I place the frozen heart in the back of the EMT truck wedging it safely against my new partner's left over lunch pail.
Lance climbs into the cab like it is just another errand. Flowing blonde loch's of hair grace his ears, and his shirt is never tucked in, per regulation.
He lived with his father in sunny California a few years ago, until coming back to his mother in Malone NY, a small town on the Canadian border. He looks like he should have a surfboard in his hands instead of a clipboard.
The sun doesn't shine that much up here, the only waves are in the winter snow. But I envy his tan, and suspect he sleeps in a tanning booth with swimming goggles on.
"Okay." I said. "You know the drill, no stopping this time. We have twenty five minutes to get to the airport."
"So what's in the cooler today boss?"
He looks ahead as if hypnotized by the windshield wipers, and car lights spanning the darkening road. Evidently, he's turning his thoughts on, as I speed up toward the Municipal Airport.
"Is it still beating?"
He looks out the window at the frozen fields, like he's about to have one of those eureka moments. I'm not in a clever mood, but I wish for some way to unfreeze his brain and get through to him. He's not ready for me to tell him that I prayed over this heart at the hospital. So I give him small talk. "Do anything special today?"
I secretly ask God to restrain me, because about now, I want to take this heart out and shake it in front of his face, telling him off. "Don't you get it man?" This life is in our hands!"
We are halfway when I watch his eyes light up. The Grab Bag Mini-Mart is like his beacon in the night. " I gotta go!"
"Should I pee my pants?"
I'm thinking so! His shirt would hide the stain anyway. "Seriously!" I can't believe I pull over. "You better make it real fast!"
He jumps out in the rain while we are still moving. Everything is a blur of lights, and with each passing moment I'm tapping harder on the wheel, until I'm playing the dashboard like a drum.
The back door opens and closes. The side door pops and he jumps in. "Okay floor it man!"
I see he's got a bag of M&Ms. "Are you kidding?"
"What? Want some?"
He is killing someone's heart, and all I hear are the crunching of chocolate shells.
We get to the clearing, a fence line, around slabs of concrete, on a rise above our town of city lights. The rain stops. I see the jet up near the hangar. The guard waves us past. I look down at my watch, a few minutes to spare.
Near the jet, I jump out and open the back. I have to move his cooler to get to the heart.
Finally, it's over. The paperwork is signed, and we are given the thumbs up.
"I'm thirsty." He said.
"Were you lookin for a drink back there?"
"You got me boss."
It's over, so now I take it slow. It's good to work faith into a conversation. I need to reach this guy. That's when a colorful idea comes into play.
"What do ya think about this orange box on wheels I drive?"
"I think lime green would be oh so cool man, even uniforms."
"I like red." I said. I could tell I had him. His eyes came to me. "Red is the color of blood. Life is in the blood."
"DUDE! Wow. I gotta go home and think on this."
YES! Dude means, I cracked the code to his heart.
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