“She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain” written by anonymous. If you want music to go with the story, here’s a link: http://www.kididdles.com/lyrics/s004.html
By Audrey W.
She'll be coming
‘round the corner
When she comes
She'll be coming ‘round the corner
When she comes
She'll be coming ‘round the corner,
She'll be coming ‘round the corner,
She'll be coming ‘round the corner
When she comes
(mmmmm. . .wow!)
John Gage quickly closed the trauma box at the scene where he and his partner Roy DeSoto had just treated a man for a broken ankle. The forty-year-old victim had simply stepped off the curb wrong and went down in agony. The man’s plump two hundred and fifty-five pound size made it nearly impossible for any civilian witnesses to help him up, let alone get him into a car without much difficulty. Thus the paramedics had been needed. With Roy already on the way to Rampart General Hospital with the victim, Gage just had to put the remaining equipment back in the squad and would meet up with his partner there.
Johnny slowly stood as if entranced, the box forgotten at the moment, when he saw a beautiful brunette come around the corner of a building across the street. Her flowing shiny long brown hair, tight fitting pink dress with obvious ample cleavage showing above the low-cut neckline, and slender legs had him captivated. He couldn’t keep his eyes off her as she made her way down the sidewalk, her hips in motion like he hadn’t seen in a long time.
If ever. . .
He knew he was supposed to be going. . . somewhere. . .
He took a step forward, his gaze still on the beauty, and suddenly found himself stumbling as he tripped over the box at his feet. Johnny’s attention was fully on what was in front of him now, which was the surface of the sidewalk racing toward him as he couldn’t stop the inevitable. He landed hard on his left butt cheek, breaking his fall the rest of the way with his left hand, scraping the latter. Johnny immediately glanced around to see if anyone had noticed.
Only everyone out here. . .
“Do we need to call the fire department for you now?” one man asked dryly.
Gage felt his face grow hot from an embarrassed blush. He shook his head.
“Uh. . .no. . .no, I’m. . .I’m okay.” He got to his feet and brushed off his pants, then picked up the trauma box with his right hand, suddenly recalling the cause of his clumsiness. He scanned the area for ‘her’.
She was hurrying across the street toward him. How could he be this lucky? He glanced behind to see if perhaps she was in a rush to get to someone else.
No one I’d picture a chick like *that* with. . .
“Officer!” she called out as she approached.
Johnny glanced around, this time in search of a policeman in the vicinity. When he didn’t see one, he slowly pointed to himself in question.
When she came up to him, he got his answer.
“Um. . .sorry, but I. . .you see. . .I’m not. .I’m not a policeman. I’m a. . .a fireman paramedic,” he said proudly.
Her lack of being impressed wasn’t lost on him.
“Is there. . .uh. . . somethin’ I can . . .help. . . you with? Maybe?” he nervously stammered out.
A frown on her face, she shook her head. With a sigh, she simply said, “No, that’s okay.”
Johnny watched as she turned and started to walk away. He couldn’t believe he was going to let this opportunity pass right by.
Suddenly he heard someone blurt out, “Hey!” It only took him a second to figure out it was himself. He had her attention again, now what was he going to do? As she stood waiting, there was only one thing to do.
“You. . .uh. . .you wanna go out sometime? I mean. . .if you don’t. . .you know. . .have a boyfriend? Or somethin’?”
Or *something*? Oh brother. . .
But before he could mentally kick himself too hard, she’d replied.
“You do?” Johnny couldn’t hide the surprise in his voice, but quickly tried to correct his tone and add confidence. “I mean. . .you do. . .”
Her smile lit up his face as much as it did hers.
“Great, good deal.”
But when she didn’t reply or do anything else, he uncomfortably explained as he motioned toward the squad, “Well, I’ve gotta get goin’.”
Man, do I ever. Roy’s gonna kill me.
He hoped Roy would understand the whole situation once he explained it. After all, the older paramedic was single at one time, too. . .
Sorta. . .
Just that he was always in love with the same girl since fourth grade.
Oh well. He couldn’t have let this incredible beauty get away without trying.
“I guess I need your name and number if we’re gonna see each other again. . .or I guess not again,” he laughed nervously. “We haven’t exactly. . .well, you know. . .”
Apparently she didn’t care that he was talking too much or senselessly, as she just looked at him and waited. He took his notepad and green pen out of his shirt pocket with his free hand, still in disbelief he’d scored so easily and fast.
She gave him the information and next thing he knew, he was trotting toward the squad with his notepad still in his left hand.
Rhonda. . .Rhonda. I *like* that name.
Right now Rhonda was the best name he’d ever heard.
It’s an incredible name. . .incredible. . .everything about her is. . . He shrugged. Incredible!
In the meantime, Rhonda continued on down the sidewalk in the other direction before crossing the street again, glancing this way and that at store signs.
“What happened?” Roy wondered when his partner finally showed up near the base station at Rampart. “I was about ready to contact headquarters to report you as MIA.”
“He was really worried about you.”
Johnny glanced at Dixie McCall. The head nurse was sitting on the stool behind her desk. If he had to guess, she’d been a bit concerned herself.
With his attention shifting between the two, he offered, “Sorry about that. But you won’t believe what happened.” He then focused on Roy and with added excitement in his voice, he repeated, “You just won’t believe it.”
“Does it have anything to do with your hand being scraped up?”
Johnny held out his left palm, then brushed it against his trouser leg as he responded. “Uh. . .yeah. . .sorta. . . sorta,” he added again with a nod.
“So what happened?”
Gage grinned wide at both listeners. “I met the most incredible chick; just incredible.”
“You mean you had us worried and it was all for a girl? That’s what you were up to?”
