I spent a fair amount of last Saturday begging on a street corner. Not really what I thought I’d be doing when I became a firefighter, but it was for the Breast Cancer Resource Center. It’s a great charity that helps women who have breast cancer with things insurance companies never think about, like a babysitter for their kids while they have chemo treatments, or things as simple as a special pillow so they can sleep more comfortably. If I had to stand on a corner holding a rubber boot to support them, then I’d stand around holding a boot.
Being an EMT for the fire department means I get 48 hours off after each 24 hours on duty. It’s an odd schedule, but I’m used to odd schedules. With all that free time in big blocks, I can see why Novak chose this as his other job. It’s the perfect job for a superhero. I can’t fight crime anymore, but Liberty always says giving to charity makes everyone a hero. So, I’ve been using the extra time to volunteer for a local charity Halloween event that also benefits BCRC. "Helping to put the Boo into Boobies" I got a t-shirt that said that right across the chest. Made me chuckle.
I was actually doing the boot holding thing on duty. The whole department was out. We had our trucks parked in a shopping mall on the corner, and radios on, so if an emergency call came in, we could still do our jobs. Novak, Jack, Tamara and I were on the four sides of the busy intersection of 183 and I35 in North Austin.
Donovan’s pickup was parked under the overpass on the concrete shoulder. It annoyed me that he kept following me around, but he just sat in his cab with the windows down, enjoying the pleasant fall weather and the latest John Ringo novel. I couldn’t get rid of him, but at least he knew how to stay unobtrusive.
I really used to think me having a bodyguard was silly. Not so much anymore.
A big forest green Dodge van pulled up to the red light. The driver, a Mexican woman in her early thirties wearing bright red lipstick, waved me over with a twenty in her hand.
As I got right up to the window, the driver smiled, pulled out a .45 and stuck it in my face.
“Are you kidding me?” I got really indignant. I think maybe I channeled my mother for a few seconds. “You should be ashamed of yourself. There’s like $200 in this boot, and it’s slated to help some poor woman who's fighting for her life. If you can afford gas for this hulk, then you sure as heck don’t need this money more than the charity does.”
The woman looked at the boot with distaste. “Leave it. Get in the van or I’ll blow your head off.”
A side door opened. A guy with huge biceps and a familiar tattoo pointed another gun at me. He grabbed the front of my uniform shirt and dragged me toward the van.
I dug in my heels and threw the boot at him. I'd rather get shot right there than get into a vehicle with those guys. I tried an arm up, twist move that Tamara had taught me to escape choke holds, but the big guy lifted me off my feet before I got going.
An all too familiar white guy with curly hair, a broken nose, and the same tattoo reached toward me from the back of the van, with a folded white cloth in his hand.
I pushed the button on the radio on my shoulder. “Crap. I’m being kidnapped. The guys from the nuclear plant!”
Big Biceps kept me from wriggling away while Curly Hair shoved the cloth in my face.
I took a little nap after that.