Claus for Concern


By Audrey W.






Christmas Eve, 1975



“Over here,” came a man’s hushed whisper.


John Gage and his partner, Roy DeSoto, looked curiously at one another, then trotted in the direction the sound had come from, basic equipment from the squad compartments in their hands.


They’d been dispatched to a home, non-code R at the request of the caller. Thus no one was immediately in sight at the address to explain what exactly they were needed for nor where the victim was located.


“O—over. . .here,” came the whisper again, this time slightly louder.


They picked up their pace, each hoping they wouldn’t find out they should’ve waited for a police officer to arrive at the scene first. At least one was routinely dispatched to meet them at the locations during the night as a safety precaution. But on Christmas Eve, it was hard to imagine anyone posing a threat to them. And they certainly wouldn’t feel right making a victim wait any longer than necessary.


“Where?” Johnny whispered as they neared a row of  four foot high shrubbery that was up against the house.


“Here. . .”


Both men looked in the direction of the voice. They could barely make out a hint of red and white through the thick bushes. The two once again exchanged a quick glance, then Roy proceeded ahead of his partner as they carefully squeezed in between the twig-sized green leafy branches of two closely grown bushes.


There partially on broken branches and the ground lay a Santa . . .one of the many ‘helpers’ dressed as the jolly old man to help spread the joy of Christmas. It was proving not to be the best year to take on the task. This was the fifth time in two weeks Johnny and Roy had a call for a Santa in need of their services; however the others had been at stores where two falls, a stuck elevator and a possible heart attack that turned out to be indigestion took the red suited man off the job. 


Though they both could guess why this one was lying where he was, the obvious needed to be asked.


“What happened?” Johnny questioned as he squatted down in the very small span of space.


“Shhhhh. Keep your voice down. The kids. . .” he motioned with his head, the Santa beard moving just enough to cover a corner of his mouth. 


“Okay . . .what happened?” Gage asked in a hushed tone.


The man looked at him in disbelief. “You have to ask?”


“It’s a formality,” Roy assured as he broke off a small branch that was digging into his side. At the moment, in their close quarters, it wasn’t looking too good to be a paramedic either. “We don’t wanna assume anything.”


“Oh. . .well, in that case. I fell outta my sleigh and the reindeer kept on going with it.”


Now the paramedics looked at him in disbelief. 


“You fell out of a sleigh led by reindeer?”


 He eyed Johnny and after a very brief pause, replied, “No, I fell off the roof. I just wanted to prove to you guys you didn’t need to hear it from me.”


Johnny rolled his eyes. But the banter was a good sign; the Santa couldn’t be too badly injured.


“Where exactly are you hurt?” Roy wondered.


“My lower back. . .”


“I’ll get the board,” Johnny stated as he got to his feet. He was glad to see an officer finally arrive. They were going to need help getting the victim on it from where he lay. Speaking of help. . .


“There’s one thing I can’t figure out. If you’re stuck down there and your kids don’t know you’re ‘Santa’, who called for us?”


“My wife. . .Shirley. She’s standing guard in the house. You know. . .to  make sure no one makes it outside. . .if I woke ‘um up with the fall.”


Johnny just nodded and carefully worked his way out of the bushes, waving the officer over at the same time.


The man continued to explain to Roy, “I was gonna be on the roof and make noise. . .you know, stomp around and stuff. . . even had jingle bells,” he snorted a slight laugh when he realized he still had them in one of his hands. “We were gonna let ‘um get a glimpse of ‘Santa’. . . near the chimney. But I lost my footing before I got started and, well. . .you know the rest.”


Roy looked around. “Where’s a ladder?” 


“My wife put it back in the garage. We didn’t want the kids to see that.”


The paramedic gave a slight smile. He wasn’t about to inform their victim that seeing a ladder would’ve been the least of their problems. Explaining why there was no sleigh or reindeer could’ve proved to be more than a little difficult.





Fifteen minutes and a few more scratches later, the three rescuers were on a first name basis with the downed Santa, who was now ready to transport to Rampart General Hospital. Roy climbed up in the back of the ambulance to ride in with him; Johnny would follow behind in the squad.


The ambulance driver waited until they were a few blocks away before he turned on the siren. It wasn’t an issue with traffic since there wasn’t any in the area at ten o’clock at night. Soon the paramedics were on their way back to the station, with visions of their beds in their heads.



