"She came in through the bathroom window"
I'm Karl. I'm six-four, 240. I'm fifty--a retired EMT. I live next to a busy street. I keep my sliding glass door open for ventilation and have my computer next to it. I was typing away at a story when I heard a shot. I snapped my head to the left, just in time to see a bicyclist dive off the road and headlong into a tree. They bonelessly tumbled down the embankment wrapped up in their bike only to come to rest in a heap on the lawn not ten feet from my door.
"Protected by a silver spoon"
I dashed across the room and grabbed my M3 medic pack, slammed open the screen door and raced to their side. Her side. No guy around here would be caught dead in a hot pink and silver lycra biking suit. One of those dinky it's-so-cute little perforated silver bike helmets was strapped to her head. I did a basic survey, gently felt along her vertebrae for anything depressed or mis-aligned. So far, so good. I gently placed my hands to either side of her head and gently pulled in line with her spine. Nothing grated or felt wrong. I could see no limbs bending the wrong way or in places they shouldn't so I began to roll her to her back. That's when I noticed the blood. She was copiously bleeding from a deep laceration in her head. I got her un-tangled from her bike and supine. I un-buckled her brain bucket and checked out the damage. It appeared that the shot I'd heard had given her a depressed fracture horizontally across the prefrontal lobes. Crap. I checked her eyes with a flashlight. They were dilated and unresponsive. No, there. I had some reflex. I heard sirens so I quickly ran back to my apartment for my wallet and responder ID. The gurney guys were coming down the embankment as I came up to meet them. I flashed my ID. and told them what I'd found.
"Depressed fracture 6 cm above ocular ridge. probable gunshot, compounded by bike-tree collision. Cervical vertebrae clear. Eyes dilated and minimally responsive." They got her velcroed down to a back board and into the ambulance fast. One guy stayed behind to get my ID as first responder. I heard the radio chatter over the sound of the siren as the crew called in the call. The sound faded in the distance as the guy who took my information headed for the fire-truck for a ride back to his crew. I sighed, coming down from the adrenalin hit. Now I hurt all over. This is why I got out of the business--the toll it takes on your body. It's a young man's game. I picked up the girl's bike and rolled it over to the bench I keep outside my apartment. Nice bike. It wouldn't stay long if I didn't lock it up. I had a padlock and fished around for some chain that I knew I had kicking around. Ah. Found it. I chained it through both wheels and the frame. The seat was on a quick-release so I pulled it off to take in with me. Then I found the little hold-out under the seat. It had a credit card, a driver's license, a passport and a small key ring. I sat down and looked over her ID. Andressa Oljesson. She was pretty--5'2", about 110 pounds and well-built. She sported a 'Blondie' skull-cap hairdo and had the lightest blue eyes I'd ever seen. She was a Danish citizen living in the U.S. on a teaching visa. The keys were to a SAAB. Not too shabby. My computer was still on so I Googled her name. Holy crap! This woman was a research biochemist with more degrees after her name than God's got Chicklets. She was in the middle of some really nasty controversy. Maybe she hadn't been shot by accident. I didn't want to tie anything to my cell phone so I drove down to Walgreen's and bought a pay-as-you-go phone and put ten hours of minutes on it with a few cards. I headed back home, Googled "Embassies", found a number for the Danish embassy in D.C. and called.
"Hello. One of your nationals just had a nasty accident and is in a hospital near Geneva Illinois. Andressa Oljesson. I believe she was shot while on her bike. I was the first responder and have her ID."
"Quickly. Does anyone else know who she is?"
"No. The EMTs took her away before I found her ID under her bicycle seat. I bought a disposable phone and called you immediately."
"Good. Very good. We will fly a doctor and a security team out as soon as we can. Thank you."
"I still have her credit card, passport and keys. How can I get them to you?"
"We will be there tomorrow early. Lars. Yes--look for an extremely large gentleman that likes--spotted ties."
"Polka-dots?" "Yes! That is the word. He is blonde and looks like a weight lifter. He IS a weight lifter!"
"OK. Tomorrow. I'll bring her bike in my jeep as well."
"Thank you. Good bye."