“Not just ‘a girl’, Roy. The most beautiful girl in the world. I mean, she’s--”
“Incredible,” Roy finished, with a nod.
“Yeah! And she wants to go out with me. With me! Can you believe that?”
“I just wanna know where the hand comes in. Were you so surprised she said yes, you fell over?” Roy teased.
Johnny furrowed his brow. His partner was close to the truth. He sure didn’t want Dixie to know he tripped over his own box because of a chick.
“Uh. . .no. . .no. I. . .uh. . .”
“On second thought, I don’t think I wanna know. Let’s just get it taken care of and head back to the station.”
“Sure. Oh hey,” Johnny began, again shifting his gaze between Roy and Dixie. “How’s Mr. Gray doing?”
“Pretty good,” Roy answered. “We could’ve used a couple of extra hands to move him onto the exam table though.”
“All right, all right. I said I was sorry.”
“Somehow I don’t think you’re as sorry as you’re trying to sound.”
“Well, I’m not as sorry as I’da been if I walked away from Rhonda.”
Roy just shook his head. Until he was married, Johnny would be a hopeless ‘Romeo’ in search of his ‘Juliet’. They’d all have to continue to accept it.
He turned to Dixie and nodded toward Gage.
“You wanna do the honors?”
“Sure,” she smiled. She walked over to the supply cabinet and got some antiseptic. Johnny stepped around to the other side of the desk and held out his slightly injured hand, palm up. He figured a date with Rhonda had to be worth every bit of what he was going through.
“A gorgeous chick gave you her name and number. . .”
Johnny beamed as he nodded in response to Chet’s disbelieving remark. “That’s right, Chester ol’ boy. She sure did.”
He scrunched up his face in mock distaste and puzzlement. “Why?”
“Why,” Chet confirmed.
“Because she likes me?”
“No, that can’t be it.”
Johnny’s mouth opened in protest, his eyes wide as he stepped away from the kitchen counter. “Whataya mean ‘that can’t be it’.”
“Have you considered she may have given you a fake name and number to get rid of ya?”
“Oooooh noooo. . .no , no. No way,” he stated with confidence. “Besides, she approached me, I didn’t go up to her.”
“Uh huh. So have you tried calling the number yet?”
“I just saw her not even an hour ago. She’s probably not even home yet. She looked like she was goin’ somewhere; you know, like lookin’ for a place. ”
“He’s got a point, Chet,” Marco put in from his seat on the couch.
“Maybe Chet’s just jealous,” Mike added. The curly haired fireman shot him a glare from across the table they were seated at.
“Jealous I don’t get dumped every other day?”
“Oh for pete’s sake,” Johnny grumbled. He’d heard enough. He walked over to the payphone at the other end of the room, dug a quarter out of his pants pocket and dropped it in the money slot. Once he got the dial tone afterward, he looked at the number written on his notepad, then dialed it. After a brief time, he placed the receiver back in the cradle and turned to face the others. “See? That just proves it’s her number.”
The other men all exchanged bewildered glances before Roy remarked, “You didn’t say anything.”
“Exactly. Because she’s not___home.” He grinned in victory and walked out of the room whistling a happy tune.
“There’s gotta be a catch,” Chet mumbled.
“Why? Because you can’t believe Gage finally landed a pretty girl?” Mike wondered.
“No, because he’s never gonna let me forget it if he did.”
Roy and Marco nodded in agreement.
Johnny was just about to the doorway of the dorm room when the tones sounded, stopping him in mid-step to listen.
“Station 51, motor vehicle accident, 2032 North Clayton Street, two zero three two North Clayton Street, time out 11:45.”
The dark-haired paramedic immediately turned and trotted toward the passenger side of the squad while the rest of the crew hurried to the engine, Roy for the driver’s side of the squad while Captain Stanley acknowledged the call. Soon they were all on their way, lights in motion and sirens blaring.
Johnny frowned at the sight before them as Roy brought the squad to a stop a few feet behind the police car on the scene, which was parked against the curb at the corner of an intersection. It was a quiet section of a neighborhood, where the east and west bound lanes had the right of way, and the north and south were required to yield to any through traffic. A red sports car had rear ended a light blue Buick Regal, causing damage to both vehicles.
“Probably wasn’t payin’ attention to what was goin’ on in front of ‘im,” Johnny remarked as he climbed out. Roy just shook his head and climbed out as well, then trotted over to where a man was talking to the policeman beside the red car. The other driver was not visible from where they’d parked.
Captain Stanley directed his engine crew to assist with checking out the victims since there didn’t seem to be a need for their services otherwise. It was a rather small accident.
Johnny grabbed the trauma box and biophone, directed Marco to get the drug box, then headed to where his partner was about to meet up with the parties involved. But as Johnny came around to the other side of the cars that were still together in the street, he got an unexpected surprise and nearly dropped the boxes.
“Johnny. . .”
Chet, Mike and Marco were a few steps behind, and didn’t miss the reunion of the not-quite-yet-a-couple pair. The gorgeous brunette was sitting sideways in the passenger seat of her car, the door open.
“That’s her?” Chet blurted.
“Madre de Dios.” Marco muttered under his breath. “Johnny wasn’t exaggerating.”
“Better be ready for some gloating, Chet,” Mike added.
Having recovered, Johnny’s shock was replaced with concern. He quickly stepped over to assess the beauty while Roy went to the man involved, who was still standing and talking to the officer. The senior paramedic took a second glance at his partner and Rhonda, then went about his duty.
“Do you hurt anywhere?” Johnny wondered.
Before Rhonda could answer, the officer filled them in. “They were both out of their cars when I got here. She seemed okay, but started to complain about feeling a little soreness in her neck and shoulders after a few minutes. I guess the adrenaline from the accident was wearing off. You know. . .”
