I tried not to think about the case or the kids but I couldn’t not think about it. It was over-- but I still had no idea what it was all about. Worse, I know just how close that monster had come to finishing it. I know it’s probably better if I don’t dwell on it, but I just can’t let it go.
The lives of five children have been changed forever. Changed because of some mad dream that no one is willing to talk about. I look at Bri and I just want to hold her, protect her from the threats of the world, but I know I can’t do that either. I’m trying not to bring it home– to not see my daughter’s face on those children... but its hard and I’m not taking all that well.
Case isn’t taking all that much better. I can see it in his eyes as he looks at me and Bri. He’d been there, he’d seen what had almost happened– to the children... to me. I think I had that easier. I was fighting– all he could do was pick up the pieces.
I asked him about the spell, but it seems the mages aren’t talking. They still won’t tell anyone what they’d seen or what the ritual was all about.
That more than anything tells me how bad it is. I was ready to read them the riot act until I saw the way they looked after clearing the area– they were numb.
Three days later the images are still all too clear for all of us. Still– I know we’ll get through this. We always do.
PC stopped by this morning with a program designed to let me ‘draw’ what I see into my journal. He warned me that its going to take some getting used to it, but with practice I’d be able to transpose what I see into information that can be stored in the journal.
He was really pleased with himself about the whole thing– until he noticed my half amused expression. He was just a few days too late with it. He took it rather well though all things considered.
He flounced into a chair and pouted. He did perk up when he realized that I’d probably need it someday. I’m not sure that was all that reassuring to me though.
At least things are evening off a bit. Who knows– we just might be able to get back to normal work– whatever that is.
After PC left I started going through my mail. Most of it was boring but there were a few gems, especially one from my ‘medics’ box (as opposed to the director’s box).
It was a blanket letter to all motor-medics– some guy outside of Citywide seems to feel we need to form a union so that ‘the man’ doesn’t walk all over us.
Of course the gentleman in question isn’t even a member of Citywide... and he doesn’t realize that I’m ‘the man’. It could prove amusing.
Ray was waiting for me when I came on shift, with a copy of the union letter. This one was much worse than the one I’d received yesterday.
It just got worse from there– including a cartoon of some vapid looking bim holding an accounting book, telling a medic that the job is not about lives, its about numbers...
I looked at Ray, who was busy shaking his head. “They have no clue...”
I grinned. “Yeah... but they’re going to learn.”
“You’re going to the meeting aren’t you?”
“Hell yes!” I looked at him for a moment and asked, “you?”
He nodded. “They get rid of you– I’m next in command.”
“See ya Friday...”
Ray nodded. “Should we tell the establishment.”
“What, rat the movement out to ‘the man’?”
At least we’ve gotten a laugh out of the whole thing. I’m just not sure how bad the campaign is going to get before Friday.
I do know I’m not letting some power hungry idjit take control of my program– been there...picked up the pieces.
Today, I got four copies of the latest propaganda. Either my people are watching out for me, or they want to make sure I’m in on the joke. Knowing some of them, there’s a betting pool up and running already.
I also have 4 offers to cover my shift Friday so that I can attend the meeting.
The thing that bothers me is the fact that all the propaganda so far is based on variations of ‘Administration doesn’t know or care about your needs, but we do.’ There’s no explanation of how they know, what their qualifications are– just assaults on my existence as director of the program.
From the looks of things they haven’t even researched me all that much. I mean– they make it sound like some bim who crawled out of the woodwork and took over the program at Citywide’s request.
I mean... how hard is it to check the rosters and the information we publish about the program to find out that I’m the one who brought the program out here, that I’m an active member of the motormedic program?
It just stinks and I’m not sure how– or if I’m going to get any on me. We’ll see in two day’s I guess.
Friday evening is starting going to be interesting.
Last night’s shift was a hectic one– a lot of one and two car accidents that needed attending. I’m glad to say we got everybody to the hospital and our luck is holding there, but when I got home it was all I could do to keep my eyes open.
By the time Case woke me up there were two more fliers, and five more offers to cover my shift. I have a feeling that if its going to get nasty, I want my ‘pioneers’ with me. A lot of the newer folks on the team only know me by name– but they do know their sector leaders.
I’m glad I’m still an active medic. If I had let Citywide talk me into a full time desk slot, I’d probably have a lot less pull when it comes to things like our mysterious union organizers.
I do know that they’re getting ugly and the meeting hasn’t even started. They’re now implying that there’s only one way an incompetent bimbo can get a job like mine with my pay...
No, they are not playing fair at all. On the bright side they aren’t playing with a full deck either– cause if they knew the score, they’d be trying a different tact. I’m not sure exactly what they’d be doing, but I know it would probably be a lot more underhanded.
I figure I’m going to have to make sure all my things are in order before we do battle.
On the bright side, we’ve had no ghost calls. That would be a bit hard to explain to anyone who hadn’t seen it with their own eyes.
I was in rare form by the time the meeting rolled around. Thursday night's shift had a few close calls but it was mostly a quiet night, which gave me a lot of time to think about the upcoming meeting.
