Roy DeSoto whistled as he strolled into the locker room. Most of Station 51’s A-shift had already gotten there ahead of him, and were nearly dressed and ready for work. It was Christmas Eve day and most of the crew had been dreading the shift.
Of course, Roy's partner was still missing, but that came as no surprise. He usually slipped in just in time.
"Hey Roy, you sure seem a bit chipper this morning,” said Marco. “Aren’t you the least bit depressed about having to work Christmas Eve?”
“Nah, not one bit,” replied Roy. “Joanne and I have it all figured out. I already put together the big toys for the kids. She’s going to set them out and all I have to do is slip in tomorrow morning when the kids wake up. At least we don’t have to work past six on Christmas day.”
“Wow, sounds like a plan, partner,” said Johnny as he strolled in and opened his locker. “What are the rest of you guys doin tomorrow?”
“What’s the matter, Gage?” asked Chet. “Are ya fishin for an invite?”
Johnny flashed Chet a dirty look. “No, I’m not fishin for an invite. Can’t I ask what my friends are doing for the holidays? Besides, I have so much
going on that I doubt I’ll get to do it all.”
Roy finished buttoning his shirt and closed his locker. “Oh yeah, what are you going to be doing?”
“An old friend invited me to spend the day at his family’s house out in the valley.”
“Oh really?” Johnny had peaked Roy’s curiosity. “Which friend is that?”
“Um, you don’t know him. He’s an old school friend. His name is Rob Burger.”
Roy wondered if Johnny were telling him the truth or not and expected him to change the subject pretty quick. To his surprise, Johnny went on and on about the plans he had with his friend.
“That’s great, Johnny. It sounds like you’re going to be having a lot of fun too.”
“Yep, I can’t wait.”
The stores were packed with holiday shoppers who were securing their last minute gifts before heading off to be with family and friends. It wasn’t a
surprise when the first run of the day was to the local mall. A woman had passed out in the lingerie department of Sears.
Johnny and Roy carefully carried their equipment as they made their way through the isles of bras and panties.
DeSoto’s face turned red as they plowed through to the back near the dressing room. “Man, I don’t even like to go in this department with Joanne.”
Johnny laughed. “Oh come on, Roy, it’s not like there’s something here you haven’t seen before.”
“Yeah, well, maybe I’m a bit old fashioned.”
“Roy, you’ve been married for how long now?”
DeSoto ignored his partner and began to assist the woman who was sitting up against the wall of the dressing room.
“Ma’am, how are you doing?”
The young woman stared up at the paramedic. “Uh, I’m so sorry. Can you please just help me up? I’m fine.”
“Well, let us check you out first and make sure you’re okay,” Johnny replied.
The young woman was hesitant at first but let the paramedics do their job.
“Have you ever had a fainting spell before?” Roy asked.
“Well, yeah. If I don’t eat right I get a little light headed. I guess with all the rushing around to get my gifts I forgot to eat. Look, my friends will be here shortly to get me. I’m fine. I really don’t need your help anymore. I appreciate you coming to help me but you can leave now.”
Johnny helped the woman to her feet and then gathered their equipment. “Well, if you won’t let us help you then you really should get checked out
by your own physician. We’ll leave as soon as your friends get here. Where are you meeting them?”
“Boy, you two are pushy,” the young woman smiled. “But, I do appreciate it. They are meeting me down by the Christmas fountain. They should be there any time now.”
Roy knew the fountain well. It stood several feet from the main entrance and could be seen from one end of the mall to the other. The center contained a display of the North Pole complete with reindeer and elves. A fountain cascaded along the sides with small boats of toys that appeared to be floating down to Santa’s sleigh. His son and daughter loved it. He recalled how they emptied his pockets of all the coins he had on him at the
The woman’s friends were already waiting for her when they arrived and quickly escorted her out of the mall. Johnny stopped to stare at the huge
display while his partner tried to move him towards the exit.
“Man, that’s a cool fountain,” said Johnny. “They never had anything like that when I was a kid.”
“Yeah, my kids love it. Come on, let’s go.”
“Hey, Roy, do you have any change on ya?”
“I wanna make a wish.”
“Don’t you think you’re a little old to be making a wish in a fountain?”
“Oh come on, Roy. Just one wish.”
Roy stared at his partner. “You’re worse than my kids. They kept telling me the same thing.”
“Well, you’re supposed to make a Christmas wish right?”
Roy nodded. “Yeah.”
“Roy, there’s only one thing I want for Christmas so all I need is one coin for one wish.”
