Who’s Foolin’ Who?
By Audrey W.
Chet Kelly grinned and rubbed his hands together as he heard the squad back into the apparatus bay, the paramedics returning from a call. It was April 1st, and he had been trying all morning to think of a good prank to play on his favorite pigeon. It seemed almost easier to come up with something on a regular day. But by luck, the stocky fireman had remembered Johnny’s latest infatuation – Elaine - a new nurse who worked in Physical Therapy at Rampart.
Chet sat ready to give Johnny the bogus message that Elaine called the station looking for Gage, and that she wanted him to stop by if he had a chance next time he was at the hospital.
As Roy and Johnny entered the dayroom, Chet tried to act casual. He glanced up as Gage headed for the coffee pot.
“Hey, you got a phone call while you were out, Johnny.”
The dark-haired paramedic turned to face Chet.
“Oh yeah? Anything important?”
“Nah, not really,” Kelly dismissed. “Just some nurse named Elaine. I think she said she worked in Physical Therapy at Rampart.”
“Elaine? Called me?” Johnny pulled out a chair and sat down facing Chet. “Are you sure?”
“Uh. . .Yeah,” the fireman shrugged. “I’m sure she said Elaine.”
Johnny looked up at Roy, who was getting himself a glass of milk.
“Roy, you hear that? Elaine called me!”
“Yeah, I heard,” DeSoto said, not sure what to think. He was surprised, too.
“Man, I’ve been afraid to even ask her out yet, and she’s calling me.” Johnny shook his head. “This is far out.” He looked at Chet again. “Now, you’re sure she said Elaine. . .and she was looking for me, right?”
“Yeah, yeah. I’m sure. And I’m sure she said she wants you to look her up next time you’re at Rampart.”
Gage looked at his partner, a hopeful expression on his face.
The older paramedic drank down his milk and set the empty glass in the sink.
“Sure. Let’s go. Far be it for me to stand in the way of young love.”
Chet grinned as he watched a very giddy Johnny trot out of the room.
When the two paramedics returned, Roy came into the dayroom alone. Chet was still sitting at the table reading a newspaper. Marco was at the stove, preparing lunch.
“Where’s Gage?” Kelly asked, when he looked up and saw Roy come in the doorway.
DeSoto gave the fireman a stern look. “Oh, he’ll be in later. As soon as he pulls himself together. Seems it wasn’t Elaine who called here after all.”
“No?” Chet asked innocently.
Roy shook his head. “Nope. Johnny’s taking it pretty hard, too.”
“Yeah. In fact I’m glad we’re on duty right now. As upset as he is, I’d hate to see him alone to deal with this. At least I know we’re all here for him when he needs us.”
“Gage? We’re talking Johnny, right?”
“Yeah. Who else?”
“But,” Chet began, “he gets turned down all the time and it’s never left him this torn up.”
“He was really crazy about this Elaine girl. She didn’t just turn him down. She told him off.”
Chet felt bad. He didn’t mean for Johnny to get hurt. Embarrassed, yes. Hurt, no way. He pushed out his chair and stood up.
“Did he go to the locker room?”
Roy nodded. “Why?”
“This is all my fault. Elaine didn’t really call here. I just wanted to set Gage up to embarrass him. I didn’t think she would tell him off. And he likes so many nurses, I had no idea his feelings were so deep.” Kelly shrugged. “I figured it was another short-lived crush.”
“Chet! You’ve got to be kidding,” the older paramedic said, acting surprised.
“I’m gonna go apologize. It’s the least I can do.”
The stocky fireman headed out of the door towards the locker room.
Chet found Johnny sitting on the edge of his locker, his eyes downcast.
“Hey, John. Roy told me what happened with Elaine. I’m really sorry, man.”
Gage looked up at the fireman.
“You’re sorry? Why?”
“Because I set you up. Elaine never called here and she never wanted you to meet her at Rampart.”
“Oh, that. I know that, Chet.”
“Yeah, we figured it out when Elaine didn’t know what I was talking about. But I’m glad to see Roy got through to you.” Johnny tried not to smile.
“He did. But you don’t look as upset as he said you were.”
“Me? Upset?” Johnny stood up and grinned. “No way, Chet. Thanks to you, I got the nerve to talk more to Elaine. Turns out, she’s interested in me, too. We have a date for Friday night.” He slapped Kelly on the back. “Thanks, Chester B.. Without you, I’d have never gotten this far.”
Chet stared at the dark-haired man grinning at him.
But. . .but. . .Roy said. . .”
“Happy April Fools Day, Chet.” Johnny turned towards the swinging door that led to the apparatus bay. He glanced over his shoulder at the open-mouthed man behind him. “Oh, and give my best to the Phantom, will ya?”
Chet sat down on the bench, stunned. Not only had the two paramedics pulled one over on him, but he had actually helped Johnny to get a date with the nurse of his dreams.
Happy April Fools Day. . .what a joke.