Man, I Can’t Believe This!



By SQ51 Storywriter



Roy was sitting at the kitchen table sipping a cup of coffee while talking to Marco. 


“Roy, how many Christmas days have you had to work?”  Marco asked.


“Too many to count, Marco. How about you?”


“Same here. It’s pretty rough on a family man I guess, but for me it’s not too bad.”


“Well, I’ve been off a few times in the past and a couple of times someone has switched with me,” Roy said.


“Did your family open most of their presents last night?”


“Not exactly. The kids were up at three o’clock this morning. We opened them before I left. We did open a few last night. Johnny came over to the house and had dinner with us.”  Roy pulled a pocketknife out of his pocket. “Johnny gave me this.” 


Marco reached for the knife. “Great gift!” Marco replied as he looked at it. “So what did you get him?” He handed the knife back to Roy.


Roy smiled and put the knife back in his pocket. “Well, you aren’t going to believe this, but I got him a pocketknife too.”


Marco shook his head as Mike Stoker entered the area. “Merry Christmas!  How’s everyone this morning?”  


“Fine!” Roy said.


Chet walked in and said, “I’ll answer that question.  I’m great! Come and look out in the parking lot.”


Everyone walked out of the building just as Captain Stanley was pulling into a parking space.  Cap got out of the car and walked over to where Mike, Chet, Marco, and Roy were standing.


“It’s new!” Chet exclaimed.


“We can see that! Is that what you got me for Christmas, Chet?”  Marco asked with a grin.


“Ha, ha, very funny! I bought it for myself, of course.”  


Captain Stanley noticed the big red bow on the front of the yellow Volkswagen Beetle. “You bought yourself a Christmas present,Chet?”


“Yeah, what’s wrong with that?”


“Oh nothing, nothing at all, Chet. It looks nice.”


“It’s a good looking little car. I bet it was kind of hard getting it under your tree though,” Mike said as he laughed.


“It was harder getting it out of the box,” Chet said. Everyone laughed. 


Johnny pulled up and got out of his Land Rover. He walked over to the group.


“Merry Christmas, Junior!”  Roy said enthusiastically.


“Yeah, yeah, Merry Christmas everybody,” Johnny said rather glumly as he put his hands in his pockets. 


Roy noticed the Band-Aid slightly above Johnny’s left eye. 


“What happened to you?” Roy asked.


“Oh nothing.” 


“Alright, if you don’t want to talk about it.” 


“I didn’t say that I didn’t want to talk about it, Roy.  I just said it was nothing, that’s all.”


“What’d you do, Gage? Walk into a door?” Chet asked with a grin.


“No, Chet, I didn’t walk into a door!”


“Well, if you’re embarrassed about how it happened…” Marco said grinning.


“Alright, I’ll tell you!” Johnny put his right hand up and touched his Band-Aid gently. “I hit my head on the metal catch of a kitchen cabinet door that I left open this morning.  I had to go to Rampart and get a couple of stitches.  I didn’t even get breakfast this morning!”


“I’m sorry to hear that, Johnny,” Roy said. 


“Whose car?” Johnny asked.


“Chet’s,” Cap said. “Alright, fellows, let’s get inside now and start our day.”


“It’s a cute little car, Chet,” Johnny said. “I had a pedal car when I was a boy. It was about that size.” The guys laughed and then turned toward the door and walked inside the station.


“Yeah, well, it may be small but that’s an advantage. It’ll get good gas mileage,” Chet said. “You know I knew someone who had one once and they…”


“I know that you’ll enjoy it,” Marco interrupted. 


“You picked out a great present for yourself,” Roy said. 


“Well, let’s get our chores done and open the gifts under the tree,” Cap said as he rubbed his hands together excitedly.


“Sounds good to me, Cap,” Marco commented, as he went to turn on the tree lights.


“I hope it’s quiet today,” Mike said.


“It usually is on Christmas Day,” Cap said. 


After everyone finished with the normal routine, Cap looked at Marco. “What do you say, let’s open the presents?”


“Sure. That was a good idea you had about drawing names, Cap.”


“Yeah, and I like the part about it being a secret as to who had whose name, too,” Chet added.


“I’ll go get Johnny and Roy,” Cap said. “They’re working on the squad.”


Cap walked into the bay.  He saw Johnny underneath the squad and Roy drying his hands with a paper towel. 


“Come on, guys, we’re waiting on you two so we can open the presents.”


“Sure, Cap, right away,” Roy said. 


“What are you looking for under the squad, Johnny?”  Cap asked.


“Huh?” Johnny asked.


“We changed the oil. He’s just making sure that there aren’t any leaks,” Roy explained.


“Oh I see.” Cap leaned his head down and looked under the squad. “Well, how about it?  Do you see any leaks under there?”   


Johnny raised his head up too soon and hit it hard on the metal frame. “Ouch!”


“Are you alright, Johnny?” Roy asked. He walked over to take a look at the top of his partner’s head as Johnny slid the rest of the way out from under the squad.  


“Johnny, I hate to tell you this but it looks like you may need some stitches in your head,” Roy announced. “We’ll need to get you to Rampart and let a doctor look at it.”


“What?  It’s bleeding? No way, Roy, you have got to be kidding me, right?” He raised his hand up to feel the cut on his head but Roy stopped him. 


Roy shook his head. “Sorry, partner. I’m serious.” He grabbed the trauma box and started to bandage Johnny’s head.  


“Man, I don’t believe this!” Johnny exclaimed. “Ouch! Take it easy, Roy, that hurt!”


Marco, Chet, and Mike came into the bay. “What’s taking so long, Cap?” Marco asked.


“Gage hurt his head and may need stitches.”


“That’s terrible, Cap,” Mike said.  “How you feeling, Johnny?”


“Not so good, Mike, my head really hurts.” 


“It’s pretty stupid to hit your head hard enough to cut it, Johnny,” Chet said. “Especially twice in one day!”


“Tell me about it, Chet!” 


“You should have given him that advice before he hit his head, Chet,” Marco said.   


Cap called in the still alarm and Roy drove Johnny to Rampart.



They entered the double doors and Dr. Brackett met them. He saw the bandage on top of Johnny’s head. “Well, Johnny, I can’t believe you’re back again so soon. Don’t tell me that you knew it was going to be a slow day today and wanted to give me something to do.”    


“Alright, Doc, I won’t tell you that,” Johnny said. “Roy said that I needed to come in and have you check my head.” 


“Go into treatment three, Johnny.”  Kel followed him and Roy into the room.


Kel looked at the wound. “How’d you do this, Johnny?” 


