Laces and Luck
By Audrey W.
“Oh no,” Johnny moaned as he looked at the broken shoelace in his hand. “Great. Just what I needed,” he said sarcastically.
Roy paused from buttoning his shirt and glanced at his partner on the bench. “What’s wrong?”
“I broke it.” Gage held up the piece of shoelace.
“So? Tie it to the part that’s still in the shoe ‘til you can get a new one.”
“Roy, you don’t understand. My aunt always said if you break a shoelace first thing in the morning, you’ll have bad luck three times that day.”
“Why stop at three?”
Johnny rolled his eyes. “Very funny.” He sighed. “Haven’t you ever heard the expression ‘bad luck comes in three’s?”
“Well, this is why,” Johnny said, holding up the lace again.
Roy closed his locker and shook his head. “I owe you an apology for all the times I’ve accused you of being a nut. Apparently, it runs in the family.” As he pushed open the swinging door to the apparatus bay, DeSoto glanced back at his partner who was still on the bench. “You know, it’s not first thing in the morning now, anyway. You may be off the hook.”
Johnny’s face brightened. “Hey, yeah! You’re right!” He got to his feet, and closed his locker. “You know, Roy, you just made my day.” The younger paramedic walked over and patted his co-worker on the back, grinning. “Yes, sir, you just made my day a whole lot better.”
The morning started off normally, with Johnny and Roy doing their daily check on the squad and equipment. Once they were done, the paramedics headed to a local bakery to do a safety inspection.
As they got within one block of Donny’s Donuts And Delights, the motor began to make a pinging sound and the squad struggled to make it through the last half of the block to the destination. It slowed to a snail’s pace, then rolled to a stop.
“What the. . .?” Johnny wondered.
“I don’t know. Guess we can pop the hood and take a look.”
Gage sat back and sighed. “I knew it. Can’t you see what this is?”
“Yeah, the squad had engine trouble and we’re stalled.”
“No, no, no,” Johnny moved his hands in an animated fashion as he explained to his thoughts to his partner. “It’s that bad luck, Roy! I’ll bet we’ve still got two more bad things ahead of us yet, just waiting for us.”
DeSoto gave a wary expression as he opened the driver’s side door. “Let’s just see if we can fix the thing.”
“Okay, but I’m tellin’ ya. . .we’re in for more,” the dark-haired man emphasized as he got out of the squad.
After several minutes of tinkering under the hood of the squad, Roy radioed for Charlie the mechanic to come to their aid. While he waited with the vehicle, Johnny said he would take care of the inspection they were supposed to do.
“How about you buy some donuts for us to take to the station after this?” Roy suggested.
“Sounds good.” Gage checked his wallet, then gave a hopeful look to the senior paramedic. “You got any money?”
Roy took out his wallet and handed Johnny a twenty-dollar bill. “Don’t spend it all in one place.”
Johnny walked into the bakery, spotting the owner over by the counter talking to two young teens. He stepped up beside the young men and addressed Donny.
"Hi. I'm here with the fire department to do an inspection."
The owner looked up, an alarmed expression on his face. He motioned towards the two youths with his head. Johnny looked them over, puzzled at what was going on. One of the youths suddenly displayed a gun that had been under his shirt.
"Okay, fireman, up against the counter, your back towards me and spread 'em. I want your watch and wallet."
Johnny complied, taking off his watch and allowing the youth to remove his wallet from his back pocket. The young man opened it and pulled out Roy's twenty-dollar bill. Gage didn't have anything else in there worth stealing, so the wallet was tossed on the floor. Having already gotten the money from the store, the youths took off and ran out of the front door.
Johnny looked at the storeowner. "You okay?"
"Yeah. Just scared," Donny replied. "I'll go call the police. Sorry about your watch."
"Oh. . .hey. No problem. But my partner is gonna kill me," Johnny said as he picked up his wallet and inspected it. "That was his twenty dollars."
Still in shock over what had just taken place, both men were puzzled about what to do next.
"Do you still need to do an inspection?"
"Um. . .I think it can wait. I'll be back. Let me tell my partner what happened." Johnny turned to go outside.
Roy was still waiting for Charlie to arrive when he saw two teens run out of the bakery.
In a few minutes he could hear sirens approaching. Johnny came walking out of the bakery, empty handed and looking rather despondent.
"Where're the donuts?" Roy asked.
"Uh. . .I. . .uh . . .I got robbed, Roy," Johnny said, still in disbelief over being held up at gun point. "They took my watch and your twenty dollars. Now will you believe the broken shoelace was bad luck?"
“But it’s supposed to be bad luck for you. . .you aren’t out twenty dollars!”
“No, but I’m out a watch. A good watch by the way.”
“Oh forget it,” Roy said when he saw Charlie coming. “At least you’re okay. I guess that’s more important.”
“Oh, thanks. Nice to know my partner thinks so much of me.”
DeSoto grinned. “No problem. Now let’s see if we can get this thing fixed and make it back to the station in one piece.”
“Sounds like a good deal to me.”
The rest of the shift went smoothly. As the men were walking out to their cars in the back lot after C-Shift took over for them, Johnny grabbed Roy by the shoulder and stopped him.
“What is it?” The senior paramedic wondered.
“Your back tire is flat.”
Roy looked over at his car. The back left tire was indeed very flat.
“Roy, do you realize what this means?”
“Yeah, I’m gonna be changing a tire.”
“No. . .although you are,” Johnny said. “But that’s not it. Think about this. . .you lost twenty dollars yesterday and today you find a flat tire.”
“It’s bad luck. And there’s still one left.”
“Don’t be ridiculous. I didn’t even break a lace. . .you did!”
“Yeah, but you were with me when I did it.”
“This is crazy!”
Johnny shrugged. “Suit yourself.”
Both men walked over to the car and worked on changing the tire. As Roy pulled out of the lot, Johnny followed behind. Only two blocks away from the station, Johnny cringed as he saw a car pull in the way of his partner. The impact wasn’t real hard, but it was enough to put a hefty dent in a car. When he trotted up to the driver’s side window, he could see a still healthy, but annoyed Roy DeSoto.
“I’ve got just one thing to say to you,” Roy offered.
“My aunt used to talk about the power of suggestion and its influence on things.”
“So unless you’re gonna suggest I’m about to come into a million dollars, keep your thoughts to yourself. I don’t need anymore of this.”
Johnny frowned and stepped back from the car as he saw the police unit come to the scene of the accident. He soon found himself smiling when he saw that one of the cops was a pretty and single woman he had seen a few times before. His smile grew wider when he saw her smiling at him.
“Yep, my bad luck’s definitely over.”