Don’t Overlook the Obvious

By Audrey W.





“I'm looking over a four-leaf clover, that I overlooked before. One--”


“Wait, wait. . .wait. . .”


John Gage stopped singing the tune and came to a halt in the apparatus bay of Station 51.


“What’s the problem, Chet?”


The curly haired fireman stood in front of him, his right hand still up in front of him as a signal to cut off the song. “Besides that you can’t sing? You’re not Irish.”


Gage shrugged. “What’s that got to do with anything?”


“You’re singing about a four leaf clover. On Saint Patrick’s Day. An Irish holiday.”


“Oh, c’mon. It’s not a song just for the Irish.  “’Sides, everyone’s got a little Irish in ‘em on March seventeenth.” He immediately started back with singing, “One leaf is sunshine, the second is rain. . .” as he stepped around the protesting fireman.


“The third is the roses, that grow in the lane. . .” John continued as he made his way into the locker room.


Roy DeSoto had just finished getting changed into uniform and looked at the dark-haired paramedic as he entered the room.


“You heard it on the radio, too, huh?”


Gage cracked a grin. “’Tis the season.”


“If you mean Saint Patrick’s Day, I think that applies to a holiday that has a season. . .like Christmas.”


“Whatever,” he came back with as he opened his locker.  “All I know is I feel the luck o’ the Irish today.”


“Has anyone told you you aren’t Irish?”


“As a matter of fact,” John said, his voice slightly muffled while he leaned inside his locker. “Someone has.” He pulled out and stated almost in Roy’s face, “Chet.”


“Ah, I should’ve known.”


“Trust me, Roy. The day I listen to Chet is the day I’ve got rocks in my head.”


Somehow Roy had a feeling his partner had just set himself up for a ‘rocky’ future.




Johnny had continued to sing the four leaf clover song throughout the morning, mostly when Chet was within earshot. But the fireman with true Irish blood in him wasn’t the only one getting annoyed.


“No need explaining, the one remaining--”


Roy shut the hood of the squad after he and John finished checking the oil, and stared at the younger man.


“Don’t you think you’ve made your point with that song yet? Chet’s not even here right now,” he added, reminding Gage the engine crew was out for a fire at a junk yard.


“Yeah, I do and I know.”


“So why do you keep singing it?”


“I can’t seem to stop.  Roy, I tried, but I guess I sang it so much, it just seems to keep coming out.”




As they headed for the dayroom, Johnny very quietly sang to himself, “I’m looking over, a four leaf clover, that I overlooked before, one leaf. . .”


Roy changed course and headed for the dorm area. Gage knew better than to follow. He hummed the rest of the tune as he went into the dayroom, in search of his latest issue of Wheels and Gears magazine he’d been reading earlier.


Maybe *that’ll* get the song outta my head.




Unfortunately for everyone, including himself, Johnny still was breaking into song about the four leaf clover when lunch time came. Though he tried earnestly to drop the tune, so far it had been impossible. He’d also tried consciously to keep it inside his head, but it still made its way out when he relaxed his efforts and was audible enough that his shiftmates could hear it.


Roy was beginning to think rocks in his partner’s head might not be such a bad thing. At least they wouldn’t hold a tune forever.


The others were considering investing in some cotton balls next time out to stuff in their ears.


“You know, even us Irish know when to give it up,” Chet said from his seat at the table. 


“I can’t help it if it’s a catchy tune.”


Was,” Marco put in.


Johnny shook his head. Maybe it was a sign they were all missing. Maybe it meant he really did have the luck of the Irish with him all day. After all, aside for one run to rescue a little girl who was stuck in a bathroom, he and Roy had been at the station with lots of free. . .and safe. . .time.


Then again, they liked being busy. So maybe all that free time wasn’t luck.


Nope, it was just a catchy tune that was stuck. . .really stuck. . .in his head, he reasoned.  


Really, really stuck. . .




Late afternoon, Station 51’s crew was dispatched out for an injured hiker. Roy drove the squad into the street, Mike behind the steering wheel of the engine right behind. The men headed for the outskirts of town where roads wound through the hills; and brush, bushes and weeds covered the sloped ground off to the sides.


The sound of their sirens was music to the men’s ears after hours of the other.




Roy brought the squad to a stop along a dirt road with a steep embankment off to one side, and  high dirt bank on the other.  There was a wide gravel turnout with a pea-green colored jeep within it at one end. The senior paramedic drove the red rescue truck up ahead of it to allow the much larger vehicle to be parked behind them in the wider space.


A male about in his mid twenties waited anxiously as the firemen exited their trucks.


“I was beginning to think you guys got lost,” he nervously remarked.


“Just a bit of a drive from the station,” Captain Stanley offered. He glanced around. “Can you tell us exactly where the injured hiker is?”


