I sat back in my seat, placing my right foot up against the dashand the door. “Is this our third cardiac arrest?”
He nodded. “Just sifting with his scythe. Folks better break off
a hyssop branch, if you know what I’m saying.”I had no idea what he was saying.But that wasn’t unusual.
My partner, Thaddeus McCoy, had been called Bones for as
long as I’ d known him. The nickname seemed especially fitting,
even beyond his surname, given that he wore black medic pants—not the dark navy blue like everyone else—and a black leather belt
that wrapped around his front with no visible buckle on it. His
pants tapered down near the top of his boots, giving his uniforma 1960s
appearance. He sported a wiry body frame with
pale Germanic skin, closely cropped straw-colored hair, and a well-
groomed moustache that, were it shaved any smaller above his lip,would bestow upon him a Charlie Chaplin–like countenance.
Our call had come in as an “unknown man down on the sidewalk
at First and West, in front of the church—unknown if consciousor breathing.” Which, at the risk of sounding jaded, was generallycode for “drunk guy on the street corner.” But one thing I’ d learnedas a medic was to never judge too early. And based on the updated
report we’ d received from dispatch, this sounded like the real thing.
A couple minutes into our response the dispatcher advised us that
per an off-duty park ranger on scene, our patient was pulseless andapneic, and bystander CPR had been initiated. She also mentioned
that the Reno Fire Department had a working structure fire just
north of downtown and their next-in unit would likely arrive several
minutes after us. If this guy had a chance, we were it.
“Look, Jonathan,” Bones squealed in a high Mr. Bill voice, hold-