At Your Service
By Marty P.
Squad 51 backed into quarters and Johnny Gage and Roy DeSoto stepped out of the vehicle. As they entered the kitchen, Chet Kelly passed them with slow, exaggerated strides. The fireman was concentrating on his physical progress and was oblivious to the two men watching him. He vanished from sight and they went to commandeer a cup of coffee.
“What happened to Chet?” Johnny took a swig of the hot brew.
Marco clutched a handful of parsley and backed out of the fridge. “Yeah, I guess you don’t know.”
“Did a prank backfire on him?” Johnny speculated, recalling Chet’s latest, a blanket of feathers falling from the ceiling above his bed.
Marco shook his head. “On the contrary, he’s sore.” Roy remained silent and Johnny rinsed out his empty mug. “You probably don’t realize what happened on the last rescue. By the way, how’s the man you took in?”
“Critical.” Roy replied, crossing his arms. “Dr. Early told us the next twenty-four hours will determine whether or not he survives.”
“Well, while you two were busy at the scene taking care of him, Chet was keeping the other victim calm.”
Johnny opened the fridge and spied an apple. He bit into it with a loud crunch. “Oh, what did he do?”
“Well you know the car was stuck in one of the canals and it took a lot of time to extricate your victim. Remember the man had his elderly mother in the backseat?”
“Yeah, she was scared but all right when I checked her.” Roy recalled.
“Evidently, Chet looks like her son.”
“No kidding, that’s kinda scary.” Johnny quipped.
“Whenever Chet was in sight she was calm but when she couldn’t see him she screamed and cried out for him. We were afraid she’d injure herself.”
Roy washed his hands and joined the conversation. “You mean the entire time Chet crouched by the car?”
A pained expression crossed Johnny’s face. “It took us thirty minutes to get the man out. How long was it to get to her free?”
“About twenty minutes. Cap called for a squad to make sure she wasn’t hurt, Kirk told us she didn’t have a scratch.” Marco’s sentence trailed off when Chet came into sight, his muscles protesting with each step.
Johnny approached him, “You want us to check you out? Is there anything we can do?”
Chet was peeved with Marco. “I told you not to tell them.”
“I admire you for hanging in there. You’ve gotta be in pain.” Johnny winced as the man lowered himself into a chair.
“It was no big deal, Johnny. You woulda done the same thing.”
“No, I woulda had the brains to ask someone to get me something to sit on!”
By: Vanessa Sgroi
Chet Kelly cringed and ducked his head as the cacophony sounded behind him. After a couple of seconds, a few swear words muttered by his fellow crewmembers filtered through the room.
Slowly, the fireman turned to look at the disaster behind him.
The Phantom’s most elaborate joke yet, designed especially for his favorite Pigeon, had triggered early. And it struck down the four others on A-shift except the intended target, Johnny Gage. Captain Stanley’s enraged mutterings were the loudest of all, and Chet dreaded the coming dressing down.
With a sigh, he hurried from the room and proceeded directly to the closet in the apparatus bay. There, he opened the doors and began pulling out the bucket and mop along with other cleaning supplies. Chet had just slammed the doors shut when Johnny came through the door from the bunkroom.
“Hey, Chet, whatcha doin’?”
“I’m gonna go clean the latrine.”
“Why? That’s my assignment today remember? You’re cooking.”
“Yeah, well, I have a feeling I’ll be doing both and then some. I think Cap’s just had a change of heart.”
“KELLY!” came a roar from the other room.
Chet jumped. “I may be doing it for a long, long time to come too.”
* * * The End * * *
Dream Come True
Chet Kelly, couldn’t believe that it had finally happened. After hanging up the telephone, he stood in shocked stillness. Reflecting upon all the hard work and time he’d put into making his dream come true. Finally achieving his goal, no matter all setbacks and hardships that had hampered him through-out his quest.
Mumbling to himself,
‘I’ve wanted this for so long. I can’t believe that it’s finally happened. Man! This is so great. Such an honor. Wow! I can’t wait to tell the guys. I’m now an official expert. Wow! I can’t believe I have been accepted into the National Antique Barbed Wire Guild. In am truly blessed.’
‘The only other thing that could even come close to the happiness I’m feeling right now, would be to have the patent of my suction cup shoes be approved. Now that would be incredible.’
