Cop on the Edge, Episode 10

M. Stanley Bubien

I'd never hot-wired a bulldozer before, so I breathed a sigh when I punched the ignition and it started up. That sigh ended in a coughing fit.

Smoke. Hadn't I had enough already?

I threw it into gear.

I'd driven these things in the Islands. Sure, there's a big difference between sage brush and banana trees, but hey, I was improvising. And that I did---improvised my own road straight toward the ranch house nearest the fire line. Bulldozers are beautiful.

As I approached, I spotted the fire fighters already surrounding the house. One guy pushed his mask up and ran to meet me.

I figured I could deck him as he hopped on the runners, but, to my surprise, he yelled in a shrill voice, "Good idea!" and leapt aboard. "You ever build a fire break before?"

I was gonna like this guy.

He started calling out directions. First, he had me clear all the weeds around the house. "That stuff burns like crazy!" he cried, afterward pointing at the surrounding sage. He held his mask on his head as I did the drill---ramming the brush at full speed, reversing, charging again.

"Good!" my friend hollered. "Push it against the hillside so it'll go up without threatening the house."

The sage made a satisfying crack as I crushed it into the hill.

He punched me in the arm lightly. "Let's see if we can do the same for those other homes."

"Yeah," I answered. "How much you think these people pay their gardeners anyway?"

Copyright ©1997 M. Stanley Bubien. All Rights Reserved.

Please contact the editor for free text versions of this very short story formatted for e-mail, usenet news, or ftp.

Story Bytes


May, 1997
Issue #13