“A man fainted,” the diner at table 7 tells me.
I look around. The fellow I seated at table 1 is lying on the ground. Flat on his back.
It is Valentine’s Day before noon. There are balloons everywhere. A pink and red rose vased at every table.
We just finished breakfast service. They were one on the first lunch service tables.
I had just pulled the jar of freezer jam from their table.
I recognize that I am seeing a man in full cardiac arrest.
I fly to the back office and tell the owner.
She calls 911.
When I returned, over him,
a crowd of people stood and stared.
“If you aren’t a doctor or medical practitioner, sit down and give him space,” I yell.
“Nurse practitioners,” says a diner from table 12, motioning to herself and a companion.
He rips the man’s shirt open and begins CPR.
She asks me, “Do you have a <insert gibberish here> machine?”
“A <insert gibberish here> machine!?”
“Shock paddles. Do you have an emergency defibrillator?!”
“Go find one. Try the bank.”
And, yes. He already looked like a ghoul, when he entered.
Bloated and sweaty. Too pale.
Fat and very old.
Her companion withdraws from giving CPR and says, “it’s been one minute.”
His female companion resumes CPR immediately.
“Go!” he says to me.