“Oh I was laying under the squad and raised up and hit a piece of sharp metal on the frame.”


Kel shook his head. “Well, it looks like this laceration needs a few stitches.”


“Roy thought so too Doc.”


“Are you dizzy or having vision problems?” Kel questioned.


“No, my head just hurts is all.”  


“Well, that’s to be expected.” Kel numbed Johnny’s head waited a few minutes and put in the stitches.  “I put three stitches in there so be careful.”  Kel looked at Johnny’s chart. “Let’s see, do you need a tetanus shot?”


“No I’m certain that I don’t need one.”


Roy shook his head.


“I don’t see when you got your last one,” Kel said as he flipped back a page.


“Really, I don’t need one, Doc.  I just had one about five months ago, honest I did. I remember it! Tell him, Roy!”


“Don’t get excited, Johnny. I see that written on your chart. You’re right.”     


“Thanks, Doc,” Johnny said.


“I’ll keep an eye on him,” Roy said


“I think that someone needs to watch him with both eyes,” Kel said with a grin. “By the way, Merry Christmas, fellows.”


“Thanks, Doc,” Roy said. “Merry Christmas.”


“Yeah, Merry Christmas,” Johnny said as they walked out the doors and headed toward the squad.





Back at the station everyone was sitting around the tree.  Johnny and Roy came in and sat down. “Well, I want to give Henry his gift first,” Johnny said. 


“You bought Henry a gift?” Chet asked.


“Yeah, didn’t you?” Johnny asked.


“Uh, no, I uh…I guess I didn’t think about it.” 


“What did you get Henry?” Cap asked.


Johnny reached for a wrapped gift. He opened it and said, “It’s a rawhide bone.”


“I thought that was Chet’s gift,” Marco said.


“Very funny, Marco,” Chet sneered.


The door alarm sounded. “I’ll get it,” Marco announced.


Dixie came into the room and said, “Hi, fellows. Merry Christmas!  I baked some cookies and thought you might like some.”


“Thanks. We sure we would!” Johnny said.


“Are you off today, Dixie?” Chet asked.


“Is she off today? Of course she’s off today, Chet.  She sure doesn’t stand around Rampart baking cookies,” Johnny said sarcastically. “Have a seat, Dixie.”


Dixie looked at Johnny’s forehead and the bandage on the top of his head.


“What happened to you, Johnny?” Dixie questioned. “You look a little pale.”


“You’re not going to believe this, Dix, but I’ve been to Rampart twice already this morning to get stitches.” 


“Knowing you, Johnny, I believe it,” Dixie smiled.


Johnny sneered. “I don’t just go for the heck of it you know. I don’t like to go.”


“I know you don’t. But you have to admit that you have graced us with your presence as a patient quite a few times this year.”


“Yeah, I realize that. I can’t help it. But starting right now that’s going to change. Rampart won’t be seeing me as a patient again for a long time.”


“Uh huh!” Dixie said with a skeptical smile.


“Would you like a cup of coffee, Dixie?” Cap asked as Dixie handed the cookies to Marco.


“No thanks. I just wanted to stop by and bring you the cookies and wish you all a Merry Christmas. I can’t stay. I’m on my way to visit Millie Eastman.”


“That name sounds familiar,” Roy said.


“She’s the retired head nurse from Rampart you brought in a few months ago. We’re fixing a turkey dinner today.” 


“That sounds good,” Marco commented.


“Yeah, I remember her. How’s she doing now, Dixie?” 


“She’s still working and doing great, Johnny.”


“That’s good to hear,” Roy said.   


Dixie looked at her watch. “I’ve got to be going now, so I can help Millie fix the food.  Merry Christmas, everyone.”


“Merry Christmas, Dixie,” they all said as she went out the door.


The guys walked back to the Christmas tree.     


Cap reached for a present and handed it to Roy.  “Here, Roy, this one’s for you.”  Roy opened it as Johnny sat down.  Johnny gave Henry the bone and patted him on the head. Johnny grabbed his abdomen, winced.


“What is it Roy?” Marco asked. “Show it to us.”


“It’s a billfold. Thanks whoever got it for me,” Roy stated focusing his attention on Johnny.


“Here’s one for you, Cap.” Marco handed him the gift.


Cap opened it. “It’s a desk set. That’s thoughtful. Thanks.”


Just then the claxton sounded. “Station 51, unknown rescue at Twenty one twenty four Oceanside Drive, cross street Ventura Boulevard.  Two one two four Oceanside Drive. Time out Ten fifteen.”


Everyone donned helmets and put turnout gear on and got into their vehicles. “Station 51, KMG 365,” Cap said.


“I don’t like these unknown rescues, Roy,” Johnny said.


“I know what you mean, partner. They could be anything.”



The vehicles arrived at the huge house.  A sophisticated looking lady who appeared to be in her mid thirties ran up to Captain Stanley.  A butler soon arrived at her side. “He’s in the back yard.  Hurry, it’s Reginald. I know he’s frightened.”


“What’s wrong with him, ma’am?” Cap asked.


“He climbed a tree and won’t come down!” 


“Chet, Marco, get the ladder,” Cap instructed.


“How old is he?” Johnny asked as he got the safety belts from the squad. Roy picked up the trauma and splint boxes.


“He could fall and…”


“Yes, ma’am, I understand. Now please tell us how old Reginald is,” Johnny said.


“He’s four years old. He likes to climb,” Mrs. Worthington said as Chet and Marco walked up with the ladder.


“Has he ever climbed the tree before?” Cap asked.


“Yes, but he always comes down when I tell him to do so.  But not this time!”  


She looked at the butler. “Harry, please call Mr. Worthington at the office and tell him what has happened. His father should know about this.”


“Yes, ma’am,” Harry said as he turned to leave.


“He’s at the office on Christmas Day?” Chet asked.


“After we gave Reginald a ball, some other toys, and a sweater from Santa, he went to the office to get away from things here. He owns the building and it’s so relaxing for him there. Reginald doesn’t like him spending so much time away, but Daddy thinks that it’s stressful here sometimes you know.”


“I can understand that,” Johnny mumbled to himself as he stumbled on the corner of a sandbox.”


“Careful, that’s Reginald’s sandbox. Oh dear, you don’t think he climbed the tree because he didn’t like his Christmas presents, do you?” Mrs. Worthington asked.


“I couldn’t say, ma’am,” Hank responded as they walked closer to the edge of the back yard. 


Johnny and Roy arrived at the trees after walking for a long distance around the house.


“Which tree is he in?” Roy asked Mrs. Worthington as he looked up into the tree to his left.


