A(nother) Year in Seattle – Week 16 – Surprises

A(nother) Year in Seattle

Sunday – October 12, 2059 – Passing for normal

We ended up having company for Brunch. Case had invited the Walkers, Trina and Mario to join us– and being family– they accepted. When the Matre’d saw us coming he herded us into one of the private rooms.

“Don’t worry,” I told him. “These are normal people.”

He smiled and responded so only I could hear. “Sorry Ma’am, but I know what passes for normal where you’re concerned.”

I’m not sure if I should be insulted or honored.

It was a nice if crowded meal. Jonathan seemed much happier than I’ve seen him in a while– Mrs. Walker and Mario had a rather heated discussion about healing methods and whether the patient was the source of the problem and should be treated first, or merely the victim and should be treated after the injury.

They did, however, agree that the best thing to do for me would be to lock me up in a padded room where nothing could get to me and I was protected from myself.

I told them that it would never work– I’d be climbing the walls within a half an hour and then they’d have to worry about rug burns.

I would have disagreed more– but lately, that’s the way things have been going. Ah well– I had a good start to the year so I guess all the trouble’s just trying to get things out of the way by the end of the year.

Monday – October 13, 2059 – An invitation

I brought Ethan and Bri to work with me this morning. Ethan spent a lot of time in communications and on the terminal looking at how things worked and telling me how he’d design it if he were doing it.

That seems to be his niche these days– breaking processes down, looking at their component parts and then trying to rework it into a more efficient system.

I think some of it is the travel and the things he’s seen. It does give you a better perspective on things I guess. I let him go over the motormedic program and see what he can come up with. He told me he’d have something for me next week.

I’m looking forward to seeing what he can come up with.

If Ethan’s amusement came from analyzing systems and improving them, Bri’s came from breaking them down– especially with a liberal application of milk. Fortunately all she got was my coated map– I’m used to her ways, and finally caught on a few months ago.

It was a rather uneventful day– kind of nice in this business.

I did get an invitation to the opening Gala for the arcology though– I just don’t know if I’ll go– It’s a black tie affair– and I’m lucky if I have a dress, let alone a gown… Maybe I could borrow a suit from Case…

Tuesday – October 14, 2059 – Think

Another day in the trenches– at least that’s how this one felt. It was raining– big surprise there…

I don’t understand how people who live with this on a regular basis just can’t seem to learn that speeding on wet roads is bad. I actually had one man tell me that he didn’t understand what happened– one minute he was driving along without a problem and the next he’s in an embankment with his car being supported by the frame and his front wheels in a water filled ditch.

It took all I had not to ask him if he’d ever heard of HYDROPLANING.

He kept refusing treatment until a traffic officer from Lone Star showed up. Then he was in dire need of an ambulance– more like a fast getaway. No worries there– the officer got his information and investigated the scene. By the time the ambulance arrived the man had a very good idea of what he’d done wrong– and the fines associated with reckless driving, failure to control his vehicle and driving too fast for the road conditions.

He was not amused… The officer calmly showed him a picture of a totaled BMW. “Think about this before you drive,” he urged the man.

The man stared at the picture and then at his car– I think, maybe, just maybe he realized how lucky he was.

Wednesday – October 15, 2059 – Just another day

If yesterday was a day in the trenches– today was R&R: a few drunks, mostly good-natured; a brawl and no accidents.

After work Case took me shopping for a gown. He has a way of making things a lot more interesting than I thought I would, and I have to admit– it’s worth it just to see him in a tux.

Just a nice normal day– days like this make me worry.

Thursday – October 16, 2059 – Vanishing act

Today wasn’t too bad– only a few accidents during the day– trying to get anywhere on a call during rush hour was … more interesting than usual. There was a heart attack call at the height of rush hour– people really should schedule these things.

The worst call of the day came in right around dusk– a man veered into a telephone pole rather than hit a kid who’d run out in front of him. The boy’s mother placed the call– and gave a lot more detail than was really necessary. I listened to most of it on the way to the scene.

I knew it was going to be bad when I arrived and found a little black Dynamit artistically draped around a telephone pole. Those cars are great on speed and handling, but they provide almost as much protection as a bike when it comes to impact. At least with a bike, you don’t get trapped inside.

