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Special Delivery – Late

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Claudia slowed to a stop and shifted in her seat. “What’s the holdup?” She touched the button sending her window down. Leaning out, she craned her neck and looked at the stopped vehicles and people clustered on the sidewalks. “I’m gonna be late for work.” She reached for her phone and checked the time. “Yup, unless these vehicles move now, I’m gonna be super late.”

“Hey! EMT!”

Claudia turned her head to the voice. She saw Red Crane waving at her. “Yeah. What’s up?”

“You’re the medic that picked me up a month ago,” Red Crane said as he approached Claudia. “My partner is trapped up there. Nothing can move. Can you help?”

“I’m really not supposed to—”

“Come on,” Red Crane whined and looked at the sky. “You’re an EMT. Aren’t you supposed to do a good deed or something?” He shrugged and held his arms wide.

“That’s the scouts,” Claudia said raising an eyebrow. She sighed then mumbled, “I’m gonna be late, anyway.” Turning her steering wheel, she pointed her car for a vacant parking spot. Moving slow, and avoiding the nearby cars, Claudia parked her car and got out. “Show me.”

“Excellent!” Red Crane walked toward the center of the accident. “It was crazy. Race and I were going after Adhesive.”

“Race?” Claudia jogged to get alongside of Red Crane.

“Oh, yeah,” Red Crane said. “He’s new. Not a full on speedster, but can move quick enough. Anyway, he and I tracked down Adhesive. She was robbing the large bank up ahead. We got her out of the bank, but she was turning tail. Race bolted after her when Adhesive tossed one of her glue traps behind her. Race, being new and all, was stuck.”

“So you need me to get Race out of the glue,” Claudia said, slowing. “I don’t see how this is an emergency.”

“Just listen.” Red Crane waved a hand. “This garbage truck comes barreling around the corner. The driver slams on the brakes, but it isn’t enough to stop it. I saw the driver turning the wheel and the back side of the truck spun around. It clipped Race, bending him over.”

“So a broken ankle?”

“Not exactly,” Red Crane said. “Look.” He pointed to the large truck.

“Oh, that’s gonna hurt,” Claudia said and dashed forward. She slowed when she saw the board laying across the glue. “Right. Glue.” Stepping lightly, she made her way to the horizontal man. “Race. Race. Can you hear me?” A moan answered her. “I’m EMT Hernandez. I’m going to get you out of here.” Another moan.

Claudia looked at Race’s lower extremities. Both of his legs were broken and bones protruded from skin just below the knees. “Gross,” Claudia muttered. “I can’t splint that. But I can freeze the glue.” Reaching into her kit bag, she pulled two metal cylinders and a spray nozzle. Inserting one cylinder into the nozzle, she sprayed the area at Race’s feet. The glue turned a hazy shade of beige. She gripped the top of Race’s boot and tugged. It didn’t come loose. “One more.” After repeating the spraying motion, she tapped the glue area. It sounded like concrete. Prying again, this time a large hunk of the glue came up with the boot. Reaching over, she pulled the other boot up. Putting the nozzle away, she pulled out an aerosol can. “This is going to..Never mind. You don’t care.” Holding the can near the wounds, she tapped the red top of the can and it hissed. A white mist made a dot on Race’s costume. He moaned louder, then his head slumped, and he was silent.

Claudia rose, walked the narrow wooden path back to the asphalt, and snapped on two latex gloves. She pulled her cell out of her pocket and dialed. “Heart of Mercy, this is EMT Claudia Hernandez. I am transporting a patient with the handle of Race.” She paused and tilted her head. “No, I’m not active at the moment.” Another pause. “I’m sure you can work something out…What?…Sure, go ahead. Multiple compound fractures with protrusions. I’m on my way. Look for the big girl.”

“Big girl?” Red Crane moved beside her. “You’re maybe six feet. That’s not all that big.”

Claudia smirked and snorted. “Watch.” Raising her fists to shoulder height, she inhaled through her nose. Letting it out from her mouth, she shoved her fists to her waist and grew by a factor of five. Those nearby stepped back and craned their heads skywards and several shielded their eyes.

Claudia bent at the knees and worked her fingers under the prone form of Race. Lifting him clear of the glue, she waved and high stepped over people and vehicles. She cleared a quarter of a block in just a few strides. Within a few blocks, her pace quickened.

Turning a corner, Heart of Mercy hospital came into view. Moving to the emergency entrance, she squatted to fit under the overhang. Two white clad medical staff ran to her and rolled a gurney forward. “Here’s Race. Just like I called in, multiple compound fractures.”

“We’ll take it from here, EMT,” one of the people said and rolled their new patient away.

Inching backward, Claudia stood and double timed it back to her car. Red Crane waited for her.

“OK, now I understand big girl,” he said as she shrunk to her normal size.

Smiling, she looked at him, “Yup. When I responded to your call, you were unconscious, so you missed the excitement. Now, I have to get to work. And possibly be fired.”

“Oh,” Red Crane said and stepped aside. He clenched his gloved hands and shook his head. “I’m so sorry. I hope they don’t.”

“Well, who knows?” She waved and got in her car. After some precarious backing, she drove off.

“Hernandez!” Amanda Charles’ voice preceded the sound of her stomping feet down the hall. “You’re nearly an hour late.” She stopped a pace from the taller woman and looked up at the EMT’s face. “Let me guess, you didn’t hear your alarm or traffic. Some lame ass excuse, I bet.”

“Not exactly,” Claudia said with a sigh. She explained about the traffic and its cause. “As soon as I delivered my patient, I hightailed it back to my car and drove straight to work. I’m prepared to work a double to cover my time.”

“Uhh…Ms. Charles,” a mousy woman said walking passed both of them. “There’s a call for you on three.”

Amanda tapped her cell and put it to her ear. “Charles, go.” A voice came over the small speaker, but it was muffled by Amanda’s ear. “I see. Both of them? And their entire team? Even some civilians, which we don’t send SD to pick up. Understood.”

Claudia looked at Amanda. “Was that important?”

“Yes.” Amanda tapped the hangup button on her phone and shoved it onto the clip at her belt. “Red Crane, Race, and the entire Street Sweepers have upgraded to gold status. All eight of them. Along with a dozen civilians. They all have the same story about an off duty EMT helping. It seems they think she would get in trouble and possibly fired.”

Claudia smiled and stifled a giggle.

“It’s a good thing she didn’t get fired or even reprimanded,” Amanda said, shooting a faux-stern look at Claudia. “No get back to work.”

Published inshort storySpecial DeliverySuperhero

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