No matter who it is, when we get there they are evidence. That's the only way you will keep your sanity.
Cresting the hill, the monstrous dragon of twisted metal lay on its side, smoke of its last breath leaking through the hole left by the absent grill. Snaking through gawkers in stationary cars the cruiser glided close, blue lights casting a pall over the scene. Gravel scritched beneath polished shoes, eyes squinting behind sun glasses, a last breath of hot air and exhaust before the scent of day old flesh assails us.
He is evidence now.
Winding our way through spilled Corn Puffs, seeping out through vicious tears along the seams of the trailer, adding color to the drab landscape under the overpass. Yellow, such a joyful color once, mixed with pools of green and brown fluid leaking rivers across the grey road. A lumpy white sheet, red rorshach blots, and one sneaker laying in the passenger floor board.
It is evidence now.
My pencil drags across my notebook, the sound becomes my meditation of attachment to reality, capturing vital information. Brown worn leather, his wallet lay open exposing what was, in pictures wrapped in old gas receipts and a wrinkled twenty dollar bill, and what will be calls to make, to inform loved ones waiting.
Just evidence now.
Sterile has a smell, in the back of the ambulance, draped across the gurney, probing fingers confirming the cause. Asleep at the wheel...down the exit ramp...into the bridge support...probably never woke up. Will never get where he was going.
I remind myself to breathe, as we swiftly retreat to the air conditioned confines of our patrol, passed the now moving train of cars, forcing myself not to look in their eyes, to stop wondering who is next.
I don't think any of us set off intending to fall asleep at the wheel, one day we wake up and realise we have. Hopefully it comes before the crash.