Sweat poured down his chest, soaking his shirt in the steaming sun. The Bio-phone trembled, slipping in his slick grip. Nausea rushed to his throat and Johnny paused his transmission, worried that if he spoke one more word, a flood of vomit would hurl from his lips. He begged the vile acid back to his stomach. Morton was bellowing streams of incoherent threats in his ear, but the sound was wavering in and out like the winding down of the Squad’s siren. Johnny rubbed his eyes over and over, trying to clear the darkening ring of his vision. He threw his free hand out blindly, reaching for steady ground, but found no purchase. The sounds faded. His vision softly slid into a dark night, and all thought cleared his fuzzy mind. He felt nothing, and heard nothing, but the dull thump of his body meeting the sweltering ground.
Powerless by Marty P.
Maybe it was stress.
Maybe it was lack of sleep.
He really didn’t know. But at the moment, Johnny thought a quarter ounce of lead through his left temple would be an appropriate solution to end his misery.
Crap. Pure crap.
This lousy call made it worse. The sun beat down steadily, blinding his eyes and taunting his pounding head. Dust swirled in quick turns, jerking unpredictability, filling his squinting eyes with sand.
A stupid fender bender. A no good, nothing waste of time. Money grubbing dopes looking for a free fix for car that was a piece of garbage in the first place.
Take a breath.
It didn’t help. Johnny clenched his jaw tighter. His eyes were fine slits fighting to keep the stabbing sand out and his exploding brains in. The driver’s voice grated on and on in the background, cranking down the vice compressing his head. An unchecked swirl of anger shoved him to his feet. He turned toward the droning voice.
“Are you all right?” he snapped.
The man looked up in surprise at Johnny’s tone.
“No dizziness, chest pain, shortness of breath, abdominal, back or extremity pain?”
“Ah, no.” The man stepped back slightly when Johnny leaned forward.
“No change in vision, nausea, vomiting, nothing?”
“Then get checked out by your doctor. Here,” Johnny snarled, “sign this.” He shoved a pen and refusal form at the man, yanking it back before the final stroke of the pen.
Crouching down, he pulled the receiver from the orange case.
“Rampart, “ he said, looking over at Roy. “Patient refused care. 51 Clear.”
Johnny roughly shoved the phone in the case, snapping it shut as he stood. Head down and eyes nearly shut, he stowed the case in the squad. Throwing himself in the seat, he slammed the door and leaned over, resting his head in his hands.
Roy slipped in the driver’s seat and paused. “Everything go okay?”
Johnny glanced out the window. The driver stood by his car, looking bewildered, but finally quiet. Johnny slumped in his seat, his head falling back. He pursed his lips in thought.
Rude, impatient, and unprofessional.
In the silence, his pounding headache eased to a steady tap. The edges of Johnny’s frown turned slightly upward.
“Yeah, Roy,” he said, “everything went just fine.”
"Doggone It Anyhow!" by Ross
The Pain That Never Seems to End by Canadagal
Johnny Gage pondered upon the situation that had been plaguing him since the night before. All the signs were there, the question was, how was he going to handle it.
"I need to join a support group. Yeah, that's it, a support group."
Still trying to convince himself, "It's not MY fault! It's an aliment."
A few minutes passed.
"I did NOTHING to cause this!"
Silence once again stagnated the air until a mournful, "Why me? What did I do to deserve this? It's NOT fair!"
Accepting that he needed help.
"My name is John Gage, I have dandruff."
MISERY JUST LOVES COMPANY
By: Vanessa Sgroi
“Rampart, this is Squad 51,” Johnny Gage lifted his hand to his forehead and closed his eyes against the throbbing in his head.
Several long moments passed before an answer came from the base station. “Go ahead, 51.” Kelly Brackett’s voice echoed back over the line.
Before Johnny could continue, his stomach turned over, and he clenched his teeth. Sweat beaded on his upper lip. The paramedic glanced at his partner, Roy DeSoto, and was surprised to see his complexion was an odd shade of green.
“Go ahead, 51.” Brackett’s voice reflected impatience.
Wiping a hand down his face, Johnny opened the line and said, “Rampart, we have a . . . a . . . hold on Rampart.”
Gage let go of the receiver handle, and it tumbled to the ground. With a groan, he scrambled a foot or two away and emptied his stomach.
When he was finished, Johnny shakily returned to the biophone and resumed his transmission.