Mrs. Worthington pointed up into the tree right in front of him. “I put his green sweater on him. I don’t think he liked it much.”  


“I don’t see him,” Roy remarked as he looked into the tree. “Are you sure he didn’t come down while you went into the house to call us?”


“No, he’s up there I tell you!” Mrs. Worthington shouted as she pointed up at the tree again. He has blue eyes and he’s wearing a green sweater. Can’t you see him at all?”


“No, ma’am, I’m afraid I can’t from this distance.  Ma’am, does he go by Reginald or does he have a nickname that he might answer to if we called him?”  


“He goes by Reginald.” Mrs. Worthington answered.


“Alright then, that’s the name I’ll use,” Roy said as he walked to where Captain Stanley was standing.


Mrs. Worthington looked up towards the tree. “Reginald, hang on tight.  Mommy got some help to get you down.” She walked over beside Johnny.  She clenched Johnny’s upper arm by digging her fingers in tightly.  “Oh please hurry and get him down! If he should fall and get hurt…why I…I just don’t know what I’d do!”


“Calm down, ma’am.  I realize that you’re upset, but we’re going to get him down as soon as we can. It’s not good for Reginald to see you panic.” 


“You’re right. You’re absolutely right.”  She let go of Johnny’s arm and looked up into the tree and shouted,  “It’s all right, Reginald. Help is coming!” 


Roy shrugged and whispered, “I still don’t see him, Cap. He may have come down and decided to hide somewhere.” 


“His green sweater may be camouflaging him. Go on up and have a look, Roy. She insists that he is still up there.”


“Alright, Cap.”


“At least he’s not crying and screaming.”


“Yeah, that worries me, Cap. Maybe he’s hurt and not able to cry,” Roy said softly so that Mrs. Worthington didn’t hear him. Roy put his gloves on his hands and prepared to climb the tree.


“Just let me know if you need an ambulance, Roy.”


“Yeah, Cap, I will.”


“Roy, I just noticed some movement a little ways up the tree,” Johnny said, as he placed his hand on his stomach. “Want me to go up with you?”  


“I’ll go up alone, Johnny. You don’t need to be climbing around after your head injuries.”


“All right. I’ll talk to him and try to keep him calm until you get up there.” 


Marco and Chet held the ladder as Roy fastened the safety belt around his waist.


“Here’s a safety belt for Reginald,” Johnny said as he handed it to Roy.


“Thanks. I’ll let you know what I need when I get up there and check him out.”


Roy started climbing the ladder that was against the tree that Marco and Chet steadied for him. 


Johnny looked up into the tree and shouted. “Reginald, can you hear me? Reginald, don’t move around! Stay where you are and don’t be scared. A fireman is coming up to get you. You’re going to be fine. We’ll have you down in no time.” 


“You saw him, didn’t you?  He’s all right isn’t he?” Mrs. Worthington asked Johnny.


“Well, ma’am, I uh… I saw some branches move but my partner will let us know something when he…” Johnny was interrupted by Roy.


“Uh, Cap…” Roy shouted.  Roy had climbed up three limbs when he saw Reginald.


“Yeah, Roy, what ya need pal?”  Johnny walked toward the base of the ladder.


“There’s nothing up here but a cat.” 


“A what?” Cap shouted.


“A cat. It’s a gray cat with blue eyes and a green sweater!” Roy exclaimed.


“Ma’am, is Reginald a cat?”  Cap inquired as he walked over to Mrs. Worthington.


“Why of course he is. He’s a beautiful Siamese.  Didn’t I tell you?” Mrs. Worthington asked nonchalantly. 


“No, ma’am, you failed to mention that,” Cap said with disgust as he turned and walked to where Johnny was standing. 


Johnny looked at Captain Stanley. “Did I actually tell a cat that a fireman was coming up to get him?”


Cap grinned. “Yeah, looks that way pal. You also sent a safety belt up there for him.”


“Man, I don’t believe it. It’s a cat. I was talking to a cat in a green sweater,” Johnny mumbled to himself.


Roy climbed down and handed the cat to Mrs. Worthington. The cat was chewing on the sweater and it had started to unravel. “Bad boy! You scared Mommy. Daddy will be very upset with you.”


“Alright let’s get back to the station,” Cap said as he shook his head and cleared them.


“No wonder Daddy spends so much time at the office,” Marco mumbled softly to Chet as they started to get into the engine.


“Yeah, I think I’d do the same thing if I lived here,” Chet whispered.


“Can you believe this?” Johnny asked after he got into the squad.


“Oh, I believe it partner. I went up the ladder to get him. Remember?”


“Yeah, I know you did. I’m real sorry about that.  You know something, Roy?”  Johnny grabbed his stomach.


“What’s that partner?” 


“She didn’t even so much as thank us.”


“Yeah, some people just don’t appreciate what we do partner.”


“But most people do. Don’t you think so?”


“Of course. Some take time to thank us and others are just overwhelmed by the events and aren’t thinking about anything except the person who is injured or sick. And that doesn’t mean that they aren’t thankful that we helped them.”


“That’s true.  I understand that. But it is nice when people do thank us.” 


“Yeah it is.”


“I guess Mrs. Worthington appreciated us getting her cat down from the tree, even though she didn’t tell us so.”        


“I hope she did, Johnny.  I think that Reginald may have run up that tree from the embarrassment of having to wear that sweater. He didn’t like it at all.”


“I can understand that, Roy. I didn’t like it much either,” Johnny said with a grin.  


They arrived at the station. Roy backed the squad into the bay.




“Let’s finish opening the gifts,” Cap said.


They went to the couch and Johnny sat down beside Henry and began to pet him.


“Here’s one for you, Chet,” Marco said as he reached far under the tree to retrieve the wrapped box.


Chet took the gift and shook it and held it up to his ear. “Will you open it!” Johnny said with a bit of irritation in his voice. He put his hand on his abdomen once more.


“I’ll open it! I’ve always done it this way. I have to shake it first.”


“Chet, will you please just open it now!” Marco shouted impatiently.


“Alright, give me a chance will you!” He took the ribbon and bow off the package and placed them on the floor.  After carefully pulling the tape off of the package, he unwrapped it slowly.  He folded the paper. 


“Now that’s exactly how I’d expect Brice to open a present, Chet,” Johnny said.


“Did you have to bring Brice’s name up today?” Roy asked.


Johnny grinned. “No, I didn’t have to bring it up.  But Chet reminded me so much of him that I couldn’t help myself.”


Chet finally opened the box and said, “It’s a moustache cup and brush set and some wrenches. It’s great! Thanks.”


