A Missing Scene – or Two – or. . .
By Audrey W.
It hurt to stand up, it hurt to sit down. However, it wasn’t like either could be avoided.
As he let the warm water from the showerhead cascade over his bare shoulders after returning from a structure fire that left him and others from the crew in need of a cleanup, John Gage thought back to the early morning hours before he came on duty.
Dressed in blue gym shorts and a gray t-shirt, John stood a moment on the track of a local high school. It was 5:45 in the morning, the sun had just started to come up. With school not in session yet, he knew he’d have the track to himself. The off-duty paramedic was about to try something he hadn’t done in years and certainly didn’t want an audience present if he failed.
He got into a runner’s stance, his sneaker-covered feet in place. As soon as he clicked the start button on a stop watch he’d borrowed, he took off as quick as he could, giving it all his effort in the 440 yard dash.
Halfway through, he just had to remind himself to breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth, a feat not always easy when out of practice.
After the 440 yards were complete, John came to a very welcome halt and clicked the button on the watch again. Breathing heavily, he checked his time. A slight grin spread across his face. He’d surprised himself with the outcome. It was even possible his old high school nick name ‘The Galloping Greyhound’ would still be a good fit.
“Not bad,” he told himself breathlessly. “Not bad. . . at all.”
It even sort of made him wish he had had an audience now. Or at least a girl to impress.
Of course, his partner Roy DeSoto had told him a couple of nights before that if he could run the 440 in the Firemen’s Olympics, he’d be looked at as a hero by the guys in the department. It still didn’t seem as good of a deal as being one to a beautiful girl. But maybe there’d be one at the actual competition.
John walked around the track a short distance to cool down his muscles, then trotted to his Land Rover in the parking lot nearby to head for his apartment. He’d need to take a shower and get ready to go to work.
He decided not to tell Roy or anyone else about his trial run. No need to invite more pressure to sign up for the Olympics, until he was sure he wanted to do it.
Maybe I didn’t walk long *enough*, he thought as he felt the agony in his lower anatomy. He was sore all the way from his feet to his ba. . .
“Hey, are ya done yet? Some of us need to take a shower, too, ya know.”
Chet Kelly’s voice interrupted his thoughts.
“All right, all right. Just hang on a minute,” he groaned. Gage turned off the water and opened the shower door slightly. “Hand me my towel, wouldya? It’s on the bench.”
Chet did as requested and soon the two had swapped places. John quickly dried off, then got into a clean uniform. He couldn’t help but wince when it came to pulling up his trousers and then putting on his shoes.
Good thing adrenaline takes over on runs, he thought to himself. When out on a rescue, any pain was easily brushed aside.
“You okay, pal?” Captain Stanley wondered when he met into the freshly clean paramedic in the apparatus bay.
“Sure, Cap, why?”
“You just seem to be moving at a slower pace than usual. That’s all. Did you hurt yourself on that last run?”
“No, no,” he insisted and he hoped convincingly. “I’m all right. Just a little worn out I guess,” he snickered.
Hank gave him a quick once over. He sure looked fine. With a shrug he dismissed with, “Okay.”
But John noticed he didn’t take his gaze off him. Thus the paramedic offered a crooked grin before continuing on in the opposite direction of the superior officer and forcing himself to walk completely normal until he was out of sight on the driver’s side of the squad.
Once on his own, let out a huge sigh as he leaned against the squad.
“Man, whoda’ thought the 440. . . could cause a guy my age ta walk like he’s eighty. Instead of the Galloping Greyhound, I feel more like the Galloping__Grey__ Hound. ”
John had no sooner pushed off the squad, when the klaxons sounded. The paramedics were sent out for a woman in labor.
The younger man trotted around to the passenger side and climbed in as Roy got in on the driver’s side. He immediately shifted in his seated position in an effort to find a comfortable pose. Roy eyed him a moment. John wasn’t sure if it was because of his actions or because he’d had a chance to get cleaned up while Roy still smelled of smoke, though not as much as he had.
“You handle the baby if we deliver.”
“Sure,” Gage agreed, then decided it must’ve been the latter on his partner’s mind.
As Roy drove the squad through an open gated entrance, they saw that the victim lived in a large two-story home with a long walkway that led to a set of eight steps up to a covered front porch.
John had one thought.
Man, I picked the *wrong* day to hurt up to my ba. . .
“Let’s go,” Roy said, as he brought the squad to a stop.
His thoughts once again interrupted, Gage shoved his own discomfort aside and scrambled from the truck, suppressing a slight gasp that escaped from his parted lips. The two grabbed the equipment they’d need and were on their way in seconds.
“I’ll ride in with ‘um,” John offered when the new mother and baby were ready for transport. It was a given with what they’d talked about earlier, but the exchange was habit.
John partially looked at it as a chance for relief. It may not feel the best to climb up in the back of the ambulance, but figured he could at least benefit from being able to adjust his seated position accordingly throughout the ride if need be. He eased himself down onto the edge of the padded bench seat with hopes they didn't hit any major bumps along the way.
By late evening, John found his way to the leather couch in the dimly lit dayroom. With the room to himself, he stretched out, legs relaxed, his back against one of the padded arms and the stop watch from morning once again in hand. Though he could still feel some muscle and groin pain while lying still, it was the most comfortable he’d been all day.
Getting back *up* might be another story. . .
John grinned proudly as he looked at the watch, imagining the end time that had been on it. Despite his soreness, he still had plenty of reason to be happy.
He glanced toward the doorway a few minutes later when Roy came wandering in. It was either sit up suddenly and act as though all was okay, or fill him in about his trial run and subsequent suffering. Being that he was probably going to need his partner’s assistance to get off the couch when the time came, John chose the latter.
But although he didn't quite get to complete his explanation of where he was hurting, he knew by the grin on Roy's face when they got into the squad after the klaxons had sounded, his partner understood perfectly.
Just having some fun. :o)
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