Doing a happy dance and singing ‘Barbed Wire Love‘, Chet, headed toward the bay area in search of his shift mates to share his good news.
The Least Expected
By Audrey W.
Roy DeSoto walked into the dayroom and took a curious glance at Chet Kelly. The curly-haired fireman was standing just inside the doorway as if he was anticipating someone’s arrival.
“Don’t tell me you’re at it again. . .”
“Not me. . .the Phantom.”
Roy rolled his eyes. “Look, we’re only six hours into the shift and you’ve already gotten Johnny with two water bombs, a whoopee cushion in the squad, a prank phone call from the guys at Station 36, and a loosened lid on the salt shaker at lunch,” he said, counting off each offense with his fingers. “You know you’re lucky Cap didn’t ask for the salt.”
“Yeah, well, if I’d thought that one through more, it probably wouldn’t’ve happened,” he said, sounding regretful. His mood then lightened. “But those were all just build ups. This is the real event, the ultimate goal.”
“I just hope what ever you do to ‘im doesn’t get him going on about it the rest of the shift. You know, he’s already planning his revenge.”
“I guess that’s just the price I’ll hafta pay for--” Chet stopped in mid sentence and hurried to take a seat at the table, grabbing Roy by the upper arm to move him along as well. The paramedic shook his head at his shiftmate’s antics.
Marco Lopez and Mike Stoker came in through the doorway, causing Roy to sigh in relief. He still had time to consider warning his partner of the impending prank.
“Hey, you made coffee,” Mike commented as he walked up to the stove. “I could sure use a cup.”
“Me too,” Marco agreed. He grabbed the only empty cup that was handy on the counter and glanced at Chet as he poured some of the brew into it. “Gage is just about dried off from that last water bomb you dropped on him. Are you going to leave the guy alone now?”
Chet looked to Roy, then to Lopez. “Hey, he needed cooling off after the salt incident.”
Mike shook his head at the conversation going on, then opened the cupboard to get a cup for himself. Suddenly there was a wave of freezing cold water flying at him, drenching the engineer.
Roy and Marco looked from Mike to Chet and back to Mike with their mouths hanging open in shock.
Mike stood in place with his wet arms outstretched, water dripping off of them, his hair, chin, and hands.
Chet stood up and walked over to the soaked shiftmate, clamping a hand on Mike’s left shoulder. He then quickly lifted it off, wiping the remnants of water off on his trousers, a grimace on his face.
“Yech! But this only goes to show. . .you just never know when the Phantom may strike. . .or at who.”
Stoker glared at Chet, then turned and walked out of the room, the soles of his shoes squeaking against the linoleum floor after he’d stepped in some excess water.
“Is this what you meant by ‘build up’?” Roy wondered, looking at Chet in amazement. “Johnny took all those hits so you could catch an unsuspecting Mike totally by surprise?”
“Not a bad set up, eh? So whata’ya think?”
Roy glanced at the doorway the wet engineer had just gone out of. “Honestly?”
Chet nodded as the paramedic returned his gaze to him.
“I think you’re gonna wish you’d stuck with Johnny.”
The curly-haired fireman looked at the drops of water trailing to the exit. Somehow he got the feeling Roy was right. And if Mike followed suit, payback would come at a time when he least expected it.
I wonder if Cap’ll let me take a vacation soon?
--The end --
By Audrey W.
“Okay, here he comes,” Chet Kelly said stepping back into the dayroom from the doorway. He hurried over to the table where the others stood waiting. “He doesn’t suspect a thing.”
“How can ya tell?” Johnny wondered.
“Just trust me, he doesn’t.”
“Good,” Marco commented.
The men quietly shushed each other as they heard the footsteps approaching. Suddenly they let out a yell of “Surprise!” when Captain Hank Stanley entered the room. He startled at the outburst and looked around in amazement at the balloons here and there, the ‘Happy Birthday’ banner hanging down from the ceiling, and decorated cake on the table.
“Well, say something’, Cap,” Johnny said when the captain remained silent.
“You guys are too much.”
“You mean you don’t like it?” Marco wondered.
“No, I mean I like it,” Hank said with a cheeriness to his voice. “I just can’t believe you guys did this.”
“It’s the least we can do,” Roy offered. “We wanted to show our appreciation for all you do for us.”
“I just do my job,” he shrugged.
“And then some,” Mike added.
