A Year In Seattle
Thursday, March 15th, 2057 – Duty
I didn’t sleep all that well last night. It wasn’t the condo and without Case, his place just feels wrong. Ethan seemed to have no trouble sleeping, but then again– he’s had a lot more time to get used to Case not being there.
I felt bad for Ethan. I mean, he wants to spend time with his dad, heck– I do too, but instead, he’s stuck with me. Its funny, I kinda feel the same way but with me it’s different. I knew there would be times when Case had to be away coming into this– Ethan was just born into it.
It amazed me how well we seemed to get along, but then again, we’re both trying for Case’s sake. I mean, I really like Ethan– but would I be spending this much time with him if he wasn’t Case’s son?
We talked about it a little over breakfast. He knew some of what his father did– a good 12-year-old understanding of the business– and on the intellectual level he understood that there were times his dad had to be away– but it didn’t mean he had to like it.
I couldn’t have agreed with him more.
Then Ethan asked if it was like this with my job– did I keep normal hours? I smiled.
“Sometimes,” I admitted. “Right now I work what they call a three-day shift– I stay at the station for three days so that if they need me during the night, I’m there.”
So you don’t go back to work again until Sunday?
I nodded. “In theory,” I told him. “But just like your dad’s job– if something comes up, I’m supposed to report in.”
“Like, an accident, or a fire– if I’m nearby when it happens, I’m supposed to help out.”
He nodded. “Like if there was a tornado or a bomb?”
I nodded. “Yeah, if I’m not duty when it happens– I’m on duty afterwards until everything’s taken care of.”
He gave me a slight, apologetic smile. “So– you and my dad don’t get all that much time together?”
I shook my head. “But we know its part of who and what we are. Besides,” I added with a smile. “If there’s something like a tornado or a bomb, your dad’s going to be tied up too.”
He nodded. “I hadn’t thought of that.”
I nodded. “It just goes with the territory.”
He looked at me a minute. “And now I’m here so you have even less time together.”
I met his gaze. To see that much guilt in a child’s eyes… forget what I said. Ethan’s the kind of kid I’d make time for.
“Don’t you worry about that hon,” I told him. “You didn’t have a choice in this– and your dad wants to spend time with you– we both do. It’s just like everything else– you make it work.”
He smiled. “So… can I stay with you today?”
I looked at him. “I’ve got a few things I have to do this morning, but afterwards, if you’d like I’ll meet you at the Walkers?”
I could see the gears turning in his mind as he asked the next question. “Can’t I go with you?”
I shook my head. “Ethan– I’m going to the morgue.”
I couldn’t believe that reaction, but then again– I remembered my interests at that age. It wasn’t really all that surprising.
“Ethan– your folks’d kill me if I took you down there.”
“But– it would be so cool!”
“Even if you asked my dad?”
I looked at the ceiling for a moment. “Ethan– do you know how much trouble I’d be in if I even tried?”
He recanted, but I could see he was still interested. At least he didn’t push.
I got back to Council Island around 1400 and ended up playing video with Michael and Ethan until 1700 when Case called. He was going to be tied up at work until 2100 or so. I think Ethan took it better than I did.
Friday, March 16th, 2057 – Camping
Case didn’t make it home until well after 2300. Ethan was already in bed and I was dozing off in front of the trid by the time he got in. I’ve never seen him look that tired before. I don’t think he even saw me, that’s how tired he was.
He just sort of stumbled in and fell face first into bed. He slept through my abortive attempts to remove his shoes and my ultimate surrender on the matter.
I figure if the man wants to sleep with his shoes on– let him. I covered him and figured he’d feel better after he got some sleep. He probably would have too– if he hadn’t started having nightmares.
I’d gone back out to the couch, figuring it would be better if I just crashed out there.
At first, I didn’t hear him, or if I did– it just became part of my dream. Finally, it registered that the low moaning was coming from the master bedroom.
Case was trying to fight something off in his sleep, but his motions were very limited– almost as if someone or something was holding him down.
“Case…” I called softly as I moved closer. “It’s all right hon,” I added as I gently brushed his arm with my hand. “Wake up hon, you’re having a bad dream.”
As I touched him again, a little firmer this time, he stirred, and then looked at me. I could see the relief in his eyes as he finally realized where he was– and that he was safe.
He sighed slightly and rolled over.
“Wanna talk about it?” I asked softly.
He gave me a shrug. “I don’t remember much.”
