Disclaimer: The idea of biorhythms is just borrowed for a chance to have fun with the guys. :o)
Out Of Rhythm
By Audrey W.
Roy looked across the table at his partner, John Gage, whose attention was focused on the newspaper in front of him. The expression on Gage’s face was one of dismay.
“What’s wrong?” Or do I really want to know?
“Biorhythms.” Johnny stared disbelievingly at the senior paramedic. “Don’t tell me you don’t know what biorhythms are. . .”
“I’m sure I’m gonna regret admitting this, but, no, I don’t.”
“Roy! How can you not know? Everyone checks their biorhythms these days.”
DeSoto shrugged. “I didn’t know. I guess I’ve been a little busy with Joanne and the kids to keep up on the latest fad. Married life tends to do that.”
Gage screwed up his face. “It’s not a single guy thing, Roy. It’s not just for singles at all. Everyone’s using it. Lawyers, doctors, football players. . .” he leaned forward and flipped to the sports section of the paper. “They’ve got a whole football team’s biorhythms listed here for the game this weekend. Ev--er--ry pla--yer,” he said, tapping the paper with his right index finger to emphasize each syllable.
“Well, apparently, not everyone is using them or I would be,” Roy replied, growing frustrated. “Anyway, you gonna tell me what it’s all about or leave me guessing?”
“Oh! Right!” Gage pulled a pen out of his pocket and began to write down numbers as he explained the theory. “First you figure out how many days you’ve been alive, so you multiply 365 with how old you are. Now, you’ve gotta be sure and add in days for leap years. . .then you have three categories, intellectual, emotional and physical. Now, not all of these are at the same place all the time. Sometimes one can be good and the other critical.” Johnny paused, then continued. “Critical is when the graph shows a low.”
“A graph? I’ve gotta follow a graph on this?”
“Well, yeah. . .that way you know where you’re at on the charts.”
“I don’t think--”
“Just give it a chance, Roy. Alls you gotta do is divide the number of days you’ve been alive by 23 to figure your physical number, by 28 for the emotional and 33 for the intellectual.”
“How do you know what numbers to divide by?”
“Because those are the same for everyone. That’s how long each cycle is,” Gage explained, irritation in his voice.
“Horoscopes seem a lot easier to keep track of.”
“Just listen a minute. I figured mine out for today and all three of mine are critical, which means it’s gonna be a tough shift.”
“Maybe if you drop the defeatist attitude, it’ll be okay.”
“Haven’t you been paying attention, Roy? It’s out of my hands. It’s all up to the biorhythms now.”
Roy shook his head as he watched his partner get up from the table and walk out the door of the dayroom. A sudden yell from the apparatus bay had the blond paramedic up and trotting out of the room towards the sound. He came upon Johnny sitting on the floor behind the squad. Chet and Marco were running towards them from the rear of the bay.
Johnny shot a disparaging expression up at Roy. “Whataya’ think? It’s my bio--”
“No, how’d you end up down there?”
“A small puddle of water on the floor. And I had to find it the hard way.”
Marco gave a sheepish grin. “Sorry, Johnny. I guess that’s from when I was mopping in here earlier. I must have missed a spot where I sloshed some on the floor.”
Gage slowly got to his feet, wincing slightly at the discomfort of having a damp feel to the seat of his pants and a sore bottom.
“It’s okay, Marco. It’s not your fault.’ He started for the locker room. “Guess I’d better change into a dry pair of pants.”
The three men watched as the dark-haired paramedic hobbled awkwardly across the bay.
“What’s his problem? He seems kind of mellow.”
Roy gave Chet a double take. “Mellow? Believe me, he’s anything but mellow today.”
“But he didn’t even get on a rant about the water on the floor or falling.”
“That’s because he was expecting something to happen. His biorhythms are all in critical condition, or something like that,” Roy said, shrugging. He headed towards the locker room to make sure his partner was as okay as he acted.
“His bio what?” Kelly wondered. His only answer from Roy was DeSoto’s retreating back.
