By Audrey W.
“There, that about does it,” Roy said as he stacked the green and red envelopes to the right of him on the table. Pictures of his children were sorted into two stacks in front of him.
Johnny raised an eyebrow as he looked at the pile of envelopes. “You sure it’s a good idea to address and put a stamp on these before you sign them and insert the kids’ pictures?” Shrugging, he glanced at Roy. “I mean, won’t it make it confusing as to which ones are ready and which ones aren’t?”
“No. Because this side,” the older paramedic indicated motioning with his right hand, “is for the Christmas cards I still have to do, and the left side is for the cards that are ready to mail.”
“Yeah, but what if they get mixed up?”
“They won’t. Besides, the ones that aren’t done don’t even have our return address on them, so I’ll know they’re not ready.”
Johnny sat back and rubbed his chin. He gave Roy a curious glance. “How did you get stuck doing the Christmas cards, anyway? You. . .uh. . .lose a bet with Joanne or somethin’?” He asked grinning.
Roy shook his head. “Joanne has a lot of cooking to do for school Christmas parties tomorrow, so I told her I’d try to do these here in any spare time I had.”
“How many are there?”
“Forty-seven!” Johnny’s eyes were wide with shock. “Forty-seven cards, Roy? I don’t even know that many people. Who do you send them to, everyone you two meet on the street?”
Roy glared at Johnny. “No, there’s my family, then Joanne’s family, her friends and friends of her family. . .just wait till you get married. You’ll see how it is.”
Johnny shook his head and pointed at himself. “Uh uh. Not this guy, because I’m not gettin’ married for a long time.”
Roy picked up one of the green envelopes and pulled out a Christmas card. Opening it up, he signed their four names on the card, wrote a short note in it and put a picture of each of the kids inside. He then placed the card back in the envelope, wrote his return address on it and set it to the left.
Johnny pushed out his chair and stood up.
“Well, I’m sure it’s a lot of fun, Roy, but honestly I don’t think I can sit here and watch. It’d be more exciting to stand on a street corner and watch the traffic signal change.”
“What makes you think this is so bad?”
“Squad 51, child trapped, 3121 West Davenport Lane, three one two one West Davenport Lane, time out 10:43.”
“Talk about saved by the bell,” Johnny mumbled as he headed for apparatus bay to acknowledge the call.
Roy stood up, gathering his kids’ pictures into one pile on the table as he got to his feet. He ran out of the dayroom, following behind Johnny.
“Man, I’m starvin’,” Johnny said as he and Roy entered the dayroom after returning from the call.
“Me, too. That was a long time we were out,” Roy agreed. “Smells good in here. I won. . .der. . .wha. . .my cards!”
“Huh?” The younger paramedic looked at the table. “Roy! Your cards are gone!”
Marco walked into the dayroom behind the two paramedics, whistling Jingle Bells. As he walked towards the stove, he glanced over at the two men.
“Hey, you guys are back! The stew should be ready soon.”
“Marco, did you see some green and red envelopes on this table?”
“Sure, Roy. We took care of them.”
“You did? How?”
“The mailman was dropping off stuff here, so Chet and I gave him the envelopes. We saw they were all stamped, addressed and ready to go.”
“They weren’t . . .” Roy paused, trying to stay calm. “Marco, I only had one card ready. I still had forty-six to do. The flaps weren’t even sealed.”
“We couldn’t tell. Chet and I just picked them up in two groups from the pile . . .I picked up the one stray card . . .and the mailman just dropped the load in his sack. Who addresses and puts stamps on their cards before they’re done with the inside?”
Johnny stood back and grinned. “Roy does.”
Although he felt bad for his partner, he couldn’t help but see the humor in the situation.
“Didn’t you guys see all the kids’ pictures on the table?” Roy wondered.
“Yes, but we figured those were extras. Cute kids, by the way. Jenny should be a model.”
“Thanks.” Roy ran a hand across his mouth in thought. He turned around and looked at Johnny. “Joanne’s gonna kill me, you know.”
Gage quickly forced a frown on his face. “It’s not your fault.”
“Roy, I’m really sorry,” Marco offered. “But couldn’t you just give them the pictures of the kids later? I mean, they’ll still get their card on time.”
Roy returned his attention to Marco. “They aren’t even going to know who their card is from. There isn’t a name on it anywhere, no return address and no pictures of anyone in the family. They won’t have a clue.”
Johnny clapped his hand on Roy’s left shoulder. “Well, I hate to say it, Roy, but I--”
“Told ya so,” Roy finished, nodding.
“To the card shop?” Johnny asked.
“May as well . . .then the post office to get more stamps.”
As the two paramedics walked to the squad, Johnny suggested, “You could always call the forty-six people and warn them . . .”
Roy gave a stern look as he opened the drivers’ side door. “I’d rather they not know what happened.”
Johnny climbed into the squad and grinned at his partner.
“What are you smiling about?”
“Surely you’ve got to see the humorous side of this.”
“And what might that be?”
“The phantom and his friend got you with one heck of a prank and they didn’t even mean to . . . I’ll bet Chet couldn’t even think of this one if he tried,” Johnny snorted.
“I’ll let you know when I can see the humor in that, okay?”
“Well, how about this angle on it,” Johnny said turning to the side to face Roy. “At least you’re not one of the people on the receiving end that has to wonder who in the heck sent an anonymous Christmas card.”
Roy glanced at Johnny and turned the key in the ignition. He pulled out as he listened to Johnny come up with more reasons why he should be laughing instead of ready to wring two well-meaning firemen’s necks. Roy knew he wouldn’t stay mad. They thought they were doing him a favor and, after all, it was the holiday season. But maybe they’d think about it more while he and Johnny were gone.
As he came out of his thoughts, Roy could hear Johnny still on his rant. He was going on about how inexpensive Christmas cards were to replace, and that it was only money.
It’s gonna be a long drive to the card shop, Roy thought as he turned at first the intersection.
Thanks to Kenda for the beta read. :o)