I nodded and turned to go.
“Thanks…” His voice was so tired.
I smiled. “No problem. Rest…”
He nodded and started to drift off. As I flopped back down on the couch I could hear his shoes hit the floor.
In the morning I was ‘making’ breakfast when Ethan came out and saw the blankets on the couch. He asked if and when his dad came in and I told him.
“You know… you don’t have to sleep out on the couch… if you two want to be together…”
That one surprised me. I think I was still trying to figure out how to answer it when Case came in. He looked a lot better, but I could tell there was still something on his mind, haunting him– I could see it in his eyes.
I could also tell he didn’t want to discuss it– especially in front of Ethan. Things were rather quiet over breakfast until Case cleared his throat and asked if Ethan wanted to go camping next week.
Ethan perked up immediately. “Really? No work?”
“No work,” Case promised.
I wasn’t really paying attention when Case smiled and turned to me. I think I was too busy being happy that Case and Ethan would get some time together without any interruptions from work.
I turned and noticed the question in his eyes.
Case nodded. “We really didn’t get too much time together the last time we went camping…”
I had to laugh. “There is that,” I agreed. “But…”
“Oh, come on Jess, it’ll be cool!” Ethan piped in.
There was no way I could resist both of them. “Okay! Okay!”
Case smiled. “Then its settled. We head out Thursday morning.”
I could tell– he needed to get away almost as much as I did, and a camping trip was just the ticket.
Saturday, March 17th, 2057 – Sometimes all you need is a little time
I stayed at the condo last night, figuring on giving Ethan and Case some time together. When I got to Case’s place around noon, I knew I’d done the right thing. I’d say they both needed it.
Case was in a much better frame of mind and Ethan was quite pleased with himself. I’m not sure what they discussed, but Ethan had that look of– having a secret that he’s just dying to tell. I asked him about it and he just smiled and told me I’d find out next weekend.
Cheeky kid. His dad wasn’t much better for that matter. I think I annoyed them by finally just letting it drop. It was obvious they weren’t going to tell me, so I decided to concentrate on other things, like the green milk Casey was serving in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. I decided not to think about that either.
Since it was too late for Saturday morning trid, Ethan and I settled for playing games. Case had fun watching and occasionally ‘helping’ me. It was just a nice quiet afternoon.
Still, I couldn’t help but notice the conspiratorial smiles Case and Ethan were giving each other. I think they’re setting me up for something.
Sunday, March 18th, 2057 – Litigations blues.
I never really noticed the contrast between work and my time off as much as I did tonight. Case and I didn’t talk shop– not with Ethan around. I know he can’t be protected from everything, and the more he knows the better off he’ll be in the long run, but there’s a time and a place for that.
Until then we try to keep life as normal as possible.
I spent most of my time tonight on the seamier side of the good life. Drugs, jealousy– power, they all played with one another tonight until they overflowed into our lives. The Nuevo riche clashing with those from the old money.
A man, obviously loaded (in more ways than one) had rear-ended a car, spinning it out of control. He bumped his head, the driver of the other car was dead– his passenger not too far behind. As I worked on the passenger, the man that had caused the accident started to complain that I was ignoring him. He threatened to sue me for dereliction of duty… after all – he paid my salary!
We medivac-ed the passenger out first– she was in bad shape. I’d give her a 50% chance. Mathis and Beauford were taking care of him when I came over.
As I did, another man stepped in front of me. “My client wishes nothing to do with you,” he told me.
I raised an eyebrow at that.
He handed me a paper which basically said that I was now the defendant in a malpractice suit. That fast. I swear the guy must have had them pre-coded in his pocket secretary just for this sort of occasion.
I didn’t need to worry, Mathis had already drawn blood, we had his blood alcohol content recorded. The key was to make sure the Star got a good look at him, but his lawyer was doing his best to keep them away as well.
Still, a man had died and it was a crime scene. To hear the ‘Victim’ tell it, the other car had been at fault… that instead of caring for him– I’d gone to help the ‘criminal element’ and that I was probably in league with them– some sort of ambulance chaser.
I had to laugh at that one. If anything I precede the ambulance. He didn’t see the humor in that. Neither did his lawyer who printed out another piece of paper and handed it to me– a restraining order.
I was impressed
By the time I got back to the station, I was notified that I was to be suspended until an investigation had been carried out. The captain didn’t look all that happy.
