A(nother) Year in Seattle
Sunday – August 24, 2059 – Family
My arm was feeling much better this morning. I still needed the wrist support. I had to promise the Walkers that I’d come back tomorrow and let mom check on it before I went to the hospital.
Case and I spent the day at the aquarium with Bri. It was wonderful. Its hard to think of my life without time– I mean it feels as if it’s always been this way. Or that it’s the way it should have been.
Don’t get me wrong I still miss the boys, but– they’re like a dream. This is what is real. My husband, my daughter, my adopted families – the Walkers and Mario.. and Jen.
Jennifer and I talked this evening– just talking about kids and life. She still doesn’t understand my need to get back to my job, but she accepts it. Bri loved getting to talk to her aunt.
Baltimore seems so far away these days. Seattle is my home now– but I think I’ll keep some of the Charm City in me always.
When she’s old enough– I want to take Bri to the Inner Harbor in Baltimore and take her to the Aquarium there. It’s still the Aquarium I compare all others to.
I think that would be nice. The three of us in Baltimore– I can’t wait until she’s old enough for her first crab feast. I still can’t convince Case that crab is real food– but I’m trying.
Guess I’ll save that for another year– especially since Bri still thinks strained peas are gourmet food.
Monday – August 25, 2059 – Moms
Mom Walker took her good-natured time checking out my wrist and arm…and head… I mean she wasn’t taking any chances. When she was finally satisfied that my healing was progressing accordingly she smiled and shooed me out of the house and off to work.
Then I had to go to the hospital and have them check it out. As I was waiting Mac rounded the corner followed by a rabid pack of reporters. I could tell by his expression this had been going on for at least ten minutes longer than his patience.
All I can say is the man has better control than I do. He finally turned around and faced them, and in his best gentle voice he told them that, for the final time– he is not going to dignify unfounded accusations with any explanation. He also told them that they were disrupting the hospital’s normal functioning.
One of them blustered something about the normal functioning including his teams’ abuse of the patients and people’s rights to know…
Mac, bless him, fixed the offending reporter with a sardonic grin. “I just love it when you report one side of a story and assume that since one of you reported it– it must be true.”
“I believe you’re talking about Matthew Ronaldson’s allegation against you?” The reporter’s expression was so smug and self-righteous. “According to him– you struck him giving him a concussion.”
“And I am telling you, that his allegation is unsupported.”
“So you deny him having a concussion?”
“I’m not a doctor,” Mac answered. “and even if I were– I wouldn’t be discussing his condition with you.”
“Isn’t this typical?” Another reporter chimed in.
“I’ll say…” I muttered under my breath.
I regretted it immediately, having said it loudly enough that several reporters caught my remark. Suddenly I was the center of attention.
I could tell they were waiting for me to support them– and very surprised, almost angry to find out that they’re poor abused Mr. Ronaldson had attacked an intern, and a medic before he was subdued, not by force but my medications.
Suddenly they all seemed to have other things to do. Mac gave me a relieved smile and then noticed that my cast had been defaulted to support instead of immobilize. He was about to grouse at me before I stopped him and told him that Mom Walker had taken a look at it and already lectured me about not going to see her sooner.
He laughed and stayed with me until it could be checked out. Kind of odd having an 8 foot giant sitting next to you practically momming you until the doctor is ready to see you. Then again– I did get all the good gossip about the comings and goings at the hospital.
By the time I got into work, half the day was over. I finished the outstanding paperwork and started to delve into the requests and suggestions when I turned to my computer and started researching the figure in blue.
My preliminary search was less than stellar. A lot less, but it did see me through the day.
Tuesday – August 26, 2059 – Reporter Blues
Man do I hate not riding– I stopped by the office this morning, figuring on finding my replacement and doing some research. Smiley was in the ‘reserve’ column and was more than happy to take my shift.
It can be boring being the on-call medic for a week, but at least if something happens we have a spare man. Not like the times when we were stretched so thin that even one medic down was a disaster.
At least Citywide has learned not to try and find me something to do. As I was leaving the office, the CEO stopped me in the hall and told me he fully expected me to take a few days off until my hand was better.
I’m not sure if it’s concern for my well being or if Joe had talked to him and expressed his concern for any bikes I may try and ride. Still, it’s nice to work somewhere where they know you and they know that if you take some time off its something serious.
Come to think of it, he looked awfully pleased that I’d already taken care of the matter. I know I felt a lot better, and since I was the one that was injured and not my bike– there wasn’t any serious incident write-up involved. All that information was available at the hospital since that’s where I got hurt.
It’s also amazing how quickly the reporters found something else to focus on when they found out that the excessive force issue wasn’t an issue.
I’d almost made it to the door when the CEO broke the rest of the news to me– I was their new focus. At least the reporter who’d broken the story’s new focus. They want to ride around with me and basically be my shadow for the next week.
I tried to object, but he told me that I’d dodged them enough and that it would be good publicity for the program. I pointed out that the last time we tried to do something like this it was a disaster.
He just smiled and told me to make it work. That’s the nice thing about being CEO– you can tell someone else to handle it and if they don’t– it’s not your fault. So I get to make arrangements in the morning…
Sometimes I really hate this job.
Wednesday – August 27, 2059 – Show and tell
Well, I’m happy to say there’s nothing like facing down 4 reporters and camera crews and telling them that they can do a documentary on the motormedic program, but they can’t actually travel with them.
The looks and complaints I got– “I was told we’d have your full co-operation!”, “How can we do a documentary when we can’t film your people in action?” On, and on…
I finally ended up taking them down to the arcade for a taste of what our life is like.