Both paramedics nodded. Gage had set the boxes down on the ground nearby, so with his free hands he gingerly palpated where she apparently suffered some injury. “We’ll put a collar on you as a precaution. You probably have a little whiplash going on.”
“Whiplash?!” the man blurted out. “If she does, that’s all she’s got going on from the neck up!”
Johnny shot him a glare as the officer and Roy tried to calm him down.
“What about you? Are you hurt anywhere?” Roy asked.
“Just my right foot and ankle are kind of sore,” he replied with a casual air, his mind still on Rhonda’s reaction. “Who in the hell stops at a yield sign unless they have to?” His gaze shifted to each of the men there.
Roy could see Johnny was getting irritated and Rhonda looked ready to cry. “Look, why don’t you come over here with me and I’ll take a look at your foot and ankle.”
“Sure.” The man glared at Rhonda as he was guided past to the curb behind his car, which remained with the front of it up against the back of hers.
After checking on the victims’ status with his paramedics, the captain listened as the officer talked to a couple of witnesses still on the scene. Chet relayed information from Johnny and Roy to Rampart via the biophone, and passed the directives from the doctor to the medics.
When both victims were set, the police officer stated to the male driver, “Well, I’ve gotten the eyewitness accounts, and yours and her stories, down on the report. I’m afraid I’m going to have to issue you a ticket.”
The man shot to his feet, any pain in his right foot and ankle forgotten. “What?!”
“I’m going to have to issue you a ticket, sir.”
“But she caused the accident!”
The officer shook his head. “You ran into her car.”
“I told you it was because she stopped at a yield sign. With no one to yield to! How was I supposed ta know she was gonna stop?”
“It doesn’t matter, sir. You were following behind her and should’ve come to a stop when she did.”
“But not before you hit her car.”
“Why don’t you come with me to the ambulance,” Roy suggested this time, hoping to end the argument. This man wasn’t doing himself any favors by disagreeing with the policeman. If he wasn’t careful, he’d get ticketed for something more. “The doctor needs to evaluate your injury more at the hospital.”
But instead, the angry victim limped over to Rhonda, Johnny and Chet, where they had just placed her on a stretcher. His gaze locked down on the injured woman, he asked, “Just tell me one thing. Why did you stop, anyway?”
“The sign said ‘yield’. So I did.”
He sighed and shook his head, by now near tears of frustration.
Chet leaned close to Johnny and muttered, “I don’t know, Gage. Something tells me you could end up getting a lot of mixed up signals from this chick.”
The paramedic just gave him a look of disapproval, then proceeded to help get Rhonda to the ambulance.
Roy walked up to his partner at Rampart as the younger man exited Treatment Room Two.
“How’s she doing?”
“Okay. Just still a little sore.” He glanced over his shoulder as he explained, “Morton said she should be released shortly, as long as she promises to keep a collar on her neck for support until he sees her again in a coupla days.” He then returned his gaze to Roy. “Dixie went to call her mother to pick her up.”
Johnny started forward as he asked, “So how’s the other driver?”
“Mr. Tidwell? They’re x-raying his right ankle now, but Brackett thinks it’s just a bad sprain.”
“Oh. You know he could’a been a little nicer to Rhonda,” Johnny stated as they headed for the exit.
“Yeah. . .nooo,” he groaned, certain Roy had to be aware of who he was referring to. “Mr. Tidwell.”
“Well, I don’t think he sees Rhonda as quite the girl you do.”
“Apparently not.” After a brief pause as they went out the automatic doors toward the squad, he questioned, “Do you? I mean what’dya think of her, Roy? Is she a hot chick or what?”
Roy had a feeling ‘or what’ fit best for the moment, but he simply nodded, keeping as much of a poker face as possible. “Oh yeah, she definitely stands out.”
With a smug grin, Johnny climbed into the squad on the passenger side as Roy headed around to the driver’s side. Within a couple of minutes they were on the street and on their way back to the station.
By the time they returned to the station, Roy had heard enough about Rhonda. Only one thing baffled him, and as he and Johnny opened the doors of the squad to climb out, he voiced his thoughts out loud.
“You haven’t even been out with this girl yet. You just met ‘er today.”
“So?” With both men now out of the red truck, Roy peered over the roof as he continued. “So how can you know much about her?”
“It’s a vibe, Roy. A vibe. I just have a feelin’ she’s--”
“Incredible,” his partner once again finished for him with a nod. “Well, I’d say her driving skills leave a little to be desired.”
“Lemme guess,” Chet said as he stepped out of the dayroom and joined the duo. “You’re talking about Rhonda.”
Johnny had come around the front end of the squad and frowned at the direction the conversation was going. “Who invited you--”
But his words were cut off by Chet. “Roy’s right. Your new ‘girlfriend’. . .if we can call her that. . .could use a few driving lessons.”
“Ah c’mon. She was just being cautious,” he defended.
Chet shook his head as Roy looked on with a slight grin. For once he was a hundred percent behind the fireman’s antics, what ever they were. He was sure Chet would come up with something more.
“No, John, that’s what you call being. . .” Chet looked up at the ceiling of the apparatus bay as if in thought, then snapped his fingers and quickly shot his gaze to the annoyed paramedic. “You know, I thought of the perfect name for ‘er.”
“What? Chet, she has a name. A pretty wonderful name if ya ask me.”
Johnny stood with his mouth open as Chet glanced at Roy with a devious grin, then repeated in the other’s direction. “Blonda.”
Gage leaned his backside against the driver’s side of the squad, his mouth still open as he waited for Roy to come to Rhonda’s defense. But much to his surprise, it didn’t happen.
