Chet Kelly schooled his features as A-shift’s two paramedics entered the kitchen, and made a bee-line for the coffee pot. Having been called in half-way through C-shift, Chet had gotten first dibs on the morning coffee and the box of doughnuts Cap had brought in. The remnants of his third one was sitting on a napkin on the chair beside him.
Mike and Marco, already seated at the table greeted the two new arrivals. Chet remained silent.
He pretended not to notice when Johnny stumbled to a halt and did a double take in his direction. “Morning, Chet,” he said pointedly before continuing on toward the stove.
“Oh, morning Gage, DeSoto.” Chet kept his tone distracted, barely looking up from the pages of the magazine before him. Henry, laying half across his lap, almost dislodged the paper just as Roy shot Johnny a sour look for stealing a freshly poured cup of coffee out of his hands.
Johnny didn’t register Roy’s annoyance, and was instead drawn toward the open box of pastry on the table. He scanned the remaining options before zeroing in on the half-eaten doughnut on Chet’s napkin.
“Hey! Is that the last --”
“You snooze, you lose, babe,” Chet cut him off. “Besides, Cap took the last glazed.”
Miffed, Johnny picked another variety and took a large bite, then settled into the seat next to Roy. As he chewed his way through first one doughnut, and then another, Chet bided his time.
“What are you reading that’s so interesting?” Johnny wanted to know.
“Oh, this?” Again, Chet barely glanced upward, mostly because he was afraid he would give himself away. “Just reading the personal ads. You know.”
“Oh,” Johnny chuckled. “You think some girl desperate enough to place a personal ad is going to date you?”
Chet replied with as much seriousness as he could. “Remember Susie, that beautiful blonde Charlie was with at the picnic? He met her through the personals.”
“He did?” Gage was intrigued.
“Oh, yeah. She even has a sister who went out with Davis over at 110s last week.”
While Gage mulled that over, Chet went in for the kill. “You like brunettes, don’t you, John?”
“What’s wrong with her?” the pigeon was suspicious. No matter.
“Nothing. Listen to this. Beautiful, with chestnut hair, lots of spirit, very friendly, long legs, athletic. Oh, get this, she’s even part Arabian.”
“Ooh, she sounds exotic,” Marco piped up.
“Oh, she is, Marco. Good breeding, too.” Chet made a point of circling something on the page. “I’ll just save this for Phillips.”
“Now Chet, are you going to overlook someone on your own crew?” Johnny demanded. “I thought we looked out for each other.”
Chet almost felt bad. This was too easy. “It’s just that you didn’t seem interested is all.”
“I’m interested. I’m interested.”
“Oh, well, it that case. Her name’s Celestia. Her picture is right here. I’m sure you could work out a deal. She’s not gonna be cheap.”
“Deal? Cheap?” Johnny crossed the room in three strides and snatched at the paper. "Let me see that!"
Chet let the magazine go with a gleam in his eyes. He watched as it registered on Johnny just what he was looking at.
“A horse?! Chet!!”
"Like I said, Gage. Just perfect for you."
By Audrey W.
“Hey, what’s a four letter word for ‘pipe down’?”
“No, I really wanna know. . .”
John Gage looked over toward Chet Kelly from where he sat reading a ‘Wheels and Gears’ magazine at the table in the dayroom. The latter was seated on a leather couch against the wall with the station mascot, a basset hound named Henry, on his lap and a folded up newspaper section resting on the dog’s head.
Chet was looking at John in return, a pen in his right hand. A coffee cup and part of a donut were on a wooden chair beside him.
“I gave you the answer,” John stated. “That was the answer. Hush.”
With a slight grin, Chet filled in the squares, then continued on.
John just shook his head before returning his attention to his magazine.
After a few minutes, Chet asked, “What’s a five letter word for ‘a sound from a stable’?”
A brief few seconds later, John supplied without taking his gaze off the magazine, “Neigh.”
It wasn’t even a full minute later when Chet questioned, “Con jobs?”
He glanced over at John, who was now looking at him as well, his face screwed up in puzzlement.
“Five letter word for ‘con jobs’. Any idea?”
Gage gave it thought. “Try ‘scams’.”
Chet did and with a smile stated, “It fits with the other letter there. Thanks.”
“A droopy eared dog. . .”
“Look under the paper.”
Chet rolled his eyes. “I know. I know. . .I got that one.”
A couple of minutes later, “A ‘Friars Club event’. Know that one?”
John set down his magazine and sighed in exasperation. “Chet, who’s doin’ this crossword puzzle anyway? You or me?”
“I just asked for a little assistance. Ya don’t hafta get cross.”
“Ya know, sometimes you really puzzle me.”
Both men eyed each other, then broke into snickers at their play on words.
“A ‘roast’,” John offered.
The other jotted it down.
“Take five. . .” Chet once again looked to the dark-haired paramedic.
“Don’t mind of I do,” Gage said as he put down his magazine and pushed back his chair. As he got to his feet, Chet’s mouth dropped open in protest.
“C’mon, man. I really need to know. This is the last one I’ll ask.”
John just continued on toward the door. As he exited into the apparatus bay, he called out, “Give it a rest, would ya?”
Now alone, Chet looked down at the crossword puzzle in discouragement. “Give it a rest. . .,” he mumbled. Then his face brightened. “Hey, rest! That’s it!”
He quickly wrote it into the blank spaces.
“A six letter word for ‘commotion’ that starts with an ‘h’ . . .”
He peeked under the paper at Henry. “I don’t suppose you’d know anything about something that has to do with motion. . .”
The dog that was known for rarely doing anything but lying on the couch let out a sigh. If he wasn’t already ‘taking five’, he might have followed behind Gage.