Eric stood in front of the building. He had to admit, it wasn’t what he was expecting.
There was a sign proudly reading “Samwell University First Aid Squad” hung over two bay doors, behind which two ambulances sat contently. Nothing out of the ordinary.
Then Eric noticed the scribbles on the threshold of the bay doors. He thought it was dirt at first, but then he noticed the letters “AB” and the word “Shitty,” and the frequent appearances of both. He’d have to ask about those.
Eric rang the doorbell at what he assumed must be the entrance. A man with long hair and a mustache appeared and opened the door.
“Lards, I could’ve sworn I gave you a key,” the man said. Then he noticed Eric. “And you are not Lardo.”
Eric cleared his throat in an attempt to dispel his awkwardness. “Hi, I’m Eric Bittle, I’m the new recruit,” he said.
“Oh, s’wawesome, brah! Come on in!” The mustached man held the door for him. “I’m Shitty, by the way.”
Eric blinked. “Pardon?”
“My name is Shitty. Well, it’s not my real name, but who cares, right?”
“Shitty” led Eric down a short hallway with a few doors, which eventually opened up into a crew room with two couches that had clearly seen better days and a TV.
There were two more men in the crew room, sitting with their laptops. One was blonde and wearing glasses. The other was dark-skinned and wore a navy baseball cap backward, displaying the last name “Oluransi.”
“New recruit?” the blonde asked, acknowledging Eric.
“Yup! I’m Eric Bittle, nice to meet you,” he said cheerily.
“You too,” the one with the baseball cap replied. “I’m Ransom, he’s Holster.”
It was at this moment that Eric noticed the kitchenette at the other end of the crew room. He rushed over and began poking through the cabinets, though his only findings were a bizarrely large collection of sriracha sauce, several boxes of stale pretzels, and three packets of Swiss Miss hot chocolate. He frowned at the dirty stove and the old oven, which looked like it wouldn’t even turn on.
“You poor thing…” he mumbled.
Eric didn’t realize it, but he had a bit of an audience.
“What’s he doing?” Ransom asked.
“Some kind of kitchen whisperer shit,” Holster replied.
“I wouldn’t bother trying to make anything in that oven,” Shitty said loudly, trying to get Eric’s attention. “It’s been broken since I started here.”
“Did you break it?” Holster asked.
Shitty shook his head. “Nah. I’ve broken a lot of things, but not the oven. That was Jess Wallace.”
“Of course it was Jess.”
In the amount of time it took Shitty, Ransom, and Holster to have that conversation, Eric now had a pie in his hands. The three of them gaped.
Eric looked sheepish. “Sorry! Sometimes when I’m in kitchens, pies just… appear.”
“Don’t be sorry, man!” Shitty said. He clapped Eric on the back with considerable force, causing him to jump. “That shit’s awesome.”
“Seriously,” Ransom said, mouth full of pie. “This thing is delicious.”
“Why thank you,” Eric replied.
The click of the door opening signaled the entrance of another person into the crew room. He was tall, with black hair and striking blue eyes. He had a radio on his belt and a navy polo with the squad logo on one side and “ZIMMERMANN, CAPT.” on the other.
“Sorry I’m late,” he said.
Shitty practically tackled the newcomer with a hug. “Jack!” he exclaimed. “You have got to meet the new kid. He got the oven to work! And made a fucking pie!”
“Oh, it was nothing,” Eric said, waving his hand dismissively. “You must be Mr. Zimmermann. I’m Eric Bittle. It’s nice to finally meet you in person!”
“You as well. And Jack is fine,” he replied. “Hopefully you weren’t waiting too long.”
“Not at all. I had just enough time to meet these three.”
Holster added, “And make a pie.”
“Well, I’ll give you a tour of the station, and then I can have you start your first rig check,” Jack said. Eric noticed he had a light, smooth accent.
Eric smiled. “Sounds good to me!”
Jack led Eric back down the short hallway. He pointed out a door on their right. “Here’s the office. You’ll probably only need to go in there for the mail slots.” He smiled slightly. “It’s also where you’ll usually find me.”
“Workaholic?” Eric asked.
Jack shrugged. “You’d be surprised by the amount of paperwork I have to do.”
At the next door, Jack said, “This leads up to the bunk room, but we don’t really use it. The bathroom is upstairs though.”
Jack held open the next door, which was on the left this time, and led to the bay. “And here’s the bay. We keep extra supplies in that back room over there.” He pointed to a door in the back corner. “And these are our rigs, four-two and four-three. I’ll go grab a form, and then we can go through a rig check on four-two.”
Eric nodded. Jack left momentarily, then returned with a paper on a clipboard and a pen. He handed those to Eric, then moved to the far side of the ambulance closest to them and opened a compartment. It was occupied by two large bags, one green, one red.
“We keep all of our bags in here. It should be labeled Exterior Compartment 1 on that sheet,” Jack explained.
“So one of those is the jump bag and one is the trauma bag, and then there’s a defibrillator somewhere in there?” Eric asked.
“Exactly.” Jack pulled out the green bag. “This is our jump bag. It goes on every call. It has a little bit of everything.” He then proceeded to open up each compartment, explain what was in it and how it worked, and show Eric what he had to check on the form.
After they finished the jump bag, they moved to the compartments inside the ambulance. As Eric counted a stack of nasal cannula, Jack asked, “Do you have your EMT?”
“Yeah. I have a Georgia EMT, but I don’t know if I need to do something for Massachusetts,” Eric replied.
“Georgia, eh?” Jack said. “Explains the accent.”
“You’re one to talk, Mr. Zimmermann,” Eric quipped. “Where are you from?”
“Huh, I didn’t know they had EMS in Canada.”
“It’s different from the United States,” Jack said. “But back to you and your certs. Do you pass the National Registry?”
“You should be able to apply for a Massachusetts EMT with your National Registry number.”
“Alright, good to know!” Eric poked through another plastic box. “You’re missing size 30 nasal airways,” he noted.
“Good excuse for me to show you the storage room.” Jack led Eric to the back of the bay, where there was a small room lined with shelves, each filled with various plastic and cardboard boxes labeled with scrawled marker. “We have the shelves organized by purpose. So anything for airway and vitals is here, trauma is on the next one down, and anything else is up against the back wall over there,” Jack described. He tipped back a cardboard box on the first shelf labeled “Nasal/Oral Airways.” “You said size 30, right?”
Jack and Eric replaced the missing nasal airway and finished up the interior compartments, then moved on to the exterior. After Jack quizzed him on his knowledge of operating a stair-chair, Eric said, “You really love this, don’t you.”
Jack had a quizzical expression. “What makes you say that?”
Eric shrugged. “Just the way you talk, like when you’re explaining something.” He quickly amended, “But it might just be the accent.”
The captain smiled slightly.
They finished the rig check and made their way back to the crew room.
Shitty sat up from where he was splayed on a green couch that looked disgusting. “And they’re back! Hope Jack didn’t bore you too much.”
“Oh, not at all!” Eric said. He turned slightly towards Jack and added, “I actually learned a lot.”
“I’m glad,” Jack replied. “You have to do two more before you can start taking calls, so you can come down any time I’m here. I’ll give you my number so we can coordinate.”
“Oh! Uh…” Eric ultimately settled on just passing Jack his phone with an open contact instead of saying a cohesive thought. Once he regained his phone and his composure, Eric said, “Well, it was nice to meet you all! Jack, thank you for the tour and everything. I’ll see you around!”
As Eric left, Shitty called out, “And hey, be careful! We want you working the box, not in it!”
Eric just smiled.