hours, the rest of the world didn't exist...
It lasted until a man was foolish enough to wade out into the sound and get stung by a jelly fish the likes of which I'd never seen before. Instead of moving away– he just stood there staring at it for a few moments and then started moving towards its center.
There are times I really hate awakened creatures– especially ones who view us as snacks.
We weren't really set up for it– but I tossed Ethan the remote and told him to keep the jellyfish busy while Case and I worked out a way to get the man back on shore and out of the fish's clutches.
Fortunately for us– he didn't like being dive bombed and finally went off looking for easier prey. Case called for a paramedic team while I started CPR– once the call was in he joined me and we kept the man going until the ambulance arrived.
Then we had to talk to several folks from fish and wildlife– they'd never heard of a jelly fish heading this far north... but– the evidence was there.
After that, we decided to settle for a nice quiet family night in front of the Trid.
Copyright 2000 M.T. Decker