The ambulance cut a hole through the night, then suddenly caught in the trap of a bad navigational advice, it stalled. Its sirens and flashing lights blending seamlessly with the restless noise and panic of the very end city's Saturday night celebrations. Black and cold it observed the well rehearsed commotion of drunken stragglers at two in the morning as they yelled about being the last person to leave the club but still not getting laid.
"fuck man, what's the point chad?"
One inquired to an other as terry sat in the ambulance as it struggled to squeeze itself between a potato truck and an ever expanding sea of yellow cabs that strung itself out across his sight line.
"at this point in our lives it just seems a little sad, you know?" the straggler asked as he ran his fingers through his greasy black mop. His words stained with a kind of sadness terry half remembered experiencing at some point. He tuned out the other paramedic, Tim, who had begun bellowing obscenities at the cab drivers as he flicked the siren off and on again while pumping the gas and the break simultaneously.
"these fucking cabs man" he hissed through his chapped lips and nicotine stained teeth. " we're trying to save some fucking lives here and just cause these assholes drive for a living they think they own the fucking road?!"
He turned to look to terry, smiling an unsettling all teeth visible type of smile for a few seconds before sticking his head out the window screaming "you fucking animals! You don't own the road! fuck that! I'M TRYING TO SAVE LIVES HERE! GET OUT OF MY WAY!" Saliva strings falling out of his mouth he yanked his head back into the vehicle. The cabs began to make a slow movement to make a path. Tim turned to smile at terry once more.
"there you go. You just got to show them who's boss. Yeah..."
He hit the gas softly and the ambulance floated softly through the path they had created for it. Terry listened to tim speak to himself softly as he drove through.
"yeah that's right, you don't own the road...you don't own shit. Its my fucking road. You don't own shiiiittttt. You don't even own your own cab. Yeah... You know that terry?"
Terry jerked to attention, feeling slightly embarrassed that he had heard him. Feeling that he had been observing a very personal moment in Tim's life, he decided to pretend he hadn't.
"do you know that?"
Tim scoffed dismissively.
"never mind what?"
"Dude, if you don't want to talk that's cool, but you don't have to be a prick."
"I'm not trying to be a prick, I just want to know what you said."
"They don't own there own cabs."
"they don't like, take them home at night or anything. There company owns them."
"I couldn't imagine I would want to do a lot of driving if i drove a cab all day."
Tim sat back, readjusting his weight in the bucket seat. He rolled down his window and grabbed a pack of cigarettes from behind the drivers side vanity. The city's drunken street dwellers thinning out as they flew into a newly built residential district on the edge of town, the newly laid tarmac providing smooth relief from the well worked and cracked paths of the city as it disappeared behind the rear bumper.
"just not the point."
Since they had met, terry felt he had never really understood any of Tim's points. He had spent the first three shifts they had worked together just nodding and smiling. Tim lit his cigarette and grabbed the radio from the dash.
"delta delta, this is unit three, can I get a re-confirm on that address please dispatch?" The radio crackled and sparked to attention as the husky voiced woman on the other end blew a cloud of smoke through the wires to echo throughout the cab of the ambulance.
"certainly delta three..... that was the possible heroin overdoes on Parker and Albert. Albert street Parker road. A as in Amazing for Albert, And P as in post coital for Parker. Drive safe boys." The radio sparked, the final and satisfying static crack robbing Tim and Terry of the beautiful, gravely growl of the stranger they had been listening to for the past two weeks. Never has a new employee done so much for the team moral as this woman had.
The pleasant residential neighborhood gave way quickly to the fringe of the city. The outskirts lined neatly against the wilderness beyond home made baseball diamonds and the shaky remains of burned out trailer Meth labs, standing in sullen contrast with the sunset around six and nearly invisible by nightfall. Terry and Tim pulled the ambulance over in-front of the address they had been given. Terry stepped out of the cab, his toes cracked under the weight now resting upon his feet. The house he found in front of him stood shakily against the wilderness behind it. Small trees and shrubs grew freely from the untended lawn, as if the forest behind were trying to reclaim the neglected property from its owners. Tim exited the cab to stand next to Terry.
"fucking dump huh?"
"we should get in there..."
"Stars out here are beautiful. Can't see them in the city cause of the street lights. Light pollution, bad as nuclear waste in my opinion"
They locked eyes for a second and moved quickly across the lawn into the house, stepping lightly on the porch to stand before the door. TIm knocked on the door three times. He smiled to Terry for a second, the white dry highlights on his lips cracking slightly to expose series of deep red gashes.
The door opened quickly. A person trapped between the stages of boy and man stood shaky and wild eyed, his arm fully extended still holding the door knob. Terry looked him up and down quickly. Junky skinny. Sinew and stress.
"you gotta fucking help me man!
Terry entered the room as the scared bearded boy rushed to the side of young woman who sat slumped at an awkward angle in a worn out arm chair. She was blond and had she not been turning a pronounced shade of bluish green, terry would have considered her pretty. She wore a faded black Slayer tour shirt a few sizes to big for her, hiding her figure. Her arms splayed out from her body, a fresh stream of blood slowly trickling out from the one.
" fucking Do Something! Can you help her?!"
Tim leaned close into the girl.
"no dude....she is dead."
He grabbed her wrist and placed two fingers across it. Tim turned from the girl to face the crying boy.