Her fellow EMTs loved Kali from the minute she came onto the team. She could swear a blue streak, set broken bones or deliver babies without batting an eye and then go out and drink most of them under the table. She was also some kind of savant when it came to dealing with the drunks and crazies.
Then Harlan came onto the team. Harlan was older and had some kind of complicated history. From his first time out with Kali, it was clear that he really knew his stuff and that he fully expected Kali and everyone else on the team to do as he instructed (although interestingly, he always had her drive the ambulance). Some of the team — some of the guys on the team it should be noted — took exception to this attitude. Harlan didn’t care. In a remarkably short period of time he was team leader and Curtis, the former leader, had quit in a profanity-laden rage.
Kali rolled with stuff and soon she and Harlan were solid. She learned a lot from him but there always seemed to be a wall you’d come up against with Harlan, someplace he wasn’t going to go. Like about Kali driving. She was sure an old guy like Harlan would insist on driving. Go figure.
One night after their shift the conversation in the bar turned to The Golden Hour and whether it was complete BS or not. It was a dumb argument because everyone knew you just got the injured to the nearest trauma unit as fast as possible. The idea that you had this magic hour before the damage was permanent was a charming relic of the last century.
“What do you say, Old Timer?” Bud grinned.
“What do I say about what, Wet Behind the Ears?” Harlan was on his second, and final, beer of the night. He never had more than two.
“The Golden Hour. Is it real?”
Kali watched Harlan grin and relaxed. “Hell, no, it’s not real.” He drained his beer and stood up. “More like half an hour usually, so don’t screw around.”
“Ready to roll, partner?” Kali always drove him home.
Turns out the time between the accident and the first sirens is eternity. Nothing Golden about it. Kali was banged up but vertical and worked to keep Harlan conscious, not even trying to avoid the wash of blood coming out of the crushed door panel.
Siren screaming, tearing through intersections with lights flashing, all Kali could think about was that clock ticking away the minutes of Harlan’s Golden Hour. It was her first time riding in the back of an ambulance. The van that somehow had broadsided them on the raised roadbed of the highway had totally T-boned Kali’s old Chevy, pinning Harlan in and breaking both his legs.
Later, too late, as it turned out, Harlan had been right. He’d only had about half an hour before bleeding out from that severed femoral artery.
© Remington Write 2020. All Rights Reserved.
Read AleXander Hirka’s version here:
In August 2020, AleXander Hirka set himself the challenge of creating a daily digital collage based on an image and a concept. The image is that of the antique Omega watch that belonged to his Mom and the concept is Time. In September 2020, the Anomalous Duo is challenging themselves to write a short piece of fiction for each collage — the Our Hours project.