thrice great hermes
by stanley lieber
violet would never forget. her brother had gone too far this time.
years later, when he finally moved out, she had indeed all but forgotten. still, holding someone down and spitting in their mouth was a rotten thing to do. she had hugged him, and he had climbed somberly into the car with dad.
shit you, she’d thought.
it had been a while since she’d thought about him at all. busy with her own life. today, she wondered what bullshit he might have been up to lately. then she realized she probably didn’t want to know.
she liked driving the ambulance. it was nothing like piloting a drone, which in any case the air force had not allowed her to do, but sometimes she would pretend the steering wheel controlled a sort of flying vehicle, and she’d bank between the clouds (the other cars), and she’d increase throttle to military power (the posted speed limit). she imagined her patients would appreciate the time saved by avoiding stoplights.
once she had clipped the top of the ambulance on a low underpass. no real permanent damage, but a serious scrape atop the vehicle that had had to wait six months before it could be repainted. an ongoing embarrassment for which she’d earned a nickname, which shall not be repeated here.
her own son liked to browse through the photo albums of wrecks and rescues that her coworkers maintained, back at the base. every time she had had a close call, like with the underpass, like with several other near accidents, she was thankful that she’d never made a mistake serious enough to earn photo documentation in the album. she’d not want him to see anything like that.
lunch during her shift was usually a disappointment. bad restaurants, nothing like the lunches mom had made for dad. she’d tried making her own lunches but eventually had given up, exasperated at her own lack of imagination. there were only so many ways to arrange the basic ingredients of a sandwich.
violet pulled her meshback cap down over her hair and drove her ambulance back to base.