By Audrey W.
"I tell you, John, don't do it."
"I heard ya. . .I heard ya," John Gage said, annoyance in his voice.
He and Chet Kelly were in the locker room of Station 51, in front of the sinks where Chet was shaving, fluffy white cream still on his face.
"But. . ." Johnny began, "Why not?"
"You'll fall off."
"What?" The dark-haired paramedic stepped back in offense and splayed his right hand across his chest, a white handtowel loosely held in his left. "Look, I do this sorta stuff all the time.”
Chet raised his eyebrows in question.
“The climbing up there, I mean."
Chet stopped shaving and shook his head. "Doesn't matter."
Johnny shifted his weight to his right leg, his arms outstretched. "What are you talkin' about? Of course it matters."
Again Chet stopped shaving. With his free hand, he pointed toward the ceiling. "If you go up on a roof stomping around, playing Santa. . .for a couple of kids you wouldn't even know, I might add, if they hadn'ta gotten into a fix themselves in the first place. . ., you're gonna fall off. Probably break your leg, too. Maybe even an arm."
"Ah c'mon, Chet. You know bettern' that."
"I'm serious, John."
"I'm sure other people with less experience climbing on roofs manage without incident, or we'd be runnin' out to rescue them all the time. So give me one reason why I'd be the one to fall off."
"It's just the way it is.”
Johnny screwed up his face in puzzlement. “What?”
“It's just how things go for you," he shrugged. “Some people get teased all their lives because that’s just how it’s meant to be. Others can’t stay married because that’s the master plan. It’s outta their hands. Yours is something going wrong in some way, even when you try to be careful. It’s your destiny.”
“Chet, that’s just dumb.”
“I’m tellin’ ya now,” he said as he continued shaving. “Don’t do it.”
John Gage lay back on the pillow in his hospital bed, his left leg in a cast to the knee, left hand and arm in one to the elbow. The time to himself as others still worked after the Christmas holiday gave him a chance to think back on what Chet had said two days earlier.
And the fireman was right. Johnny had gotten the wind knocked out of him, a life-threatening illness and everything in between over the past few years as a paramedic and rescue man. Didn’t matter how careful he was. Somehow something always seemed to happen to him.
Just as Chet had predicted, he’d taken a tumble Christmas Eve. Not from the roof exactly, no that had gone okay. It was afterward, when he went to climb off and the ladder fell, taking him with it. It was beyond his control to stop it.
Johnny looked up as his partner Roy DeSoto and Chet came into the room for a visit. The latter shook his head and peered upwards.
The injured paramedic sighed.
After a lengthy visit, Roy and Chet were finally leaving when Johnny called out, “Hey, Chet.”
Both visitors stopped near the door and turned around.
“I’m curious. Based on that theory of yours, what’re you stuck with? What’s your destiny?”
“Why, I’m surprised you haven’t figured it out yet, John. Eight times outta ten I’m right. . .for the most part.”
Johnny just looked on with a blank stare, while Roy rolled his eyes at the comment and gave Chet a smirk. He and Chet then continued on after a joint 'See ya later'.
His brow furrowed and mouth open, Johnny raised his right hand slightly in a weak effort to stop the two visitors. But they were gone before either had a chance to notice.
He wanted to point out that Chet’s answer didn’t say anything more than that he sometimes guessed things right, which was pretty much what the average person could claim.
Johnny let out another sigh. Some day he’d learn to ignore the curly-haired fireman. Atleast twenty percent of the time.
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