Johnny grinned as Roy turned onto East 223rd Street. The station was only a couple of blocks away. But that smile quickly turned upside down when the tones sounded over the radio.


“Squad 51. . .”


The two listened as another ‘man down’ call was announced. Johnny reached forward and lifted the mic from its holder. “Squad 51, 10-4.”


As he replaced the mic, he quipped to Roy. “Whataya wanna bet it’s another guy in a red suit?”


“I’ll be surprised if it’s not.”





Several blocks away from the address, Dispatch radioed Gage and DeSoto again. This time it was to add that the caller had contacted them again, and requested the siren and rotating lights be turned off before the paramedics arrived at the address. That left no doubt in either man’s mind.


“Santa,” they said in unison as Johnny once again replaced the mic in its holder.



With no siren or flashing lights to alert the residents they were there, no one was in the near vicinity to direct the paramedics upon arrival. Aside from a policeman who’d also just gotten there, once again Johnny and Roy were left on their own to approach a home in question. The men opened the passenger side compartments of their emergency vehicle and pulled out the equipment they usually needed on most calls. Then with the few boxes in hand, they and the officer quickly headed up the sidewalk and to the porch.


Johnny was about to press the doorbell with a free hand, but stopped himself just before he touched the small white button beside the door.


“If they didn’t want any lights or sound, they probably don’t want us ringin’ the doorbell either.”


Roy knocked gently on the door and the men waited anxiously for an answer.


It was less than a minute when the door opened, revealing a thirty-something woman dressed in an ankle length plaid flannel gown, fuzzy pink slippers on her feet.


“Oh thank God you’re here,” she whispered. “He hasn’t quit complaining since it happened. Please__ come in.” She stepped aside to allow them access.


He wasn’t sure he should ask, thinking back on the last call they had. But Johnny knew what the first obvious question needed to be. He was glad when Roy took the plunge and asked before he could get the first syllable out. 


“What happened?”


“Shhhh, keep your voice down.” The woman pointed toward a hallway they’d just passed. “The kids are asleep.”


Roy nodded and his partner rolled his eyes. No lights, no siren and speaking in hushed tones.


Only on Christmas Eve, Johnny thought to himself.





As she explained why they were needed, the woman led the paramedics toward a den at the far end of the house. Their law enforcement companion followed. 


“My husband. . .Ken’s his name . . .”


“He wouldn’t happen to be dressed in a red suit with white trim, would he?” Johnny wondered.


“Yes, he was trying on the costume for tomorrow morning. He’s going to bring in a big sack of presents for the kids dressed as Santa Claus.”  She frowned and added, “Or rather he was going to. I guess he can’t now.”


“You never told us what happened,” Roy reminded.


As they entered the room, she motioned with a hand, “That.”


They looked on to where another ‘Santa’, this time minus the white beard and hair, was seated on the floor with his back against the wall near their Christmas tree. A couple of crushed wrapped boxes were in the middle of the floor, along with a children’s bicycle

that was laid over on its side. 


The men grew concerned. The costumed man was holding his side, a pained expression on his face.


Roy checked Ken’s condition while Johnny set up the biophone on a coffee table not far away. As he waited for someone at Rampart to pick up on the line, Johnny eyed the smashed gifts.


“Can you rewrap what ever’s in there in a coupla new boxes?”


The wife shook her head. “We’re just going to have to say ‘Santa’ must’ve had a little accident.”


“Donna, would you knock it off?” Ken griped in a voice louder than a whisper. “I’m hurtin’ here.”


“Shhhh. . .you’ll wake the children.”


“You know. . . at this point. . . I really don’t even. . . care anymore.” He let out a sigh, that brought a wince to his face.


After having the doctor who’d answered the radio stand by for information, Johnny wrote down the victim’s vitals as Roy softly called them out. He relayed those as well as the information that Ken’s left side was very tender to the touch. They suspected possible bruised or fractured ribs.


“What exactly happened?” Roy asked for a third time.


Ken was about to answer, but his wife beat him to it.


“He tried on the suit and came in here to show me. I was putting a few extra presents under the tree and he leaned over. . .a little too far with the belly stuffing in the outfit. . . to look at the tags on them. . .he lost his balance and tried to grab onto me for support. Well, I was already getting out of the way, so he ended up falling. His knees squished the two boxes I hadn’t gotten to the tree yet, and he knocked the bike over and landed on his side on that. He just missed the tree by mere inches.”


“And that’s how. . .the handle bar. . . jabbed me in the ribs. Now if someone could be a little more understanding here. . .”