“That’s something you can use,” Cap said.


“It’s a wonder he didn’t break the cup with those wrenches shaking it like that,” Marco remarked.


Chet reached under the tree. “Here, Marco, this one has your name on it.” 


Marco took it and quickly opened the gift. “A shaving kit, an ink pen, and a can of Cashews. Gee thanks.”


Cap handed Mike his gift. “Here pal.”


Mike opened the gift. “It’s really nice whoever got it for me. I like it. I really do. Uh…I just have one question. What is it?”


Everyone laughed.   “It’s a Slinky,” Johnny said.


“Oh, yeah, that’s right. I knew that. Thanks, I think. What do I do with it?” 


“Well, don’t look at me.  I didn’t get it for you, Mike,” Johnny said as he saw the perplexed look on his face. Everyone saw Chet snickering.


“Look in the bottom of the box, Mike.”


He looked into the bottom of the box and pulled out a tie. “Thanks, I can use this.”


“It has little slinkys on it,” Chet said. “Isn’t it great?”


“Probably one of a kind,” Johnny whispered into Henry’s ear.


Henry turned over onto his back and yawned.


Roy reached under the tree. “This one must be yours, Johnny.”


“Well, it’s about time,” Johnny said with a grin. He liked to get presents.


He ripped the paper off quickly and opened the box. “It’s a cap that has the L.A. Dodgers logo on it!” Johnny was pleased with his gift.  He stood up and said, “Thanks! Ouch!”


“That’s not all,” Cap said.


Johnny searched the box as Roy had a concerned look on his face hearing the sound of “ouch” that had come from his friend.


“Two tickets in section 209 to the Laker’s game on December 27th. Wow!  Thanks a lot, Cap,” Johnny said since he knew who had given him the present.


“Yeah, I have a ticket for me and my wife in that section on that night, too.  Do you know who my favorite player is?”


Everyone yelled in unison, “We know!” Then they laughed. 


“I’m glad he plays for the Lakers now, ” Cap remarked. 


As Marco, Cap, Chet, and Mike were picking up the wrapping paper, Roy walked over to Johnny. “What’s wrong, Junior?”


“What do you mean, Roy?” 


“I saw you grab your abdomen. Don’t try to deny it.”


“Oh, it’s just a little stomachache. I’ve had it since this morning right after I got up.  I probably just need some food is all.” 


“Are you sure?” Roy asked with a look of deep concern.


“Yeah, I’m sure, really. I haven’t had anything to eat and I’m a bit nauseated. I’ll feel better as soon as I eat some lunch.”


“I’ll start getting lunch ready early today so that I’ll have time to prepare dinner,” Marco announced.


“I’ll help him,” Mike said.


“Everyone will help today,” Cap said. “We’re going to have a super delicious dinner tonight.”


“What are we having, Cap?” Chet asked.


“Pre-cooked ham, sweet potatoes, green beans, corn, and rolls.  My wife baked an apple pie for us for desert. We are going to have a Christmas dinner this year that we’ll never forget.”


“Sounds good,” Roy said as he looked toward Johnny holding his abdomen.


Squad 51, man injured at 10763 Riverton, cross street Valley Hart. Ten zero seven six three Riverton. Time out 10:50.”


Johnny and Roy went to the squad as Cap went to the mic. “Squad 51, KMG 365.” 


As Roy drove the squad out onto the street, Johnny looked at the map. “Man, Roy, isn’t that the Hubbard’s residence?”




“The Hubbards. You remember the one’s who were…as the wife put it, therapeutically and methodical fighting?”


“Yeah, now that you mention it. I think you’re right, Johnny.” 



They pulled up in front of the house and grabbed the equipment.


Johnny knocked on the door. “Come on in,” Mrs. Hubbard shouted.


As they entered the house they saw a broken vase, a broken picture frame and glass, a couple of broken tea glasses, and some wrapping paper on the floor near an   overturned Christmas tree with broken ornaments and lights. 


“She did this to me!” Mr. Hubbard shouted as he pointed to a small cut on his forehead. 


“Now just calm down,” Johnny said. “I thought you two had agreed to live apart.” 


“Well, it was Christmas and all,” Wes said. Johnny kneeled down to take a look at the bump and small cut on the man’s forehead while Roy checked Margo Hubbard’s bruised arm. 


“He twisted my arm,” Margo shouted.


“It doesn’t look too bad,” Roy said.


She flung her arm in the air barely missing Roy’s nose and pointed at her husband. “You know you twisted it. Admit it you cheapskate!”


“That’s a lie! I didn’t even touch you, and you know it! And if anyone’s a cheapskate it’s you!” Wes shouted.


“It’s all your fault that the tree fell over! You ungrateful creep! ” Margo screamed, as Johnny wiped his hand across his face in disgust.


“You pushed it over after you opened the sterling silver necklace with a skunk pendant.  That was an expensive gift and all you bought me was a lousy fruitcake!”  Wes threw the fruitcake tin down on the floor near Margo’s feet.


Johnny turned and looked at Roy and mouthed the words, skunk pendant.


Roy shrugged. “Look folks, it’s Christmas.  Can’t you call a truce just for today?”


“No we can’t! He bought me a worthless piece of junk,” Margo shouted as she jumped up from the couch, picked up the fruitcake, and went over to where Wes was sitting in the chair. She pushed the fruitcake into Johnny’s chest, knocking him backward. “Here, now it’s your present! You’ll probably enjoy a nice expensive gift like this! This cake cost me fifty dollars!”


“Where’d you get it Fort Knox?” Wes shouted. “No way a cake costs that much!” 


“It does if you buy it from a specialty shop in an antique tin!” 


“You’re the only antique in this room!” Wes yelled.


“You know what you are?  You’re a freekin’ fruitcake. I got you an appropriate Christmas gift that’s for sure,” Margo screamed at the top of her voice. 


“Well, you stink as a wife, so I got you an appropriate seventy-five dollar gift!” Wes shouted.


“Seventy-five dollars? That little twenty-five cent necklace came from a gum ball machine!”


Roy gently took Margo by the elbow and ushered her toward the couch. 


Johnny pushed himself up with his hand from the floor.


“Folks, now you are both going to have to calm down! You’re giving me a headache!” Roy stated loudly in an authoritative voice as he managed to get Margo to sit on the couch.


Vince finally arrived on the scene. “Trouble, fellows?”


“Ask them,” Johnny said.


“They’ve been fighting over Christmas presents. There doesn’t appear to be anything seriously wrong with either one of them,” Roy said. “They’re all yours, Vince.”