“His biorhythms.” Marco went on to explain the entire formula and when he was done, left a dumbfounded Chet standing alone at the rear of the squad.
The curly haired fireman put his arms out. “Am I the only one who doesn’t know about this biorhythms stuff?”
Having been toned out on a difficult breathing call, the paramedics arrived at the scene, which turned out to be a beauty parlor. A young woman sat on the sidewalk in front of the business, one side of her hair just below her ears, the other side down below her shoulders. Another woman was squatting down beside the girl, and a couple of onlookers stood off to the side.
The paramedics opened the squad compartments to get their equipment as the one lady stood up and rushed over to them.
“Please hurry! Karen can’t breathe!”
“Is she having an asthma attack?” Johnny asked as he turned, the oxygen and biophone in his hands.
“I don’t think so. We don’t know what it is. Maybe the chemicals we use got to her. . .? That’s why I brought her out here,” the woman explained, stepping over to the victim with the paramedics. “I had to bring her out in the middle of her haircut.”
Roy set up the biophone and contacted Rampart, while Johnny knelt down beside the patient and started her on oxygen.
“Do you have asthma, Karen?” the younger man asked, trying to ignore the uneven hairstyle.
The woman shook her head, then lifted the oxygen mask slightly off her face. “I . . .I. . .don’t. . . know. . .what’s. . .wrong.”
Johnny took the mask in his hand and placed it gently over her nose and mouth again. “Keep that on. Just nod yes or no.”
As Roy gave the vitals and what information they had to Rampart, Johnny continued.
“Karen, do you have any allergies?”
Again, she shook her head.
“She was okay until Missy started to do a perm on Mrs. Barton. Then it was like all of a sudden Karen couldn’t breathe. She mumbled something about biorhythms, then bent over gasping for air. ”
“Biorhythms?” Johnny wondered.
Roy looked from Karen, to his partner and to the victim again. Obviously, Johnny wasn’t the only nut where this biorhythm stuff was concerned.
Karen lifted the oxygen mask again. “I’m. . .I’m critical. . .on. . .all three. Noth. . .nothing’s . . .gone . . .right . . .to. . .day.”
“I know what you mean,” Gage said, placing the mask on her once again. “If you’re gonna have a reaction to any chemicals, it would be today.”
Karen nodded in agreement, this time opting to leave her reply at that.
Once the patient was ready to transport, she was placed in a waiting ambulance. Johnny climbed inside and sat on the end of the bench.
“See you at Rampart.” DeSoto reluctantly closed the doors and gave them two slaps, not sure two people who believed that their critical biorhythms controlled their lives should be in the back of an ambulance together. That’s all I needed. More fuel to feed his obsession with this biorhythm stuff.
Johnny came out of Treatment Room Three and met up with Roy at Dixie’s desk. DeSoto glanced over as his partner approached.
“How’s she doing?”
“Better. Brackett thinks it was the fumes from the chemicals in the beauty parlor that got to her. She’ll be okay. Right now, she’s more worried about her uneven hair than anything else.” He said with a smile. Walking behind the counter, Gage poured himself a cup of coffee.
“You sure you want to drink that?”
Roy grinned as the younger man gave the head nurse a puzzled look.
“Why? What’s wrong with it?”
“Nothing,” she casually replied. “But Roy here tells me your biorhythms are all at a critical stage. I would think you’d avoid hot beverages right now. You’re liable to burn your mouth.”
Johnny set the cup down on the counter. “You pay attention to biorhythms, too?”
“Oh sure! I check them every few days. And they’re usually pretty accurate.”
“I know. Well, I’ve only been following mine for a couple of weeks. But they’ve been right on the money so far.”
Roy stepped away from the desk, the HT in his hands. “Ready to go?”
As the two turned to leave, both men noticed Dixie reach for the cup of coffee Johnny had set down. She gave them a sly grin in return, innocence in her eyes.
“My biorhythms are okay. I don’t have anything to worry about.”
