A Dull Day
It was one of those mornings that the firefighters hoped for after a long fire and yet hated to go through on a dull day. Nothing was happening. There had been no runs since C Shift had left. Roll call had come and gone. All chores assigned had been accomplished and A Shift of Station 51 was faced with down time.
Even Captain Henry was bored. He was procrastinating on doing the pile of papers in his work basket. He had swung his chair toward the window and was watching a robin fluttering from tree to ground searching for worms popping up after the morning shower. The crispness of the morning breeze through his open window temporarily cleaned his office of stale air.
In the day room Mike was in the corner reading his book. He gave off a sigh and stretched his long legs until he popped his left ankle. Then he wiggled his right foot until he heard the release of air in his right ankle joint. Crossing his legs, he leaned back and turned the next page.
Hearing the soft lilt of Spanish, Roy glanced over at Marco on the telephone. With curiosity Roy watched and listened, trying to figure out what was being said. Lots of persuading was going on. When he heard the name Maria Roy remembered that she was Marco's latest love. Marco's tone of voice was not promising. Whatever was being sold, the lady wasn't buying.
Roy had been pursuing the newspaper sections and stopped on the horse racing page. Casually he thumbed through the columns determining which horses he would pick. He caught a glimpse of movement above the paper. Johnny had been looking at a motor parts catalog and he was peering over his shoulder. That's when it came. It was just a flash that crossed his partner's face, a mixture of frustration and maybe of longing. It was followed swiftly with disgust before Johnny's expression turned serious. What could be going through that nimble brain that produced so many faces?
Glancing in the direction of Johnny's latest stare, Roy observed that Chet had exited out of the kitchen and had placed himself within easy sight of Johnny. Roy could have sworn that all the donuts from that morning were gone, but there was Chet polishing off the last jelly-filled donut and licking his fingers one by one. The middle finger was last and resulted in a one finger salute aimed at Johnny Gage. Johnny ignored the jab and returned to staring at his catalog with calculating lines creasing his face.
Roy looked over at Mike and caught his answering grin. The opening volley had been shot. It would only be a matter of time before Johnny would return fire. The upcoming Gage-Kelly word battle would be fine entertainment for such a dull day.
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