The One That ‘Got’ Away?
By Audrey W.
John Gage gave a low whistle as his partner Roy DeSoto pulled their squad into a wide half circle paved driveway in front of a huge fancy two story home that could easily pass for a motel by size.
“Man, that is some house. . .”
“It sure is. . .”
Roy brought the vehicle to a stop and the two quickly climbed out to retrieve their supplies from the exterior passenger side compartments.
The paramedics had been dispatched to the home in a ritzy area of Carson for a man down call. Though it wasn’t their first time to the upper scale neighborhood, this was the largest home they’d been to yet.
As they hurried up a walkway toward a set of twelve concrete steps that led to a huge covered porch of the same, the front door opened.
John suddenly extended his right arm, stopping his partner in mid-step. Momentarily standing in place as well, his gaze averted to the ground, he stated, “Look at the lady in the doorway an’ tell me if she’s who I think she is.”
Roy did as requested.
“If I was a mind reader I might be able to answer you.”
“Roy. . .”
“She looks like the girl you were dating when we became partners to me. Only her hair’s a little shorter. Doris. . .?”
John gave a nod as they continued forward, the pace increased to make up for the slight delay.
“That’s the one,” he said under his breath. “Only her name was Delores.”
He displayed a half-smile as they approached the familiar young woman.
“Johnny Gage? I didn’t know you covered this area.”
“Uh. . .we’re filling in for the squad that normally does.”
“Ma’am, you called about a man down?”
Delores shifted her attention to Roy.
“Yes, come in,” she said as she stepped back inside. Dressed in a casual shirt and short white pleated tennis skirt, she motioned for them to follow. “This way.”
John eyed the high walls as they followed Delores through the home. He couldn’t help but notice the array of art work displayed along the way. Some were oil paintings in fancy frames and others abstract sculptures on stands here and there.
“Brad’s out on the tennis court,” she explained as they continued on.
“Tennis court?” Gage asked.
“Yes, it’s out near the pool.”
“Oh. . .of course.”
He furrowed his brow in thought as they continued on.
“Can you tell us what happened?” Roy wondered.
“I’m really not sure. I mean, we were playing tennis. . .” she opened a set of French-styled double doors in a sitting room, revealing the spacious back yard. “And he went to serve, then he just dropped as soon as he swung. I couldn’t get him up. . .we weren’t sure if I should move him, so I had him stay lying down while I called for help.”
She led them out and down a grassy slope beyond a large flagstone patio with a built in grill made of bricks. The in-ground swimming pool she’d mentioned was just off to the right of the patio.
As they approached the fenced in court yard, they could see a man standing with his left shoulder leaning into the chain links.
Delores picked up the pace, as did the paramedics in reaction to her.
“Brad!” She called out. “Brad, what’re you doing up?”
As the threesome entered the area, he explained with a shrug, “I felt okay again. I figured there was no sense in being on the ground if I could to get to my feet.”
“Well, what did it feel like before it was gone?” John asked.
“The skin on my body was like needles were jabbing it from all directions, then it kind of spread to my left leg. . .my leg went numb and I got kind of dizzy at the same time. . .and that’s when I went down.”
“We really ought to still check you out,” Roy stated. “Just to make sure you’re really okay.”
Brad glanced from one paramedic to the other, then once again shrugged.
“Sure, what ever you guys want. You’re the experts.”
“Why don’t you have a seat on that chair over there,” John said, indicating the multi-striped piece of outdoor furniture at the edge of the court yard. Another was beside it.
After a brief time John and Roy had found Brad’s vital signs to all be normal and he seemed to be as fine as he claimed. Delores even took the time to formally introduce the paramedics, leaving out that she and Gage once dated.
“Are you on any type of medication?” Roy wondered, still trying to figure out why he’d have an issue in the first place. Brad had already informed them that there was no history of serious chronic health conditions in his family.
John exchanged a glance with Roy before asking, “What exactly does that mean?”
“I take herbs daily. . .home grown in our garden.”
The paramedics looked at one another again, certain they were on the same thought. Over the couple of years they’d worked together, they’d already dealt with a few people who’d experienced health issues due to home grown herbs or fruits. It wouldn’t be a surprise if Brad was another victim of his ‘natural’ life style.
