Friday, December 27, 2019

My First Day at Harlem Ems. And what a greeting I got!

Original NYC EMS
Upon graduation from the EMS Academy I receive 2 things: my badge and my orders. My preference was to work out of the Jacobi Station as it was just about 5 minutes from my house and I knew the area very well. I didn't own a car but the bus stopped right on the corner of my apartment building and it was a perfectly straight 5 minute run to Jacobi Hospital.
I received my badge proudly, received my orders, saluted the chief and walked back to my chair. It was then I looked down at my orders and one word jumped out at me almost making me fall out of my chair:"Specialist Cassetta please report to Station 18, Harlem tomorrow at 9am". HARLEM! There has to be something wrong here. I mean I'm not prejudiced at anyone but I've never been to Harlem!All I heard were stories about it and they weren't all good. Especially for a guy named Rocco who  was white as pasteurized milk. Oh shit I'm in trouble. Just then one of my classmates asked me where I was going. I answered "Harlem". She said she was slated for Jacobi and would I mind a transfer with her. "No problem" I gushed to her. We made plans to meet in the following days to get the paperwork set up.

Next day at 8 in the morning I show up the at Harlem. I'm standing in the middle of the roll call room. I'm not sitting so as not to appear rude. I'm standing, sweating, moving from foot to foot anything to pacify the damn butterflies that feel like hornets in my stomach. Others are walking in every few moments, taking a look at me like " shit I hope they don't put this rookie with me today". Then this guy walks in. Medium build, medium height with a head as as smooth as a brand new bowling ball. He light skinned Hispanic with round, wire rimmed glasses. He's about 50 years old. He looked like a Gandhi but one who wouldn't say no to a good steak presented to him.
He walks in, I look at him and I nod "Hello". He runs right up unto my face and yells:
"Are you a homo?"
I'm stunned. I don't know what to say, what to do or where to run
"I said are you a fucking homo" again and I'm still in that petrified state I can't move or talk'
"Do you want to bend me over and fuck me in the ass?". We're almost nose to nose
Finally somehow I find my voice and weakly say "No"
"Then why the fuck you looking at me for?". Then he cocks his hat to the side, crosses his arms and bends his head to the side. Before I can say anything, a big smile comes over his face, he reaches out with his right hand, shakes my right hand and says "Welcome to Harlem. My name's Allende". Then he walks away whistling leaving me to wonder to myself " What the fuck did I just get myself into here?

P.S. Three weeks later I declined the transfer. I was never leaving Harlem. That you can thank Winston Maxwell and Sy Collins for.