“Sure, sure,” he nodded. He pointed over to the high bank, where a partial path could be seen going up it amongst the shrubbery. “That way. I’ll take you guys to him.”


“Is he going to need to be carried out?” Hank asked.


“Yes, Sir. I think he broke his leg.”


With that information, the paramedics grabbed the stokes and placed their medical equipment in it. With helmets on, they carried it between them as they, the hiker and some of the crew headed for the trail across the road. Mike Stoker stayed put with the engine and squad.




It was a steep but brief climb up to level ground.  Somewhat breathless both from the fast paced exertion and worry about his friend, their escort explained the situation to them as they quickly made their way to his friend.


“Kyle was running downhill . . . with his dog Rover, when they got tangled up. . .and he tripped, took a fall down the hill. He yelled out . . . Rover yelped. Kyle was really in pain. . .his dog may be hurt, too. . .but he ran off.”


“How long ago did this happen?” Roy wondered.


“I don’t know exactly. . .don’t have a watch on. . . I don’t live by the clock on the weekend, . . .ya know? It’s all about freedom. . . and just doin’ what you want. . . when you want. . . for how long you want.”




“But I ran back to the jeep,” he went on, almost recovered. “And I drove to a gas station to use a pay phone. . . to call for you guys, then came back here and waited.  So I guess it’s been awhile.”


They all wondered how Kyle would be hanging in there with not knowing how long his wait was going to be. They also wondered if the dog would’ve made his way back to him yet. Even a friendly dog could hinder the rescue process if it was being protective of its owner.




After a trek across uneven ground and down a steep gravely hill with bushes and shrubbery here and there, the men came to where Kyle was lying on the ground. Johnny and Roy set the stokes down nearby before kneeling beside him. Hank and Chet removed the drug and trauma boxes from the basket while Marco set down the biophone he’d carried in.


“Am I ever glad to see you guys,” Kyle stated, a shakiness to his voice.


“I’ll bet you are,” Johnny said as he started to get the victim’s vital signs. He gently held his wrist as he checked the pulse rate. “Don’t worry, we’ll have you outta here soon.”


Roy pulled out his paramedic scissors and cut open the right pant leg to just above Kyle’s knee. He then carefully examined the apparent injury. As it turned out, the two hikers had been incorrect. Though his right knee was swollen and bruised, it was more likely that he twisted it. Maybe tore some ligaments. Either way, it was obvious he was in a great deal of pain and the injury would need to be protected with an air-splint. Kyle also was skinned up on one forearm and both elbows. His jeans and shirt were dirty from the tumble down the hill.


Hank set up the biophone and relayed the vitals Johnny acquired to Rampart. He also gave them the run-down on the injuries as reported by Roy.


While they worked, Kyle’s friend walked off a short distance, calling out for Rover. But the dog either had run off too far or didn’t want to come back yet.




Soon the paramedics had Kyle ready to be placed in the stokes and carried out. Mike had reported via HT that the ambulance was waiting on the side of the road for them.  


As they secured Kyle in the basket, he asked, “Can you help find my dog?”


The men left it up to their captain to answer. He was the only one who had the authority to make the decision.


Hank glanced around. The ground they’d have to cover could be endless.


“Son, I’d really like to be able to help you, but the dog could be just about anywhere by now.”


“But I can’t leave without him.” When he thought he had hopes of breaking through, he pleaded, “Please? I gotta know he’s not out here alone, hurt.”


Captain Stanley looked at his men. They appeared just as anxious to find the dog as Kyle. He let out a sigh. “Okay. But we’ll have to set a time limit and make ourselves available in the meantime. That’s the best I can do.”


He noticed his crew members were all smiling now. Kyle just gave a nod.


“What kind of dog is he?”


“A mutt. Mostly Beagle,” the friend answered.


“You got this, don’t you?” Johnny asked his partner off to the side, indicating their patient.




He then turned to the others. “Cap, I can help look, too. I can meet up with Roy at Rampart a little later.”


The senior officer eyed his younger paramedic. He was right, the type of injury Kyle had certainly didn’t require the squad to be directly behind in case of a life saving situation. He and Marco could help carry the stokes and boxes while John, Chet and Kyle’s friend started the search immediately.


“Okay. Marco and I’ll be back to help, too.”


“Good deal,” Gage said, instinctively giving his search companion Chet a pat on the shoulder, which drew a slight irritated look from the latter.





Captain Stanley knew he could have let Kyle’s friend search more for the dog completely alone. But he also knew that roaming in the hills solo was never a good idea. The one injured hiker was proof of that; had he not had someone else along, he’d have been in a rotten situation.


