Never, never, never give up.– Winston Churchill
“Don’t die on me!” Booktown paramedic Jay Wylie said out loud through gritted teeth. Sweat beads dotted his balding head as he pressed his hands into the chest of the man lying on the ground. He pressed three more times.
“Come back!” he urged and tried three more compressions.
“I think you can stop now.” The voice came from a younger, dark-haired paramedic kneeling on the other side of the stretched-out body. “It’s been long enough.”
Jay slowly removed his hands from the man’s chest and breathed in deeply. A long exhale followed. “Dammit,” he finally said and looked over at his partner. “I’ve been at this a long time, and losing one never gets easier.”
“I don’t think he had a chance,” the younger man said as he stood up. “Must’ve been quite a hit. Look how far back that shoe is.”
For the first time since arriving on the scene, Jay looked at the lifeless man’s feet and saw only one shoe – a fluorescent green running shoe. He glanced back and saw the mate at least forty feet down the road. Jay slowly shook his head.
“Looks like he’s got an ID bracelet on his wrist,” the standing man said, pointing to the victim’s arm.
Jay looked down at the fallen man’s arm and gently lifted it at the wrist to read the bracelet, instinctively performing one last pulse check as he did so.
“Says Arthur Dunn. Looks like there’s an emergency contact number, too. Guess this qualifies, huh? We’ll let the patrolman know. Maybe it’ll make his job a little easier.” Jay’s eyebrows furrowed. “Also says POFIFOTO. What do you think that means?”
The younger paramedic shrugged. “Don’t know. I’ll get the sheet,” he said and walked over to the ambulance.
Jay stood and wiped his forehead with the back of his sleeve as he surveyed the scene. “I guess no one plans to be run over when they go running,” he thought to himself. “Guy probably thought this was a safe route, too.”
Jay’s partner returned along with the highway patrolman who had been investigating the scene. The patrolman looked down at the crumpled body and frowned.
“Don’t think he had a chance,” Jay offered. “Pretty tough lick. I didn’t see any skid marks. Did the guy not even slow down?
“Don’t think so,” agreed the patrolman. “Didn’t seem the least bit sorry, either. Said the guy just ran out in front of him, which I don’t believe based on the evidence and a couple of the witnesses. But we’ve had trouble with this guy before. His name is Mr. Cross. Bill Cross. Had a few other crashes involving him. Never could pin fault on him, though. Maybe this time will be different. Unfortunately, he’s been around so long everyone thinks he’s a great guy.”
“I doubt this guy thinks so,” Jay remarked.
The younger paramedic unfurled the privacy sheet he had retrieved from the ambulance and covered the man’s feet. He gently worked his way up the body, finally covering the head.
“I was hoping I wouldn’t need the coroner,” the patrolman said. “But looks like my investigation just got a little longer. I’ll be right back,” he said and began walking back to his cruiser to fetch the barrier he’d use to block the view of the body from onlookers. “Did you say something?” The patrolman asked, turning back to face Jay.
“I didn’t say anything,” Jay said. Then he heard it, too. Dropping to a knee, Jay ripped back the sheet. The dead man let out another soft moan as Jay placed a finger on the side of the man’s neck. “It’s faint, but it’s there! We have a pulse! Quick, let’s get him in the ambulance. Booktown hasn’t lost him yet!”
Put one foot in front of the other (POFIFOTO) and soon you’ll be walking cross the floor. – Kris Kringle
It is never too late to be what you might have been.– George Eliot
He’s no failure. He’s not dead yet. – W.L. George