Roy started forward again, but Johnny stopped him, grabbing his arm. “Just a minute.” He looked over at the nurse. “So is it too hot? The coffee?”
She shook her head.
“But it would’ve been if I’dve drank it. It’s only because your biorhythms are up, that it’s not for you.”
Dixie motioned toward the younger man with her pen. “Right.” She wasn’t about to argue with Gage’s reasoning. With his intellect being in the critical, he couldn't be thinking very clearly.
DeSoto just shook his head and started walking away. “C’mon, Sherlock.”
Roy drove the squad as he and Johnny headed back to the station. Glancing over at his partner, he shrugged. “Don’t you think you’d be a whole lot better off if you just forgot about the biorhythms thing and went about business as usual?”
“Are you kiddin’ me?” Came an incredulous reply, as the other turned in his seat. “Roy, disaster looms around every corner when biorhythms are critical. Especially when all three are! A guy can’t be too careful, you know.”
His left hand on the steering wheel, the senior paramedic waved his other hand for emphasis. “It just seems like you were doing fine until you got into this new fad.”
“Fine? Oh no.” Gage shook his head. “I’ll bet my biorhythms were critical the day I played with that monkey. . .Cokie. And when that snake bit me or my regulator broke. And the night I got hit by that car.”
“Okay, okay. I get your point. Although you don’t know those things didn’t happen on good days.”
“How can you possibly call any of those times a ‘good day’?”
“Never mind.” Roy was relieved that once he dropped the subject, Johnny did as well.
After lunch, it was Johnny’s turn to wash dishes. With Chet assigned to help dry, the chore seemed simple enough.
Kelly looked sharply at Gage, as the paramedic pulled his right hand out of the water and stuck the top half of his index finger in his mouth.
“I shliced i inger on a ife,” he replied, his finger still in his mouth.
Johnny pulled it out and held it up to see if any blood was present. Sure enough, the crimson red fluid began to trickle down the side. “I said, I sliced my finger on a knife. . . the one we used on the ham. Shit!”
Seeing the blood, Chet grabbed for Gage’s finger, but the paramedic pulled it away.
“C’mon, let me take a look.”
“Okay? You’re bleeding, John. Now, how bad is it?”
“Not bad, it just stings.”
“You gonna need stitches?”
Johnny was wiping the blood off on a paper napkin. He shook his head. “I think just a Band-Aid.”
“Get the first aid kit!” Chet yelled as Roy walked into the room. “Johnny cut himself.”
“I just need a Band-Aid, Roy.”
“And some iodine,” Chet added.
Gage glared at him in return.
Roy was back within a minute with the first aid kit. Opening it up, he got out the necessary supplies and proceeded to take the blood stained paper napkin from his partner’s finger. “I don’t know. It looks kind of deep.”
“Roy, just put the Band-Aid on. It’ll be okay.”
Johnny got out of the squad as Roy turned off the ignition. Chet was the first to greet the paramedic.
“How many stitches did it take?”
Roy came up beside the men, as Kelly carried on with the conversation.
“I suppose you’re gonna blame this on your biowhatevers.”
“Biorhythms, Chet. And what would you blame it on?” He could tell by the smirk on the fireman’s face that a smart remark was coming. “On second thought, don’t tell me. I’d rather not know.”
“Some days you’re just no fun, Gage.”
“Yeah? Well fun at my expense isn’t my idea of fun.”
Having stayed silent, Roy figured he was safe from getting involved in the conversation. But he found out otherwise when Johnny stared at him and said, “And don’t you go saying anything. I know why things are going like they are,” he said, pointing gently at his own chest with his bandaged finger, “and there isn’t anyone whose gonna convince me otherwise.”
Roy and Chet watched as Johnny walked towards the dayroom.
“He’s gone off the deep end this time, Roy. I think Gage has finally lost it.”
Roy sighed and shook his head. “I’m not saying a word. I’m just biding my time till we get done with this shift.”
Later in the evening, the station was toned out to an unknown rescue at a local bar. As the two trucks pulled up to the scene, they could hear shouting from inside. Two police squad cars were parked in front of the beige stucco building.