“Well, aren’tcha gonna say anything?”
“I think it’s kind of cute,” DeSoto responded.
“Cute?” Johnny questioned as he stood up straight and pushed away from the squad. “Roy, it doesn’t even fit! She’s a brunette!”
“Maybe on the outside,” Chet put in. “But on the inside?” He shook his head.
Johnny then watched as the two headed toward the rear lot where Marco and Mike were in the process of hanging a hose on the rack.
“She was jus’ bein’ cautious,” he said to himself.
She'll be going
out to dinner when they date
She'll be going out to dinner when they date
She'll be going out to dinner,
She'll be going out to dinner,
She'll be going out to dinner
When they date
(Oh man!! Wait. . .what?
Johnny stood outside Rhonda’s apartment door, rehearsing what he was going to say once he saw her again. He’d called her the day after her accident, but she’d wanted to wait until her mother wasn’t staying with her anymore before she’d agree to a date. Why she’d needed her mom there around the clock for a week was baffling to him. After all it was just minor whiplash.
Maybe she was just being cautious, he thought to himself. Again. . .
If he hadn’t had to wait that long to see Rhonda again, he figured he wouldn’t be going through the nervousness of a first date. But that’s how it played out and now he would just have to get through it without being obvious.
After taking a deep breath, Johnny knocked lightly on the door. When it opened after a minute, he gave a lopsided grin.
“Uh. . .hi. . .Rhonda.” Damn, she’s hot!
“Hi, Johnny. Come on in.”
“How’re ya feelin’?”
“Better. It sure was good to get that collar off.”
He watched as she walked over to an end table near the couch to get her purse, her mid-calf high white go-go boots and mini dress of the same color looking more like something out of the 1960s. But that was okay with him. She wore both very well.
“So, how is your mom?”
“Oh, she’s fine now. She’s just glad to be home again.”
“Didn’t she wanna stay here for awhile?”
“Not really. But when she came to pick me up at the hospital, the doctor said we should stay close, and not let anything separate us like what happens with a lot of other mothers and daughters. So I told her since we had to follow doctor’s orders, she could sleep on my couch until I was better.”
“Oh. . .” He nodded slightly with an uncertain grin. Morton had told him later that day that he was impressed with the friendship Rhonda and her mother had between them, and he’d told them upfront that he hoped they’d remain close. “Uh. . .Rhonda. . .” He winced slightly as he tried to think of a way to clarify the doctor’s words without making her feel foolish. In the process he asked himself, ‘Does it really matter?’ So she and her mom misunderstood. No one’s perfect. And it was over with now. Plus she was still a hot chick! Thus the next words out of his mouth were off the subject.
“Uhm, you ready to go?”
“Sure,” she answered with a perky voice and beaming smile.
“I hope you like Chinese.”
“Of course. I don’t have anything against them.”
As she walked past him toward the open doorway, Johnny found himself taking a glance at her hair for any signs of blonde roots.
“So how’d your date with Blonda go?” Chet questioned when he joined Roy and Johnny in the locker room where the paramedics were getting changed into uniform. It was the beginning of another shift for the crew.
“Rhonda. Her name’s Rhonda. R-h-o-n-d-a.”
Chet looked to Roy. “Well, she hasn’t rubbed off on him yet. He can still spell.”
“Oh c’mon. The girl stopped at a yield sign. . .over a week ago. That’s it.” As far as *you* need to know anyway, he thought to himself.
“Right. She spells stop ‘y-i-e-l-d’. I rest my case.”
Johnny sighed as Roy looked on with a smile. “I’m not even gonna dignify that with a response.”
“You just did.”
Now dressed and ready, the dark-haired paramedic closed his locker and shot a satisfied grin in Chet’s direction, before shifting the look to Roy and then heading toward the door to the apparatus bay. He pushed it open and exited the room without uttering another word.
Chet waited a few seconds before asking Roy, “So, did he give any details? What’d I miss?”
“Actually he didn’t say a lot. Just that they had a good time.”
“Ah ha what?” Roy asked as he closed his locker.
“I don’t know,” Chet said as he looked down at the floor in thought. “But it’s gotta mean something.”
“All I know is it’s a toss up between who’s gonna drive the other one crazy first. You, him or Johnny, you.”
After roll call, the paramedics inventoried their squad while the engine crew was out on a run that had cut the morning meeting very short. Roy glanced at his partner, who was still holding the same small bottle from the drug box that he’d had in his hand a couple of minutes earlier.
“Are we set?”
“I asked, if we’re set. If you’re done with the inventory there.”
Johnny looked at Roy, then down at the open box. “Oh. . .yeah. . .yeah, we’re good.”
“This distracted demeanor wouldn’t have anything to do with Chet’s ribbing, would it?”
But Johnny didn’t seem to hear his question. “Roy, what do you think of Rhonda. . .really. I mean really.”
The older man grinned. In a round about way, he’d gotten his answer. “She’s very pretty, seems nice enough.”
“But do you think she’s . . .” he struggled with the word before he got out, “. . .ditzy?”
“Everyone has their bad days.”
“Yeah,” Gage said with a smile. He set the bottle in its place in the box and grinned wider. “Yeah. . .you’re right. They do.”
“So how did the date go? Really?”
“I guess she was havin’ one of those days that night,” he offered.
Roy placed the biophone in its compartment in the squad. “Things’ll work out. Maybe she was just nervous.”
Again, Johnny took his partner’s words as a reassurance. A reassurance he didn’t have time to question as they were toned out with Engines 16 and 18 for a structure fire.
