by Audrey W.
John Gage hurried from the table he'd just helped set for dinner, to the phone in the dayroom, catching it on the third ring.
"Station 51, Fireman Gage speaking."
After a brief pause he continued with a very loud, "What?"
Marco turned from where he was standing in front of the stove. Roy was nearby the Hispanic crewmate, a bowl of salad he was almost done tossing on the counter in front of him. He eyed his partner as well.
Chet glanced over from where was nearing the table, dishes in his hands.
Oblivious to the attention now on him, John kept his back to the crewmembers as he went on with a curious conversation.
He placed his right hand on the wall, his arm outstretched.
The three crewmembers in the room all traded glances with one another, then returned their gazes to the dark-haired paramedic.
In the meantime, John pulled the telephone receiver away from his head and held it down as he glanced at his watch. With it back in place right after, he requested, "Could you repeat that? I had the phone away from my ear. . . .Oh. . .right, right."
Finally Chet couldn't stand it any longer. He set the dishes down on the table in the center and stepped closer to Gage.
"Who is it?"
John brought his right hand down and covered the mouthpiece with it. With a shrug he offered, "I don' know. Some old man."
"Well, what's he want?"
But instead of answering the question, John responded to the caller on the other end of the line.
"Got it. Six o'clock, on channel six."
He placed the receiver back in its cradle on the wall phone and turned to look at the others. Chet was a mere two feet away, still anxiously wondering.
"I think he had the wrong number, but didn't stop to figure that out. Or maybe he jus' figured, what the hell," he explained with a shrug. "It didn't matter."
"What was that all about?" Roy asked.
"Some old guy said he called to remind me the Lawrence Welk Show is on channel six at six o'clock, an' that Barbara Mandrel is supposed ta be singin' with the Lennon Sisters while Bobby and Cissy dance."
"That's it?" Chet asked.
"Why didn't you tell him he had the wrong number?" Marco wondered.
Again John shrugged. "'I didn't wanna embarrass the guy. 'Sides, nothin' else is on," he said as he headed toward the TV at the opposite end of the room from the kitchen. "I may as well check these Lennon Sisters and the Barabra chic out. Cissy, too."
The other three returned to the task of dinner preparation, and with the show not exactly being their 'thing', all hoped Gage wouldn't get another call reminding him the next time they worked a Saturday.
But then again, Roy figured, once his partner saw The Lennon Sisters and the other girls, he may not need a reminder anyway.
This is dedicated to my grandfather, who used to call my mom every Saturday in the early 1970s to remind her Lawrence Welk was on. I don't think he would've cared if he got a wrong number, either. Just would've made sure one more person knew about the show. :o)
"No, I already told you, I'm not going to pay it. Go ahead sue me the law is on my side," John Gage bellowed into the telephone receiver.
The rest of Station 51's A-Shift crew stopped all dinner preparations to listen to what was turning out to be a very heated rant that continued to escalate.
"What I did was what everyone else does."
"Nooooo, I wouldn't jump off a building just because I see someone else do it." Johnny remarked rolling his eyes in frustration.
"This never would have happened if youíd just share that little bit of information with the public. I mean, itís not a national security breach."
"Yes I squeezed it. I squeezed several but thatís not the point; the point is if the public was privy to this information Ö"
"Oh, I didnít know that!"
"Wow! Gee thanks. "
"No were cool."
"Yeah I can dig that man."
"This is sooo far out!"
"Yeah, yeah thanks man."
Johnny hung-up the telephone and turned to face his crew mates.
"Well, Gage what was that all about?" Chet asked.
Johnny looked at his friends with a smile that was closer to a smirk and said, "I know how you can tell when bread is fresh."
Stunned speechless, no one said anything for several seconds. Finally Roy spoke up.
"I know itís amazing, isnít it?" Johnny replied.
"Johnny, what was all that talk about suing and national security breaches?" Roy asked.
"Well this is what happened. When I went to get a loaf of Wonder Bread for our lunch, I squeezed it to see which loaf was fresh. I squeezed several before I settled on one. The manager thought I was abusing the merchandise like there is such a thing and threatened to sue me if I didnít pay for the loaves that I had squeezed. I told him that everyone squeezes the bread to find out which loaf is freshest. He in turn tells me that I donít have to jump off a building just because someone else might. Then goes on to tell me the grocery store bread secret."
Johnny stopped for only taking five seconds to regain his breath before continuing.
"Did you know that bread is delivered fresh to stores five days a week?"
Not giving anyone time to answer, he continues.
"Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday and each day has a different color twist tie. I just thought they were being colorful. Well anyway the grocery store manager just told me the code."
"Well Junior are you gonna share the new found knowledge?" Roy asked.
"Sure, sure, itís just amazing that this mystery has been solved. One of many that has plagued my mind over the years, like where doesnít your socks go when doing laundry. I mean you start out with six pair and onlyÖ"
"Johnny, forget the socks what about the bread?" Chet questioned.
"The socks are a big deal that would be the ultimate unsolved mystery if we could just solve it," Johnny replied.
"I donít think you said that right, partner," Roy smiled at Gageís antics.
"Oh, mmm, yeah maybe," Johnny stumbled.
"Get on with it, John. What is the code?" Captain Stanley pushed.
"Sure, Cap. Like I said each day has a different color twist tie; Monday is blue, Tuesday green , hmm Thursday is red, Friday white and Saturdayís yellow. So if today was Thursday, you would want red twist tie; not white which is Fridays (almost a week old)! Make sense?" Johnny gasped for breathe.
"As much sense as itís gonna make coming from you, Johnny baby." Chet razed.
Before Johnny could respond to Kellyís jab, Hank said, "Since this mystery has been solved letís eat."
Each man took a seat at the table all reaching for the loaf of bread wanting to see what color the twist tie was. Bread mystery solved.
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