Well, that was that. I didn't want to stand out waiting around the hospital so I stripped the dry-cleaning bags off my old EMT uniform and checked it out. I filled all the little pockets and do-dad holders and cleaned up my utility belt, then stocked it. I found my old duty sneakers, had dinner and went to bed.
At six I woke, as usual, took a shower, got dressed in my finery, loaded the bike in the jeep, pocketed her ID and stuff in a shirt pocket with a velcro closure and headed out. I stopped for a danish and coffee at Panera and headed for the hospital. I parked in general parking and made my way around to the Emergency room. God, it brought back memories, and not a lot of good ones. The sights, the smells, the sounds. I knew I had to tough it out. I slouched like I'd just pulled a 16-hour shift, put on a tired-bored face and walked up to the triage desk. The duty nurse noticed my wrinkles and grey crew-cut, then my uniform and service hash-marks. I glanced around. "Between waves. Quiet."
I got a smile. "Stick around."
"I'll bet. I triaged the bike-tree yesterday afternoon that came in from Randall near 64. Any joy?"
I got a distracted frown. "Not really. Jane Doe. Good call--gunshot across the lobes. Stable, out of surgery."
I nodded "Good." I leaned over towards him. He leaned over towards me with a question in his eyes.
"No Jane Doe. I found ID under the bike seat. Danish embassy coming today. It's gonna be a big stink. Keep it low and slow. We don't want to get caught up in the prop wash." He nodded and settled back. "Visiting?"
He looked at an LCD display, paged down a few times. "3100. It's an eight-bed." I nodded. Cheap room next to the nurse's station. "Call 3 and let 'em know an interested party's coming up?" "Sure." He was already reaching for the phone. I headed for the lift. On 3 I checked in and stuck my nose into the ward. There she was, flat on her back with her head swaddled up like a facial reconstruction customer. I checked her hands and found the road rash from the tree bark that I'd barely noticed the day before. Yep, same customer. I checked her chart. They'd done about all they could except pump her full of antibiotics to keep hospital-borne infections at bay. I nodded. She would be as stable as she was going to get in about six hours. I conned my way into the nurse's station in return for telling her story, pitched fifty cents into the kitty and drew a coffee. Bleah. Iron and copper. It never changed. The pot never got washed, either.
I hung around for a while listening to the gossip and complaints, watching the rhythm of the floor. After doctor's rounds and lunch it got quiet. Suddenly several things happened at once. The elevator opened and out came six really big guys, one with a blonde crew-cut in a suit and a green polka-dot tie. Ahh, my contact. I stood up and slowly started their way. As I was passing a door opened opposite the nurse's station and an arm came out with a pistol in it and began shooting. Everything slowed down. I grabbed the wrist with my right hand while I was pulling my windshield hammer off my belt with my left. I pulled the guy down before me and let him have it with a full-arm swing behind the ear. Crunch. He stopped moving. I noticed that there were two other guys shooting from the other side of the elevator. The guys that had just come up in it were all on the floor bleeding. I was pissed. I calmly picked up the pistol and shot both of the shit heads in the head. "Not in a hospital, you assholes." I realized that I was standing there with a smoking pistol in my hand. I forced it back into the dead guy's hand and massaged his grip back around it.
Blondie was slowly scrabbling at a brief-case. I approached him and dropped to my knees. I could see that he wasn't long for this world--he'd taken a spinal shot and was bleeding in deep heavy spurts. He saw me and gasped a bit, pulled himself together and said "Take this. Sat-phone. Get her out of here." He breathed a couple more times then stopped. Damn. They made that guy out of steel and rawhide. I shook my head. I took the briefcase and walked into her ward. All the nurses had run like hell. I looked up and down the hall. I couldn't find an empty room. I pulled her IVs, unlocked the bed wheels and rolled her into the big transport elevator. I took her up to 4. The nurses were gone there, too. I found an empty two-bed and set her up, pretty as can be. I found some blank forms at the nurse's station and faked up a chart for her, scribbled a follow-up for a jaw reconstruction and left out the front door looking as if I knew what I was doing.
.... There is more of this story ...