Hank looked at his men with a smile that suddenly turned to a look of wariness as he recalled a party thrown in favor of another captain that his men worked under on occasion. “Wait. This isn’t one of those ‘pretend you like ‘im’ type deals to butter me up. . .”
“Noo-oo. . .Cap, we really do. Honest!” Johnny stated. The others nodded in agreement.
Captain Stanley relaxed and once again smiled. “Well, don’t just stand there. Have some cake.”
The six man crew celebrated, knowing that they were very fortunate have such a close-knit group. They weren’t just co-workers and shiftmates. They were like ‘family’.
-- The end --
Never a Dull Moment
by Heidi and Audrey W.
Captain Hank Stanley sat behind his desk quietly doing his paperwork. He was bored. This was the part of the job he hated most. It was already going on 2:30 pm and the engine had yet to be toned out, while the squad was busy with back-to-back runs all morning; not allowing the two paramedics a chance to even do their chore assignments, or eat.
Reaching for his coffee, he picked it up and slowly brought the cup to his lips. He tilted it further and further up until he finally took it away from his mouth and looked into the empty cup. It figures. Empty! With cup in hand, Cap left the quiet of his office and headed to the kitchen. I definitely need more coffee... anything to brighten up this dull day.
As he rounded the corner he stopped dead in his tracks, staring at the spectacle in front of him. Even for Chet Kelly, the station's 'Phantom', this was... weird! Cap couldn't believe what he was seeing. He stood there, rooted to the floor, watching Chet perform some sort of odd dance; bouncing on one foot, then the other. His arms and hands moving animatedly to some off-key tune that he sang out. To Cap, it sounded more like chanting than singing. And if that wasn't strange enough, he started swaying his hips and shaking his rear end. My God, he's gone bonkers! No, wait. The Phantom! What's the Phantom done this time? Cap finally found his voice.
"Chet! What in the all mighty universe are you doing?" Cap asked incredulously. "Should I call and have them set up a padded room for you, or do you got ants in your pants?"
"Cap! You are never gonna believe who I just got a date with!" Although Chet seemed to slow his dance down a bit, he just couldn't contain his excitement; still bouncing on his toes and reminding the captain very much of Johnny Gage when he gets excited about something. But even Gage doesn't look this ridiculous!
"Well whoever it is, she sure as heck isn't gonna want to go anywhere with you if you're hoppin' around like that when you go pick her up." Cap didn't know whether to laugh at Kelly's antics or be concerned. "Why don't you just settle down now. You're making Henry nervous." And me too!
"But, Cap, she's so...so... incredibly gorgeous!" he blurted. "She has the biggest...."
"Kelly!" Cap was having a hard time putting on his 'stern' face. "This is a fire station, not a bar!"
"Smile, Cap... She's got the biggest, sexiest smile you've ever seen. And those legs! But you know what the best thing is?"
"Chet, I couldn't possibly imagine. Now, if you don't stop dancin' around here I'm gonna have to call in Roy or John and have them sedate you!"
"That's right, Cap; John," Chet said excitedly, as if that explained everything. "By the way, you can't call Roy or Gage in here. They're still on a run," he grinned widely, looking like the Cheshire Cat from Alice In Wonderland.
Cap was starting to get a little worried at this point. Has Chet finally lost his last marble?
"What on earth does John have to do with this?"
"You know that gorgeous new nurse that Gage has been dying to ask out?"
"No, I do...."
"See, he was supposed to meet her for coffee in the cafeteria this morning at Rampart." Realizing that he might be getting Gage in trouble, he added, "You know... when they go to get their supplies. Well anyway, she called here looking for him. Seems he never showed..."
"Let me guess, you took the call, right?"
Cap rubbed a hand over his face, leaving a finger and thumb to rest on the bridge of his nose between his eyes. "Chet, what did you do this time?" he asked, looking at the floor.
"Whatda'ya mean, what did I do? I didn't do nothin'. She talked to me, I talked to her... then she asked me out! We're going out tomorrow night!" Chet stated, getting excited again.
Just then, the squad could be heard backing into the bay. The sound of doors closing echoed, followed by footsteps.
Cap looked him right in the eye. "And just what do you plan on telling John?"
"Well... Well I... ummm..." he immediately stopped his bouncing, a small bit of guilt washing over him.
"Uh huh. That's what I thought."
"Did I hear my name? Hey, something sure smells good." Johnny walked in, giving the air a sniff.