“At least the cops are here,” Hank said, his men gathering around him. “Hopefully they’ve got everything almost under control.”
The crew entered the bar and paused briefly while their eyes adjusted to the haziness and dim lights inside. Vince was waving them over to a spot near the center rear of the building.
John, Roy, you two come with me. The rest of you sit tight right here until we know what we’ve got.”
“Right, Cap,” Chet answered for the others.
DeSoto and Gage followed behind Captain Stanley, making their way past onlookers. What ever the yelling had been about, it had stopped as the firemen stepped into the building. The patrons had gone back to playing billiards, drunken conversation and more drinking, but stopped the activity as the captain and paramedics walked by.
Once they reached the rear of the bar, the three rescuers saw Vince had two men standing beside him. One victim had a nose bleed, the other a split lip. Both men looked somewhat bruised and battered. The other officer was nearby, talking to another bar patron who looked to just have someone else’s blood on the front and right sleeve of his shirt.
“What’ve we got, Vince?” Stanley asked, already able to guess the answer.
“These three got into it, kind of roughed each other up a bit. And with the pounding two of them have taken, we thought they’d better get checked out good.”
Hank nodded. “Okay. . .” He motioned for his paramedics to step in.
“I’ll take him,” Johnny said, pointing towards the split lip victim.
Roy agreed and began checking his patient over. As Johnny had his charge take a few steps over from the others, another fight broke out at a pool table. Fists were flying and swearing could be heard above the sudden cheers of “Get ‘em!” and “Fight, fight!” Vince and the other police officer ran over to try to break up the fight and calm the crowd down.
Chet, Marco and Mike hurried through the now unruly crowded room to assist in gaining control of the bar patrons. Marco grabbed one man by the arm, stopping him from throwing a punch at another. Mike joined in when he saw the Hispanic fireman had his hands full and could end up another victim in need of a paramedic. The two subdued the man, both breathing hard from the effort.
Johnny could tell by the sounds that the fighting was getting closer to them as he checked out his patient. He turned to glance around and was suddenly hit in the left eye with a solid fist. He staggered from the force of the blow, bringing a hand to his eye.
“Hey! Over here!” The man with the split lip called out, waving his hands in the air to get anyone’s attention.
Johnny leaned against a nearby pool table, still covering his injured eye with his left hand. “Oh man,” he groaned.
“What’s goin’ on here?” Chet asked as he hurried over, noticing Johnny was no longer taking care of his patient. “What’dya do to ‘im?” He asked the man as he stepped closer to the paramedic.
“He didn't do anything, Chet," Johnny grumbled indignantly. He hadn't taken his hand away from his stinging eye. "I caught a wayward punch."
“Are you okay?”
“Huh? Oh. . .yeah. . .yeah. I’m alright.”
Ignoring the fighting still going on in the bar, Kelly reached out to move Johnny’s hand away. “Le’ me see it.”
“Chet, I’m o--” Gage was suddenly jostled by a man who was roughly shoved at the pool table and into the paramedic’s right shoulder. Johnny gave a disgusted look while his shiftmate took the matter into his hands.
“Hey, knock it off!” The fireman ordered.
Knowing he still had a victim to tend to, Johnny stood up from the table edge and turned to take a step towards his patient. A wave of dizziness washed over him and he reached back with his free hand for stability. Suddenly the voice of Captain Stanley filled his ears.
“John, you okay, pal?”
“He got punched in the eye, Cap!” Kelly explained. He was just bringing his attention back to the injured men after the two patrons involved in the fistfight took their battle farther away.
“I’m okay, Cap,” Johnny assured. “I need to finish with him,” he said, pointing at the man with the split lip. He pulled his hand away from his eye and noticed the others wince.
Chet gave a low whistle. “Man, the guy really did a number on you.”
Stanley nodded in agreement as he looked closer at the inflamed and watery eye.