It was frustrating– I had to wait, make sure that the power lines were clear before I went in. Frustrating, but necessary– no point in creating more victims. By the time I got there, the victim was half coherent… and worried about the kid.

Nice guy, nice looking– too much horsepower… He was concussed, and I’m fairly certain bleeding internally, judging by the placement of the steering wheel. I bandaged what I could and called into the hospital– he was going to need fluids, and an ambulance.

We had to cut him out of the car. Neck brace, backboard, the works… and even with all that, he smiled at me– this beautiful smile… innocent… trusting. He tried to object that he didn’t need an ambulance– but he did.

I got him on the truck and since there weren’t any complications, I handed him off to the ambulance crew and started cleaning up.

According to the woman, her son had run out into the road right in front of the little sports car. Right in front– as in there was no way the driver couldn’t have hit him. I saw the boy nodding in agreement, his eyes still wide with fear.

Fear is a funny thing that way– it can make the close calls seem that much closer. What they were saying was just impossible. Nobody has reflexes that good…

It took three more calls before I actually made it to the hospital to check on our enigmatic young patient– but by the time I got there, he was gone. He’d just walked away from the hospital…

I don’t understand it– there’s no way he could have walked out, not under his own power. Worse, there’s no way he’ll last more than a few hours, not without help– not with how badly injured he was. I searched around– figuring maybe they’d misplaced him, but there was no sign of him– and believe me, he was a hard one to miss– Dark hair, violet eyes and that smile that was so full of life…

Sometimes I really hate this job.

Friday – October 17, 2059 – Night in the city

I checked the morgue before heading into work this morning. I don’t know what I was hoping to find. Something that would put my mind at ease. I didn’t get it. Last night’s awol accident victim wasn’t there, which was almost a relief– almost.

It didn’t prove anything– just that he either wasn’t dead yet or that nobody had found him. I checked with records about the car– but it seemed to have vanished from the impound lot as well.

I thought about him off an on during the night– but there was enough to keep me busy for quite a while. Before I knew it, it was the end of shift– and I still hadn’t gotten an evening gown for tomorrow.

I guess Seattle can manage without me for one night.

Saturday – October 18, 2059 – The Gala

Case took me shopping this morning so I wouldn’t have any excuse not to go to the Gala tonight. From what I’ve heard its ‘the place to be’– but for me, that usually means ‘the place to avoid.’

It took me a while to get ready, but no amount of preparation could have prepared me for what happened once we got there.

I saw a few familiar faces and was just getting adjusted when I saw ‘Hawk, a gentleman who’d helped me out on a few occasions. It had been a while since our little escapade in Baltimore and it was good to see him. He introduced me to his date, a fashion designer and I introduced him to Case. He referred to me as an ‘aficionado of classic rock,’ which made me laugh.

Rock and roll was how we met when I first came to Seattle looking for my brothers– and it had been his interest in classic rock that had brought us in contact. It was also what almost did us both in just over two years ago. Funny how time flies.

We chatted a bit and, I think that would have been it– if an all too familiar figure hadn’t caused a stir as he entered the hall.

It was my accident victim from the other day– looking nothing like he did before I’m glad to say– and very much alive. His eyes sparkled and his smile seemed to light up the room.

‘Hawk seemed unsurprised that I’d met the enigmatic young man… Gabriel. He did seem a bit surprised that I’d met Gabriel in my official capacity– then offered to introduce me to him.

I’d been so worried about him and from the looks of him and the way he moved… if I hadn’t seen him myself I’d have thought I was seeing things… I was so sure he’d bled to death somewhere. I wasn’t sure what to make of him at first– he seemed amused by the whole thing and yet– It was almost like a fencing match… It took a while, but I finally let go of it. Some things just can’t be explained away, and since my fears seem to have been unfounded…

Gabriel seemed amused and somehow– evasive about the whole thing. I couldn’t quite place it, but I could see why so many people seemed to be vying for his attention. He was quite charming– and endearing.

And me, ever the life of the party, had to excuse myself to help out a lady who’d inhaled her dinner– literally…

Maybe I’m not the life of the party– but there never seems to be a dull moment when I’m around. The thing I liked the most– Gabriel and ‘Hawk just took it all in stride. That can really be a relief sometimes.

Copyright 2000 M.T. Decker

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