And it was this very thing, this brash sel-condence, that
propelled me down a ateul course one thirty-rst o October.
Captain Butcher slammed his palm on the clipboard sliding
o the dash. He cursed. “We ain’t doing nobody no good i we
don’t get there alive, Aidan.”I winked at him, tightening and relaxing my grip on the steer-ing wheel. His silver-laced moustache rowed back and orth like aset o oars. Our normal driver had taken the day o, so lucky orButcher, I stepped up as acting operator.I hung a hard right and the clipboard ell again. Tis time hemissed. He grabbed the side o his door and slung my name witha slew o expletives.I couldn’t help but grin. “Nice alliteration, Cap.”“Nice
? Watch out. Slow down.” We threaded through the glowing Reno arch, under its main-
Te Biggest Little City in the World
. South Virginia
Street stretched out beore our blaring Pierce Quantum pumper. Ilaid on the air horn through intersections and wound the grinderinto a high wail. Te burgundy hues o the autumn sunset ltered
through the oothills, bathing building sides with amber tones and
glinting windows. A pillar o black cloud rose rom the south.
Deep into District Tree. We’d be third engine in, comingrom downtown. I hated being anything but rst in. But third
was better than second. At least we wouldn’t be stuck hooking up water supply.Static crackled rom the radio, “All units, be advised, we havereports o occupants trapped.”I pushed the pedal to the oor. Te rig surged like an elephant