Donna opened her mouth in protest. After all, she’d only tried to keep him quiet to avoid waking up everyone else in the house.


Johnny glanced at her just in time to see the fuming woman look around and grab a glass stemmed candy dish from the coffee table, her angry gaze returning to her husband.  The dumped candy on the table made it clear she didn’t intend to just hold onto it.


“Stand by, Rampart.”


He let the biophone transmitter drop before he got the word ‘Rampart’ fully out, scrambled to his feet and got in front of her in one swift move. He hoped to spare Ken. . .and perhaps Roy. . .from a potential injury and prevent a possible domestic feud from breaking out.


The policeman ran over from where he was standing nearby, his approach behind her.  


However, in that same span of seconds, she’d rethought her actions and brought the ready to launch object in her hand down from over her head. . .catching the dark-haired paramedic by surprise when she clipped him hard on the chin.


No, it wasn’t looking to be a good night to be ‘Santa’ or a paramedic. That was for sure.



“How’s the chin?” Roy wondered with a glance at his passenger. They’d taken Ken to the hospital for x-rays and were once again on their way back to the station.


Johnny rubbed at his slightly bruised chin. “A little sore.”


“Well, if it’s any consolation, I appreciate that you sacrificed your face for my safety.”


“Oh, sure. Sure, anytime,” came an equally sarcastic remark. “Hey!” Johnny sat up straight in the seat and looked more intently out the windshield. “Do you see that?”




Roy took a glance up ahead and to the right. They were on a street with older buildings along it, most of which were little shops of sorts side by side with outdoor entrances to each. The awning over the front of the building in question prevented the street lights from providing much illumination to it.


“It’s kinda hard to see, but it looks like legs hangin’ out that window,” Johnny stated as much to himself as to Roy.  “Someone’s breakin’ into that store!”


Roy was already on the radio, calling it into Dispatch and requesting a police unit. He pulled the squad over to the curb nearly a block away and parked.


“Actually it‘s hard ta tell if the guy is tryin’ to get in. . .or out,” Johnny commented, his eyes narrowed in scrutiny.


“Who in their right mind would break into a place right here out in the open where anyone can see?” Roy wondered.


“It doesn’t make sense. . .except if ya think about it, we’re the only ones here right now. Maybe he knew there wouldn’t be much traffic. Or maybe he really is breaking out.”


“Why would a guy need to break out? If he’s inside, he can just open the door.”


“Unless he got locked in a room. Maybe he got held up earlier and the robber tied ‘im up and put ‘im in a room, locked the door and this guy is just gettin’ free after all this time.”


Roy gave it a few seconds thought, then looked at his partner. “All what time?”


“However long he’s been in there.”


“We don’t even know that’s what happened.”


“Maybe not, but it’s the scenario that makes the most sense.”


Roy chewed his lower lip in thought. If Johnny was right. . .


Gage shrugged. “Should we go see if we can help ‘im out? Literally?”


“What if we’re wrong and he has a gun?”


“Good point,” the younger man conceded as he sat back in his seat.


The two looked at one another, then simultaneously opened their doors. Luckily they were spared having to decide on their next move when a patrol car arrived on the scene.


“That our intruder?” One of the officers asked when he and his partner joined the paramedics in front of their truck. The four looked on toward the lone half-figure still squirming, his feet off the ground.


Johnny nodded. “Only we’re not sure if he’s an ‘intruder’ or an ‘out-truder’.”


“An. . .?” The other policeman was puzzled.


“We don’t know if he’s breaking in or trying to get out,” Roy explained. “He was already stuck when we came by.”


“Ah. . .so you don’t know if he’s armed or not?”


Gage shook his head ‘no’.


“Well, he’s not exactly in any position to use it right now if he is,” the first officer surmised. He looked at his partner. “Let’s go, Tim.”


The two got back in their car and slowly drove it up to the location. They then got out and hesitantly positioned themselves on either side of the mystery man.


“Police! Don’t move!” yelled one. The legs were still.


Johnny and Roy watched and waited from where the squad remained. They saw the officers take a few steps closer after calling out the command. After a few more moments, Tim waved for the paramedics to join them.





When they got in front of the store, Johnny and Roy saw there was a large typical store window beside the one-panel door and another smaller window beside that, the bottom of it quite a bit higher off the ground. It was that window the victim was stuck in. He nearly filled up the open space completely.


