The alarm clock screamed out the lyrics to Stronger by Kanye West... Appropriate considering how sore and slow she felt. She sat up in bed and rubbed her temples in an attempt to simultaneously clear the cobwebs and will herself to get up and get moving.
“Hey, turn the alarm off, will ya?”
Her husband rolled over and slapped the small digital clock hard. The glass of water that had taken up residence on the nighstand spilled it's contents all over. The alarm was finally quiet, Kanye stunned into silence for a few more minutes.
Her joints hurt, her back ached, her head throbbed. She felt significantly older than her 31 years.
That that don't kill me, can only make me stronger....I need you to hurry up now, 'cause I can't wait much longer....
“God I hate that song.” She mumbled to herself. She managed to get to her feet and descend down the stairs to her living room.
The house was dark, the cold cherry wood floors she loved so much when they bought it now seem like just another irritation in the morning. The living room's only source of light came from the blinking display on the DVD player.
She stepped on no less than three small dog toys on the way to the bathroom. She could hear her dog furiously lapping up water in the kitchen.
The small space heater warmed her tiny bathroom up quickly, and for that small comfort she was grateful. She turned the shower on with the water set as hot as she could take it. The massage head pounded on her stiff muscles, in a pitiful attempt to work the tension out of them. It failed miserably.
She stepped out of the shower and cursed the icy tile floor in her bathroom, the climate, the hour of the day, and the fact that she ever decided to take a shift that starts so blessed early in the morning.
6am to 6pm. Twelve hour days, often longer, depending on which agent of Satan would be dispatching that day.
“Time to go save some lives!” Her uniform called out.
Her mind argued back: Save some lives? SAVE SOME LIVES??? Are you KIDDING? More like, Time to go take Grandma to her wound care appointment! Time for yet another dialysis run!
The Uniform wouldn't back down: Put me on. You might not be literally saving a life, but you have the chance to have an impact on people. And that's why you became an EMT. Quit your whining, put on your big girl pants, and go to work.
Kat Keller blinked. “I can't believe I'm having a mental argument with my uniform.”
She surrendered to the uniform's demands.
Black BDU pants.
White button down shirt.
She looked in the mirror, dark bags hung under her green eyes. Kat quickly applied some makeup, grabbed her sunglasses, and made her way through the house to the back door. Her brown and white Beagle, Echo, met her there, tail wagging, dragging his leash behind him. She bent down to pet him. “I'm sorry, baby, Daddy's going to have to take you for a walk, I'm running late.” The dog was not impressed. “Echo... go get Daddy... Go get him!” Kat patted him on the backside and watched as the dog charged towards the staircase leading to their loft bedroom.
He'll be thanking me for that later I'm sure.
Katrina grabbed her purse and lunch and headed out the door. The brisk cold air took her breath away and her small car offered little solace. She muttered under her breath, rubbing her hands together.
This is ridiculous. I live in the wrong climate altogether.
She started her car and backed out of the long driveway. The ride to the station was only ten minutes, and at this time of the morning the streets were mostly empty. She stopped at the light in front of the Starbucks and stared longingly at the tan building, it's parking lot already half full.
No Coffee this morning, Kat... You took too damn long getting ready.
No sooner than she pulled into the parking lot of the station did her pager start going off.
Call Dispatch ASAP.
“Great.” She said to no one in particular. She grabbed her bags and headed in.
“Gooood Morning Sunshine!” The voice seemed to come out of nowhere.
Kat tossed her bags down and tried to summon a smile for her partner. “Sorry I'm late, Matt... It was a long night.”
He emerged from the back of the ambulance. “Not a problem, beautiful. You better call dispatch though, they're looking for you.”
Matt Crawford had been Katrina's partner for the past six months. She found that they complimented each other very well. When she was in a bad mood, he was effortlessly able to cheer her up. When he was irate over some injustice she was able to calm him with a quick look. They got along well. At almost six and a half feet tall, 250 pounds, with the haircut and build of a Marine, he came across as seriously intimidating. Kat knew better. He was a teddy bear until the situation called for the Grizzly in him to come out. She was grateful to be working with him.
Katrina clocked in, four minutes late, and dialed the number to the dispatch office.
“Addams Ambulance – Communications” The voice answered.
“Hey Ben, it's Kat, I'm in.” Kat spit out as she pulled her long red hair up into a ponytail.
“Glad you could grace us with your presence.” He snapped. “I got you on the board.”
The line went dead. He had hung up on her.
Well, he's in a wonderful mood this morning... Kat thought, placing the handset back on the base.
Matt came in from the garage, metal clipboard in hand. “The main O2 needs to be replaced, we need a few cannulas, and fuel. I don't know who worked here yesterday, but they left the truck trashed.”
“Fantastic. What a great start to the morning.”
“Come on Kat... let's go live the dream.” Matt winked at her as he jumped in the passenger's seat.