Hook, Line and. . .Santa?
By Audrey W.
“Squad 51, Engine 51. Man trapped, 2502 West Maple Street, two five zero two West Maple Street, cross street Twenty-Fifth Avenue, time out 14:30.”
Roy DeSoto flipped on the lights and siren of their rescue squad while his partner John Gage reached for the mic on the dash.
“Squad 51, 10-4.”
Both paramedics donned their helmets as they exchanged glances. Just on their way back to Station 51 from Rampart General Hospital after an earlier rescue, another call so soon on Christmas Eve Day didn’t come as a surprise.
“Tis the season,” John said dryly.
“Sure seems that way this year.”
“Whataya wanna bet it’s a guy dressed up as Santa stuck in his chimney?”
“Well, if it weren’t still early in the day, I’d say the odds of being right were in your favor on that. But being it’s afternoon. . .” He shook his head. “I have my doubts.”
They just hoped it wouldn’t involve a serious injury. After all, no one deserved to spend Christmas in the hospital, away from friends and family.
Engine 51 had arrived at the somewhat secluded scene first since they’d responded from a closer location. By the time John and Roy got there, their shiftmates Chet Kelly and Marco Lopez were already up on the roof of the two story house beside a chimney, where they had started to assess the situation.
A man and two women were standing near the engine with Captain Stanley and Mike Stoker, their gazes locked upward on the two firemen.
Once out of their truck, the two paramedics stood on the ground with the captain, their attention on the chimney as well.
“Stuck Santa?” John asked.
“Not exactly. More like a rehearsal gone bad while the children are with their grandparents.”
The captain pointed to the end of the house nearest the chimney. There was a large red fishing rod and reel mounted on the edge of the roof facing the chimney; equipment normally used for shark fishing.
The three civilians listened as the senior officer explained things to his newly arrived men.
“They hooked him up on the line. Figured they could pull him back up after he made his appearance inside the house. They were just making sure it was going to work before they did it for the kids tomorrow morning, with him in a Santa suit.”
“Is he hurt?” Roy wondered.
The captain shook his head. “He’s assured us he’s not, but they used eighty pound test line and it’s hung up on something in the chimney about halfway down. Even though they cut the line outside, he can’t break it inside to get free, nor can he reach around to unhook himself. Doesn’t look like we can do much from the fireplace up, so you’ll probably be needed on the roof.”
“Well,” John began as he and Roy slipped on their turnout coats. “Santa may not be real, but he sure has a reel problem.”
Roy rolled his eyes at the comment while the captain groaned, both having gotten the pun.
The paramedics looked up at the chimney again. They then headed for the ladder that had already been in place to get to the roof to assist the other two firemen, John with rope slung over his shoulder in case they’d need it.
Once on the roof, Gage eyed the set up again.
“Ya know, if it hadn’t gotten hung up inside, this was a pretty far out idea. It might’ve actually worked.”
“But it didn’t,” Roy reminded him.
The four men stood around the chimney in an effort to devise a plan of rescue when a yell of “Hallelujah!” came from inside. Chet grabbed his flashlight and quickly shown it in.
Suddenly the sounds of a door slamming and commotion could be heard from the front yard. Marco and the paramedics hurried to the edge of the roof and looked down.
A sooty man in red sweat pants and a white t-shirt had joined the others, who were all laughing and congratulating him on his escape.
When the captain saw his men observing, he shrugged.
“Nevermind! I think we’re done here!”
As they reached the ground, John and Roy overheard, “. . .and I wriggled side to side and all of a sudden, whoosh, I was free. . .maybe if we tried something a little different. . .”
It sure didn’t sound like the make-believe-Santa-to-be was ready to give up on the idea. Chances were they’d be back at the same address by the next morning.
“Tis the season,” Roy said with a shake of his head, echoing his partner’s earlier words.
John gave a brief nod in agreement. “Sure seems like it,” he added with a slight crooked grin.
The picture inspired this. :o)
*Click above to send Audrey feedback
December Picture 2014 Christmas Stories Page