“Good luck, Vince, and Merry Christmas,” Johnny said.   


“Well, I might transport them to a comfortable room downtown if they don’t settle down,” Vince said sternly as he looked at the couple.  “I don’t want you to have to call the fire department again today. Do you both understand me?”


 As the couple sat with their arms folded looking at Vince, Roy turned to look at Johnny. “Let’s go, partner.”


“Don’t forget to take the lousy fruitcake with you. It can’t stay here,” Margo shouted as she glared at her husband with her arms still folded. 


“Ma’am that’s no way to talk about your husband,” Vince said.


“Vince, it’s a real fruitcake,” Roy explained as he picked up the cake in the dented can.


“Wes is a real fruitcake, too! Take him with you and get him out of here,” Margo screamed.


“I’m not the fruitcake.  You’re the…”


“Now quiet both of you!” Vince shouted interrupting Wes.  “I’m giving you your final warning.”


“Let’s get out of here while we still have our sanity,” Johnny said.


As they gathered the equipment Johnny noticed his right hand was bleeding. “Oh, man, I don’t believe this!”


“What’s that, Johnny?”


“I cut my hand on a piece of glass or something.” 


“Sit down and let me take a look at it.”


“Not here, Roy, let’s get in the squad.”


“Yeah, I know what you mean. I’m more than ready to get out of here myself.”


They went to the squad and Roy examined Johnny’s hand. “Looks like it’s…”


“I know it. Don’t tell me. I can tell that it needs stitches.” Johnny frowned.


“Sorry, partner.”  Roy bandaged Johnny’s hand and called it in to dispatch. 


On the way to Rampart Johnny and Roy were discussing the Hubbards.


“Man, Roy, can you believe those two?”


“No, I can’t. Maybe they deserve each other.”


“Well, it makes you wonder if they will ever find happiness.”


“You know something, Johnny? I think they are happy. Obviously this is what they think being happy is.”


“You just might have a point.” They pulled into Rampart. “But I’ll never understand it myself.”


“Me neither. I couldn’t live like that. We’re here, partner.”


“Man, I dread this. Doc Brackett is going to give me a hard time about being here three times before lunch.”


“Maybe not,” Roy said as he tried to comfort Johnny. 


Roy saw Dr. Brackett in the hall. “Doc, Johnny cut his hand.”


“Let’s go into treatment two and have a look, Johnny,” Dr. Brackett said.


As he removed the bandage he shook his head. “It’s going to need some stitches alright. How’d this happen?” 


“We were at the Hubbards. They were fighting again. There was glass everywhere and I was knocked backward and caught myself with my hand. This cut is the result of apparently putting my hand on a piece of broken glass.”


“I remember that name. Aren’t they the two that you had me talk to about…”


“That’s them, Doc,” Roy interrupted. . 


“Thought they were going to go their separate ways.”


“So did we, Doc, but unfortunately for Johnny here, they decided to exchange Christmas gifts.” 


“Yeah, a fruitcake and a skunk,” Johnny said,

“What?” Kel asked.


“Long story, Doc,” Roy said.


“Johnny, I’m going to get an x-ray of your hand to make sure that there isn’t any glass in there.” 


“I’ll go grab a cup of coffee,” Roy said.


“Shouldn’t be long, Roy, we’re not that busy,” Dr. Brackett said.


Soon Johnny was walking out of the treatment room with his hand bandaged. “There wasn’t any glass in it, but Brackett had to put four stitches in, Roy.  Can you believe it?”


“Yeah, somehow I can,” Roy said as he shook his head. “Let’s go. You’re becoming accident-prone.”


“Me? Now you have to admit this wasn’t my fault,” Johnny said as they walked to the squad. “I’ve had a numb head twice today and now I have a numb hand. Wonder if that sets a record?”


“Well, as far as a numb head goes, partner…”


“Okay, Roy, don’t say it. I’d expect some smart remark from Chet, but not from you.” 


Roy grinned. “You’re the one who said it, Johnny.”


“I know!  You’re right.  I admit that I made a mistake by saying it.” They pulled into the station. 



“Well it’s about time you two showed up for lunch,” Cap said. “We’ve all eaten but luckily Marco managed to save some for you two.”


“Four stitches and a numb hand,” Johnny commented.


Roy grinned. “He told me that his head was…”


“Roy, don’t go there,” Johnny said as he put his hand on his lower abdomen and moaned slightly. 


“Well, try to stay out of the ER if you can the rest of the day, pal,” Cap said as he patted Johnny on the shoulder.  


“What’s all this?” Roy asked as he looked on the kitchen counter. He noticed Johnny holding his lower abdomen.


“Goodies that people have been bringing by the station,” Marco said.


“Here’s some fudge,” Mike commented.


“Lasagna?” Roy questioned as he saw Marco filling two plates with it.


“Yeah, Roy, I was going to start lunch and a lady brought it by and said that we put a kitchen fire out for her a couple of months ago and she wanted to bring us something.”


“And look at this,” Cap said. “It’s a box of chocolates.” 


“This is wonderful,” Roy said. He turned toward Johnny. “You don’t look too good. Are you feeling alright?”


Johnny nodded and picked up a Christmas cookie that Dixie had brought and said, “It looks good.” He set it down on the table beside his plate. “I’ll save this for dessert.”  He walked over to the coffeepot.


“Look here!” Chet exclaimed. “It’s Santa shaped brownies.”


Johnny was about to pick up the hot coffeepot when he turned to look at the brownies. He accidentally touched the pot with his arm.  “OW!” He went to the faucet and started running water on his burn.


Roy went over to the sink. “Let me see it, Johnny.”


“I’m okay, Roy. Really I am.  I’m not going to Rampart again no matter what.”


“Calm down, partner. Be careful not to get the bandage on your hand wet. Now let me look at it.”


Johnny reluctantly showed Roy the reddened area on his right arm.  He groaned a bit as Roy held his arm and looked at it.


“I think you’ll live without a trip to Rampart, Junior.  It’s not very bad.  But I’ll get some normal saline and a sterile bandage. I’ll wrap it for you to keep it clean.” 


“Yeah, thanks,” Johnny said. “I’m sorry that I got upset. I’m a little on edge. I just don’t think I could take another trip to Rampart today.”


“I know what you mean,” Roy said. “I don’t think I could either.”


Chet shook his head. “Johnny, I think Santa must have put coal in your Christmas stocking.” 


“What do you mean by that?”


“You can’t seem to do anything today without getting hurt.”   


“Some days are just like that, Chet.”


“Everyday is like that for you, Johnny. I think you’re just doing it to get attention.”