Its been three years since the program began, and since then we’ve kept an updated version of the city safely filed away in the simulators we use for training, and the arcade uses them for revenue. The game isn’t as popular as it used to be– but there are some serious die-hard fans.
Thursday night is still review night for the trainees and a lot of the ‘old-timers’ show up as well, but I’m usually on duty.
Two of the reporters seemed nonplused by the sound and fury, but three of the cameramen were enthralled. I ended up going head to head with the best of them, a woman from NYC. Seems they have their share of chaos there. If she ever wants to get out from behind the camera– I think she’d make a good motormedic, or motor-officer with the Star.
It was a rather rough meeting, but we did get some ground rules worked out– and a few concessions: like ‘helmet cameras.’ I’m wondering how much vertigo people can take.
I guess we’ll have a chance to see. They’re going to meet the ‘guys’ tomorrow night, but from the looks of things– they want me, the ‘flamboyant director of the program.’
Thursday – August 28, 2059 – Support from friends
I’d be remiss in my duties if I didn’t warn my guys before showing up with the reporters and cameramen. As a matter, of course, we ended up with more people showing up than usual. I think some of them are just looking forward to messing with reports.
Angie- the cameraman from NYC beat the trainees without breaking a sweat. As a matter of fact, only a few of our wilier medics could keep up with her. That won her nods of approval from our side and a look of disdain from the reporter she was supporting.
Afterwards, we adjourned to O’Brien’s for our standard review and BS session. It was a little more professional than usual, but it was still a good evening.
One of the reporters even joined us in a darts match. Angie, on the other hand, sat to the side, avoiding the gaze of her scowling reporter. When the man finally went home, the gathering lightened up considerably.
I knew it was time to go home when one of my loyal crew told the reporters that if they really wanted excitement all they had to do was follow me. He also mentioned how things tend to ‘happen’ around me.
Thanks, Roberts– I’ll remember this come review time!
Friday – August 29, 2059 – Unstacking the deck
I ended up meeting with the reporters again this morning. This time in my office. The snootie, Kevin “Bull” Blitzen seemed even more rigid than before– if that was possible. I could tell from Angie’s expression he’d given her some sort of lecture on professionalism or some other imagined slight probably getting too close the subjects. Can’t give the story the marketable slant if you like them I guess.
To top things off he’d gotten special permission for the City Council so that someone could follow us/me around. The game plan is to have one reporter/cameraman team supply the actual live footage of us on the job, while the others get to interview the other medics.
Of course, Angie is the only cameraman who has a chance of keeping up with any of us, which means, Kevin Bull Blitzen, ace pain in my butt gets to cover me in action.
At least that was his plan.
I don’t think he did his homework when it comes to the mild-mannered, yet flamboyant ‘Director of Rapid Medical Response services.’
One of the nice things about my job is the fact that I’m used to handing out assignments, and I’m virtually immune to objections. Angie is perfect for this assignment, but Bull isn’t. When my decision was announced– he didn’t take it very professionally at all.
I could tell from Angie’s expression she was both grateful and concerned about her assignment– grateful to be away from Mr. Perfect, and concerned about how miserable he was going to make things for her elsewhere.
We had a long talk about it while I was getting her set up with Joe. Seems Bull built his reputation by going after the stories no one else could get– or would want to. He managed to get footage out of “Bug City,” and other places that guaranteed him an anchor on any station that wanted him. He was the face and the voice– with the personality of a barracuda and the ethics of a piranha.
See– all that lovely footage that was filmed– cost the cameraman his or her life.
I asked Angie why she put up with him– she said that she loves what she does– but has a bit of a reputation of her own. Seems the only reporter willing to work with her was Bull.
I guess we all have to play the hands we’re dealt. Personally, I’m hoping that Angie will change the game and come play with us.
Saturday – August 30, 2059 – advice from mom
We actually got an early start over to the island this morning which was just as well. As soon as we arrived, Mom Walker herded me back into her study. She handed me a cup of something that smelled rather sweet and ordered me to drink it.
As I settled into the bed and drank, she told me about things that had been happening with the family– and how Jonathan was far too dense to deserve someone like Trina. I had to laugh about that– not that I’m much better.
I remember how much time I wasted thinking that Case wasn’t interested in me– that we’d end up ‘just friends.’ Shows you how much I know.
Next thing I know, its late afternoon and Trina is trying to get me out of bed.
I have no idea what Mom Walker gave me to drink– but I can tell you I felt a lot better by the time dinner rolled around.
My wrist no longer required any support– and my appetite was back with a vengeance. Case just watched me eat as if it was the most interesting thing he’d ever seen.
After dinner Mom Walker, Trina and I cleaned the table and talked while we were in the kitchen.
“Men,” Mrs. Walker informed us. “Think that we need them in order to survive– little do they know it is the other way around. Never forget that children!”
I had to chuckle, but her expression was so serious as she stared at Trina. “Never let him forget how special you are Trina. He needs you, even if he’s too foolish to realize it.”
Trina looked at her for a long time and finally shook her head. “Mom, I might as well be talking to a brick wall when it comes to anything other than the here and now.”
I’d never heard Trina’s voice so– devoid of emotion. I wanted to hit Jonathan upside the head and almost did.
“Let me drop a few hints for you,” I offered as I headed for the door.
I’ve never seen two people move so fast. One minute I’m three paces from the door, the next Trina and Mom Walker are blocking my way, shaking their heads.
Mom Walker shook her head and made a clucking noise. “Jessica– my son may be dense– but your idea of ‘subtle” would probably kill the poor dear.”
At least we got Trina to laugh. We’re going to have to do something with my ‘brother’ though. I don’t care what Mom Walker says. Trina needs Jonathan almost as much as he needs her.
Maybe that was the point.
Copyright 2000 M.T. Decker