I’ve only had to call 911 once in my life, when apparently I was about to deliver the devil’s child. I was home alone one night thinking that an evil baby with hooks for hands and claws for feet was tearing apart my belly. Also, my lower back had seized up, more indication that the devil had impregnated me and I was about to have Damien.
I called 911 and was soon surrounded by firemen, which—as you might imagine—raised my spirits. I tried to insist that I had overreacted to the pain and didn’t really need to go to the hospital, but as I grabbed my belly and Damien gripped my spine with his claws, there was no denying that something was wrong. Lying on the gurney in the ambulance, surrounded by cute gentle smart sweet men in uniforms, I remembered that one of my online students was a fireman. “Hey,” I wheezed. “Is there anybody here named Brad?”
“Yeah,” said one of the guys. “He just took your blood pressure.”
“Well, tell him his English teacher says hi.” Then I passed out.
As it happened, Damien had killed my gall bladder, which I had to leave at the hospital. That was two years ago, but Damien still lives within me, corrupting my personality at times and slowly breaking down my other organs, most recently my heart.
Then, on Thanksgiving night, my neighbor’s chimney caught on fire. I had been out, and when I returned I had to park far away. Once again, there were firemen everywhere. As I lugged my battered heart, an empty salad bowl and a baggy full of turkey down the street toward my home, I looked up to see a cute gentle smart sweet man in a uniform. Damien let go of my throat for a moment, enough time for me to ask, “Is there anybody here named Brad?”
The fireman smiled, put his hand to his chest and slowly straightened out his name patch: “I’m Brad,” he said.
“I was your English teacher!” I said. I had to smile.
Brad grinned: “You with the gall bladder!”
After we established that my neighbors were okay despite the fire, that it’s a small world, and that Brad is not single but there are many other firemen who are, I continued on my way toward my house. I think Damien got scared off by the good will of all the concerned neighbors standing on the sidewalks, the flashing lights of fire trucks, and the one small positive palpitation my heart had been able to make all week. I’ve been breathing easier ever since, and my heart is mending.
Firemen are good for so many things. I think there should be one for every girl in the world.