Ready For a New Year

By Audrey W.  



John Gage pondered the year that had just ended as he lay in bed having just woken up. It had been a time of ups and downs for the paramedic. Between relationships that just didn’t work out with ladies he was attracted to and injuries on the job that had brought him a few stays in the hospital, he was more than ready for the start of a new year.


It *has* to be better. . .


He sat up and tossed back the covers, swinging his legs over the side of the bed in the process. With a yawn, he ran a hand through his tousled hair then looked at the alarm clock on the nightstand nearby. 


Eight o’clock. . .


His crewmates at Station 51 would just be starting their first shift of 1975 and here he was at home recovering from one of his injuries. One he’d sustained not on the job in a daring rescue, not saving a victim from the flames of a structure fire. No, he’d ended his year being sidelined by a pop can four weeks earlier.


A stupid, lousy can of grape soda.


He looked down at his right foot where the yellowish bruise still remained near the outer edge of it; the last bit of evidence of the fracture from the impact of the full can.


Man that hurt. . .


In fact he couldn’t remember anything he’d ever done to his foot hurting more. He’d stubbed his toes over the years plenty of times and thought that was painful enough, especially when one fractured from the impact. But when the metal can slipped out of his hand and connected hard with the top of his bare foot, the immediate fiery pain nearly brought tears to his eyes. Muttering every swear word he could think of, he’d grasped his foot just hoping the agony would subside.


It didn’t, and the call to his partner Roy and trip to Rampart General Hospital followed.


Man, was that ever a fun one to explain. . .


First to Roy.


“You did what?”


“You’re really gonna make me say it again, aren’t ya?”


And he did.


Then there was Doctor Morton.


When he’d seen the outward results from the injury, he shook his head. 


“You’re telling me with all the dangerous stuff you do on the job; going into burning buildings, rappelling down steep inclines, getting into other precarious situations. . .you did this with a beverage can?”


“That’s what I said. Look, Doc, I feel bad enough as it is. Do ya hafta rub it in?”


“Sorry, it’s just that I’d never have expected you of all people to end up here like this.”


And he’d had to agree; silently.


“Well, let’s get x-ray in here and see exactly how bad of a fracture we’re dealing with.”


The swelling and bruising, along with John’s inability to put weight on it, left no one in doubt the foot was broken.


John sighed as he got to his feet. Soon dressed in grey sweat pants and a white t-shirt, he trodded out of his bedroom and toward the kitchen. If he was going to have the day off, he may as well get started and make the most of it.


At least I should be back on duty with them in a few days. . .


For the past two weeks he’d been assigned a desk job of sorts at headquarters. 


He opened the refrigerator and reached for the milk. As he brought the carton out, the back of his hand bumped against a can of beer. The weighted object toppled off of the wire shelf and sailed into the air. Before he had time to react, John found himself with a deja’vu.


A string of swear words erupted from his mouth as an intense burning sensation shot through his right foot immediately after the can slammed down on it before rolling onto the floor. He once again grasped the injured part in agony as he closed his eyes against the pain.


Dammit. . .ah. . .shit, man it hurts!


He soon found himself on the telephone, again having to explain how something smaller than a breadbox came out the victor. Only this time it was near the inner edge of his foot that suffered.


“Uh. . . Roy. . .you’re not gonna believe this. . .”


And when it came to the doctor in the treatment room, the deja’vu continued.


“What is it this time, Gage?” After a glance at the bruised and swollen foot, he shook his head. “Don’t tell me. . .”


Well, Morton’s bedside manner sure hasn’t gotten any better in the new year, the paramedic thought to himself.







John lay in bed, his casted foot resting on top of the blanket, his other under the covers. He glanced at the alarm clock nearby. It was eight o’clock in the morning on the ninth day of January. His crewmates would be starting their third shift of 1975; without him.


The paramedic sighed. His year had started out just as the other had ended.


If this is any indication as to how 1975 is gonna be. . .


Two minutes later. . .


Is it 1976 yet?




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