He hoped with more searching, they’d find Rover sooner.  It took a few extra minutes to convince Kyle to agree to leave, but finally he did and the ambulance carrying he and Roy was on its way to Rampart.


“C’mon,” Hank said to Marco, his hand motioning toward the high bank. “Let’s find that dog so we can get outta here.”




Up until they started the search for Rover, the clover song had left Johnny’s mind. But now that the main purpose of the rescue was over with, the tune returned. He’d been able to keep it to himself until a new set of lyrics surfaced as he and Chet searched for Rover, Kyle’s friend off in another direction doing the same.  


The paramedic snickered.


“What?” Chet asked.


“I jus’ got an idea.”




“Words for a song. I’m lookin’ over, the hills for Rover, that somebody said was gone. . .,” he sang.


Chet rolled his eyes. “The guy couldn’t have named his dog Brutis.” He started in the direction of the other searcher. “I think I’m switching to a new partner.”


“Okay, but you might be better off with me.” Johnny paused a moment, then added a little louder as the distance between them increased, “Don’t forget, I’ve been feelin’ the luck of the Irish today!”


“You’re not Irish!”


It wasn’t until Johnny watched Chet walking away, a helmet on his head, that he realized in his haste to get moving and his obsession with the song back, he’d left his helmet where they’d found Kyle. Although they weren’t that far away, he didn’t see a need to return for it. After all, it wasn’t like something was going to fall out of the sky on him. He figured he could get it on the way back.





“Rover!” Johnny called out as he continued on.


He could hear Chet and the friend also calling out the dog’s name.  


Somewhere behind them, Johnny also could hear the captain and Marco in the distance. They had joined in the search.




Hank carried the extra helmet that belonged to Gage. He knew as soon as he saw it who likely left it. John had a tendency to wear his chin strap loose and at times had even had his helmet fall off during a rescue. So him forgetting it on the ground when they left seemed about right.


It wasn’t like the paramedic should need it now, so the captain figured there was no rush. He could give it to him whenever they met up.




“. . .a four leaf clover. . .” Johnny was back to singing as he made his way up another slight incline. “Rover! Here boy!”


Still no response, so he started to make his way down another gravely hill. There were trees and bushes on it as well, dead twigs here and there on the ground.  This was likely going to be about where he'd have to turn around if he didn’t find the dog very soon and he'd  have to leave it to the rest of the crew to complete the mission while he headed back to the squad and Rampart.


About halfway down the hill, Johnny called out, “Rov--!”


The rest of the dog’s name was cut off as he caught the front of his left shoe on something and found himself falling forward toward the rough steep-sloped ground. He instinctively put out his hands to break his fall, but that didn’t exactly work out. He hit the ground hard with an “oompf”, his hands splayed out in front of him, the downward momentum causing him to slide a couple of yards further on his stomach, carrying twigs in front and underneath with him.


“Oh. . . man. . .” he breathlessly groaned when he’d come to a stop. One thing for sure, the fall had knocked the wind out of him.





“We found him!” Chet yelled as he hurried in the direction he’d left Johnny. “Hey, Gage! We found Rover!”


He looked around, then trotted off in the direction they’d been heading before splitting up.




Kyle’s friend caught up to Hank and Marco, the dog awkwardly cradled in his arms. The animal appeared scared.


“We found him cowering under a bush. . .he’s kinda limping, so I’m gonna take him to a vet.”


The captain gave a nod, then asked, “Where’re my men now?”


“Chet went off that way,” he said, indicating the direction with his head. “He was going to let the other guy know.”


“Alright. Well, call us at the station. . .51. . .and let us know how Rover faired, okay?”


“Sure.” He started toward the road, then turned and offered, “Hey, thanks for staying to help.”


“I’m not sure we were all that much help, but you’re welcome.”


With that, Captain Stanley and Marco went in search of the other two firemen while the friend continued on with the dog.




Johnny grunted as he slowly pushed himself up on his knees. He held out his hands, palms upward as he eyed the damage. The heels of them were skinned up and stung like hell, but still weren’t as bad off as he’d expected. Nothing worse than he’d experienced as a kid at one time or another. There was some dirt and small pieces of gravel that would have to be washed out. Hints of blood already filled the various little holes in his skin.


Both elbows and forearms were skinned up as well.


The front of his shirt was filthy from the fall, but not ripped. It had protected his stomach from getting torn up, even from the twigs.  The impact, however, was another story. He was sure his whole body was going to feel the fall later. But on the bright side, he’d been right.  Nothing fell out of the sky and hit his unprotected head.


With one more glance at his hands, he slowly got to his feet. The dirty-from-head-to toe paramedic looked up the hill with a sigh. Surely his ‘trip’ up couldn’t be worse than the one down.