“Well, he’s trying to get out. We’re not sure if it happened while he was climbing in or what, but the window came down on him and jammed,” Tim explained to Gage and Desoto. “If you guys can get him free, I’ll keep a gun trained on him to cover you. . .you know,  just in case. But he says he’s not carrying a weapon. We just don’t want to take the chance he’s pulling one over on us. In the meantime, my partner’s having the department do a search on his name to see if he has any kind of record.”


“Right,” Roy agreed.


“Do ya know if he’s hurt at all?” Johnny wondered.


“No, but he seems to be okay. Just in a jam. . .” the cop grinned. “Literally, I guess, huh?”


The dark-haired paramedic nodded, a slight crooked grin on his face.  He and Roy got situated on either side of the victim, whom they now knew was named Gary Sanders. Or at least he’d told the officers that was it. 


“Gary, we’re with the fire department,” Roy informed. “We’re gonna get you out, but first we need to know if you’re hurt anywhere.”


“Just my pride, sir. . .just my pride.”


Roy took in the red velvet pants with white fur trim on the hem, and the fur trim along the bottom of his red coat that just barely stuck out from under the window’s edge. Between those and the shiny black boots. . .


Clearly, ‘Santa’ had done it again. And Johnny’s “here we go again” comment once they got a closer look was Roy’s thought exactly.


Together they pushed up on the window evenly from both sides and wiggled it with what little play it had. After several minutes of effort and straining, the opening was large enough for Gage to help the victim out. 


However it didn’t go as smoothly as planned. The second Mr. Sanders was out, the larger man nearly fainted and took Johnny to the ground with him. He’d had his head tilted down during most of his ordeal and the blood rush as soon as he was upright had overwhelmed him.


Minus a familiar ‘Santa’ hat, the red-suited Sanders rolled off to free a very winded Gage. Tim reached out to give him a hand getting up while Roy did the same for his partner.


Once the woozy man was seated on the back bumper of the squad where Roy could check him over, the questioning began.


“We had a trace done on your name and can’t come up with a record on you. So if you weren’t planning on robbing the place, what were you going to do and why did you have to use the window?”


 “I work here,” Mr. Sanders explained to the police. “Or at least I did until tonight. I’m a ‘Santa’. . .obviously,” he added with a slight snicker. “ Kids have been coming to see me for the past four weeks. Today was my last day and so I just came already dressed as him instead of changing in the bathroom.  As you can see there are no pockets in this outfit, so Mr. Trisen, the owner, let me put my wallet in his office.”


They waited for him to continue; in the meantime Johnny relayed healthy vital signs to Rampart.


“I forgot my wallet and I didn’t realize it till my wife reminded me a short time ago we needed to get to her mother’s tomorrow. I went to make sure I had everything ready and discovered my wallet was missing. I remembered I put it in a drawer here. I knew the lock on the window to his office was broken. . .Mr. Trisen’s been meaning to get it fixed, but hasn’t had the time. Anyway, I figured I could get in that way and back out without ever having to bother him on Christmas Eve. Only I also figured no one would think anything of Santa Claus going into a building on Christmas Eve. And I sure never expected to get stuck.”


“So you didn’t get your wallet?”


“No sir,” he admitted to the officer.


“And you don’t have any ID on you to prove who you are?”


“Right. But I’m Gary Sanders. I can prove it to you once we get my wallet.”


“We’ll need to confirm all this with Mr. Trisen before we can just let you go.”


His face displayed disappointment. “Do you have to?”


Tim nodded. “Sorry, but we do. Plus you still need him to get your wallet.”


Johnny and Roy couldn’t help but believe him. Both figured the outfit had a lot to do with why. But the police had to do their job completely too. Once they were sure the ‘Santa’ would be okay physically, they were on their way again, with hopes of getting a little sleep before another call.




“How’re you feeling now?” Roy asked as he drove the squad down another empty street.


“My ribs feel about as good as my chin.” He lightly touched the latter. “But I’ll live,” he added with sarcasm. “I sure hope morning comes while we can both still walk on our own, though.”


Or at least while *you* can, Roy thought to himself.





“’Bout time you guys got back,” a sleepy Chet Kelly commented. Johnny and Roy had finally made it to the station without a call, and were in the darkened dorm room . . .and on their way to their beds.


Clad in white t-shirts and boxers, the two were just passing by the foot of the fireman’s bed.


“Yeah, well, ‘Santa Claus’ has been keepin’ us rather busy tonight.”