"Marco made Irish stew for lunch. We saved you guys some. Better eat it now before you get another run," Cap tried getting John's mind on food. He new he was only stalling the argument that was sure to ensue.
"Thanks, Cap," Roy replied gratefully.
"Cap, you're gonna jinx us!" Johnny complained. "Hey, Roy. Could you hand me a bowl? Man, this smells out of this world. I'm starved!"
The two paramedics took a seat at the table, placing their Irish stew in front of them. As Johnny took a bite, he returned to a subject he’d been going on about on the way back from Rampart.
"Man, I still can't believe I missed Melanie." Taking another bite of the stew, he shook his head as he shifted his food to inside his right cheek. "Of all the days to get back-to-back runs. . ."
Captain Stanley glanced at Chet, who was looking from Johnny, to him and to Johnny again, obviously a bit unsure what to do. Still standing beside the curly haired fireman, the senior officer was tempted to nudge him into confessing right then. But he wasn’t sure he was ready for what may follow either.
Clueless as to what was going on with the other two, Johnny continued with his rant as he ate his lunch, "And when I did finally meet up with her, she said she’d met someone else . . .some guy she's got more in common with. Man, someone else. Who goes around a hospital pickin up chicks, anyway?"
Roy, Chet and Captain Stanley gave the younger man an incredulous look before all replying simultaneously, "You."
Gage scowled at the answer, then brushed off the comment and continued on. “But it was a done deal. . .we had an agreement. I mean, she really seemed to like me. Then some guy--” He cut himself off, and turned in his seat to face Roy. “Hey, maybe it was that new doctor. . .you know, the one Brackett said just started there the last week. He wouldn’t kno--”
Unable to let the façade go any longer, Hank decided to drop a hint. "Maybe it wasn't someone at the hospital who she met."
Chet looked at his captain with disbelief as Johnny gave the idea thought.
“Yeah, but I don’t think she even left the place so how. .wait a minute," he said putting a finger in the air. “She had my number for here.” He took another bite of food thinking the situation through, then slowly stopped chewing as his eyes settled on a guilty looking Chet. The paramedic narrowed his eyes. "She didn’t happen to call here. . . did she?"
“Uh. . .nn. . .yyyee--a. . .well. . .” Chet stammered, trying to answer while Hank and Roy looked on, amused.
"Don't tell me you're the guy she has more in common with. . ." Johnny trailed off.
"Okay, I won't.”
"Now might be a good time to start movin on your feet," Captain Stanley said out of the corner of his mouth.
Johnny dropped his fork in his half empty bowl and shoved back his chair. With that movement, Chet turned and ran out of the room, the paramedic close behind on his heels.
Hank looked at Roy, who was still eating the stew. “I hope Chet runs better than he dances.”
--The end --
“CHESTER B.’s BIG DATE”
by: Wanda C.H.
“I won, I won, I won!” Chet Kelly could hardly contain himself as he ran, danced, and skipped from the apparatus bay to the kitchen where the rest of Station 51’s A-Shift sat drinking coffee.
“Hey, pal, catch your breath and slow down. What did ya’ win? It must be something awfully important to get ya’ so excited this early.”
“Cap, you’ll never believe where I’ve just been. That radio station that we’re always listening to, you know the one with that foxy chic, “Electric Elizabeth”. Well, she just put these two tickets to the art exhibit in my hand!”
John Gage could hardly contain himself. “Chester B., you wouldn’t know what to do at an art exhibit even though you have free tickets.”
“Well, that’s not even the best part. Elizabeth seemed really interested. I even thought she was gonna ask me out!”
“Yea, right, Chet, you’re losin’ your mind. I’ve seen this girl, and she’s beautiful. Hey, Mike, didn’t you date her?”
“Well, I took her out once.”
“See, Mike, you and Gage just don’t have it!”
Johnny slightly tilted his head as Marco coughed to cover up his laughter and asked Chet just what it was.
“That Chester B. Kelly charm…you guys just don’t have it. I think I’ll go call Liz and ask her out.”
“Go ahead; obviously she doesn’t have anything against firemen.” Everyone stared at Mike when he practically invited Chet to call the girl that he had once dated.
“Okay, Mike, let us in on it. It’s just us, and you know Kelly will be on the telephone forever. What’s up with this chic anyway?”