“Rampart, we have an 18-year-old male who is the victim of a mini-bike accident. He has a dislocated left shoulder, a possible sprained left knee, a four-inch laceration on his left calf, and abrasions to the hands and face. Vitals are . . .”
Johnny repeated the boy’s vital signs as Roy obtained them. The paramedic was pleased to see the ambulance pull up just as DeSoto finished establishing the IV. They immobilized the boy’s arm and knee and managed to get him on the stretcher. By the time they finished just that much, they were both panting and pale.
“Man, you guys look worse than me!” Billy Harris mumbled.
Gage grunted and said, “Right about now, I’d bet money we feel worse than you too.”
“You ridin’ in?” Roy muttered as his hand rubbed at his stomach and his face turned yet another interesting shade of green.
By now, Johnny’s stomach was starting to cramp terribly and the back of an ambulance sounded like the perfect place to be.
“Yeah, I’ll go.”
They loaded Billy into the ambulance and the dark-haired paramedic crawled in next to the stretcher. His partner closed the doors and gave a couple of half-hearted thumps, sending the vehicle on its way.
The ride was interminable. As if the headache and stomach cramps weren’t enough, lightheadedness added itself to the mix. The swaying of the ambulance was exacerbating every one of his symptoms. By sheer force of will, Gage maintained focus on his patient. The relief he felt when the emergency vehicle finally backed up to the entrance at Rampart was palpable.
Gage nearly tumbled from the ambulance as dizziness assailed him. Feeling increasingly woozy, he followed the stretcher inside and down the hall. Dixie McCall was there to greet them.
“Phil, can you take him to Treatment Room Two, please.” As she spoke, Dixie grabbed Johnny’s arm, both to steady him and to guide him in a different direction.
“Dix, Dr. Brackett is . . .”
“. . . is just fine. Let me guess—you had lunch at Paco’s Tacos today, didn’t you?”
At the mention of food, Johnny stomach rolled. “Uh . . . yeah . . . how’d you know?”
“I’ve seen that ghastly green glow you have at least 15 other times in the last two hours. Including these gentlemen.” Dixie pushed open the door to Treatment Room Four, and Gage was shocked to see the rest of the Station 51 crew sitting inside. Each man looked horrendous and miserable. Plastic basins were planted on their laps.
“Ah, man! The whole station?”
“Apparently so. And about a dozen other people so far. Food poisoning. I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t see a few more.” Dixie patted Johnny’s shoulder. “Why don’t you go ahead and sit down. We’re waiting on beds for everyone.”
“I can’t believe . . . can’t believe . . .”
The head nurse quickly grabbed a plastic basin and thrust it into Johnny’s hands. With a grimace of sympathy, she left the room, leaving the guys to commiserate together.
Johnny found an empty spot and sat down with a groan.
“I’m never eating another taco again.”
Head resting in his hands, Chet snorted, “Save it, Gage. We’ve all made that promise 50 times in the last hour.”
“I bet the brass isn’t too happy right now, huh Cap?”
“That’s putting it mildly, John. I see community service duty in our near future.”
As one, the crew groaned in disgust. Just then, the door opened and Dixie escorted Roy into the room and slipped away. His shocked expression mirrored Johnny’s earlier one.
Gage scooted over and motioned with his hand. “Might as well sit here. You might want to have one of these handy.” Johnny pointed to the yellow basin in his lap.
DeSoto slowly sat down and closed his eyes. After several moments of silence, he sighed and said, “I am never eating . . .”
A chorus of misery-laden voices rang out.
“WE KNOW! WE KNOW! YOU’RE NEVER EATING ANOTHER TACO AGAIN!”
* * * The End * * *
Just a Little Headache
Man, my head hurts, but I need to pay attention to what Morton is telling me to do. I sure wish Brackett had been on duty. This call would be a lot easier if he had answered the base station. Oops. I need to keep my tone of voice stable. Okay, I've repeated his instructions back, now to carry them out.
Okay, we got the patients wrapped and loaded in the ambulance. Roy is going to go with them while I drive the squad in. He's worried about me. I keep catching him glancing at me and he has that look on his face. I saw it as I shut the doors on the ambulance. I need to be careful around him. He's always been able to read me like a book. I'll be fine once I can get back to the station and get some sleep.
