EMT: A Tale of Love and Disaster Copyright © 2017 by Etienne
BRODY MURPHY WAS nervous as he parked his Ranger pickup behind Fire Station Twenty-two. It was seven thirty, he was about to begin on-the-job training as an Emergency Medical Technician. The nondescript metal building he was parked behind would become his home for two days out of every four. He walked around to the front of the building, and entered it through one of the open vehicle bays. A not unattractive man looked up from what he was doing as Brody approached.
“Help you?” he said.
“I’m looking for Captain Farraday.”
“You the new EMT trainee?”
“Yeah.” Brody extended his hand. “Brody Murphy.”
“Jonas Sanders. Glad to meet you. Just go through those doors; the captain’s office is the first door on the left.”
Brody went through the double doors and found himself in a large living area. There were several recliners facing a good-sized flat-screen TV on one side of the room, a trestle table occupied the center of the room, and he could see kitchen counters beyond the table. Someone was standing in front of a cooktop, and the odor of frying bacon reached Brody’s nose. He walked over to the first door on the left, saw that it was open, and knocked on the door frame.
A middle-aged man with brown hair looked up from the paperwork on his desk, and raised his eyebrows.
“I’m looking for Captain Farraday,” Brody said.
“You must be Brody.”
“Come on in and have a seat.”
While Brody settled down in a side chair, the captain rummaged around on his desk and located a file folder. “Give me a minute to refresh my memory.”
“Let’s see. Graduated from Florida with honors, and a BS in nursing. Have you had any practical experience yet?”
“I’ve worked part-time in a large group practice for the past two years.”
“Whatever scut work nobody else wanted to do.”
The captain chuckled at that. “Sounds typical. How much do you know about the way we operate?”
“I know I’ll be working two days on and two days off.”
“That’s about the size of it. Let me call our head EMT in here. He needs to be in on this interview.”
The captain picked up his phone, pressed a button, and Brody heard a public address system carry his words throughout the building. “Ron, I need you in my office—now.” He returned the phone to its cradle and looked at Brody. “Sergeant Ron Johnson is my head EMT; and at the moment, he’s also number two in the command structure. He’ll be the one to show you the ropes, and give you all the skinny you need on the way we operate.” He looked toward the open door. “And here he is. Come on in, Ron, and meet your new helper.”
Brody turned and saw a muscular six-foot redhead approaching the captain’s desk. The man had a hand already extended, so Brody stood and shook hands with him.
“Ron Johnson,” the man said.
“Glad to have you on board, Brody. We’ve been shorthanded for the past three months, and it hasn’t been a lot of fun. Fortunately, most of our firemen are cross-trained and we’ve been able to cope—barely. Tell me about yourself.”
“There’s not much to tell. I graduated from Florida last month with a BS in nursing, and I’m an RN.”
“Planning to stop there?”
“No, Sir. I want to be an RN First Assistant, so I’ll be going to school part-time this fall.”
“That’s a worthwhile goal, but I don’t envy you the work.”
“Going to school part-time, it’ll probably take me a couple of years to finish my master’s.”
“He’s all yours, Ron,” the captain said.
“Great. Follow me, Brody, and I’ll get you settled in.”
Brody followed Ron out of the captain’s office and through the living area.
“I guess you’ve already figured out that this is where we hang out,” Ron said.
“There’s also a well-equipped weight room next to the captain’s office.” Ron stepped through a doorway. “And here’s where we bunk.”
Brody examined the room and saw a row of single beds lined up next to each other. “I guess one of those beds will be mine, right?”
“Yeah, for two nights out of every four. The one at the far end of the room isn’t being used on this shift, so it’ll be yours, along with the nightstand on the other side of it. At the end of your shift, the bed will be made up with clean sheets for the next guy. One of the two lockers across the room from your bed will be for your personal stuff. The nightstand is shared with the guy on the other shift, but the locker is yours, even when you’re not on duty.”
Brody followed Ron into a bathroom that contained two stalls, a pair of urinals, and a large communal shower area. Ron led him from there into a smaller room containing two single beds. “And here’s where the captain and I sleep. Any questions?”
“Good. Take a few minutes to round up your shaving gear and clothes, and get them stashed in your locker. You’re already wearing dark blue khakis, so I’ll find you a T-shirt with the department logo. By the time you’ve taken care of that, breakfast will be ready.”
Brody made quick work of retrieving his clothing and personal items, and putting them in the locker. Fortunately, he’d been told to bring a padlock and key. After a quick trip to the bathroom, he made his way to the kitchen area, where he found the trestle table occupied by several men.
Ron spotted him and said, “Guys, I want you to welcome Brody Murphy to our little band. Brody is an RN, and will be my new helper on the EMT wagon. I don’t expect you to remember everyone’s name, Brody; but from my left, you’re looking at Harry, Jonas, Monty, and Parker. The captain you already know. Now have a seat and help yourself to breakfast. If we’re lucky, we’ll be able to eat without interruption.”
“Interruption?” Brody said.
“Calls to the fire department seem to have a habit of coming at mealtimes.”
Brody looked at the serving dishes in front of him and quickly selected scrambled eggs, sausage, toast, and bacon.
One of the men said, “So, Brody, do you have a girlfriend?”
“I hope so.”
“You hope so?”
“Well, I’ve been dating someone for a couple of years. She’s visiting family in Iowa at the moment, and when she comes home next week, we might have a problem.”
“Mind if I ask why?”
“Yeah. She didn’t want me to take this job, and she’ll be pissed when she finds out I took it.”
Jonas, the first guy he’d met, said, “If she’s a control freak, then good riddance.”
“That’s easier said than done, Jonas,” one of the men said.
“Yeah,” Jonas said, “but in the long run it’s for the best. I speak from bitter experience.”
“That’s right,” Monty said. “I remember that blonde bitch that gave you so much grief about your job.”
“Well, she’s giving someone else grief these days,” Jonas said.
“Don’t let these guys get you down, Brody,” Ron said. “They’re a bunch of cynics.”
“You young guys are all so polite,” one of the men said.
“Yeah, but he’ll get over it in a hurry,” someone else said.
Body had just finished his breakfast when Ron said, “Take your plate to the sink and rinse it off, Brody. You’ll get your turn at KP duty, but not today.”
“Where are you going to start him, Ron?” the captain said.
“He needs to know where to find things in a hurry,” Ron said, “so we’re going to inventory the ambulance.”