“I can’t believe we’re here again,” John Gage grumbled as his partner Roy DeSoto brought the squad to a stop at the address of their latest rescue. Engineer Mike Stoker stopped Engine 51 a few feet behind their vehicle. The men from Station 51’s A-shift had been dispatched to the same address at least once during each their past three shifts.
“It better be a different cat this time,” Gage continued as he got out of the squad.
“Doubtful since it’s the same place,” Roy reminded him.
Captain Stanley had Chet and Marco grab the ladder off the engine while he, Johnny and Roy headed for the backyard, where they expected to find the same elderly lady with her dark tiger-striped kitten stuck up in the large leafy tree.
“Cap, we’ve gotta tell Wilma her cat needs to be an indoor kitty if she can’t keep it outta the tree,” Johnny suggested.
“This is our third time here within ten days.”
“I know, Roy. And you’re right, John. We can’t be coming out here for the same thing every time we pull a duty.”
The men quieted as they rounded the back corner of the house.
“Oh, I’m so glad you’re here!” Wilma Dobson called out over the sound of mews from above. She was very relieved when she saw the familiar men. “I was so afraid my little girl would fall before you got here.”
Johnny looked up. Sure enough, there was the tiger-striped kitty named ‘Tina’. But that wasn’t all he saw.
“There’s two of ‘em?”
“Did you get another kitten?” the captain asked as he glanced up. That could double their trips out to her house some day.
“Why no, Mr. Stanley. That’s her friend Maya.”
“The cat has a friend,” Johnny mumbled out of the side of his mouth to Roy.
“Everyone can use one.”
“Yeah, well apparently, ‘Maya’ couldn’t be ‘friend’ enough ta keep Tina outta trouble.”
Chet and Marco had come around with the ladder. They leaned it against the tree and Chet looked upwards.
“Two of ‘um?”
“You got another kitten?” Marco wondered. “Madre de Dios, we’ll be out here twice as often,” he mumbled to Chet.
“No, that’s the kitty’s friend,” Johnny explained dryly before Wilma had to again. He squinted up at the other stuck kitten which was black-furred on the back with white on the stomach, legs and lower portion of its face.
“Well, who wants the honors this time?”
Johnny sighed. “I’ll do it, Cap.”
As he started for the ladder, the mews stopped. Everyone looked up to see the kittens slap playfully at one another before Tina chased after Maya, who looked more like a monkey as she skillfully but quickly made her way to another branch.
Chet let out a laugh. “Looks like their having fun up there!”
“Oh dear, I hope they don’t fall.”
“Don’t worry,” the captain assured. “Cats have a way of landing on their feet, but we’ll get them down safely.”
Johnny climbed up amidst the snickers and snorts of the rest of the crew as the kittens continued with their antics. Marco kept a hold of the ladder to steady it.
“Here kitty, kitty.”
Tina and Maya stopped playing to watch the dark-haired paramedic as he climbed up onto one of the large branches below them, remaining close to the trunk where he was sure his weight would be supported.
Johnny looked upward at the two furry girls. “C’mere, Tina,” he called out as he reached for her. The kitten batted playfully at his hand. “All right, that’s enough.” The paramedic placed his thrice thumped hand on her and brought her down to him, his other hand supporting her under the belly as he carefully kept his balance in a squatted position. Johnny then held her close a moment, stroking her back while Roy climbed up to take her from him.
“That’s a girl,” Johnny soothed to the now purring kitten. “You’ll be down on the ground in just a minute, sweetheart. You know, this getting stuck in the tree has to stop. We’ve got people whose lives could be on the line and might really need us.”
“Can you believe that?” Chet asked Marco. “Gage is talking to the kitty like it’s gonna listen to him; like it’s even gonna know what he‘s sayin’.”
Johnny petted Tina a few more times, noting her eyes half close then open again as she flexed her small front claws in the air. She looked so sweet. Between that and the playing earlier, his annoyance with the animals had diminished. He handed her off to Roy, then reached up for Maya. Just like Tina, she came willingly after taking a few playful swats at his hand. Once in his care, she cuddled against his chest. This time Johnny kept a hold of the kitten as he made his way down. She too purred.
After Tina was back in Wilma’s arms, and Maya was over the fence in her own yard, the men were on their way toward their trucks. Johnny glanced over his shoulder and took one more look at Tina as she watched from where she was still held by Wilma.
“You know, if I didn’t know better, I’d swear those kittens like seein’ us come out here. Well, Tina anyway.”
“Us and a few others. We aren’t the only ones who’ve had to respond to a ‘cat stuck in a tree’ call at this address,” Hank Stanley informed him.
But they all had to admit, it turned out to be a not-so-bad run after all. And actually kind of fun.
Three days later, four hours into their next duty, the men from A-shift found themselves back at Wilma’s to rescue a kitty stuck in the tree.
As they headed around to the back of the house, the ladder once again being carried by Chet and Marco, the paramedics and firemen saw the same two kittens up in the tree watching them arrive.
Johnny nudged Roy in the side. “See? Like I said before, if I didn’t know better, I’d swear they look forward to this.”
Little did he know how right he was.
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Note: The picture is from a Hallmark card. No copyright infringement is intended. It just inspired the story. If you like the caption and picture, you can probably find it in a local store in the birthday card section.