By Audrey W.
“Hey, what’re you doing?” Chet Kelly asked when John Gage got up from the table in the middle of dinner.
The crew of Station 51’s A-shift had gotten some down time after a busy afternoon, and were enjoying some Chinese food the paramedics had picked up on their way back from taking a victim to Rampart Hospital.
“I’m getting’ a fork.”
The others eyed their chop sticks in their hands and the still nearly full plates in front of them. No one had mastered the use of the sticks enough to get a decent bite of food yet.
“Get me one,” John’s partner Roy called out.
“I’d better switch to one, too,” Captain Stanley admitted.
“Count me in.”
Marco nodded in agreement with Mike Stoker. “Me too.”
Chet frowned. “Ah, c’mon, guys. This is supposed to be part of the meal. . .it’s fun to eat with these for a change,” he added as he held up the two awkwardly held sticks in his right hand.
“Yeah? Well, maybe if we didn’t hafta be on call at any moment, we could afford ta eat with ‘em,” John said as he took a seat again. He handed a fork to Roy beside him, then slid one to each of the others who’d asked.
Chet gave his words thought, then was up and after a fork for himself.
After the meal was over, the men dumped a small bag with six fortune cookies inside out on the table. There was a quick grab for the treats. Once everyone had one, the cellophane wrappers were torn off of each and they shared their fortunes in the midst of eating the crunchy desert.
“Mine says I’ll find great fortune in time,” Mike said.
“In time for what?” John joked with a giggle. The others snickered with him.
“You will overcome difficult times,” is what mine says, the captain offered. He held up his fork that had made eating much easier. “I guess it was right!”
That garnered a few chuckles and eye rolls.
“What’s yours say, Mike?” Hank wondered.
“The troubles you have now will pass away quickly. They did once I switched to a fork, too.”
“Someone’s gotta have one that’ll break this pattern.”
“I think I do,” Marco answered to Chet’s comment. “You love Chinese food. That’s what mine says.”
“What about you, Roy?”
The senior paramedic glanced at the captain. “When in doubt, let your instincts guide you. I do that every time I doubt one of Johnny’s ideas,” he said, with a quick glance and grin at his partner beside him. The remark got him an ‘oh, real funny’, from Gage and smiles from the rest.
“Mine says, you will soon be surrounded by good friends and laughter,” Chet offered. He then looked at John, who hadn’t volunteered his fortune yet. “What’s yours say, Gage?”
John thought briefly about reading his out loud. But then he considered the ribbing he’d take due to his not-so-good-luck with dating and decided to keep it to himself.
“Nothin’. Just some meaningless comment.”
He balled it up till it was no bigger than an oversized pea and dropped it on his plate. Chet quickly reached across the table and grabbed it.
“Hey, you can’t just pick up a guy’s fortune!” John protested.
“Sure I can, I just did.”
John looked to their leader. “Cap. . .”
But Kelly already had it open and, though it was tough to make out every letter on the now severely crumpled little slip of paper, read it. “You’d better pack your bags, John.”
“Pack my bags?” the dark-haired paramedic questioned as he pulled back from the table, his face screwed up. “Chet, what’re you talkin’ about?”
“Whataya mean what am I talking about? You read it.”
John nodded. “Yeah I did. Like I said, what’re you talkin’ about packing bags?”
“It says here, you’ll be lucky in Iowa.”
The others raised their eyebrows in question and looked at one another.
“Why Iowa?” Mike wondered.
“Iowa?” John reached across and grabbed it back. “That doesn’t say Iowa, Chet. It says love. I’ll be lucky in love. Not Iowa.” He eyed the curly haired fireman as the rest of the crew was laughing once again. “You’d better get your eyes checked, man. Iowa?” he questioned again.
“Well, at least he got one thing right,” Roy put in.
“He’s surrounded by laughter now.”
“But I’ve gotta question the part about good friends,” Chet teased.
John giggled, then shook his head. He was just glad Chet was wrong. Iowa might be a nice place to visit sometime, but he sure wasn’t ready to go there now. Although a line from a Beach Boys song ran through his mind.
‘The mid-west farmer’s daughters really make you feel alright. . .’
As long as he was supposed to be 'lucky in love', he wished they all could be California Girls, too.
Fortune cookies, and tired eyes and mind inspired this story. :o) ‘California Girls’ is copyright of the Beach Boys. As for Iowa, my dad grew up in DesMoines, so I am proud to have a connection to the state. :o)
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