“Aloe, dandelion . . .”
Roy was surprised at that one, however John wasn’t so much. He’d grown up with grandparents who taught him the natural benefits from the herb, as well as many others. But to Roy, it was just a weed in his yard he saw pop up all too frequently. Ones he at times practically declared war on.
Brad went on to explain the use to the senior paramedic.
“It’s a great source for minerals and vitamins. . .helps with indigestion, too.”
“Uh. . .how long have you been doing it. . .taking the herbs?”
“About four months,” he answered to John’s question.
“Have you ever had anything like this happen before?”
“No. . .well, not exactly.”
John sighed before asking for another definition of ‘exactly’. He soon learned that the stabbing pain to the body came and went every few days, but the numbness and dizzy spell were new symptoms.
Roy got back on the biophone to explain the latest development to a doctor at Rampart.
After the brief update, he offered, “There’s an ambulance already on its way. . .we can cancel it if you want to see your own doctor later. Or we can take you in for a thorough check now, without the usual lights and siren, what we call non code R. But you need to see someone soon, just to make sure there’s nothing serious going on. And it’s probably a good idea you avoid the herbs until you get a doctor’s okay to continue.”
Brad gave a nod in response to Roy’s suggestion. “I’ll go in now. The sooner the better, right?”
“I’d say so.”
While they waited for the ambulance to arrive, John glanced at the surroundings as Roy went to the front of the house to meet the other personnel.
“This is a nice place you have here, Brad.”
“We have.” Delores corrected. “He’s my husband.”
“Oh. . .” Now Gage noticed a ring on her finger he hadn’t before. “Well, then, it’s a nice place you both have.”
He couldn’t help but wonder what her life would’ve been like if they’d gotten married. There was no way he could have provided a home like that for her on his average salary, which made him wonder. . .
“Whataya do for a living, Brad? If you don’t mind me asking.”
“No, not at all. I’m going to be a professional tennis player.”
“Going to be?” John asked, his mouth open in astonishment. “Well, how do you afford a place like this now?”
Delores smiled. “My uncle gave it to us for a wedding present.”
“A. . .a wedding present?”
He’d heard of lavish gifts before, like a sports car, maybe a trip around the world. . .but a house and yard the size of a resort? Never in his wildest dreams.
“Yes,” she nodded. “Remember I told you about my uncle who wanted to live in Hawaii. . .the one who said he’d give up almost everything he had for a simple life near the beach in a condo?”
John glanced around again. “This was what he gave up?”
The couple kissed while the still shocked paramedic tried to take it all in.
When Roy returned with the ambulance attendants and stretcher, he wondered if perhaps his partner didn’t need to be carried out instead. Gage looked a bit ill, maybe even nauseated.
John eyed the questioner, looking like a kid whose balloon had just floated away.
“Sure,” he shrugged. “I’m just great.”
With the latter comment laced with slight sarcasm, he didn’t sound so ‘great’. Roy figured he could find out more once they had Brad at Rampart. Since he wasn’t experiencing any symptoms at the moment and they hadn’t started an IV, they weren’t required to ride in the ambulance with him. However, Roy opted to do so as a precaution.
He helped Brad onto the stretcher while Gage picked up the biophone and grabbed the drug box. Then the paramedics followed along as the others headed back to the ambulance with their charge.
Once at the front door, John stopped while Roy continued on after having taken the boxes from his partner.
“I can’t thank you enough for coming out here, Johnny.”
“Hey, it’s our job,” he said with a wave of his hand. Looking at her now, John realized he’d forgotten just how pretty she was.
Delores smiled, then quickly turned toward the interior of the home with, “I’d better get the keys to my car. I want to be there as soon as I can.”
“Right. Well, just remember. If you ever need us again, don’t hesitate to call.”
“I won’t!” she called out from inside just before closing the door.
John trotted to the ambulance, where he closed and secured the rear doors after making sure Roy and Brad were set.