“Attention! You think I’m getting hurt on purpose, Chet?  Is that what you’re insinuating?”


“Chet, help Marco with the dishes and don’t bother Johnny. He’s had a difficult time today and he doesn’t need you adding to it, pal,” Cap said coming to Johnny’s rescue. 


Roy came back with the saline and bandage. He also had a tin in his hand.  “We have something for everyone, too,” He set the antique tin on the counter. He opened it and said, “This fruitcake is compliments of Mrs. Hubbard.”


“How did the can get dented?” Mike asked.


“That’s a long story,” Johnny said while Roy poured saline over his burn. “We were told that it was a fifty dollar fruitcake.”


“Fifty dollar fruitcake in a dented can?” Marco asked with disbelief.


“Alright, I’m curious, too, Roy. How did the can get dented?” Cap asked.


“Let’s just say that it was dropped rather hard,” Roy said as he put the sterile bandage around Johnny’s arm.  Johnny and Roy grinned.


“The antique tin makes that fruitcake a fifty dollar present so we were told,” Roy said.


“Don’t always believe everything you hear,” Chet said.   


Johnny and Roy looked at each other and grinned.


“Don’t worry, Chet, we don’t,” Johnny said.  


“Well, let’s eat,” Roy said as he was putting everything away. 


“I should be hungry but I’m not. Do you realize I haven’t had anything to eat today, Roy?”


“No, I hadn’t really noticed, Johnny. But that is unusual for you.” 


Johnny and Roy sat down and Johnny quickly grabbed his lower abdomen and bent forward.


“Darn it hurts!” Johnny said as he grimaced.


“What’s wrong, Junior?” 


“He got burned,” Chet said as he dried a plate that Marco handed him.


“My stomach hurts again, Roy, only worse now.” 


“How did you hurt your stomach, Johnny?” Chet questioned.


“He didn’t hurt it, Chet,” Roy said as he stood up.  “Johnny, why don’t you lay down on the couch and let me examine you.”


“It may go away in a few minutes, Roy, it’s been aching a little all day.”


“Johnny, pal, do what Roy says,” Cap insisted. 


Roy helped Johnny to the couch since it was hard for Johnny to straighten up now. Henry moved down a bit and sat at Johnny’s feet.


“I don’t feel so good, Roy, I feel a little warm.”


“Alright, partner, just lie quiet. I’ll get your vitals.”  Roy reached for Johnny’s wrist. “Chet can you go get the equipment?”




“Roy, this pain started suddenly as an ache in my mid abdomen and now it’s moved to my lower abdomen. I think that I may have an app…”


Johnny was interrupted by a nod from Roy.  “I think so, too, Johnny, but we’ll just have to see. We can’t be sure just yet.”


“What is it, Roy?”


“I don’t really know, Marco. It could be a number of things.”


Chet set the equipment down on the floor near Roy.


Roy put a thermometer in Johnny’s mouth and took his blood pressure. 


Johnny grabbed his abdomen again and moaned. “It’s really hurting,” he mumbled around the thermometer.  


“Yeah, I know, partner. Try not to talk now. You’re going to be fine.”


Roy removed the thermometer and read the temperature.


“Roy, I just can’t show up at Rampart again.”


The senior paramedic palpated Johnny’s abdomen. When he finished Johnny moaned. 


“I’m going to contact the hospital.”


Johnny nodded and moaned. “I guess I don’t have a choice. I’m going to have to go.”


Roy patted Johnny’s shoulder. “I think so, Johnny.”  He looked at Captain Stanley.  “Cap, will you call an ambulance?” 


“Right away,” Captain Stanley walked over to the phone to call the ambulance and the still alarm into dispatch. 


Roy set the biophone up to call Rampart. “Rampart, this is squad 51, how do you read?”


“We read you loud and clear, 51, go ahead with your transmission,” Dr. Brackett said.


“Rampart, we have a twenty-five year old male complaining of pain in the right lower quadrant of his abdomen that started suddenly earlier today in the mid abdomen.  There is rebound tenderness at this time.”


Do you have vitals, 51?”  Dr. Brackett asked.


“Patient’s vitals are: Pulse 100, Respiration 16, BP 128/86, temp is 100.8.” 


“Ten four, 51. Start an IV with D5W and draw a purple top tube. Bring him in as soon as the ambulance arrives.”


“10-4, Rampart, IV with D5W and draw a purple top.”


“Can’t you give him something for pain?” Marco asked with a concerned look. 


“No not until they run tests at the hospital to find out what his problem is.” Roy said. “It would mask the symptoms.” 


“OW! The pain is getting worse, Roy,” Johnny groaned.  Henry picked up the rawhide bone that Johnny had given to him and dropped it on Johnny’s legs.  He laid his head down beside it and sighed. 


“Move, Henry!” Cap said as he gently pushed Henry off of Johnny and back onto the end of the couch.


Chet went over to Henry and started petting him. “It’s okay, Henry.  Johnny’s going to be fine.” 


Roy got the IV set out and untwisted the tubing.  Johnny looked at Roy. “Man, I can’t believe this!”  


“I know, Johnny,” Roy said as he put the tourniquet on Johnny’s left arm.


“Maybe it is just a stomachache and they’ll give me some medicine and I’ll get to come back in about an hour.”


“Yeah, maybe,” Roy said trying to comfort Johnny as he swabbed his arm with alcohol.


“You really think it’s more serious than just a stomachache don’t you, Roy?” Johnny asked as he groaned.


“Do you?” Roy questioned as he drew the blood and started the IV. 


“Yeah, I do. Just wishful thinking that…it’s just something minor I guess.” Johnny sighed with a moan as the ambulance attendants came into the room.


“We’ll get you to Rampart and find out what the doctor says,” Roy said as he patted Johnny’s shoulder.


The ambulance attendants came over and loaded Johnny onto the stretcher.


“Looks like you’re going to get out of helping with dinner tonight, Johnny,” Chet said as Johnny was being wheeled out of the station.  Marco jabbed him in the ribs.


“What’d I say?”


“Be nice, Chet,” Marco said. “I’m sure he’d much rather help with dinner than be going to Rampart again.”


“Yeah, Chet. This IV is probably… ouch…all I’m getting for …Christmas dinner. If you’d like to trade…places with me…I’ll… Ouch!”  Johnny said in obvious pain.


“No thanks, pal. I’d rather have that ham, sweet potatoes, apple pie, and…”


“Chet!” yelled Marco and Mike at the same time as Captain Stanley gave Chet a harsh look.   