DeSoto decided to play along with his partner’s enthusiasm. “Okay, what’s the one wish?”
“If I tell you what I’m wishing for, it may not come true.”
He gave up and handed his partner a penny. “Here, will this do?”
Johnny closed his eyes and tossed the penny into the fountain. Roy watched as it bounced off the North Pole and plopped down along one of the small boats.
“Are you happy now?”
“Yep, let’s go. We need to get back.”
Roy gave his partner a blank stare before following him out to the squad. “Sometimes I think I have three kids.”
Johnny just smiled and pretended not to hear the comment.
The next call the station received was a little more eventful. A man had decided to string lights on his house as a Christmas present to his girlfriend and had gotten stuck in one of the rain gutters.
Marco positioned the ladder against the house, and Roy and Johnny quickly climbed up to assist the embarrassed man.
“Sir, are you hurt?” asked Johnny.
“No, just get me down from here, please. My girlfriend will be here any minute and she’s going to think I’m some kind of idiot for getting stuck up
Roy worked to calm the man. “Okay, we’ll have you down shortly. What’s your name?”
“It’s Bill. My name is Bill.”
Johnny positioned himself on the ledge of the house in order to get leverage on the man’s leg.
“Careful, Johnny. Do you think you can get him loose from there?” asked Roy.
“Yeah, looks like I may be able to cut him free. His pants leg is wrapped up on the end of the gutter. Hand me a pair of scissors.”
Roy did as instructed and Johnny slowly worked to free the young man. Just as he was cutting the last strand that was attached to the gutter, the man
screamed and jumped up. “Oh no! Here she comes!” he yelled.
The man’s action startled Johnny and he lost his footing on the roof. Roy watched helplessly as he partner slipped and fell to the ground below.
Roy helped the man down from the roof while Marco and Chet hurried to assist the fallen paramedic.
The man was grief stricken as his girlfriend ran over to the side of the house and watched him climb down the ladder. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean
to startle your friend,” he said.
The man’s girlfriend stared at him. “What’s going on here?”
Roy ignored her question and assessed that the man had no injuries. “I’m fine sir,” said Bill. “Go and help your friend.”
DeSoto ran to assist Chet who had already relayed Johnny’s vitals to Rampart.
“Johnny? Johnny can you hear me?” asked Roy.
Johnny was slow to respond but he gradually blinked his eyes open and then looked up at his partner. “Oh man, what a fall. How does Santa manage to go down that chimney, Roy?”
“Shhh…take it easy, Johnny. Let me check you out.”
Chet couldn’t contain himself. “Did he say Santa? Man, you’d better check out that head of his.”
Once he started talking, Roy had a hard time getting Johnny to stay quiet. “ Now I won’t get my one wish. I really wanted that one wish, Roy. I
really wanted it.”
DeSoto decided to humor his friend. “Johnny, it’s only Christmas Eve. You may still get your wish. Just take it easy and relax.”
“No, I’m going to be in the hospital now. I can’t get my wish.”
Roy tried to keep his partner’s spirits up while they waited on the ambulance to take them to Rampart. He was sure his partner had broken his arm in the fall but he couldn’t find any other sign of injury. “Why don’t you tell me what the wish is and I’ll see what I can do to make it come true.”
“No, I can’t. It’s a secret.” Johnny closed his eyes.
“Johnny? Johnny can you hear me?” Roy grew concerned and quickly checked his partner’s pupils. “What’s going on with you, Johnny?”
Once the ambulance came, Roy loaded his partner into the back and jumped in beside him.
“I’ll take the squad in and meet you there,” yelled Chet. “Is he going to be okay?”
“Yeah, I think so,” Roy wasn’t very convincing. “I’ll see ya at Rampart.”
Johnny was taken to treatment room two. Dr. Brackett asked Roy to step outside while he and an intern checked out his partner.
Roy strolled over to the nurse’s station to see if Dixie was on duty. “Hey Dix, I see you have Christmas duty too.”
Dixie smiled. “Hey there. Yeah, Dr. Brackett and I decided to work and let the doctors with young kids have off for the holiday. We’ll be here
through tomorrow. It’s going to be a long night.”
“Tell me about it,” replied Roy. “I just brought Johnny in.”
“Johnny? Gee, I step away to steal some eggnog from the nurse’s lounge and I miss all the action around here. What happened?”
“He fell off a roof. It looks like his arm is broken. He lost consciousness just before the ambulance arrived so I’m a bit worried.”
Dixie placed her hand on Roy’s arm. “I’m sure he’ll be fine. Think positive.”
