The Engineer's Challenge
By Linda Reiche

"What do you think, Marco? If it could be done, where would you put it?"

"Hmm. Some place easy to reach."

"Yah, but not too obvious. Wouldn't want a civilian to accidentally activate it."

Marco grimaced. If that happened, Headquarters would certainly ask a lot of questions. Questions that they'd have no choice but to answer.


Now it was Mike's turn to grimace. "No. It might be okay at the beginning of shift, but by the end, or even the middle of shift it would be too sweaty and too smelly."

"Right," said Marco. "What was I thinking! Remote control would be better. You know, like the automatic door opener. That way we wouldn't have to get close."

Mike grinned and nodded his head. "I like that. We could hit the off button from anywhere in the room."

Cap poked his head out of his office. "Not over yet?"

Marco rolled his eyes. "Not yet, Cap. But don't worry, Mike is working on an off button."

The sound of two very familiar voices rose, each trying to out do the other in presenting his side of the argument. Cap shook his head in resignation. "Well, hurry it up. We could use some peace and quiet in here."

"Yes, sir, working on it as fast as I can."

His head disappeared into his office, then popped back out. "Oh, Mike? Don't, under any circumstances, install an ON button! Once we have the Phantom and the Pigeon turned off, I want them to stay off!"

"Sure thing, Cap!"



Hidden Talents

By Vanessa Sgroi 


“I see it but I don’t believe it,” muttered Marco Lopez, as Mike Stoker looked on with a grin.


“Isn’t it great?” replied Mike.


Lopez continued to stare at the mass of twisted red metal and other materials in front of him.


“Uh . . . well . . . WHAT is it?”


“It’s a kinetic sculpture.  I call it ‘Emergency’.”  Mike walked over to the piece and squatted down.  With a touch of a finger, he set several pieces in motion.


“Kinetic sc . . . you mean like that guy we rescued a while back?”


“Yeah.  Exactly.  After seeing his stuff, I got to thinkin’ I could do that.  So I started gathering interesting pieces of scrap materials.”


Marco approached and also squatted down to get a closer look.


“I got a friend who owns a workshop.  I put it together there.  Hey, look at this,” Stoker flicked a switch and small red and blue lights started flashing.


The rest of the crew came wandering in to the apparatus bay.  All stopping short as they spied Mike’s creation.


Captain Stanley spoke first.  “What the heck?  Mike did you buy one of those  . . . things . . . from that guy?”


Marco beat Mike to the reply.  “No, Cap.  Mike BUILT this one.”


“No kidding?”


Stoker repeated the explanation he’d given to Marco a few minutes before.  His shift mates continued to stare at his work of art without saying anything.


“Well?  What do you guys think?  Isn’t it great?”


A round of mumbles passed through the group.  To them, it looked like a heap of trash.


“Sure, Mike, it’s . . . great . . . but what is it doing here at the station?” inquired Hank.


“Roland Avery’s going to come and pick it up.”


Roy frowned.  “Roland Avery?  I know that name.  Doesn’t he own that new art gallery on East Spring Street?  Joanne was talking about him.”


“That’s him.”


“Wait!  You mean you’ve sold this?”  Johnny asked, incredulous.


Mike’s grin suddenly widened.  “Yep.  Mr. Avery bought it for $275.”


“$275!”  Johnny’s mouth dropped open, and he looked more closely at the sculpture.  Turning to Mike, he said, “I can do this.  I know I can do this.”


“Me too,” chimed in Chet Kelly, “and better than you, Gage!”


“No way, Chet.  I’m more artistic.”


“Ha!  Artistic?  You?”


“Yes, me!  Hey, Mike, how about some lessons?”


The doorbell suddenly rang, announcing the arrival of Roland Avery and saving Mike from replying.  With a sigh, he rushed to answer the door.


“Gentlemen, I suggest we get out of Mike’s way,” announced Hank.  The crew headed for the dayroom.  The sniping between Johnny and Chet, growing in volume.



* * *  The End  * * *




'A Looney Limerick'

By Ross

"I see it. But, I don't believe it!" Mike Stoker quipped, as John Gage fell for The Phantom's ploy and 'the' wire tripped.

The drenched paramedic pulled the bucket from his head.

Marco Lopez caught 'the' look and determined, "Chet's dead!"

The pidgeon tried to take off after his tormentor--but slipped.



by Lizabeth S. Tucker

Captain Stanley continued with the morning briefing, flipping pages over on his clipboard. "Okay, men. There has been some concern over the similarity of our uniforms to those of the police. The department is considering changes and wants input from some of the stations on A-shift."

The men watched as male models walked through the apparatus bay.

"One possible choice would be a red uniform to match the engines." The red was very bright and resembled a clown's costume.

Another model strutted through, wearing a pale yellow shirt and black slacks. He walked over to a very nervous John Gage.

"There are some concerns about this choice as it resembles the counter help at Bargain Bill's Hamburger Shanty."

"Cap," Chet observed with a smirk, "I think the stripes might get us arrested as escaped felons."

Mike Stoker watched in amusement as Johnny grabbed his partner, Roy DeSoto, and pushed the man between the amorous model and himself. Marco Lopez, standing next to the engineer, was more interested in the last uniform choice, a dashing emerald green shirt and forest green slacks. Although it reminded him of a ranger's outfit, he knew he would look debonair in it. If the Department didn't chose it, maybe they'd let him borrow it for his date with Angelina next week.