Though he’d been able to stop Chet Kelly’s pestering questions about his date with Rhonda by giving a blanket statement that all went well and leaving out any details of her quirky moments, Johnny was still bothered by the fact he knew there had been a few.
But he didn’t dare let the curly-haired fireman know. He could tell that since he’d not let on about Rhonda’s additional moments of ditziness, his having a hot girlfriend was getting to Chet.
Roy’s words ran through his mind, which brought the ‘bad day’ theory back to the surface. With another date already set up, he’d know soon enough. It was the end of their shift and in nine hours, he’d once again be picking up Rhonda at her apartment.
Two days later, a very happy John Gage whistled as he walked into the dayroom where his shiftmates were gathered as they waited for roll call. Mike, Chet and Marco sat at the table, a cup of coffee in front of each of them. Roy was seated on the couch near the window, the morning newspaper on his lap.
“Good mornin’, good mornin’,” Gage said as he made his way to the cupboard where the cups were kept. As he picked one out, he turned to see if anyone had noticed his happy demeanor.
Chet sure had, as he looked downright disappointed. That made the dark-haired paramedic beam even more.
“It sure is a beautiful day, isn’t it?”
“Well, the weather’s good, if that’s what you mean,” Stoker commented.
“Oh, it’s more than the weather, Mikey. It’s--” He glanced at Roy, then Chet and Marco, then re-emphasized, “It’s far more than just the weather.”
“Well, I’ve already heard enough,” Chet stated as he got to his feet and hurried from the room.
“Already?” Johnny called out. “Don’tcha wanna know why I’m so happy?”
But the curly-haired fireman didn’t reply. Marco and Mike exchanged glances, the latter rolling his eyes. Roy wore a smirk on his face, figuring Rhonda must’ve gotten over her ‘bad day’.
It wasn’t long after roll call that the station was dispatched to an address for a call involving a ‘woman trapped’. When they arrived on scene, everything seemed normal, no neighbors gathered around, other than a few who were curious as to why the fire department was on their street.
“Wait here,” Captain Stanley told his engine crew as he and the two paramedics headed for the house in question.
“I wonder what’s up. . .” Chet stated.
Mike shrugged as Marco offered, “Here comes the police. Maybe they got more information than we did.”
As the patrol car came to a stop, Hank Stanley rang the doorbell on the front of the home while Johnny peered in a window off to the side and Roy stood nearby.
Immediately, they could hear the muffled voice of a woman. “Oh please! My doors are locked and I can’t find my keys to get out!”
The men glanced at the security feature on her front door and recognized it as a new design in which once locked, a key would be needed to get in or out of the structure when in use.
The officer approached just as the captain looked at Johnny, who was still over by the window.
The window. . . Hank thought.
It appeared his paramedics had the same thought as Roy pointed to his partner, and Gage to the window.
“She can just--”
Captain Stanley put up a hand to silence his younger paramedic.
“What’ve we got?” the policeman asked.
At the same time, the captain hollered to the victim, “Ma’am, can you open a window to get out?”
In less than a minute, Johnny was helping the red-haired twenty-five year old lady climb out of her kitchen window.
“Nothing,” Hank finally answered the officer with a grin. “Just a little confusion.”
The woman sheepishly looked at each of the men before asking. “Can you climb in and help me find my keys?”
Only four words went through Johnny’s mind.
Now *there’s* a Blonda. . .
With the police officer staying to help the woman find her keys, the men from 51 returned to their station. As Chet climbed down from the engine, he called out to Johnny, “Hey, two bucks says we end up at your new girlfriend’s place next. . .for a lost shoe!” He snickered as the others shook their heads.
Ready to zing one at the fireman and not quite thinking ahead, the paramedic shot back with, “No we won’t, Chet. Because in about,” he glanced at his watch and continued with, “thirty-five minutes, Rhonda’s gonna be here.”
“She is? Are you sure you want her here already?”
He was surprised to hear Roy question his response. It was then he realized he’d probably made the biggest mistake in months.
Actually *two*, he thought to himself.
One, he invited Rhonda in the first place, though her coming across as smart as the next girl on their second date had eased his worries there.
And two, he’d let Chet know ahead of time. Now he’d hear every ‘Blonda’ joke till she got there.
Noting the smirk on Chet’s face, Captain Stanley patted Johnny on the shoulder as he walked past. “Good luck, pal.”
The paramedic just nodded slightly. He had a feeling he was going to need it.
Oh, they'll all
go out to see her
When she comes
Oh, they'll all go out to see her
When she comes
Oh, they'll all go out to see her,
They'll all go out to see her,
They'll all go out to see her
When she comes
Oh wow! Uh. . . what?)
Standing just outside the apparatus bay, the front bay door open behind him, Johnny watched down the street for Rhonda’s car. He was both disappointed and relieved that they hadn’t been dispatched out before it was time for her to arrive. Disappointed because if they’d all been gone, she would’ve had to leave and reschedule for another day or time and he could’ve pushed her visit back a few weeks if he was lucky. Relieved because at least he and Roy were still at the station and the engine crew wouldn’t be greeting his new girl without him.
He still couldn’t believe now that he had agreed to her coming over to the station after just one date without ‘Blonda’ type statements. What was he thinking? That was just it. With a chick that looked like Rhonda, he wasn’t. He’d gotten caught up in the moment when she seemed very excited about the thought of seeing inside a fire station and he let the invite slip out.
When her car came into view, Johnny turned and trotted toward the rear lot. He wanted to make sure he was the first to greet his girl. He’d already explained to her that it would be best if she turned into the driveway beside the station and parked in the lot behind it.
But her car didn’t come around the corner of the building like he’d expected.
Where is she? It doesn’t take *that* long to drive a block. . .
