"Save Your Breath"
"Have you ever noticed," L.A. County Firefighter Paramedic, John Gage griped as he and his partner, Roy DeSoto, began lugging their heavy equipment cases up a creaking and cramped flight of steep wooden stairs, "how the odds of a building’s elevator bein’ ‘Out Of Service’ always seem ta be in direct proportion ta how many stories it has? I mean, it never fails: the higher the building—the higher the odds. The instant we pulled up, and I saw how tall this place was, I just had this…feeling that we were gonna be doin’ a lot of climbing. Yah know?"
His associate remained silent.
"An’ why is it," Gage further grumbled, as the
panting pair approached their fourth landing, "that the air in these
Again, his fellow firefighter failed to comment.
"Man!...Could it get...any hotter...in here?" John blurted a bit breathlessly as the rescuers reached the sixth floor’s landing. "My hand is so dang sweaty...I can hardly hold on ta this handle...They really should take some of that money...they aren’t spending on elevator maintenance...and use it to install...some central air!" the profusely perspiring paramedic sarcastically suggested.
Roy’s only reaction was a slight, unseen smile.
That did it!
Gage stopped, right in mid step, and turned to his seemingly ‘struck dumb’ chum. "You okay?"
His quiet colleague flashed him a reassuring smile and shook his head.
"You sure?...Cuz, yah know...you haven't said
one word ta me...since we left the lobby...Heck!
"Yah mean...complaining...to yourself," his no longer silent partner quickly corrected. "And, yes…I'm sure...I've just been...saving...my breath," his panting companion calmly explained and, reluctantly, aimed his blue eyes upward. "We still got...another fourteen floors...ta go, yah know."
"Now who’s...complaining?" John jokingly remarked, with a crooked grin.
Roy’s own smiling, and still panting, lips parted—to protest.
The panting pair continued their arduous climb...and the lead rescuer resumed his complaining.
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