(April 2005)


Worth the Effort
by Purry

Mike Stoker and Marco Lopez stood in the bay area of Station 51, along with Captain Hank Stanley and Roy DeSoto, watching the show that Chet Kelly and John Gage were providing.

"I can't believe you came up with this ingenious idea," Marco stated.

"Well, I had to do something," Mike replied.

"Yeah, boy am I glad you did," Marco sighed.

"Think we can egg it on a bit longer?" Hank pondered.

"I think it'd be worth our effort if we tried," Roy offered.

"Yeah," four crewmates agreed.

They watched John, then Chet take turns counting off.

"Fifty-five," Johnny said.

"Sixty-two," Chet countered.

Seeing that it was time to throw in the monkey wrench before the rouse was over, Hank cleared his throat.

"Uh, John, Chet."

Startled from their task, both Gage and Kelly looked over at their captain.

"Yeah, Cap?" both Johnny and Chet responded.

Taking a deep breath Hank continued hoping that his distraction worked.

"Nothing..nothing...carry on," Hank said, then headed toward his office hoping for another hour of peace.

Chet and Johnny looked at each other and shrugged their shoulders...."Okay, that was...strange," Chet said.

"Yep! Oh, man, I can't believe this. I've lost count," Johnny wailed.

"Oh shoot, me too!" Chet cried.

Mike knew he had to get control of the situation.

"Why don't you guys start over? I mean you were so close, it'd be a shame not to finish," Mike tried not to sound too desperate.

"Sure, I say go for it," Roy helped.

"Ce Amigo's, go for it," Marco also helped.

After what seemed like, forever, Johnny and Chet agreed to begin again.





Roy whispered just for Mike and Marco's ears, "How many licks do you think it takes to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?"

"Hell if I know, but as long as it works, I'll keep buying bags of those suckers just to keep those two occupied," Mike replied.

"I'm glad it takes Chet and Johnny more that three licks like that owl on the commercial," Marco said.

"Yeah," Roy and Mike agreed.

The End



The Contest
By Wanda Hargrove

Mike and Marco walked into the apparatus bay and rounded the engine as they got to the other side both men stopped in their tracks and stared for a moment at the scene that played out before them. The pair looked at each other and moved up closer for a better look not sure if they could believe their eyes.

Johnny and Chet had moved the squad out of it’s usual spot and the pair of usual combatants were instead running around Chet’s car. Chet would jack up the car and roll a tire over to Johnny. The dark haired paramedic was greasy and grimy and he’d undo the lug nuts and pull the tire off and place the new tire on and tighten the lug nuts down. Then Chet would drop the jack and the pair would run over to the other side of the car and start the process all over again.

Marco finally cleared his throat getting the attention of the dynamic duo. “What are you two doing? Practicing to be in a pit crew or something?”

“That’s exactly what we’re doing.”


“Didn’t you hear?” Chet spoke as he motioned to Johnny. “One of the radio stations is giving away free tickets to the next stock car race if two people can change a tire the fastest.”

“I heard that,” Mike spoke as his expression showed his bemusement.

“Chet and myself decided that we’re a shoe-in for the tickets.”

Marco muttered something about loco partners and loco paramedics as he elbowed Mike. “Let’s leave these two to wear themselves out.”

“Go on and don’t enter,” Johnny shouted at the pair as they began to walk away. “But when we win the tickets we might take you with us, and then again we might find dates.”

Johnny and Chet went back to work as both Roy and Hank stuck their heads into the bay. Hank pointed at his pair of underlings and asked Mike what were they up to.

“You know those two,” Mike replied with a slight grin on his face, “they’ve always got some kind of scheme going.”

Hank shook his head and muttered again that he was surrounded by twits. Roy wondered again about his partner’s sanity and rejoined his commanding officer to finish their game of crazy 8’s.

The End



Return of the Fly

By Marty P.



“Do you see what I see?” Marco stared across the apparatus bay.

Mike’s vision was on the same spot as Marco’s. “Yeah, but I never expected to see it.”

“Wonder when he got them to work?” His words were accentuated by a series of pops and a loud thunk.

Mike hooked his thumbs in his front pants pockets, “Never saw this coming.”

“We made fun of him. Guess the shoe is on the other foot now, so to speak.”

The two firefighters left their position near the engine and walked to the other side of the squad. “All right, Chet. We believe you now.” Marco gazed at the Irish fireman who stood affixed to the wall five feet above them. His human fly shoes held him in place.

“Thanks, but could ya lend me a hand? I walked all the water out of the sponges and the next step is gonna be a doozy.” Chet begged as he heard the suction cups releasing.

His two crewmates added their strength as gravity dragged him from his perch. “I thought I got all the bugs out. Aren’t they a great idea?”

Marco stroked the corner of his mustache, “Well, yeah, if they’re successful.”

“I’m gonna keep fiddlin’ with them and one of these days they’ll work; just you watch!” He untied the oversize footgear. “Uh, guys? Next time I take them for a test run would you keep an eye on me?”

“Sure thing, Chet.” Mike clapped his hand on the man’s shoulder in a gesture of support.

Marco, with a twinkle in his eye, added, “You bet! We wanna be here for your show…uh, er, for you to show us that they work!”




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