An April Foolís Day Mystery
Johnny rolled over, smacked the alarm clock, stopping the persistent noise. He stretched his arms above his head trying to wake up his sleepy body. As he began to get out of bed, he realized what day it was. Letting out a low moan, he thought about climbing back in bed and hiding under the covers until the day was over. Knowing that wasn't an option, he reluctantly got up and headed into the kitchen to start the coffee brewing.
Once that was done, he went into the bathroom to prepare for what he knew would be a long day of torture while hoping this year he wouldn't be the only target. "I know I'm Chet's favorite pigeon but couldn't he, for once, get someone else?" Johnny mumbled to himself. Dressing in his uniform instead of street clothes, he picked up the 4 extra uniforms off the bed knowing they would be needed to get him through the day.
Grabbing a cup of coffee as he went out the door, he hoped for the best but was prepared for the worst.
Meanwhile at the
DeSoto's, Roy was getting ready for work as well. After the night he spent, work
would have been a refuge, but today being April 1st changed that. His mind
drifted to the inevitable up coming events. Johnny would be whining all day
about the Phantom, Chet will deny any wrong doing on his part and we all will
have at least one prank played on us. He picked up his clean uniforms and headed
out the door to a day of
Over at the Stanley
home, Cap was dreading going to work, too. This feeling only came over him once
a year. He has the best crew a Captain could ask for, at least 364 days of the
year. The 365th day, April Foolís Day, well, he would like to be anywhere but
Knowing the twits would be going at it and poor Johnny would be receiving most of the Phantomís wrath made Hank cringe. He gave his wife a kiss on the cheek, then left for a day filled with who knew what. As he climbed into his truck, he thought that next year he would plan his vacation around April 1st.
Sitting in traffic on
the 405, Marco tried to concentrate on the song that was playing on the radio.
His mind would wonder to the day ahead knowing Chet had something planned.
Expecting to have to change his uniform at least once this shift, he brought
extras with him.
"I'll just stick to Chet like glue, that way he won't be able to get me with one of his pranks without getting himself." Marco pondered out loud for no one to hear but himself. Happy with his plan, he turned up the radio and sang along with the song.
Mike was the first to arrive at the station. He wanted to be sure he wouldn't run into any booby traps set by the Phantom. Luck was on his side for he made it to his locker without incident. Standing to the side of his locker, he yanked the door open, bewildered that there wasn't a water bomb or any other flying apparatus launched at him. "Maybe today won't be such a bad day after all," Mike thought.
In the kitchen, Henry lay sleeping on the couch unaware today was Chet's favorite holiday.
Johnny and Roy arrived at the station at the same time, after getting out of their vehicles they stood in the lot talking, and dreading having to walk into the station. While still out there, Marco and Cap arrived. Going over to join the two paramedics, the discussion continued on the up coming day. All noticed Mike had already gotten there, wondering if he survived the trip to the locker room. The fact that Chet had yet to make it in didnít relieve
anyoneís fears of Phantom attacks.
Making their way to the locker room to get ready for the up coming shift, all were surprised that Chet had not set any traps.
"Maybe, Chet will give us a break this year." Marco said.
"Donít count on it," sighed Johnny. "Trust me, I know from experience not to let my guard down where the Phantom is concerned."
"Well, so far so good," Roy commented while stowing away his extra uniforms in his locker.
"If that twit doesnít show up soon, Iíll show him an April Foolís Day he wonít forget." Captain Stanley said as he walked out of the room.
After finishing up, they
went into the kitchen to have some coffee and chat with the members of C- Shift
before they left. At five minutes before the shift was to begin, they were still
down one crew member, Chet had yet to make it in. Cap asked if anyone from
C-Shift would care to stay. To everyoneís dismay, Craig Brice volunteered. Not
normally at Station 51, he had filled in for a member of that crew that had been
hurt during the last shift. Just their luck to be stuck with Brice. This could
be Chetís ultimate prank.
With two minutes before roll-call, Chet zipped into the apparatus bay and slid into line next to Marco. Captain Stanley, glaring at Chet, dismissed Brice.
"Cutting it close there werenít you pal?" Stanley said.
