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The Perfect Partnership
A Missing Scene from The Wedsworth-Townsend Act
By: Vanessa Sgroi
John Gage drove slowly down the street, keeping an eye open for his destination. Finally, after a couple more minutes, he spied the red brick building on his left. Slowing his white Land Rover, he flipped on his turn signal and waited for two coming cars to pass before making the turn into Station 51’s driveway. Driving around back, he parked and turned off the engine.
Taking a deep breath, the dark-haired man looked around at the other vehicles in the lot. He wondered briefly about their owners. His new shift mates. Johnny rubbed his damp palms on his navy uniform pants.
C’mon, what are you nervous about. They’re just firemen like you.
Six weeks ago, when Roy DeSoto had mentioned the new station and said he might ask Johnny to partner with him, Gage had thought the other man was joking. To his surprise, however, two weeks after paramedic training graduation, he had received a phone call from DeSoto. Johnny had enjoyed his two years at Station 10. It was his first assignment after graduating from the fire academy. But the opportunity to move to Station 51 was too good to pass up. It took four weeks for the transfer to go through, and today was the big day.
Grabbing his uniform jacket off the passenger seat, Gage opened his door and slid out of his vehicle. Shutting the door behind him, he loped toward the back door of the station. When he entered, he found himself in the kitchen area which was currently empty but smelled of fresh-brewed coffee. Sniffing appreciatively, Johnny went in search of the captain’s office.
Finding the door ajar, the paramedic knocked softly.
Clearing his throat, Gage said, “Captain Hammer. Firemen John Gage reporting for duty.”
“Gage. Welcome to Station 51,” Captain Hammer stood and shook his newest crew member’s hand.
“Thank you, Sir.”
“We’re glad to have you. DeSoto seems to think you’ll be a perfect fit for our new A-shift team.”
“I hope so, Sir.”
“No need to be so formal. You can call me Cap.”
“Yes, Sir . . . I mean . . . Cap.”
Captain Hammer smiled at the younger man’s nervousness. “How about I introduce you to the rest of the crew?”
Gage followed his superior to the locker room.
“Gentlemen, may I introduce Firemen-Paramedic John Gage, our newest crew member.”
Four heads nodded in greeting. Johnny smiled back.
“Of course, you know DeSoto.”
“Hey, Johnny, good to see you again. I’m glad you decided to join us.” Roy shook his new partner’s hand.
“Just to his left is Chet Kelly. Then Marco Lopez. And on the far end is our Engineer Mike Stoker.”
Gage greeted each man in turn.
“I’ll leave you guys to get acquainted. Roll call is in fifteen.”
“If you’d like, the locker next to mine is empty,” commented DeSoto.
Nodding, Johnny stepped over the bench and opened the locker in question. He hung his jacket on a hook and made a mental note to grab his spare uniforms out of the truck later in the day.
After a few minutes of chitchat while the others finished dressing, Roy shut his locker door and turned to Johnny.
“Well there, Junior, what say we go get a cup of coffee and then I’ll give you a quick tour of the station. After roll call, I’ll show you the new paramedic equipment on the squad.”
Johnny Gage grinned. Everything was going to be all right. He felt right at home in Station 51, and the rest of the crew seemed friendly and interacted with ease. Even the captain seemed like a decent guy.
“Sounds great to me, partner. Sounds great to me.”
*** The End ***
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