Sure wish I had my sunglasses with me. This sunlight is so strong and it's sending waves of pain through my forehead. Maybe if I squint it won't be so bright and things won't have a halo effect around them. Well I have better get going. I'll just pick up the rest of the equipment and the trash before I go. Huh, that's funny. I can see my hand picking up the trash, but I can't feel anything with it, not even a tingle. It's like it's not there at the end of my arm. Strange feeling. Hope it doesn't last long. Good thing it's my left side and I can still drive with my right hand.
Well, this sure is becoming an adventure. Something is definitely wrong. My left foot feels like it's detached from the leg. No pain, but a very weird feeling. It's dragging. Good thing I'm on my way to Rampart. Maybe I'll have a doctor look at my hand and foot. Hope they can figure out why I feel so strange. Better tell Roy I'll be fine. He's such a worrywart.
Got to pay attention to my driving. I almost sideswiped that blue car in the next lane. I'm so glad Rampart isn't far. I'm not feeling so good and now I'm nauseated. I've started drooling on the left side of my mouth. Wish I could use my left hand to wipe it off, but I still can't feel that hand. Okay, I see the ambulance entrance up ahead. Hope I can turn the squad one handed, so I can back in.
Jeez. That was tough. I'm sweating now.
Okay, Gage. Pay attention. You have got to get yourself out of this vehicle and into the emergency room. Ah, I know there's a way to get that door open, but I can't seem to figure it out. There's some king of a handle over here. I wonder what it does when you turn it. Oh yeah, got to use that right hand. Wow, look at that! That glass just disappears down into the door. Neat. I wonder what happens if you turn it the other way. Yep. The glassy thing goes back up.
Someone is calling my name. At least, I think it's my name. Huh, I see him looking in at me, but he has portions of his face missing. What happened to his nose and chin? Since I can't see them on his face, they must not be there. How can he smell without a nose? Wish he would stop shouting. My head is hurting more and more. If he would only whisper, I would be fine. Oh yeah, he's Roy. I need to tell him something. Yeah. I'm fine. He's frowning at me. Can't he understand what I'm telling him? I'll tell him again.
Why is he saying my speech is garbled? I'm perfectly fine, just a little drool on the left side of my mouth. It will go away. Jeez, I didn't know I was so popular. He's got two doctors and a nurse out here with him. The door is opening. So that's how it's done. I think I can figure it out next time.
Hey, watch out! Why are you pulling on me? Now that the door is open I can get out on my own. Don't you understand me? Okay, okay. I'll let you put me on that gurney. Just let me put my arm over my eyes. That sun is way too bright.
Oh jeez. Can you slow down? All this movement is making me want to upchuck my toenails. Oh man, I can't hold it. I'm gagging. Oh wow. I don't think I have anything left in my stomach. Good thing they turned me on my side. So weak and my head feels like a freight train has come through it, twice. Maybe if I close my eyes it won't hurt so much.
Ouch! Why did they rub my chest so hard? Now they want me to open my eyes. Don't they know I can't with that spotlight above me? Okay, okay. I'll try as long as they stop shouting.
Oh crap. That hurt. Why does he have to shine a flashlight in my eyes? Just for that, I'm going to close my eyes and never open them again.
Someone is patting my right shoulder. He says they will give me something for the pain once they get some x-rays taken. I'm having some confusion. What are x-rays? Oh well, some pain medication would be welcomed. He's ordered an IV. Why do they have to talk in shorthand? Interesting. Someone is messing around with my left arm. I can feel a sharp stabbing pain in my elbow and the tape they are putting on it, but I still can't feel my hand. I'm so tired. I think I'll take me a little nap. Maybe this headache will ease up if I do.
Johnny, why didn't you tell me you had a headache, instead of insisting you were fine? After finding you in the squad unable to take care of yourself, I marvel that you were even able to drive. You scared ten years of growth off my life. I really thought you had a stroke. I'm looking down on you sleeping, doped up to your gills with pain medicine and I'm surprised that it was just a migraine headache.
I know you think I worry too much, but you are worth worrying about. I'm going to keep my eye on you. Early gave me a list of migraine triggers and I'll be on the watch for them now. He assures me you will be fine tomorrow morning and has ordered me to go home and sleep. Yeah, I think I will before you give me any more surprises. Junior, you will be the death of me, yet. Until tomorrow, sleep well my friend.
Stranded! by Rona
Johnny's Luck by Audrey W.
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