"I had a flat tire." Chet said.
"Well glad you made it. Now letís get started. Marco, you have the kitchen and youíre cooking today; Mike, you have the apparatus bay; Johnny, Roy you guys have the dorm and make the squad shine; Chet, latrine duty."
"But Cap, I wasnít late! Why do I get stuck with cleaning the latrines?" Chet whined.
"I said so! Is that good enough for you Kelly?"
Everyone disbursed to the kitchen for a little more coffee before the work began. Johnny was the first through the door and was the target of the water bomb that fell as the door opened. It couldíve hit any of the unexpected crew members but Johnny was the lucky one or, as he thought, the unlucky one.
"What? I didnít do anything."
"Yeah, right! Like Iím going to believe that."
"I just got here! When would I have had the time to set up the water bomb? Honest, Gage, I didnít!"
"Kelly, you can claim innocence but I know youíre guilty." John retorted.
"John, go change. Kelly clean up this mess." Cap said not quite hiding his temper.
"Kelly, just do it."
"Yes sir." Chet went to the supply locker to get a mop, mumbling all the way that he wasnít guilty.
Back in the kitchen,
Johnny ranted, "Can you believe him, trying to convince us that he had nothing
to do with this."
"Well I donít know, he did just get here, when did he have time to set it up?" Marco questioned.
"True, but we are talking about the Phantom." Roy supplied.
"Iím going to go change, man, one down and three to go and itís not even 8:15."
"Whatís that, Junior?"
"Uniforms, I brought in four to get me through the day."
John went to change. Passing Chet, he gave him a look that could kill. In defense of himself, Chet said, "I didnít do it."
"Sure Chet, whatever you say." Johnny continued on to change.
It proved to be a relatively quite day, the squad being called out on mainly nuisance calls. The engine not being toned out at all. Johnny was down to one uniform after being hit with two more water bombs. One in his locker and the other as he opened the closet to get the clean sheets for the bunks. Roy hadnít been any luckier. While helping Johnny make up the bunks, he picked a pillow up to place in its pillowcase as he gave it a pat to fluff
it up the seam burst and flour went everywhere, but mainly on Roy. Then there was the foaming sugar that he put in his coffee. The coffee went everywhere and again Roy had to change uniforms.
The two paramedics werenít the only ones feeling the affects of the holiday. Captain Stanley had an encounter with the kitchen sink sprayer when he tried to get a glass of water. Someone had taped the nozzle handle down so when the water was turned on the unsuspecting victim would get drenched. Again, on all accounts, Chet denied any involvement.
Marco and Mike had their own encounters with the Phantom. Mike screamed Chetís name from the latrine after he had made use of the facilities, to his dismay the toilet paper wouldnít tear. If Roy hadnít come between the two when the red faced engineer emerged from his embarrassing incident, Chet wouldíve been sporting a black eye. Marco didnít fare any Better. After helping himself to a piece of gum that was left on the kitchen table, he ran out of the room gagging from the fowl taste. Chet was still denying that he had anything to do with the pranks which was hard for the crew to believe since he was the only one not to be the pigeon.
Coming into the kitchen
with a tin in his hand, Roy said, "Look what I have."
Suspiciously, Johnny walked over to him, looking into the round container, "Is that Joanneís famous brownies?"
"They sure are." Roy replied proudly.
"Man Roy, where have you been hiding them?" Johnny pouted, a little put off that his best friend had kept the goodies to himself.
"She made them for us last night, but with all that has happen today, I forget all about them until I went to change my uniform once again," looking a Chet while making that statement.
"I told you guys Iíve had nothing to do with those pranks. Itís my favorite holiday, and someone has taken away my fun." Chet said dejectedly.
"I think a brownie will do a lot to help raise our spirits." Cap stated as he grabbed a sweet from the tin. The rest of the guys followed suit.
The torture that had been bestowed upon them all day had dissipated by early evening. The homemade confections helped lighten the moods of five cranky firemen. Chet was still trying to figure out who the prankster was, since he knew that it wasnít him. Jumping up from the couch, he shouted, "Iíve got it!"