Then again, the entire investigation took about 10 minutes. It involved three members of the Citywide review board, who weren’t all that happy at being called out at 0200 in the morning. They asked me to describe the scene and explain why I’d treated the passenger rather than the other driver.
It was simple. The damage to his vehicle was minimal. His restraints were still intact. The other vehicle had rolled, was at the bottom of a ravine and the passenger was in immediate danger. Not to mention the fact that since the driver had died, she was a candidate for an immediate trip to primary emergency care.
They nodded, thanked me for my report– got copies of the blood sample from the guys and declared my actions proper.
At least one thing went right.
Monday, March 19th, 2057 – Sometimes all you need is a reputation.
I heard from the Star this morning. They’d been ordered to investigate my involvement in last night’s debacle. They didn’t say anything, but I could tell the driver had been pushing for this.
At least these two had bothered to do their homework. Let’s face it, I might be a thorn in people’s side when they aren’t playing by the rules, but when it comes to my job– I’m professional all the way.
There was no posturing, just a simple case of gathering information.
I told them everything I told our review board, then handed them a disk with a copy of my report and the training manual’s documentation on triage and the order of care to be administered.
That wasn’t standard procedure, but I figured it would make things a bit clearer for the investigation. If they were the least bit surprised by this– they hid it well.
I guess I’ve built up enough of a reputation. Trouble may seem to focus in on me, but at least I document it well.
They thanked me and apologized for wasting my time. After that, it was back to work.
The day was rather slow. A few calls before lunch and then three in the late afternoon.
I checked on the passenger from last night’s accident. She still hasn’t regained consciousness. The driver that caused the whole mess had complained of neck pains, but they’d found nothing wrong with him.
General consensus is if there are any neck pains involved in this, it’s those belonging to the people trying to treat the man. At least it’s not just me– I hear half the staff at Humana now have pending malpractice suits against them.
Some people just aren’t happy unless they’re making other people unhappy.
Tuesday, March 20th, 2057 – Just deserts!
Oh man… sometimes … sometimes I can honestly say there is justice in the world and she’s got a wicked sense of humor!
Dr. Dylan Frazier, the driver from Sunday’s accident is up on charges of– DWI, Vehicular homicide, reckless driving, failure to maintain control of his vehicle, criminal negligence, improper lane change. There is also a wrongful death suit pending.
Turns out the ‘kid’ driving the other car’s father is far wealthier than the self-absorbed idiot that’s been trying to control everything.
His lawyer is up on charges as well for unethical behavior and filing unfounded and frivolous lawsuits.
I swear, the sun seemed to shine everywhere I went today. Terry’s holding his own and the girl from the accident has regained consciousness. There’s nothing we can do about her friend, but hopefully, we’ll be able to keep the good Dr. from hurting anyone else.
Wednesday, March 21st, 2057 – Falling into place.
I spent the day responding to calls. It’s funny… I never really realized just how busy I’ve been until now. Now that we have three active motor-medics in the area. We still need more, but the first full class is coming along nicely.
The other cool thing is the fact that training should go quicker now since once Smiley and Terry get the hang of things, they can help with the next wave.
We’re doing it. We’re actually doing it. I’ve never been so psyched in my life– we’re getting a faster response time and a better survival rate. The key has always been getting the medics to the people as quickly as possible… and we’re doing it!
I hadn’t even thought about how much safer it is when you have more than one motorcycle covering an area until now. I’m not running myself ragged and the job is getting done!
I guess I was so lost in doing the job that I didn’t really think about it. I guess its better that way. If I had– the pressure might have gotten to me.
I think the mood was infectious. By the end of the shift, I was floating. We headed over to the arcade and met up with the others. Looks like we need to start looking for our next batch of motor medics.
So far we have Emmory. I’ve read his stats and I have to admit, he’s actually a good addition to the team. He’s officially on the team, but he doesn’t start his first shift until next week. Bet Fort Lewis is going to make him think twice about this.
Although, with his background… I can’t see him staying there all that long. Just long enough to get the feel for the job. Ray’s in heaven now. His injuries are healing and he’s doing what he was meant to be.
I know how he feels. I worry about the team– the accidents that will happen… the hazards they’re going to be facing– but I couldn’t be prouder, or happier.
After we reviewed and unwound at O’Brien’s I headed home and packed up my gear. I left enough food for the cats and asked Mario to watch over them as I headed out. Tomorrow, I’ll finally know what Case and Ethan were being so secretive about.
Copyright – 2000 M.T. Decker