The dark-haired paramedic sighed. He should’ve known something like this would happen. Considering the way his day had been going, it was inevitable. Despite feeling somewhat woozy from the blow to his face, Johnny managed to finish with the split lip victim. He didn’t want to tell anyone else just yet, but had to admit to himself that he wasn’t all that okay. Not only did his eye hurt, and his vision become worse as the swelling and tears in it increased, but he was still a bit dazed.
Johnny sat on the exam table in Treatment Room Four. His eye was nearly swollen shut and the area around it was starting to change colors. Roy stood back, his arms folded across his chest as he watched Morton examine his partner’s injury. Since no one at the bar had needed an ambulance, the senior paramedic had driven the dark-haired man to Rampart in the squad.
“Sorry, Gage, but I need to be able to tell just what the damage is.”
The indignant patient frowned. “Yeah, I know. It’s tender, that’s for sure.” He wiped at a tear that pooled from the corner of his eye. “Wish it would quit watering.”
“That must’ve been one helluva’ hit you took. You’re lucky none of the socket was broken.”
“Tell me about it.”
Roy glanced at his watch as he stepped over near the exam table. “Your replacement should be at the station soon, so I’d better be getting back.” He looked at Morton. “I can give Johnny a lift to get his Land Rover if it’s okay for him to leave now.”
Gage continued to frown. He didn’t like being pulled off duty for something as simple as a black eye. But he knew that the injury would hamper him on the job for the time being, and the headache that it caused wasn’t helping.
“You still feeling dizzy?” Mike asked.
“Not really. It only lasted for about the first twenty minutes or so. I’m okay.”
The doctor nodded. “I’m releasing you since you seem to be all right aside from the swelling and bruising. Don’t be surprised if it’s swollen completely shut by morning.”
“C’mon, Junior, let’s go.”
Johnny slid down off the exam table and followed Roy to the door. “See ya, Doc.”
“Be sure and put an ice pack on it,” Morton reminded. “It’ll help.”
“Yeah . . . I will.”
The two paramedics left the room and headed directly for the exit. Johnny was hoping they could make an escape without being seen by any of the young nurses on duty. Instead, the men ran into Kel Brackett and Dixie.
“What happened to you?” The doctor asked, wincing at Johnny’s injured eye.
“Let me guess,” Dixie put in. “Biorhythms again?”
The younger paramedic nodded. “It had to happen. But I guess since I’m officially off
duty now, nothing else can go wrong.”
“Oh, I wouldn’t say that,” Roy said. “You haven’t driven home yet.”
“Hey! Whose side are you on?”
“Yours. I’m just stating a fact. You still have to get home before you can declare victory. And even then . . .”
“Roy!” Gage whined.
“You’re the one who’s so sure everything’s gonna go wrong no matter what.”
“Well. . .yeah. . .that’s because it is. But that doesn’t mean you hafta’ remind me.”
Roy shrugged at the doctor and nurse, then followed behind his ill-tempered partner.
“Johnny, it was just a joke!”
After watching the paramedics disappear around a corner, Brackett folded his arms across his chest and smiled. “You know, Dix. Some days I’d swear those two were brothers.”
The head nurse nodded. “I know what you mean.”
Once back at the station, Johnny and Roy climbed out of the squad. Captain Stanley came from his office to greet the paramedics.
“Roy, your new partner for the shift is in the dayroom. Bellingham.”
“Better him than Brice.”
Johnny snorted, bringing his captain’s attention to him.
“You gonna be okay to drive yourself home? I could always keep the squad stood down a little longer if you want Roy to drive you home.”
Remembering his own comment to his partner, DeSoto agreed. “Yeah, you know, it might not be such a bad idea. I mean, you are going to be driving with just one good eye. And with the way this day’s been going. . .”
Johnny shook his head. “Nah, I’ll be okay. I can see good enough.”
“You sure?” The captain sounded doubtful, which made the stubborn paramedic all the more determined.
“Yeah, Cap, I’ll be fine,” Gage replied casually.
Roy and Hank watched the younger man head for the locker room to get his keys and a few belongings.