"What are you hollering, about you twit?" Cap hissed after being roused from a light doze.
"Iíve been framed!"
"Chet, what are you talking about?" Johnny had to throw in his two cents.
"Iíve been framed! Man, the person who set this up is a genius, and I fell for it."
"Good one, Chet, trying to make us think you were not involved in any of those pranks. We all know that April 1st is your holiday. So stop trying to weasel your way out of taking the blame for all thatís happened today. If what you say is true, how come you havenĎt had anything happen to you?" Marco wanted to know.
"I donít know, I havenít figured that out."
"Iíll tell you why, because youíre behind all of them." Johnny said.
"Ok, I want you guys to settle down. Itís a rarity to have a quite evening, so letís take advantage and have some peace." Cap stated.
From all around, "sure Cap" was mumbled.
At 10:30, Cap called for
lights out. All were glad to obey that order. Not even a hour had passed when
Marco jumped up out of bed and ran for the latrine. He was soon joined by the
rest of his crew mates. It was awful! One stall and six men. Captain Stanley
called in a still alarm, and had a squad dispatched to the station. Craig Brice
and Bob Bellingham were the paramedics to respond to the sight of six men laying
on their bunks holding their stomachs complaining of excruciating cramps. After
talking to Rampart, all of Station 51 A-shift was transported to the hospital.
The diagnosis was the same for all the men, an overdose of laxative. All were
miserable, but would be ok. The only question was, how did it happen?
Chet was innocent since he too, was affected.
The station was stood down, the crew would all be released after receiving some fluids and medication to relieve the cramping. Cap and Mikeís wives, Marcoís sister and Joanne Desoto came to pick up the men.
Joanne went into the treatment room that held Roy and Johnny, she took in their pale sweaty faces not wanting to voice what she knew had to be told. Mustering up her courage she spoke, "Uh Roy, I need to tell you something but you have to promise not to get angry even though you and the others have every right to be. Just remember, theyíre just kids and thought they were helping."
In a groggy voice Roy
whispered, "what are you talking about, Jo?"
"Oh Roy, chocolate Ex-Lax was accidentally mixed with the brownies that I made for you guys. I had purchased the box just that afternoon and it was sitting on the counter next to the ingredients for the brownies. I had everything mixed in a bowl when the telephone rangÖ that must have been when Chris and Jennifer added the laxative thinking that it was chocolate.They were only trying to help."
"You mean, it was the brownies? Oh man, I will never live this down. Do the rest of the guys know?" Roy questioned.
"They probably do by now. I spoke with Dr. Morton before coming in here to talk to you. He said he would fill everyone in."
"Man Roy, Iíd expect this from Chet but you? Not in a million years." Johnny commented from his treatment table next to Royís.
"Junior, you know this was an accident."
"Roy, I know that, but the way we razzed Chet today, blaming him for all the pranks, I would have pinned this one on him also if he hadnít been effected. ItĎs got me wondering who pulled all those pranks if Chet wasnít responsible."
Squad 16 called in
available as they pulled away from the emergency entrance of Rampart. "Craig,
Iím glad you had nothing to do with that, a whole station having to be stood
down for an April Foolís Day prank probably would have gotten you suspended, or
worse, fired." Bellingham said while looking at his partner.
"Bob, I never wouldíve endangered their lives or the life of John Q Public by playing such a joke."
"What about the pranks you did play on them?"
"They were harmless."
"If they ever find out it was you, youíre toast." Bob still couldnít believe his by the book partner had pulled off the greatest April Foolís Day prank ever in the departmentís history, and he couldnít share it with anyone.
"I did it for Gage. Heís always the target of Chetís pranks. Today, even though everyone was probably hit sometime, Chet was the one who got the blame. He never knew what hit him! I bet he sat around all day trying to figure out what was happening."
"How did Chet miss being a victim?" Bob asked.
"Just dumb luck."
"Youíre an evil man Craig Brice, and Iím proud to call you partner." After saying that, Bob drove them back to the station house to hopefully get an uninterrupted nightís sleep.
Thanks to Jean for the time and help she took to beta this story.
April Fools Day Stories