Just as he was about to go back inside and head for the front again, a familiar voice called out, “Johnny!”
Gage whirled around and was surprised to see his expected guest peering over the block wall that divided the parking lot of the station from one that belonged to the building next door.
She nodded. “Yes, it’s me.”
Johnny was still baffled as to why she’d be there when she was supposed to be with him, and didn’t even put any thought into her response.
“What’re ya doin’ over there?”
“I turned into the driveway beside the station and came around to the back like you said.”
Well, at least she got the directions right, even if it was the wrong driveway.
“Um. . .I kinda meant the driveway that actually leads to the parking lot of the station.”
She’d been by Station 51 many times, according to her. Johnny couldn’t surmise how she’d get the wrong driveway since she had to know the other existed.
But it didn’t matter now. After a quick look at where she was supposed to be and a blow of a kiss, she hurried to her car and to the correct parking lot.
Good thing Chet wasn’t out here, Johnny thought. Or anyone else.
Once Rhonda parked her car in the station lot, Johnny opened her door for her and waited as she got out. She was wearing tie-dyed hot pants and a white blouse that was snug against her body. With a grin from renewed confidence his very ‘hot’ looking girlfriend would once again impress the guys, Johnny escorted her toward the building.
“This is the apparatus bay,” Johnny explained to his girl. “Self explanatory on its purpose with the engine and squad parked inside.”
“Kind of a fancy name for a garage.”
“I guess you could say that.”
Suddenly the two were facing the rest of the crew, who’d come around behind the squad to greet Rhonda. Despite having seen her when she’d been involved in the car accident, Chet’s mouth dropped open at the sight of the brunette who now stood in their station in her skimpy clothing. Marco saw and pushed his chin up to close it. Chet seemed oblivious to the action as his attention stayed focused on her attire.
“You all remember Rhonda. . .” Johnny began. “She’s wants to see where we work.”
“Welcome to Station 51,” Hank said as he reached out to shake her hand. She placed her right hand in his to respond to the gesture.
“Thank you, uh. . .”
“Captain Stanley, sir.”
With a smile, he corrected, “Captain Stanley is okay.”
“Oh, that’s so good to hear,” she said with a smile.
No one knew how to respond to that, including the captain. Surely she didn’t think he meant as in he’s ‘okay’. . .did she?
Johnny didn’t waste time in carrying on with the tour, thus not giving anyone a chance to find out. With a nervous grin, he motioned toward the dorm.
“You wanna see our quarters?”
As they walked away, the men could over hear Rhonda comment excitedly, “I didn’t know you collected coins. . .”
“A hot chick like that. . .” Chet shook his head. “Man, it’s a shame the lights are on but nobody’s home.”
“I’m not even sure the lights are on,” Marco said.
Roy just watched in the direction his partner and Rhonda had gone, wondering how long it would be before Johnny admitted the relationship wasn’t working out.
After Johnny had shown Rhonda the remainder of the station, and a brief conversation in the dayroom between her and the other crew members that had gone surprisingly well, it was time for the guest to leave.
All of the men walked along as Johnny escorted her to the parking lot. They’d allow the dark-haired paramedic some time alone with her in a moment. But for now it was a matter of being polite, even if she had left them all puzzled when she’d first arrived.
‘Maybe she’s nervous,’ Hank had offered the group earlier.
When they got out to the lot, Rhonda turned to Johnny, then glanced at the others as she asked, “By the way, do any of you know much about cars?”
“Well, I’ve read every issue of ‘Gears and Wheels’ magazine,” Johnny stated with pride. “And me an’ Roy sometimes work on the squad a bit. . .”
Roy nodded in agreement. “He’s right. We do.”
“Why?” Gage wondered. “Is there a problem with your car?”
“Yes, it’s my blinker. It keeps going off and on. It won’t stay lit when I turn it on!”
The men just stood, dumbfounded.
“Well, uh. . .I think that’s why they call it a ‘blinker’,” Johnny explained, a slight grin on his face as he tried to play her comment off as cute.
But her puzzled look in return didn’t help.
“Johnny looks like he’s about to cry,” Mike muttered to Marco.
The paramedic didn’t notice everyone’s gazes on him. He was busy trying to figure out how a person could drive for. . .
He had no idea when she’d gotten her license.
“How long have you been drivin’, anyway?”
“It was about ten minutes from my place to here. I don’t live very far away, remember? But this happens every time I use it, not just today.”
While the dark-haired paramedic nodded with a look of uncertainty on his face, his mouth hanging open slightly, Chet sidled over just behind him. “Blonda,” he whispered with a slight nod.
Johnny just glanced over his shoulder at the fireman.
Of all the times he’s gotta be right . . .
Dating Rhonda was like playing the childhood board game ‘Chutes and Ladders’, Johnny surmised. He no sooner climbed up a ladder, a slide was right there ready to take him back down a level.
Just as Rhonda was getting into her car, the klaxons sounded and Squad 51 was dispatched out for a possible drowning. Johnny gave her a quick ‘goodbye and drive safely’, which he really meant, as he suddenly had a feeling he might see her at Rampart on a stretcher when he arrived there later with a victim from this call.
His latest problems shoved aside, he joined Roy in the squad and the two were on their way.
“Turn right at the next intersection,” he directed as they neared the location.
Roy did as directed and brought the squad to a stop in front of a small one-story home.
The men grabbed the equipment they thought they’d need and hurried toward the house, where the front door had just opened, a very upset woman there to greet them.
“What happened?” Roy asked as they were allowed inside. They could hear the faint sound of a child crying and coughing.
“I don’t know. I put my daughter in the tub for a bath and all I did was leave her for a few minutes to call a friend of mine. When I came back, she was under the water.”