Roy tried to smile. “Yeah, you’re probably right. I just don’t know why Dr. Brackett made me leave the treatment room.”
“Oh, he’s working with a new intern. We’ve had a few issues with him so Brackett is doing some intensive one to one training with him. It’s okay. I
’m sure he’ll let you know something shortly.”
Roy wasn’t sure how her comment about the intern made him feel, but he walked over to the waiting room and sat down. Chet caught up with him and joined in on the wait.
“Did the doc say anything about how Johnny’s doing?” asked Chet.
“Nope, not yet. He was still unconscious when we got here but there hasn’t been any news since.”
Thirty minutes passed before Dr. Brackett came out of the treatment room with the intern. Roy quickly got up from his seat and met him half way.
“He’s going to be fine, Roy. His arm isn't broken. It's just a sprained wrist.. There are no other injuries but he does have a slight concussion so I want to keep him overnight for observation.”
Roy sighed. “He’s not going to like that.”
“Tell me about it. He already started complaining about not getting some Christmas wish. Any idea what that’s about?”
“Yeah, sort of,” replied Roy. “He made a wish at the fountain in the mall and he won’t tell me what he wished for. He’s worse than my kids.”
“Well, you can see him once he’s in a room.”
Roy felt relieved. “Okay, I’ll be back later to check on him. Chet and I need to get back to the station.”
DeSoto wasn’t able to see Johnny that evening. He and his temporary partner stayed busy. As soon as they would transport one patient to the hospital, they were out on another run. Roy did manage to call Johnny and check up on him. Gage instructed his partner to retrieve several presents from his Land Rover. He had planned to give them to Roy at the end of their shift. Roy did as asked and made it home just in time to watch his kids get out of bed and discover their presents from Santa.
Roy’s wife Joanne was delighted that her husband had made it home on time but was concerned about Johnny. “Poor Johnny. What a way to spend
Christmas. I’m sure he’s not having much fun in the hospital.”
“You never know with Johnny,” replied Roy. “He may already have a few new nurse friends.”
Joanne laughed. “Still, I’m sure it’s not the Christmas he planned on.”
“Well, he said he was going to spend it with some friend that I’ve never heard of. I think he said his name was Rob Burger. Have you ever heard
Johnny talk about someone by that name?”
Tears welled up in Joanne’s eyes. “Oh Roy, let’s go up to the hospital.”
“What’s the matter?”
“Would you be mad if I didn’t say? Come on. Where is that little artificial tree that Chris use to keep in his room?”
Roy trusted his wife and didn’t question her further. He found the tree and while Joanne decorated it, the kids made cards and slipped Christmas cookies in a bag for Johnny. The family made it to the hospital just in time for the start of visiting hours.
Joanne asked her husband if she could go in and talk to Johnny first. Roy waited in the hall with their kids.
As she peeked into the room Johnny’s eyes lit up. “Joanne! Hey, Merry Christmas!”
“Merry Christmas! How are you feeling?”
“Oh, I’m better now that you’re here. Where’s Roy?”
Joanne sat down on the side of the bed. “He’s out in the hall with the kids. I asked him to let me speak to you first.”
“Oh, sounds serious,” replied Johnny. “Is everything okay?”
“I don’t know. You tell me. Why were you planning on spending Christmas at the cemetery?”
Johnny closed his eyes and laid his head back on the pillow. “Oh, that. Roy mentioned Rob, huh?”
“Yeah, he did. I guess you still haven’t told him about that.”
“No, but someday I will. When the time is right.”
Joanne decided not to press further. “Okay, well, it’s Christmas so we’re here to bring cheer not doom and gloom.”
She got up and opened the door to Johnny’s room. “Come on in.”
Johnny was delighted with the tree and all the trimmings that his friends brought to him. The laughter from the room grew so loud that the nurses had
to stop in several times to ask them to quiet down. But, it was Christmas and Johnny and Roy couldn’t help but make the best of the time they shared.
“Johnny, are you ever going to tell me if your one wish came true?” asked Roy.
Before Johnny could answer, Roy’s children chimed in. “Mine did Daddy, mine did!”
Roy laughed. “Well, I’m glad my money went to good use.”
Johnny reached out and shook his friend’s hand. “Mine did too. I told you I only needed one wish.”
Roy finally understood. He knew that Johnny’s one wish was to share Christmas with him and his family. This would be the first of many more to
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*There will be a 'sequel' that follows this story and it'll be titled 'Forgotten Friends'. It'll address the conversation between Johnny and Joanne.
Stories by Mychand Christmas Stories