Of course, there was no way I could prepare for the direct frontal assault they had waiting for me– but the still didn't know who I was. As far as they could tell I was just one of the medics showing up for the meeting.
I sat with Ray, Smiley, Emmory, Terry and Smythe– the survivors of our first few training programs... my sector chiefs.
As everyone settled down the gentlemen running the meeting introduced themselves.-- by name only. There was no listing of their qualifications or anything else... they just launched into their spiel.
And they started off going for blood: If I didn't know better I wouldn't want me to be running the program.
Man, they talked about the fact that I was only available in my office one day a week; how I made as much as they did as program director and again, I was only doing the job one day a week. They even talked about how I brought my daughter into the office.
To hear them tell it– we needed to do something and they were our salvation.
Still, like I said, they never said anything about themselves. When it came time for Q and A– I figured it was time to change that.
After my first question, the man leading the meeting guaranteed that none of the women in the program would be agreeing with unionizing under them.
It was classic. I asked them how much experience they had, and how much they understood the specific needs of a medic in general and a motormedic in particular.
I got one of the best ‘don't worry your pretty little head about it' responses I've had in a very long time. To be fair, it was more of a ‘women aren't in this for the long haul...' excuse, something about us wanting some excitement before we settle down and raise ourselves some kids.
I knew at least three of the women present, and two who were on duty that managed to raise kids and do the job. Hell we have a few male single parents on the team who manage to handle family and career quite well thank you.
It can be done– all it takes is a good support team.
When they tried to move on– I was right there with the next question. This time they tried to ignore me, but everybody was waiting for my next question.
Unable to avoid me I tried to bring things back to the question.
"Gentlemen, you've pointed out that the program should be run by someone who knows and understands our needs and the ins and outs of the program. You want us to unionize under your direction, which means that you need to understand our particular needs as well. You've told us everything that's wrong with our current management– as you see it and the only change you've offered is your union... "
There was a brief moment silence before the speaker tried to wrest back control. "We've worked with similar programs..."
I think he'd been expecting some opposition, but not from an unassuming looking ‘kid'.
"We've worked with medics in Baltimore and New York as well as Detriot."
I nodded. ‘And you performed the same analysis there as you did here?"
He looked at me for a minute and then his eyes narrowed. "What do you mean by that?"
I smiled. It was time to play the wild card.
"Well– in all your fliers and all your comments here, you talk about how our director is inaccessible and doesn't know the job..."
"And yet you invite me here ‘cause I'm one of the motor medics." I gave him one of my best ‘I'm really trying to understand' smiles. "I mean– every active sector chief, including me is an active motor-medic. We pioneered the program here– we trained our people... we established the coverage we needed and we check with our people on a regular basis to make sure its working. We don't dismiss people because they don't agree with us, or the question what we're doing... we work through it and if they're right– we do something about it."
I looked around, catching a few mischievous smiles from my people. "What makes you think you're going to do any better representing us? We're a major selling point when it comes time to get the contract for city services and we do let management know what's needed. Yeah, I'm only in my office one day a week, but everybody here knows how to reach me any time–"
If looks could kill!
Then again, as he glared at me– I noticed the rest of the crowd. There was no need to worry.
"This is a worker's meeting," he stated looking at me pointedly. I was after all ‘the man.'
I nodded. "And I work for a living."
He tried one more time to turn things around– accusing me of trying to intimidate my crew. I had to laugh as Dwight and Hugh stood up and towed over me.
"Do you think I could intimidate anybody here?"
I sometimes doubt anybody could. We're a rather independent group.
Still– they've rescheduled a meeting– for non-management types only.
I'm fairly certain it was a victory. I hope if something is wrong with the program that people would rather talk to me than to them– but you have to let people make up their own minds. At least they'll think twice before slandering me.
Just when I thought things couldn't get any more bizarre, the did. Well, bizarre is probably a bit overly dramatic, but it was one series of coincidence after another.
We were getting ready to take Bri over to council Island for an outing when I got called in to straighten some paperwork out downtown. Rather than sending Case ahead with Bri we all trooped over to Citywide's corporate offices.
As I went in to the main office– Case and Bri waited out in the lobby, where Case found one of the ‘anti director- unionize now' fliers.
After I finished up my paperwork and we were back in the car, Case asked me about it. I filled him in on the details.
Now– at first I knew he was upset and I just figured it had something to do with them trying to run me through the dirt. To be fair, he was a bit upset about that, but it had a lot more to do with the fact that someone fitting these people's general description were wanted in several jurisdictions for misappropriation of union funds.
They were also suspected of filter money to several hate groups...
Well– it was my first field test of PC's interpretive software. I closed my eyes and forced myself to remember what they looked like and then activated the program. It took me a couple of tries– but in the end, we had a decent picture of the main spokesman.
It was our guy.
I'd like to say I was disappointed, but I wasn't. Truth be told I was kind of pleased.
Copyright 2000 M.T. Decker