A Helping Hand
John Gage never got sick at the sight of blood. Especially while he was working a scene. His adrenaline usually ran so high and fast that he was all action; every movement and thought flowing into the next. With so much focus on getting things done, there was no time for such distractions.
But when the ragged tearing came, it happened so fast it snatched away all rational thought. All he could do was stop, frozen at the sight of the dark red blood welling deep in his hand. His mind couldn’t fathom what it all meant. The faintest edge of nausea struck.
Roy was on it, though. John registered Roy’s hands cupping his as he did a split second assessment and yelled for Cap. Like clockwork, Stanley was there behind him.
By the time
Cap helped him up out of the watery trench where the victim’s car had
overturned, a whole other feeling was overriding the beginnings of stinging pain
in his palm. John was sick with embarrassment.
“Anything wrong with using your gloves in there, pal?” Cap’s words were firm, but the hand he rested on the back of John’s shoulder was gentle. “You know they do issue them to you for a reason.”
“I know, Cap. Sorry.” John allowed
himself to be settled on the rear bumper of the squad. He didn’t bother to add
his usual ‘it won’t happen again’. That would just get him into even more
trouble. It was a well known fact that his gloves didn’t always end up on his
hands when they were supposed to be.
Stanley grunted as if he’d caught the omission and disappeared around the squad for supplies.
John slumped back against the vehicle, annoyed with himself. “Stupid. Stupid. Stupid,” he muttered under his breath. This was all his fault, and Cap wouldn’t be doing his job if he didn’t remind him. But that didn’t mean he had to sit here like a victim while the guys helped Roy with their original patient. Standing, he one-handedly shrugged mostly out of his turnout coat. A few less-than-graceful gyrations were necessary to avoid getting any blood on it.
“What are you doing, you twit?” Cap caught him in the act.
He figured the question was rhetorical when the captain didn’t actually wait for answer, but instead dislodged the jacket from his arm and dropped it on the bumper.
“Thanks, Cap.” John tried for a sheepish grin. “I’m sure I can manage the Kerlix better without that turnout getting in the way.” He reached for the bandages Stanley was still clutching. It was only fair that he at least clean up his own mess. Then he could get back in there and help Roy.
“It really doesn’t look too bad. The bleeding is already slowing,” Johnny added when Cap showed no sign of handing over the items.
“You got a problem with your captain giving you a hand when you need it?” Stanley pierced him with a look.
It was a look Johnny had no small amount of experience with. This was a battle he wasn’t going to win. “Uh, no, sir.”
“Good.” A twinkle shown in Cap’s eyes as he pointed him back to the spot on the bumper beside the turnout. “Park it.”
Johnny obediently sat and extended the injured appendage.
“I’ll have you know, I have plenty of experience observing the proper use of gauze,” Cap continued as he began to wrap the injury.
“Oh, yeah?” Johnny asked to distract himself from the resurgence of the burning pain.
“Yeah. A couple paramedics I know. They’re pretty good with recalcitrant victims, too.”
John allowed himself a half grin. “Well, whoever they are, they taught you pretty decent technique.”
“I’ll be sure to pass that on.”
Several moments of silence passed as John truly focused on Stanley’s work. He really was doing a good job. Cap was smart and compassionate. John imagined he could have made a excellent paramedic, if the program had been around when he’d joined the fire service.
“Thanks.” He waved the wrapped appendage in appreciation.
“Anytime, pal. Happy to lend a hand.”
Roy: "Hey, Johnny -- I KNOW you think that new nurse is pretty, but don't you think she's a LITTLE inexperienced?
After all, it's just a paper cut..."
Caption by nancestef (*click on her name to send feedback)
"That’s What Friends Are For"by Ross
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