“Hey, Gage!” Chet hollered as he came to the top of the next hill. Chet made his way down toward the paramedic who was on his way up. He made sure to step over a partially exposed rock about the size of a softball, still firmly held in place by dirt that had yet to wear away.


“What happened to you?” Chet voiced as he walked down a little further to join Johnny.


“I tripped.”


“Over that?” He pointed behind him at the rock-turned-speed-bump.


Johnny glanced upward and nodded. “Yeah. I think so.”


Chet eyed the obvious scrapes. “Are you okay? I mean besides those.”


“Jus’ skinned up a bit,” he said, offering his palms as evidence. “Nothin’ a little cleaning and antiseptic won’t take care of.” He left out the part about how he was likely going to hurt in other places later.


Since Johnny could downplay the whole thing, Chet knew that it was okay for him to play up the situation.


“Guess while you were looking over that four leaf clover, you overlooked something else.”


“Right,” Gage said with an eye roll.


As they started upward, Chet added, “So much for that luck you thought you had. I told you you weren’t Irish.”




“It just doesn’t work the same for--”


“All right, all right, you made your point,” he interrupted. “But___don’t forget. I’m only half that. Some of my ancestors came from abroad, too, ya know.”


“We all came from a broad, John.”


Chet smiled, a playful gleam in his eyes, when he saw the crooked grin now on the paramedic’s face.


“Why are you here now anyway?” Johnny wondered. “Aren’t you s’posed to be lookin’ for the dog with your new ‘partner’?”


“Oh yeah. I almost forgot. We found ‘im.”


The two stopped at the top of the hill and Johnny turned to face Chet.


“Was he okay?”


“Pretty much. I’d say better off than you. But Greg was going to take him to the vet to make sure. He was kinda favoring one paw. Really I think he was more afraid he was in trouble than anything.”


Gage assumed correctly that ‘Greg’ was the friend who’d never taken time to give them his name. At least not until he’d teamed up with Chet.


“John! Chet!”


The two saw the captain and Marco coming from off in the distance, the former carrying the abandoned helmet.


“C’mon, let’s blow this popsicle stand,” Johnny said. He and Chet walked toward the others, the paramedic taking a once over glance at his minor injuries along the way.




After cleaning up his minor wounds with the needed first aid items on hand, Johnny headed for Rampart in the squad. He could already feel some of the soreness in his body from the fall. He planned on going straight home and soaking in a tub of warm water when they got off duty the following morning. For now he was just going to have to work through it.


He backed the squad into a parking spot near the emergency entrance, then went inside in search of Roy. . . and some soap and water to better clean himself up.




“What happened to you?” Roy asked when Johnny came into the doctors’ lounge where he was watching television. “Rover knock you over, too?”


The younger man’s uniform was still filthy.


“No, but we did find ‘im and he’s safe and sound. How’s Kyle?”


“Waiting to go into surgery. He won’t be hiking for awhile, but he’ll be okay after he heals.”


Roy again eyed his partner as he got to his feet.


“So what did happen to you?”


“A rock, a hill,” John stated matter of fact, holding up his hands to display the damage to those and his forearms. “And an unsuspecting me.”


“Ah, so while you were looking for Rover, you overlooked--”


Johnny raised his right palm a little higher, halting the words. “Chet already beat ya to it.”


Roy grinned. So it didn’t take rocks in the head to listen to the Irish fire fighter, but rather one on the foot.  


“So much for that ‘luck o’ the Irish’ you were feeling.”


Gage just gave a wan smile and a nod.  Then his face brightened and he stopped Roy by putting a hand on his shoulder just before they went through the doorway. “Hey, I just realized somethin’.”




“The song!”


“The song?”


“Yeah, man. The song. The clover song. It’s not stuck in my head anymore!”


“Well, maybe the luck of the Irish is with the rest of us then.


Johnny frowned and looked downward, muttering something unintelligible as they continued out of the room and into the corridor. Suddenly he jerked his head up when he thought he heard Roy quietly humming the familiar tune. Yep, he sure was, and apparently wasn’t even aware of it yet.


So much for that luck. . . He thought to himself. Roy obviously had overlooked one thing. He wasn’t Irish either.





*I'm Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover* is a song from 1927, written by Mort Dixon with music by Harry M. Woods. No copyright infringement is intended. I know it’s not a Saint Patrick’s Day song, but couldn’t resist playing with it for the holiday when it came to mind. :o) BTW, it does get stuck in ones head pretty easily! lol





I'm looking over a four-leaf clover
That I overlooked before
One leaf is sunshine, the second is rain
Third is the roses that grow in the lane
No need explaining, the one remaining
Is somebody I adore
I'm looking over a four-leaf clover
That I overlooked before





*Click above to send Audrey feedback




March Picture 2012              Saint Patrick's Day Stories