Day’s Verse:
Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.
Ephesians 1:12-ish

Daniel / Friday, July 20, 8:49 am

She’s really something, and I don’t mean that in a good way. Damn girlfriend who can’t just leave well enough alone. Women are always wanting fix me, like “Oh, you’re pretty good, but you’ll be just right after I tweak this.” For once, I want to find some woman who’ll just leave well enough alone. I don’t want my woman to always be performing some kind of relationship chiropractics all the time.

When I met Claire, she was the kind of something that turns head and drops the jaws of all the guys in sight. It was this come-hither yet innocent slink that some women use, and I know it’s a total device to get attention but I attend anyway, and when I saw her I knew I had to have her. The leaves nothing to the imagination top – and what it didn’t force us to imagine – and those incredible runner’s legs didn’t hurt, either.

We “hit it off” right away, and I recall watching her dress slither to the floor, following the curve of her hips on the way to pooling around her feet. Her eyes had this glitter, an intensity I’d never seen in real life. Her blond hair flowed over her shoulders and covered, without hiding, her amazing tits. When she stepped out of her dress, it was, if not the most seductive thing I’ve ever personally experienced, close to it.

Why did it have to go beyond the one-night stand I was thinking of? Shit, thanks for the good time, it was fun, have a good life. That’s my style. Claire, on the other hand, seemed to think that post-coital goodbye kiss was the prelude to something, some kind of relational foundation-building that’s gonna form the solid base of some blissful “till death do us part” paradise.

Dammit, I just wanted a good hookup. And now, six months later, things are going exactly the way I knew they would, because they always go this way with me and women. “You never want to make commitments,” they always say. Hell, no, I don’t! I told you that up front! YOU’re the one all fuzzy and lovey and wanting some kind of lifelong relationship. Honey, that ain’t me. Never was, never will be. I’m just out for a good time.

Take this morning for example. Yeah, I spent some time with this chick I met at a bar in Sodo. Not sure how fucking Claire knew about it, unless one of the guys ratted out on me, which if they did is NOT going to be pretty when I get to the station today, so help me. So, yeah, the chick was totally 25 years old and practically on fire, like some movie actress or something stepped off the screen and into my lap. And yeah, she definitely made it into my lap at one point, before we went to find somewhere with a little goddamn privacy. But still, Jesus Christ, did Claire really have to get all up in my grill about it? I didn’t make no promises to her, she ain’t got some fancy ring on her finger from me, we don’t share a last name.

When a relationship moves from fucking to nagging, it’s time to move on. Yeah, I think it’s about time to bid the lovely Claire a not-so-fond adieu.

Now, granted, my folks won’t take this overly well. They like Claire, she’s so small-town good-girl looking and she sure pulls the act off well, considering she’s from Detroit. They’re all, “Oh, Danny, why can’t you just settle down, get married, buy a house, have some kids?” and I know they’re really wishing their 37-year-old college dropout son would get his shit together and get a move on with starting a real life.

Of course, their idea of “settling down” was to move to fucking Waitsburg, have six kids, and start farming (all those kids — free labor) a million miles from anywhere. Big surprise I didn’t bother to stay around after high school!

Really, being a fireman is achieving more than they really expected from me, so they outta be happy I’ve stuck with this and actually made a semi-career out of it — more than the stint as a whitewater rafting guide, or the hitchhiking “on a spiritual journey” nomadic years, or the nine months I spent thru-hiking the PCT. As career choices go, this is so damn upstanding, it almost makes me sick. Except when we get to destroy shit. That’s always good times. And yeah, OK, helping people isn’t so bad.

I’m fairly sure most people are complete idiots, though. Take the couple whose house just exploded from a gas leak not that long ago: They smelled gas in the house, but decided to ignore it, and then at o’dark hundred BAM, the whole damn house goes up, and nobody’s more astonished than they are (after they recover, of course).

Thinking about idiots always brings me back to Claire. She’s hot, no question, but I’m thinking she’s at least one fry short of a Happy Meal, given the way she’s always forgetting things — and I think it’s catching, because today I totally forgot my fucking lunch, so now I’ll have to either buy one or eat whatever the guys make and that is just asking for trouble, AND my cell phone charger, which wouldn’t be so bad except my shift is for three days and my phone is doomed.