“Is that her?” Johnny anxiously wondered as he glanced in the direction of the sound.
“Yes, she’s this way. My son’s with her.”
She led them through the livingroom and kitchen, then into what was obviously a child’s bedroom, where a two-year old girl sat wrapped in a towel on her older brother’s lap. He was on a twin bed with cowboys and horses on the bedspread. The girl was still coughing and crying, her red-rimmed eyes filled with tears. The young boy’s clothing was nearly soaked in some spots.
The paramedics checked out and treated the daughter, then got her ready to transport to Rampart for precautionary reasons. Roy rode in the ambulance with her, while Johnny followed behind in the squad. He couldn’t believe anyone would fill a tub with water, place a toddler in it and leave her alone for minutes. It wasn’t a very wise thing to do and the mother was lucky her daughter wasn’t in worse shape.
She must’ve just slipped under before her mom came back.
Suddenly he was jolted out of his thoughts when he saw a car identical to Rhonda’s coming from the other direction nearly run into the back of another car that’d stopped ahead, likely due to the sound of the sirens as the ambulance and squad approached the intersection.
But considering the large muscular hairy arm that reached out of the open window to wave in what appeared to be an apology, it wasn’t Rhonda’s car. As his thoughts remained on the often baffling woman, he admitted to himself, “At least Rhonda hasn’t nearly drowned anyone . . .yet. . .”
Dixie McCall held open the door to Treatment Room Three. Roy walked alongside the stretcher with the small victim as he and one of the ambulance attendants guided it inside. With Doctor Early and another nurse already in the room waiting, Dixie quickly returned to her desk near the base station.
There she saw John Gage leaning against the counter beside the base station, looking thoughtfully at the floor, a puzzled expression on his face.
“Anything I can do to help?” she asked.
He shifted his gaze to her and shook his head. “I don’t think so, Dix.”
“You sure? You know I can be a pretty good listener,” she reminded as she took a seat behind her desk.
“I know. But I’m so confused right now, I don’ know if I could even begin to explain it.”
“Is it something to do with Roy?”
“No, it’s not Roy. Roy’s not the problem at all.”
After a few seconds of thought, he offered with his brow furrowed, “Dix, say you really liked a guy. . .I mean really liked him, he was real good lookin’ and you had stuff in common. . .but there was one little annoying thing you just couldn’t get past. What would you do?”
“Well, actually some days it was small, but other days it was a huge problem.”
“I’d probably find a way to break it off for awhile until I had time to decide if I wanted to keep dating this guy.” She smiled slightly. “So she’s pretty, huh?”
As Roy came out of the treatment room, Johnny nodded with an “Uh huh. But she’s--” remembering he was talking to a blonde, he shrugged, “Never mind. But I think you just helped me out.”
“Ready to go?” Johnny asked as he walked past his partner and headed for the exit.
Roy’s mouth dropped open as he started to protest the hasty retreat, but he gave up, as Gage showed no sign of stopping to even see if he’d followed. He looked at Dixie and gave a quick wave.
“I guess I’ll talk to you later.”
“I’ll be here,” she said with a smile. As he walked away she called out, “Roy!” When he turned to face her she continued with, “Good luck. I think you may need it.”
He nodded slightly in agreement. He had a feeling he would.
Once in the squad, Johnny pondered his situation. With a sigh, he admitted, “I’ve gotta do somethin’ about Blon. . .I mean Rhonda.”
“Maybe you should just give her more time.”
“More time?” the younger man asked in disbelief. “More time for what? Roy, I can’t even tell which girl is gonna show up for a date. Rhonda, the mostly smart one; or Blonda, the one I can’t have a conversation with without needin’ Aspirin by the time the date’s over. Every time I think it’s goin’ good, ‘bam’ ,” he said as he hit his right fist against the palm of his left hand. “She comes up with somethin’ strange and I’m right back to square one.”
“Well, what’re you going to do?”
“I’ve gotta break up with ‘er,” he said with a shrug. “There’s just one more problem.”
Johnny looked forward, his troubled gaze focused on the hood of the squad. “I’m just not sure she’s gonna understand what I’m sayin’ when I do.”
Roy couldn’t help but grin a little. His partner sure knew how to get himself into some sticky situations. It was often a mystery as to how he’d get himself out.
She'll be wearing something sexy
When she comes
She'll be wearing something sexy
When she comes
She'll be wearing something sexy,
She'll be wearing something sexy,
She'll be wearing something sexy
When she comes
(Oh man!, Hi babe!
Oh man!! What now?)
“So, today’s the day, huh?” Roy asked as he and Johnny headed toward their cars in the lot behind the station. It was the end of their shift and they would be off for two days.
“That’s right. I’m gonna break up with Rhonda, one way or another.”
“You sure you want to do this?”
“Yes,” he stated firmly. “I have to for my sanity’s sake. It’s not gonna be easy, but I’ve gotta do it.”
“Well, I hope you’ll at least let her down easy. She really does seem like a nice girl.”
“Oh, don’t worry, I will. But, I’ve gotta be straight and to the point to make sure she gets the point.”
Roy was about to wish him luck, when Marco and Chet trotted out of the apparatus bay to join them.
“Hey, John!” the curly-haired fireman called out. “You going to see Blonda today?”
Johnny glanced at Roy, then sighed as he turned around to acknowledge the question.
“Yes, Chet. I’m going to see Rhonda.”
“Chet thinks you’re going to break up with her,” Marco explained. “Are you?”
Again Johnny glanced at Roy. He didn’t mind letting his best friend know what was going on. But he sure wasn’t ready to give any more ammunition to Chet. He’d gotten enough teasing from him during the shift.