He then went to the squad. Before climbing in on the driver’s side, John took another quick look at the house. The paramedic did a double take when the three-car garage door opened and a silver corvette, Delores as the driver, pulled out. After a brief wave directed at him from behind the windshield, she headed for the opposite end of the u-shaped driveway.
Gage groaned audibly.
A corvette, too? Oh man!
Roy leaned with a shoulder against the wall outside the automatic doors at the ER entrance as he watched John back the squad into a space where the ambulance had been just moments before.
Once the truck was stopped, he walked up to the driver’s side, the biophone and drug box in his grasp. His partner had just opened the door.
John had one leg out when Roy reached him and stopped in mid exit.
“What’re you doin’ out here?”
Gage rolled his eyes.
“That much I had figured out. Any of Brad’s symptoms reappear along the way?”
“Nope,” Roy said with a shake of his head.
“Good. That’s good.” Still just partially out of the squad, he asked, “You wanna go inside?”
“I think I should leave that up to you.”
Gage gave a puzzled look in return, then one that displayed comprehension.
“Oh. . .you mean because of Delores? The fact that Delores’ll be in there?”
“You did seem bothered by the whole thing back at the scene. Are you okay?”
“Okay? Am I okay? Roy, are you kiddin’ me?”
“You haven’t answered my question.”
John motioned for Roy to go around to the passenger side as he responded, “Get in and I’ll answer your question on the way back to the station.”
This was going to be a long one, Roy sensed. It was no secret his partner was known to have what some would consider marathon rants with subjects close to his heart.
Maybe I should’ve just said ‘yes’ to going inside. . .
As he pulled away from the emergency entrance, John made good on his promise.
“So ya wanna know if I’m okay.”
He didn’t catch the teasing remark in past tense, thus just continued on.
“Roy, I just found out that the girl I dated the longest of any of ‘em so far got a house. . .no, a mansion. . .and a Corvette even maybe. . .for a wedding present! How could I be ‘okay’?” He asked with a wave of his right hand, the left still on the steering wheel. “Brad could’ve been me. . .or me him. . .or however that’s s’posed to work. You know what I mean.” He let out a sigh. “I can’t believe I let ‘er get away.”
Roy jerked his head in his partner’s direction, his eyes open wide in surprise.
“Get away? You broke up with her, remember?”
“I know, I know. . .but she started callin’ me and suggesting I come over for a home cooked dinner like every other night! An’ remember all the cookies, cakes and brownies she kept bringin’ to the station? It was like she took Dixie’s suggestion that the way to my heart was through my stomach way too seriously. I couldn't get'er to stop! All she really managed was to add a few extra pounds to some of the other guys at the station. And then she started talkin’ about her ideas on what marriage should be like, how many kids she wanted to have eventually, and all that kinda stuff. . . man, she was a beautiful chic, and we’d been datin’ about three months, but it was just too much and too soon for that, Roy,” he explained with a pained expression. “And don’t forget, I was younger then. I wasn’t ready to even think about that stuff yet.”
“So how is that her getting away?”
After a moment of silence and a groan of misery, John gave in.
“Okay, okay. . .so it was all my own doing. It still doesn’t make it any easier,” he stated with a quick glance at his passenger. “Besides, I never imagined it would be so hard to find the right girl later.”
“Well, let me ask you this. . .do you even feel ready to settle down. . .with any girl. . .now?”
“No,” he admitted.
“Living in a huge house with the wrong one wouldn’t have made it right for you, you know.”
John eyed him with a frown, then watched the traffic ahead while he pondered his friend’s words. The displeased expression faded when he reminded himself he was happy as a bachelor living the simple life in an apartment. He had the freedom to still look at and date pretty nurses and other young ladies.
Gage nodded. “Yeah. . .I know. “ He let out a sigh. “Hey, Roy?”
The senior paramedic turned to look at the other.
“Thanks. For waiting outside, I mean. I really didn’t wanna see Delores again if I didn’t have to.”
Roy smiled. He figured he’d gotten that one right, too.
Though it has absolutely nothing to do with the lyrics, this story was inspired by the Green Day song *What’ser Name*. Nothing about reactions to herbs is fact in this story. It’s pure fiction. :o)
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