attention snapped to the racetrack the moment she heard it--the all-too-familiar noise of a few thousand people gasping in
horror. Everyone at the speedway froze to watch the sleek racing machine shoot into the air and begin flipping wildly. Lights
reflected off the shiny black paint and the silver chrome in brilliant flashes. Nurse/EMT Meghan Somerset drew in a lungful
of air and stopped watching, it was time to roll. Clods of dirt churned up into the air. The vehicle savagely barrel-rolled
over and over, and pieces of the wreckage flew in all directions. One wheel and tire tore off and careened down the track,
forcing the colorful racecars to dodge in every direction to escape the tumbling menace.
red and white ambulance was in motion before the sprint car crashed to earth for the final spine-jarring crunch. Pulling on
disposable gloves as they moved, Meg swallowed hard and took another deep breath in preparation of what was to come. Not for
the first time, she wondered why in the world she was here participating in this horror. She could be working in the relative
safety and comfort of the Emergency Room. But there was no choice. The doctor had said this was something she just had to
do or she would never recover her own sanity. Ironic--she had to be part of this particular insanity to regain hers.
kept the ambulance to the bottom of the rutted, muddy track, driving quickly around the other stopped racers and pieces of
wreckage. Huge track lights cast round pools of light at regular intervals onto the pockmarked surface, like theater spotlights
highlighting the players in a drama. Meg kept her eyes on the mangled car as they neared it. The chaos that had erupted around
the scene, forced her mind click into place like tumblers in a lock.
converged on the accident on foot and by emergency vehicle. The car had, thankfully, finally landed with the right side up,
but all was ominously still within the dark cockpit. Liquid poured out from underneath the wreckage. Dear God, please no fire!
She pushed away the fear with annoyance--it would only interfere with what must be done here.
strange hush fell over the huge crowd as the firemen and track officials began their work. These were experienced fans, and
they knew all too well the dangers their heroes faced every Saturday night. It was part of the thrill of racing that no one
really wanted to admit.
armed with extinguishers stood at the ready while men quickly shoveled dirt onto the fuel that poured out of the car and ran
in dark streams down the banked turn. The air reeked of the alcohol-based racing fuel.
soon as Meg’s feet hit the hard-packed dirt of the track, she was ready to work. Moving quickly, she and Jim pushed
past a man dressed in the track uniform to get to the patient. A look of irritation flashed their way, but it faded immediately
when he saw their paramedic blues.
protective roll cage and top wing, which provided the aerodynamics of the car, were bent in on the driver. He was trapped
inside his open-cockpit car by the very structure that had, she hoped, saved his life.
“Cut it open from the top!” Jim’s distinctive voice boomed out from
Artist: Diane and Ed Wylie