“You think he’s really okay to drive?” The captain asked.
The senior paramedic nodded. “Yeah, he’ll be alright.” A nagging voice in the back of his mind had him trying to reassure himself. After all, according to Johnny's biorhythms, he wasn't exactly at his highest level of common sense.
Johnny smiled as he turned onto the street his apartment building was on. I knew I could make it okay. Despite his thoughts, he breathed a sigh of relief. Only three more blocks to go.
As he drove into the next intersection, he was caught off guard by a VW bus running a red light. The sound of metal crunching filled his ears as the bus impacted on the driver’s side of his Land Rover. When both vehicles came to rest, Johnny leaned his head back and closed his one open eye.
Oh crap! I shoulda listened to Cap and Roy.
The following morning, Roy stopped up in Room 204 at Rampart to pay a visit to Johnny. As he walked into the room, the younger man gave a slight wave.
“How’re you feelin’?”
“Like I’m lucky to be alive.”
Roy studied his friend’s casted left arm. Between that and the eye that was very discolored and swollen shut, one would think Gage had just been in the middle of a major fight and lost. But having gotten word on his partner, DeSoto knew that Johnny suffered the other injury and abdominal bruising in a car accident on his way home from the station.
“Well, if it’s any consolation, your Land Rover looks better than you do. . . sort of. Actually, I think it’s a toss up.”
Johnny just groaned at the comment.
Roy shifted on his feet. “Look, I’m sorry I made fun of your theory yesterday. Maybe you were ri--”
“Oh, hey,” Johnny said, waving off the comment with his good arm. “It’s no big deal.”
“But look at you. You’re a mess!”
“Yeah, but you know, Roy. I’m not so sure this biorhythms thing is a good idea. I mean, basing your life on a bunch of numbers. . .well. . .it seems kind of silly. And just ‘cause a number says it’s gonna be a rough day can make a person set themselves up for it to go that way.” He snorted. “So, of course it’s gonna be right. Nope, I was better off without it.”
“Where’ve I heard that before?” Roy sarcastically asked, remembering his own words to his partner earlier. In truth, he couldn’t believe that once again, just as he’d gotten ready to accept it, Johnny was dumping an idea again. Why does he do this every time?
DeSoto was about to say something else when he heard the door open behind him. He turned and was surprised to see Karen peeking into the room, her hair now even on both sides. She looked very attractive with the finished cut and fresh makeup.
“Am I interrupting anything?”
“No, c’mon in,” Johnny said. “Roy was just gettin’ ready to leave.”
I was? Noticing the familiar expression of ‘lost in love’ on Johnny’s face as he gazed at the young woman, Roy could see it was indeed time for him to go. “Yes, I was. . .I’ve got to be getting home.”
As he started for the door, Roy glanced over his shoulder, eyeing the couple. Karen was pulling a chair over near the bed.
“I’m so glad I didn’t hit you any harder in the accident,” the woman said.
Figures, Roy thought.
“Maybe since you didn’t get seriously hurt and I didn’t get hurt at all, it means we’re on the upswing now.”
His injuries and damaged truck momentarily off his mind, Johnny flashed a slight crooked grin. “Could be. If so, I’m glad we’re in the swing together.”
Roy rolled his eyes and shook his head. With lines like that, he’d better keep reading his biorhythms. He’s gonna need all the help he can get. He started to walk out when he heard Karen ask, “Do you ever read your horoscope?”
The blond man paused as he heard Johnny’s intrigued reply.
“Horoscope? Why? Are they pretty accurate?”
“Oh, are they ever . . . I was reading yesterday’s and you wouldn't believe . . .”
As Karen carried on, Roy resisted the urge to nip the conversation in the bud. Instead he opted to get out of the place as fast as he could. He just hoped that by the time Johnny came back to work, the younger man would be over his next obsession.
Thanks to Jill H. and Kenda for the beta read! Also, thanks to my brother David for the reminder of when a radio station in Denver CO would give each of the Bronco’s biorhythm readings over the air on game day. :o)