“We’ll come check on you first chance we get. Roy, I’ll call Dwyer and see if he can take over for Johnny,” Cap said.



As Johnny was wheeled into Rampart, Dr. Brackett met them. “Not again, Johnny, this is getting to be a habit. Take him into treatment two.” 


Roy put his hand on Johnny’s shoulder. “I think you’re becoming his favorite patient, partner.” 


“A frequent flyer is more like it,” Kel said with a grin as he looked at Johnny. “Don’t worry, Johnny, you know that we’ll take good care of you. Now where is the pain exactly?” 


Johnny pointed and said, “lower right quadrant.”


Kel palpated Johnny’s abdomen. Johnny winced when Doctor Brackett hit the tender area and released his hands.  “Sorry, Johnny.  How long have you had the pain?”


“It started shortly after I… got up this morning…ouch…around five o’clock. I had a dull ache in the pit…ouch…of my stomach.  I’ve had kind of a dull aching pain all day.”  Johnny groaned.  “For about thirty minutes or so I’ve had steady…ouch…constant pain in my lower abdomen. Ouch!  It really hurts bad, Doc.”


“As many times as you’ve been in here today, maybe you should have said something about this sooner.”


“He just thought he was hungry,” Roy said.


“Well, it doesn’t matter now.  We’ll take care of you, Johnny, don’t worry.  Do you have the blood, Roy?”


“Right here, Doc,” He handed it to Kel. Dr. Morton came into the treatment room.


“What’s wrong with you, Johnny?” Mike asked.


“That’s what I’m…ouch…trying to find out,” Johnny responded.


Kel went to the phone. “I’m sending a purple top on a John Gage. I need a CBC done STAT!”


“I’ll take it, Kel.” Brackett handed the tube to Mike and he took it to the lab. 


“Johnny, you’re going to be fine, partner.  I’m going to go snatch a cup of coffee.”


“Thanks, Roy, for being here. I’m…ouch…sorry I messed Christmas…ouch…up for everyone.”


“Never mind about that. You just concentrate on getting well,” Roy patted Johnny on the shoulder before he left and gave him a reassuring smile.


Roy was finishing the last of his coffee when Dr. Brackett came up to him.  “His white count is high.  It’s a strong possibility that it’s an appendicitis attack, although we can’t be certain until we get in there.  He’s on his way to surgery now.  It’s a lucky thing that he hasn’t eaten all day.” 


“Johnny and I both thought that it might be his appendix causing the trouble. He was hoping it was just a stomachache and that he could get some medicine and get back to work.”


“Well, if it is an appendicitis, he’ll here several days depending on how fast he recovers.”


“He won’t like that much.”


“No he probably won’t like that much at all.  I’ll let you know when he’s out of surgery.” Kel put his hand on Roy’s shoulder before he left.


“Thanks, Doc. I’m going to go call the station and let them know.”


A while later Kel found Roy sitting in the lounge. “He’s fine, Roy. We did an appendectomy.  He’s in recovery and will sleep the rest of  the day and most of tomorrow. Why don’t you go back to work? There’s really nothing you can do here.”


“Yeah, guess I will. You’ll let me know if something changes though, won’t you?” 


“You know I will, Roy.”


“Thanks, Doc. This will be one Christmas Johnny will never forget.”


“Yeah, I have a feeling all of us will remember this one for a long time.” 



Two days later Roy and Cap came to see Johnny at the hospital.  Dixie, Dr. Early, Dr. Brackett, and Dr. Morton were in Johnny’s hospital room laughing.


“Very funny!” Johnny exclaimed. “You guys are a real riot. I guess I should thank-you, although I’m not so sure that I want to.”


“We have to go now,” Dr. Brackett said still laughing.


“Don’t read too long and strain your eyes. You’re liable to be back in here for treatment,” Dixie said snickering.


“But be sure to read them cover to cover, Johnny,” Dr. Early said with a grin.  


“And be sure you don’t drop them on your toes and get hurt with them,” Dr. Morton said with a smirk.


They came out of the room laughing so hard that they couldn’t speak, as Roy and Hank were entering the room to see Johnny.


“How are you feeling, Johnny?”


“I’m still a bit sore and hurting from the surgery but I’m much better than I was, Roy.”


“That’s good.  I came to see you a couple of times yesterday morning and afternoon, but you were really groggy.”


“It seems like I vaguely remember you coming in to see me. I’m hoping that I can go home in a few days.” 


Hank sat some flowers on the table. “From the guys at the station.”


“Here’s a piece of apple pie and one of Dixie’s cookies that we saved for you,” Roy said.


“Thanks, guys.”


“What was all that about?”  Roy asked as he sat the food down on Johnny’s table next to the flowers.


“What do you mean, Roy?” Johnny inquired with a slight moan.


“Dixie and the doctors.  I could tell that they were giving you a pretty rough time.”


“Oh that!  They came in to cheer me up and give me a couple of Christmas presents.”


“What were the presents?” Cap asked.


“Never mind.” 


“Come on, pal, let’s see them!” Cap demanded.


“Alright, they’re just books.”


Roy looked at Johnny. “What are they about? Maybe I’ll borrow them when you’re finished.”


“I don’t think you’ll want to read them, Roy.”


Johnny grimaced a bit and held the books up so that he and Hank could see the titles.


Roy read the titles out loud. “How to Prevent Accidents and Stay Out of The Emergency Room and Cautious Cat Learns How to Be Safe and Sound-A Child’s First Book of Safety.” 


“You might know it would be about a cat,” Roy said with a grin. “Wonder if he has a green sweater?”


“I hope not,” Johnny replied with a slight grin.


“Now those are thoughtful gifts for someone like you,” Cap said with a grin. “Maybe you should read them, especially the one about the cat. I wonder if the cat wears a helmet when he changes the oil under a vehicle?”   


“All right, Cap.  Maybe you’re right. Maybe I should read them. And I really would if I knew that it would prevent me from getting injured,” Johnny said with a grin.


“I’m sorry about those tickets for the Laker’s game, pal.” 


“No problem, Cap.”


“No problem? Johnny, the game’s tonight and you won’t be able to go. If you ask me, that sounds like a definite problem.”


“I’d probably end up falling off of my seat or something anyway,” Johnny said smiling.


“I don’t think you would,” Roy said.


“Thanks for the vote of confidence, Roy.  At least you don’t think I’m accident-prone. You don’t, do you?”


“Accident prone? No, I just think you have a lot of unusual misfortunes happen to you.” 