“What? Are you kidding me? A chick like her? No way, man. No way.”
Roy’s mouth dropped open in shock. Gage had become as baffling as Rhonda. He waited as the other two went on to their vehicles after a few more exchanges with Johnny. Then he just shook his head at the younger man.
“First you tell me you wanna break up with Rhonda. Then before you even get to your car, you change your mind.”
“I didn’t change my mind.”
“But you just told Chet and Marco--”
“A little white lie,” he interrupted. “I couldn’t let ‘em know the truth. Especially Chet.”
Roy was starting to wonder who was more of a danger to whose sanity; Rhonda, Johnny’s or perhaps Johnny to his.
Johnny arrived at Rhonda’s apartment in the late afternoon, determined that as soon as she opened her door, he’d let her know that things were not quite working out. It wasn’t letting her down easy, as he’d promised he would. But he figured the sooner the better and not to give her any indication that he wanted to stay a couple.
He knocked on the door and waited for her to answer. After several seconds the door opened and there in front of him stood Rhonda in a spaghetti-strapped dark blue silky dress, its hem line just below her hips, her perfect shape complimented by the form-fitting style.
Johnny let out a slight whimper. He was done. Toast.
Now sure wasn’t going to be the time to end it. He could overlook any flaws.
Resigned for now, he stepped inside.
He will have to stay at Rampart
When she comes
He will have to stay at Rampart
When she comes
He will have to stay at Rampart,
He will have to stay at Rampart,
He will have to stay at Rampart
When she comes
Look out! Oh man!!
Oh no!! Oh man!!)
Since their time together the previous day went fairly well, Johnny decided to give the relationship another chance. He invited Rhonda out for a casual date for her lunch break from work. The paramedic suggested they get together at Dolphin Park, which was located right in the middle of Carson. There was a very large oval shaped pond they could meet near, then find a table to have a picnic lunch.
However, as he waited for awhile on the west side of the pond for Rhonda to show up where he said he’d be, he began to worry she’d misunderstood his directions again.
I hope she didn’t get confused and go all the way to the dolphins at Sea World in San Diego! She's liable to get fired from work!
But another look revealed her whereabouts. There she was on the other side of the pond, amongst a few other visitors to the park here and there, a picnic basket in her hands. She was glancing around as if she were looking for someone. . .
She had gotten mixed up after all, just not as bad as he’d feared. But how could she get the east side of the pond confused with the west? Surely she knew her directions, at least by the position of the sun.
Johnny cupped his hands around his mouth and called out, “Rhonda!”
She clearly heard him, as she was looking across for the source of the voice.
He again called out her name and this time waved an arm. “Over here!”
“Yeah, it’s me! C’mon over to the other side!”
He watched as she stared in his direction before coming back with, “I am on the other side!”
Johnny shook his head. “No, this side! . . .Or wait! Just stay there! I’m coming over to you!”
“Okay! I will!”
But not too sure he could trust her to understand what he said, he kept his attention mostly on her to make sure she indeed stayed put as he quickly walked along the path that surrounded the water.
With his focus on Rhonda, he didn’t see the skateboarder heading straight for him on the concrete path. Johnny jerked his head to see what the source of the noise was just as the youth was close enough that Gage couldn’t get out of the way and the skateboarder couldn’t change direction.
Suddenly both Johnny and the teen were on the ground, the former laid out on the hard surface of the walkway a few feet from where he’d just been standing, the latter in the grass, stunned, but uninjured and glancing around for his skateboard.
Johnny would’ve faired okay, had the back of his head not connected with the cement. The off-duty paramedic tried to sit up, weakly calling out, “Blonda. . .”
But his vision faded to a pin point as he lost the battle to stay conscious.
The next morning, Roy walked into the hospital room where Johnny lay in bed, the head of it angled so he was propped up slightly.
Back on duty, DeSoto was in uniform, an HT in his hand in the event he and his temporary partner should get a call.
“How’re you feeling?”
“Man, I’ve had a headache like you wouldn’t believe, I've got four stitches in my head, I’m still kinda nauseous, and I can’t remember much about the past coupla days. . .I’ve never been better.”
“You mean that sarcastically, right?”
Johnny sounded kind of groggy, obviously still on medication. Roy surmised that maybe he wasn’t completely aware of what he was saying.
“I couldn’t believe it when I heard you were in the hospital with a concussion. What happened? Rhonda didn’t take the break up so well?”
“Actually, I never broke up with 'er. In fact, she broke up with me about an hour ago.”
“She did? In here? With you like that?”
And here he’d been concerned about Johnny treating her well in the end.
“Uh huh,” he tiredly stated. “And you’ll never guess why.”
“With you two, probably not.”
“Apparently I mumbled ‘Blonda’ while I was down for the count; must’ve been in my sub-consciousness. Guess she got there just in time to hear it. She thinks I’m seein’ another girl.”
Roy just stood there processing the information. So Rhonda had broken up with Johnny, which he wanted in the first place. That would explain why he claimed he’d never been better. But surely he’d miss seeing her.
“Uh uh,” Johnny responded when Roy suggested it. Now that she was out of sight, it was easy to say that. “You know why she wanted a policeman the day I first saw ‘er? I finally found out today.”
“She was lookin’ for a store on the east side of the street, only problem was, she didn’t know east from west. And according to Rhonda, everyone knows you can always ask a policeman for directions.”
He and Johnny held gazes a moment before saying in unison, Roy with a nod, “Blonda”.
That, she definitely was.
This story was inspired by my daughter and her mentions about a girl named Rhonda at her school, who she and a few others among themselves refer to as ‘Blonda’. :o)
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