It had all the story lines of a comedy plot with the classic punch lines and gags of a Charlie Chaplin movie. The scene is set, the parking lot of a busy service station, the afternoon of a mild winter's day. Our heroes sit in the front seat of their ambulance...and action:
My partner and I have the same routine once on post, the every day chatter entails in the rig over what we did this weekend. The music playing in the back ground we joke and laugh amusing our selves over various happenings at work and hear say about the unionizing neighboring department. We head inside to grab an early morning coffee and discuss whether its to early to grab a cup of Wendy's chilly or not. Exiting from the service station we tromp through the slush and gusty wind and hunker back in our warm ambulance. All the time never thinking about the mischievous happenings that are effectively occurring at that very moment.
Unknown to us the plastic seal on the fire extinguisher is to the point of total failure. It at any moment has enough disintegration through its plastic being to break apart setting in motion the days events. The continuous vibration of the old 98 Ford will ultimately bounce the broken seal tag off the extinguisher and onto the ground. The said vibrations will rattle enough to dance the pin out of the dry chem, and set up this devilish plot.
We continue to chatter to each other and a few hours have passed. The Pin now on the verge of falling out and clanking will no doubt alert us to the unsafe extinguisher standing between us. As the pin falls it lands on the only towel in a five foot radius thus not making a noise, and not warning us.
Reaching back to his bag my medic goes to grab his novel to read. the bag having shifted just enough out of reach during the mornings drive. He has to stretch and with his finger tips grabbing at his bag just out of reach. in order to get a little extra leverage my Medic has rested his opposite elbow on the handle of the extinguisher. The same said extinguisher that we unknowingly possessed with a faulty seal tag. The planets have aligned in favor of the events about to happen, and set in motion to a point of no return.
With the slightest of pressure on the handle he is able to stick his finger on the bag with the tiniest of traction, pulling towards him he shifts his weight. The transfer of weight from his reaching grasp to his steadying arm creates enough energy to drive the handle down on the extinguisher releasing dry chem agent into the air. With out missing a beat my partners shifting weight triggers him to become off balanced and falling between the seats. Kicking up the dry chem on the rigs floor. As he falls his legs stretching out shoving his boots towards any solid mass in attempts of bracing him in his new stance strikes the the GPS unit mounted on the dash dislodging it. In his follow through with his boot he strikes the speed dial of the heat vent kicking it to high. The vent intakes near the dog house floor suck the low lying dry chem in allowing it to vanish from site momentarily.
Laughing at each other we do not realize what is about to happen. The vent sounding as if its clogged draws our attention to the outlets. We stop laughing just in time for the evil twist of Karma, *PUFF* as it fills the entire cab with dry chem. My medic laying on the floor no less than two feet from me vanishes in a fine white cloud within our rig, the air becomes thick and unbearable. Coughing ensues with intermittently laughing over our situation. We stumble out of our rig coughing and dry heaving from the dust that has no doubt filled out lungs. Suppressing the cough we assure each other of our safety. Then burst out in laughter which begins the cycle of coughing once more.
We call OOS and proceed to drive back with windows open and our heads hanging out. At the station we explain to the D.O the events of the day while uncontrollably shivering and coughing. We are told to head to be medically cleared at the ER. Once doing so we return to be advised the truck will be in need of a interior servicing and vent work cleaning. With no other trucks available for use that day, we are given the rest of the day off with pay.
It seems as though Karma had its intentions all along.