“Actually Cap, Mike and Marco were in earlier and I gave them the tickets. Of course they didn’t really have much to say to me when they found out who was in the other…”


“Still it’s too bad, since it was your Christmas present,” Cap interrupted.


“Don’t worry, I happen to be getting a ticket for the January 20th game instead, Cap.”    


“Where are you going to get it?” Roy asked.


“That’s impossible, Johnny. Those games are completely sold out by now. I ordered the tickets for tonight’s game months ago!”  Cap exclaimed.


“He has connections,” a voice said from the other bed in the room. The man pulled the curtain back. “I’m going to get him a ticket. I injured my foot last night during practice. It’s nothing serious. I’m going to be dismissed this afternoon and able to play tonight.  I asked for a private room, but after the holidays the hospital got full and they had to put me in here with Johnny. We’ve become pretty good friends. Of course we only got to talk for a little while last night. What with all those nurses coming in here fussing over him while he told them about some of those daring rescues he’s had.”


Me, what about all your teammates coming in last night talking about the games and laughing so loud that Dr. Brackett came in and made everyone leave, including the nurses,” Johnny said with a grin as he pressed down on a pillow against his abdomen.


“Well, I admit your rescue stories were interesting.  I guess you do have a dangerous job, Johnny, seeing the bandage on your head, your arm, and on your hand, and the Band-Aid above your eye.”


“Do you really want to know how he got all those injuries?”


“Now, Roy, he doesn’t want to be bothered with those small details, right, Cap?”


Captain Stanley was staring at Johnny’s roommate.         


“You’re uh…you’re…do you…do you realize who you are?” Cap stuttered.


“Yeah, I’m Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Call me Kareem. And you are…?”


“I’m uh…I’m one of your biggest…I mean uh…best fans.  Do you know that you won the Rookie of the Year award when you were with the Milwaukee Bucks and last year you were NBA’S most…uh…?”


Kareem laughed. “Yeah, seems like I do remember something about that!”


“Kareem, meet my Captain, Hank Stanley. He’s the one who gave me the tickets as a Christmas present,” Johnny said with a grin. “And this is Roy DeSoto my partner.”


“Glad to meet you both. Since you’re such a good fan Captain, how would you like all of the guys on your shift at the station to go to a game on January 20th  with Johnny?  I can get them seats beside his in section 111 front row center if you’d like.”


“Well, we’d…we’d like that a …a whole lot.  Wouldn’t we, Roy?” Cap asked.


“Well, I guess everyone would like that, but if it’s too much trouble for him to…”


Hank nudged Roy in the ribs with his elbow.


“Sure, Cap, we’d like that just fine.” Roy grinned.


“I can’t believe this!” Cap exclaimed. “Section 111!” 


“I can’t believe this whole experience,” Johnny said. “When I first woke up I saw pink elephants.”


Roy grinned. “I guess coming out of anesthesia can have that effect on a person sometimes.”


“No, Roy, you don’t understand. I actually saw pink elephants on the wall.  They had some of the new help here Christmas night and I was mistakenly moved into the pediatric ward when I was brought up from the recovery room.”  


Roy laughed. “That’s pretty funny, Johnny.  Isn’t Cap?  Cap?”


Hank was staring at Kareem and paid no attention to Roy or Johnny.  “I’ve been a fan of yours for…for…uh since you were Lou …or let’s just say a long time.  I really appreciate those tickets.  If there’s anything I can…or we can…uh ever do for you…uh…just don’t hesitate to ask.”


“Well, let’s just say, the tickets are my belated Christmas gift to Johnny’s friends.”


Hank fumbled in his shirt pocket for a piece of paper.


“Uh…can I have…I mean do you mind giving me your…your autograph?” 


Roy took a piece of paper from the notebook in his pocket and handed his pen and the paper to Hank. 


“Same thing happened when Mike and Marco were here, Roy. They came to see me and all of a sudden they were talking to Kareem and not paying any attention to me.”  


“Well, we’d better be going now and let you get some sleep, Johnny,” Roy said, as Kareem tore the paper in half.


 “Nice meeting you, Kareem.”


“Nice meeting you, too, Roy.  I’ll sign an autograph for you, too, if you want it.” 


“Yeah, thanks a lot. Chris, my son, would really appreciate it.”


‘To my buddy Chris from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’ was written on the paper he handed to Roy. “I’ll see about getting him a team autographed picture also.”


“Chris will really be excited about that.” 


“Nice meeting you, Mr. Abdul-Jabbar.  I hope that your…knee…uh ankle…I mean uh, it’s your foot isn’t it? Anyway, hope it’s…it gets better,” Hank stammered.


“Come on, Cap, I’m ready to go and you rode with me,” Roy said as he smiled at Johnny. 


“Uh I’d like to give you something…uh…” Hank walked over to the table on the other side of the curtain. He picked up the flowers he had brought to Johnny and brought them around and sat them on Kareem’s table with several other containers of flowers. “Uh, I uh…I hope…you like them.” 


“I don’t quite know what to say. I sure wasn’t expecting you to give me these flowers.”  


“I’m sure Johnny wasn’t expecting that either,” Roy said with a grin as he saw Johnny roll his eyes.


“Bye, Johnny.” Roy took Captain Stanley by the arm.  Johnny waved as they left.


Johnny heard Hank talking in the hall before the door closed. “Roy, do you realize who that was in there. That was…”  


Johnny shook his head as he looked toward the seven foot two inch basketball star. “He’s not usually like that.”


“Most people usually aren’t themselves when they are around me. I’m use to it, Johnny.”


Johnny gave a slight moan. “Yeah, most people aren’t themselves when they are around me either. But it’s because of my occupation I guess. People are usually upset or frightened when we arrive on a scene.”


Chet tapped on the door and entered the room. “Hi, Johnny, how are you feeling? I brought you a sports maga…” He glanced toward the man in the other bed and nodded casually. He looked at the man again “Hey, you’re uh…I don’t believe it.  Do you know that you’re…”


“Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Yeah, I’ve known who I am for a long time now. Do you work with Johnny?”


“Yeah, I’m Chet…uh…Chet…uh”


“Kelly,” Johnny said with a grin.


 “Yeah, uh…  Do you mind if I ask you something?  It’s about that game with Golden State the other night.” 


“I saw that game. It was really a good game,” Johnny said.


Chet looked at Johnny. “Johnny, do you mind, not interrupting. We’re talking.” He pulled the curtain around Johnny and walked over beside Kareem.  “Kareem, you might like to have this magazine I brought.”


“Man, I ain’t believin’ this! Here we go again,” Johnny mumbled to himself.  He sighed and closed his eyes while Chet visited with Kareem.


The End!