By Wanda C.



   As a firefighter I’m often asked about my most embarrassing moment.  Well, I never have to think twice about the answer.  Being an engineer, most think that it would likely be that I had wrong pressure settings on the engine.  Sure, that’s happened.  But that is far from my most (let’s not even use the “e” word) uncomfortable moment.


   First, you need to know a little about the guys I work with, and the closeness we share.  You’re constantly hearing about firemen and the bonds that they share both during work and in their off hours.  Let me tell ya, that’s all true.  I work with a group of men that I would trust with my life.  We’re the A-Shift of Station 51, in Los Angeles County.  By the way, I’m Mike Stoker.


   We have a couple of guys who are married:  Captain Stanley and Roy DeSoto.  The rest of us are single; some in relationships, some looking, and then there’s Johnny.  But I’ll get to him in a bit. 





   Captain Stanley is a wonderful man who is known as one of the best in the company.  He’s my closest friend of all the gang.  He has a lovely wife and children, and if my experience had happened to him…well, somehow he would have handled it very well.


   Roy DeSoto is also a dedicated family man.  He and his wife are still on their honeymoon several years and two kids later.  That’s what I want in life.  I forgot to tell you that I’m known as the “quiet one” which will come in to play later.


   Marco Lopez is a great guy.  He’s street smart, and very easy to get along with.  He doesn’t allow too many things to bother him and he has a steady girl…she’s pretty hot!


   Chet Kelly is the prankster among us.  I feel sorry for Chet in lots of ways.  He’s really an okay guy, but one who tries too hard.  You’ve all seen the type.  He’s on the prowl, but I have serious doubts that he can maintain a serious relationship.


   Lastly there’s John Gage.  He’s an excellent paramedic who cares about his patients and the man refuses to lose.  He also refuses to lose in his personal endeavors, and when he does he acts very childish, but that’s just Johnny and everyone overlooks his tantrums.  He’s a nice looking guy who catches the chic’s eyes easy enough.  He simply doesn’t know how to stay in a relationship.  You got it…he’s on the prowl too.


   I’m not really on the prowl.  I date a couple of different girls.  No, I’m not a cad.  They know about each other and they know that I’m not the “steady” of either of them.  They date around too, which is cool with me.  One of them gave me a gift last Halloween.  It’s one of those things that are cute at the time, but you know you will never really use it.  Okay, a pair of silk boxers with bones on them.  Oh, that isn’t the worst part.  Do you remember the song, “Bad to the Bone?”  Right…they actually play that song.  One day I was running late for work….





   I began rummaging through my underwear drawer and it was empty.  Granted, I’m a bachelor and I’m usually pretty organized but I just couldn’t get the laundry done that week.  There was only one pair of boxers in the drawer, so I had to wear them.  I made sure to put the “music box” in the OFF position before putting them on.  I grabbed my jeans and a tee shirt, and off to work I went.


   That was a busy day.  Usually I hang out at the engine and have a HT handy in case Cap or anyone else needs anything.  We had been on runs all day.  By evening there was a fire.  Not just any fire.  
This was at the local hospital, Rampart General.  We were terribly short handed, so after getting the pressure gauges adjusted, I ended up manning a line.  The fire was bad.  Yellow and orange flames were shooting from the roof, and the place was total chaos.  Everyone could feel the heat from the fire getting worse.   Docs were attempting to get patients out of the hospital.  Nurses were doing the same, and they all had the same terrified expressions on their faces.


   Johnny and Roy had gone in to help out, and of course John ended up injured.  Don’t know how he does it, but poor Gage gets more injuries than anyone I know.  Part of the ceiling had fallen on him, and Roy ended up carrying him out of the hospital.   After seeing that he was going to be okay, I can remember looking at Chet and Marco and just shaking my head.  We were all very close together manning lines.  Heck, even Cap was manning a line.  This fire was beating us and there was no help on the way. 


   Anyway, just as the situation was intense and looking hopeless, my underwear decided to sing to the world.  What was I to do?  The only thing I could think of was to stare at Kelly.  After all no one would think of the noise coming from me, but from Chet.  Yeah, they would buy that!


   Cap looked around and wanted to know which twit was playing that music.  My stare never left Chet.   I was afraid to look at the other guys.  I knew chances of my being a suspect were slim to none; if I kept staring at Kelly, maybe the other crewmembers would stare at him too.  Apparently my plan worked because when my nerve was high enough to look around, everyone was looking at Chester B. Kelly, and his face was beet red.  I felt so relieved, that is until…


   Chet told Cap that he wasn’t supplying the concert of one song, but thought the sound was coming from the direction in which I stood.  I didn’t want to take my stare off Kelly, and when Captain Stanley looked at me I did the only thing I could think of…shrugged.  That was mistake number one; never lie to your captain, for he will get to the root of every situation.   Suddenly, Marco, who was beside me, also gave some information to our leader.  Then the nightmare began.  All the guys began moving toward me while working the hoses.  Not only did they, but Hank Stanley was right with them.  I can see them to this day.  Each had his head turned so that his ear could be toward me.  Anyway, the closer anyone got to me, the more obvious the origin of the song.  I couldn’t turn the darn things off, so I did the only noble thing for a man to do.  I confessed.





   When we got back to the station, everyone demanded to know exactly what had happened out there.  Man, I hated telling them the story, but I went through the entire tale, from opening the drawer to turning the boxers off (which did get a few off the wall comments), to standing there hosing down a fire when, for no apparent reason, the stupid shorts decided it was time for a little “Bad to the Bone.”  UGH, I’ll never live that one down.  The worst part was that the shorts literally played until the battery went dead.  The death of that battery did not come soon enough for me.  Every once in a while one of the guys will say something like, “We know who’s bad to the bone around here.”  Just the other day Johnny came by me and he was whistling.  You have to know Gage; he whistles a lot, so I thought nothing of it.  Then, suddenly, the tune began to sink in.  You guessed correctly, it was “Bad to the Bone.”  That night I short sheeted his bed, and Chet is still catching all sorts of trouble for that.  No one ever expected “the quiet one”, and likely, Johnny had forgotten what he had been whistling earlier that day.  Now you have my most embarrassing moment since joining the fire department, and I’ll guarantee that you are all surprised.  You would never have guessed silk boxers that played a song from the quiet guy, right?



None of the above mentioned characters belong to me.  They were all part of the 1970’s TV show Emergency!  Thanks to Audrey for the beta read.


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Boxers and Briefs Page        Stories by Wanda C.