I sat on top of a bookshelf waiting for the girl on the floor to untangle herself from this mortal coil. Knowing I had some time to kill, I decided to play a game of solitaire.
I am nothing if not patient. You might even say patience is hard-wired into my makeup. It’s what I do best.
Just as I was about to lose my first game, the girl flat-lined. The paramedic with the defibrillator, who I now knew as Eddie, groaned in frustration.
“Come on, honey, don’t die on me now, come on, come on!” His voice had the frayed edge of hysteria in it. I was charmed despite myself.
The other paramedic (Jose, if anyone’s taking notes) methodically lit a cigarette. “You’re still too green, hombre. Buck up. You’ll get used to it. It gets better after your hundredth KO or so.”
KO was the euphemism Jose used to refer to a patient’s death. “Knock Out.” As if every life on the brink was a video game, every emergency a chance to earn bonus points. He’d personally witnessed over a thousand deaths, having worked as a paramedic for about ten years.
Eddie’s trembling hands went up to cover his eyes. “My God, I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to it.”
And the funny thing is, I knew just what he meant.