Chet let out a brief laugh. “Yeah, right, Gage. And Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer stopped by for a midnight snack.”


“I don’t care who did what, just go to bed so the rest of us can sleep,” Marco mumbled from the bed next to Chet’s.


Their captain agreed from his bed on the other side of the chest high brick divider just behind where Roy stood.


Chet rolled onto his side and let out another snicker, then closed his eyes and was quiet again.


Johnny and Roy continued on their way. They were both too tired to give all the details anyway.


Johnny sat on the edge of his bed while Roy climbed into the one across from it.


“Whataya think our chances of gettin’ some actual sleep are?”


Roy pulled the covers up over his shoulders. “Let me put it this way. I wouldn’t waste any time closing my eyes if I were you.”


But it was already too late. The klaxons sounded, the lights in the dorm came on and Squad 51 was dispatched out for an ‘unknown rescue’.


As Roy drove the squad into the street, Johnny sighed.


“If this one doesn’t involve a man in a red suit, I’ll be amazed.”




Much to their surprise, and Johnny’s delight, a shapely young brunette woman came running from the home at the address to meet them. She was dressed in an extremely short red velvet dress with a skirt that flared out; the neckline, sleeves and skirt were trimmed in white fur.


Yes, it appeared to be sort of  Santa related again, and no it wasn’t a pleasure call. But still, she was a much better sight than the men they’d been rescuing most of the night.


Johnny noticed her stumble a bit as she ran across the grassy yard.


Roy stopped the squad near a street light, and he and Johnny quickly climbed out. Already at the truck, the woman watched as they opened the compartments to get the gear.


“Uhm, what’s that?” She asked as she tried to peek around. They could smell alcohol on her breath, which explained the unsteady footing.


Johnny glanced over his shoulder as he pulled a black box out. “It’s the drug box.”


“Drugs? Oh I don’ think you’ll need that,” she said with a shake of her head, her words slightly slurred. “No, I don’t think that’s gonna help.” She put a hand up to her mouth and through her fingers, again stated, “Nope, I don’t think it will.”




“What exactly’s the problem, Miss. . .?” Roy grabbed the biophone while he waited for an answer.


“My boyfriend. Actually he’s not the problem. But he sure has one.” She giggled while she eyed the house. When she’d turned slightly, they noticed the back of her dress was unzipped from between her shoulder blades and up. Apparently she wasn’t aware of it or was too drunk to care.


It was always difficult to assess the seriousness of a situation when dealing with an intoxicated individual. Alcohol tended to impair the thought processes and the person often wouldn’t display urgency, even in the most desperate of situations.


“Where is he?”


She returned her attention to Gage. “In there. Where else woulde be?”


Roy looked down the street. So far there was still no sign of the police. A sudden call over the radio explained why. The officer had been given an incorrect address, having been sent to South Cyprus Street rather than North. He was on his way, but obviously delayed several minutes. It was a given the police dispatcher would be reprimanded over the mistake.


But in the meantime, they’d have to make the decision whether to continue on before help arrived at the scene.


Without knowing exactly what was wrong with the boyfriend and unable to get a clear answer from the lady, they chose to put the victim first. Using their better judgment, the paramedics took the supplies they wanted despite her claim they wouldn’t be of help. They followed her into the home, her hand often going to Johnny’s crooked left arm for stability.





When they stepped into the bedroom, the paramedics saw a man in a Santa suit, minus the boots and hat, handcuffed by his wrists to two bedposts. He was lying on his back and appeared to be hyperventilating.


He didn’t look too pleased to see the new arrivals.


“Melanie. . .what’dya hafta. . .call them. . .for?” he managed between breaths.


“Well, someone has to be able to get those things off ya. He’s claaauuus__claus__trrrooo__phoic.,” she explained to their help.


“Sounds like a fear of Santa Claus the way she says it,” Johnny muttered to Roy.


“I think we’re developing that one.”


Unaware of their comments, her explanation went on. “He says he’s dizzy and I can’t getum free.”


They’d stepped closer to help the trapped man, who also smelled of alcohol.


“You’re dizzy because you’re breathin’ too hard,” Johnny explained. “You’re hyperventilatin’. You got a paper bag?” He asked Melanie.


“Well. . .”  she left the room on her unsteady feet and returned with a small plastic trash can in her hands. She turned it upside down and the contents fell onto the floor in a pile. “How ‘bout this?”