“Well, I hate to talk about her. She is beautiful and nice. She has a wonderful smile and everything was great…until we went out to eat.”
“Huh?” Johnny couldn’t comprehend what could have happened at the meal that would make Mike not ask out a hot chic again.
“You guys wouldn’t believe this girl. I mean, she seemed like such a lady. But, when we began to eat…I don’t even know how to say it.”
“Just spit it out, Mike.” Even Cap Stanley was into this conversation.
“Well, she ate like a pig. You know, mouth full, chewing and talking at the same time.”
“Yea, I know all about that.” Roy glanced at Johnny who was so involved with Mike’s story that he didn’t even notice.
“That wasn’t even the worst part. You know, she’s known for her great lips and smile? Well, the smile isn’t so great when there’s green junk all over her teeth. A word of advice, if ya’ ever take her out, skip the salad.”
“Oh, man,” the guys said as if they were an orchestra. Then they all began to laugh and determined that they had to make sure Chet took this beauty out to eat before he took her to the exhibit.
Chet came around the corner whistling, which told his crew mates that he did indeed get his dream date. They all smiled at each other. Although Johnny had been the target of the Phantom’s many pranks, everyone had suffered in some way, and it was time the curly-haired mustached man got his.
“So ya’ hit a home run, huh, Chester B.?”
“Gage, she couldn’t resist the old Kelly charm. No woman can resist it.”
“Well, are ya’ just going to the exhibit, or will there be more to this date?” Marco could hardly wait for a report after the date.
“Lopez, I’m takin’ Liz to dinner, then the art exhibit, then who knows what might happen?”
With that comment the firemen could hardly contain their laughter.
“Yea, I guess ya’ never know.” Roy had to secretly delight in this as his partner had been through so much from this fireman prankster.
“Well, Kelly, where are ya’ gonna take her?” Cap loved this as much as any of his men.
“She’s classy, Cap, so I think I’ll take her to that new, expensive restaurant. The one that opened just a couple weeks ago. I hear they have everything.”
“Yea, I hear they start out with a really good salad. I distinctly recall that Elizabeth loves salads.” The guys were so happy that Mike was giving the shorter fireman tips.
“That’s a chic thing, Mike. They’re always watching their figure so we’ll keep watching their figures!”
As the shift ended, all the guys were wishing Chet well, demanding to know all about the big date when their next shift began. Kelly was thrilled that he was the center of attention, and that such a beautiful woman actually was into him.
As the next shift began, all the guys were at the station early except Chet. They were talking amongst themselves and laughing about how his dream date must have gone.
“Here he comes!” Johnny was totally thrilled with anticipation of what he was about to hear from his ole’ buddy, Chet.
“Well? How did the old Kelly charm hold out?” The other guys laughed as Johnny asked Chet how his date went in his own Gage round about way.
“Stoker, what are you trying to pull?”
“Pull? What do you mean, pull? You talked about what a beautiful girl she is, and that smile…”
With that remark everyone in the apparatus bay lost it. From Cap to Mike, they were all laughing at the Phantom, and he knew he had been had in the worst kind of way.
“So tell us, Chester B., did you and your lady friend have a good dinner?” Johnny felt as though the chance of a lifetime had been given him, and he was going to make the best of it.
“You all knew! Okay, guys, she’s really a nice girl, but the smile after dinner, heck, even during dinner. Oh man, I’ve never been so embarrassed in my entire life. I think I’ll be scarred for life. I mean she’s wonderful, but well, she eats worse than Gage.”
“Hey, you tryin’ to say somethin’ Chet?”
“She had this horrible green stuff between her teeth. I caught myself cleaning my own teeth with my tongue. Guys, I even offered her some gum, hopin’ that would help only to find out…”
“She doesn’t chew. Yep, I had the same experience.” Mike was finally deciding to share some knowledge.
“Oh, but you should have seen her at the exhibit. I mean, everyone knows this chic, and here I am the one with the red face and very small smile. It was horrible. I’m never gonna date again.”
Amid lots of laughter, Cap had some good advice for the man of his crew that usually caused confusion instead of being in the center of it.
“Kelly, just remember the package isn’t always as it seems. Also, you will date again, it might take a while, but you will!”
With that all the guys gave their comrade a pat on the back as they headed into the kitchen for some breakfast, and awaiting their first call of the day
-- The end --
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