I should probably just go back and get the damn thing, but I’m already late because of Claire’s early-morning histrionics, and I’m sure I can just borrow an iPhone charger from one of the guys.

Speaking of that, huh, I wonder if the vet has texted me back. Damn, no luck. Buddy isn’t doing so well these days — no surprise, he’s 14 years old, and that’s a ripe old age for a black lab. Lately he’s been wheezing, like breathing is hard, and he’s not eating so well. Makes me worried about him.

When he was a puppy we’d say he was a meth lab, he acted so crazy. He actually ATE a pair of my shoes when he was 10 weeks old, there was just some pieces of chewed-up rubber left to show anything was there in the first place. And boy did he love to chase birds. Never caught any, that I know of, but never gave up, either.

Those days are behind him, though, cuz his hips aren’t what they used to be, and just getting up and down to go outside for a piss is almost more than he can really do, hobbling around. Makes my hips hurt just watching him tentatively dragging his rear legs up the back yard steps.

Shit, I can’t imagine life without Buddy. He’s been with me way longer than any woman, almost since the day he was born. I remember how he came with us on those rafting trips I’d lead, all buckled into his own doggie life vest, tongue lolling out as he fearlessly leaned off the side, spray flying all over. Of all my passengers, he’s the only one who did all my trips and never had any trouble. His balance was incredible, like he was part cat or something — although I’m sure he’d be horrified to hear me even suggest such a thing, the way he used to go after cats.
There goes my phone. Maybe it’s the vet.

Daniel / Friday, July 20, 9:06 am

Damn, there’s a lot of traffic, even for rush hour. Usually I miss all this, but thanks to Her Royal Bitchiness… Well, moving on. Traffic is so strange sometimes, the way you’re all stopped, creeping along towards I-90 in the hopes that maybe you’ll get to the Eastside some time before next Tuesday, and then miraculously — ta da! Everybody’s moving at the speed limit, doing idiotic things like that Porsche that just cut in front of me —

“Watch where you’re going, you fucking idiot!” Not overly politic, but even with our windows down, I’m sure that asshole couldn’t hear me over the roar of his excessively powerful engines. I’d put money on the bet that one day, I’ll be pulling his sorry ass out of the twisted wreckage of that totally transparent midlife crisis car, and you know what? I’ll do it even though he cut in front of me, because that’s my job, but before then, I’m not cutting him any slack.

OK, finally in the tunnel. I don’t even normally go this way, but the tolling on 520 is such a hassle, and yes, OK, I’m a total cheapskate so I’ll drive the long way around rather than pay $2.80 one way.

Why does anybody take that one-lane section? Two lanes, you at least get some maneuverability. Like the way I can just get around this huge two-trailer semi truck who’s in the goddamn LEFT LANE. I don’t care if he’s going the speed of traffic, he should stay to the right, it drives me crazy when big lumbering vehicles like that start slowing down traffic. I gotta respect the truck driver, driving something that big ain’t easy, but dude, have the courtesy to stay to the right. HE should use that one-lane cutoff, let faster drivers get through.

Daniel / Friday, July 20, 9:09 am

The first thing I notice is the noise. It’s like all the diesel engines in the fleet all rumbling together on the same frequency, roaring like nothing you’ve ever heard before. Is that semi truck behind me — ?

Oh fuck, oh fuck, there’s stuff falling from the ceiling and the road is moving under my car like some fucking crazy game, I can’t stay in the lane, what the hell is going on

Everybody’s fucking all over the road, DAMN, that car just slammed into me, the wall’s coming at me —

Dust —

Fuck, caroming off the wall, spinning and slamming on my brakes but already feeling the impact with the car ahead and then the car behind me crashing into me —


Incredibly loud noise, something crushing the roof of my car and I’m hurling myself sideways to get lower, and even then starting to realize that the road was flowing, like ripples in a rocky stream, which means this wasn’t some kind of mass insanity but an earthquake, and it’s still going on.

Things are falling from the ceiling, goddamn it, tunnels, I hate tunnels, they’re multi-day rescues and moving all this shit and fucking heavy long-duration SCBA.

This is going to suck.

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