She handed a small crumpled up paper sack to Gage, who tossed it aside in disgust. He couldn’t put a bag out of the trash on the guy’s face. But there was always another approach.


“Look, you’re gonna need to breathe through your nose. . .take slow breaths.”


In the meantime, Roy was looking for a key to the handcuffs. In the process he’d spotted a nail clipper, a steak knife, bobby pin and fingernail file on a nightstand nearby.


“Did you. . .uh. . .try to remove the cuffs yourself, by chance?”


Melanie nodded. “I gave up with the knife.”


“Is that when he started hyperventilating?”


“I’m sure it didn’t help,” Gage put in as he worked to calm their patient.


“I’ll get something to cut him loose.”


Roy left the room and headed for the squad.


“Don’t worry, the cops are on their way. In fact that’s probly them now,” Johnny added at the sound of a siren outside. “My partner’ll be right back with ‘um, I’m sure.”


Neither paramedic had wanted an explanation as to exactly why the man was handcuffed to the bed, nor why the couple was wearing the matching get-ups. Some things were better left a mystery. But it appeared a little quirky hanky panky had gone differently than planned.




 A short time later, the medics were walking from the house to their squad. The police officer had been able to unlock the handcuffs and free the poor embarrassed ‘Santa’. But he remained inside to talk to the tipsy couple.


“Ya know, it’s a good thing Santa’s not real,” Johnny commented. “Or I’d be worried about ‘um gettin’ deliveries done on time. . .and in one piece!”


Suddenly they heard the faint sound of jingle bells. Both looked up toward the night sky and saw a red glowing light woosh across, a shadowy object seemed to follow right behind it. Then both were gone in a flash.


Johnny and Roy kept their gazes on the sky.


“Nah. . .couldn’t be,” Johnny finally said.


“It’s impossible,” Roy agreed.


“Maybe we’ve just had one too many run-ins with a ‘Santa suit’.”


Really it didn’t matter. Both knew one thing for sure; this wasn’t going to get mentioned to Chet or anyone else. No way.


They continued onto their truck, each taking one more curious glance up at the sky where they’d seen the mysterious appearance.





Johnny called them in as available and Roy drove away from the latest call toward the station. After two blocks of travel, Dispatch was contacting them again.


“Station 51, man trapped in chimney. . .”


The dark-haired paramedic turned on the cab dome light and jotted down the information. Soon he and Roy were headed to the address.



As expected, it’d turned out to be another man dressed as Santa that was trapped in the chimney; only this one was hoping to burglarize the home with the family away for the holiday. However, he hadn’t planned on getting stuck, nor for a neighbor to see him climb in. But it turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as he would have been there for days if no one knew exactly where he’d gone.


“At least Chet can see what we were talkin’ about,” Johnny mumbled as they drove away from the scene. Other than being in need of a shower, the victim had fared okay and would be going straight to jail. 


“I think he gets the idea.” Roy glanced over to the passenger side, where his sooty partner sat. “By the way, how’s your hand doing? Do we need to stop at Rampart?”


Johnny flexed the fingers on his left hand. “Nah, it’s okay. I’m fine.”


‘Santa’ had managed to get Gage’s hand pinned briefly between one of his boots and the interior chimney wall.


“Hey, Roy. . .”




“I’ve been thinkin’ about what we saw. . .you know, in the sky. . .”


“Me too.”


“You have?”


Roy nodded and his surprised passenger turned in his seat.


“Well, whataya think?”


“That if it was the man himself, he’s gonna be just fine. It’s the imposters we’ve gotta worry about.”


Not quite what Johnny wanted to hear. He’d hoped for Roy to toss out a plausible explanation for the apparition since, as hard as he tried, he couldn’t think of one. But at least it saved him from having to reveal he too was a little less skeptical about the existence of Old Saint Nick.





Aside from one very early morning response for yet another ‘Santa’ having fallen off the roof, the remainder of the shift was fairly quiet.


Johnny was anxious to get home to his apartment so he could get cleaned up better and changed before joining Roy and the other DeSotos for Christmas at their house.


As they walked to their vehicles in the lot behind the station, Gage reflected on their busy night.


“I think I just figured out what I like about Easter. . .besides the jellybeans, of course.”


“What’s that?”


“The Easter Bunny works on the ground.”


Suddenly Roy had visions of six foot tall men in rabbit suits in various needs of low-level rescues. He hoped Johnny didn’t just jinx their Spring holiday.   





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