Safe Travels, by Dmitry Litvin
The end of the night is exhausting. It doesn’t matter what time the shift started or gets done or where the sun is in the sky. It’s night. I’m ready to head back to the shop. Clock out, wash up, and head home.
Everything is soft at the end of the night and I hate the drive back to the shop. Afraid of getting hypnotized by the lane markers on the road. Follow them off and sink into a culvert. So I count. I count the number of calls we’ve had that night. How many picks-up and drop-offs we’ve made. Anything to keep my mind sharp (and awake) and deliver the box back in one piece.
The box is a type 1 ambulance. You’ve seen them even if you don’t know the name. It’s got the look of a small cube van box slapped on the back of a pickup truck. Hence the name. Box. I like driving it more than the other kinds, you know those too. Smaller ones that look like vans. There’s not a lot of traffic at night but civilians move right the fuck out of my way when they see me in the rearview, lights flashing.
I don’t say this to anyone out loud but there's this one other thing I like about the box. The windows. Not the ones up in the cab, but on the back doors. Each door has this one long thin strip. Glass tinted dark so that no one can see much in or out. But at night when it’s dark enough and late enough and you’re tired enough, well don’t you know that the bouncing lights shine on those windows just right and it’s like one of those cathedrals in the art books, and then I start feeling we’re all going to make it home safe one more time.
Dmitry Litvin tells non-fiction stories using numbers for a living. His fiction and non-fiction stories using words have been published in All Rights Reserved, XYYZ.ca, and NightViews. He lives in Toronto with his wife, daughter, dog, and cat.
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