- An addition to the episode ‘Frequency’-
By Audrey W.
The morning after his friend Drew Burke had died, John Gage headed straight for home as soon as he and his shiftmates were released from duty. It had been a tough shift for the paramedic to get through after the tragedy, though his partner Roy DeSoto, Captain Stanley and the other crew members had been very supportive, giving him time alone when he seemed to need it. Johnny struggled with his emotions inwardly as visions of Drew’s bloodied face and the green sheet being pulled up over his head as Doctor Brackett exited the operating room played over and over in his mind. The fact that the transmission from the scene of the accident to Rampart had been delayed due to radio traffic still haunted him as well.
Captain Stanley offered Johnny a chance to take the remainder of the shift off when he and Roy returned to the station after getting the bad news while still at the hospital. But the dark-haired paramedic declined, figuring staying busy was better. Reflecting back, he wasn’t so sure it had been such a wise decision. Anger over Drew’s death had turned to a sorrow so heavy, he’d felt like he wasn’t performing his job at the high level he usually did, but rather just going through the motions to get by.
As he drove down the street, Johnny recalled the conversation he had with his partner just moments before they parted after their current duty was over.
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“You can come over for breakfast if you want,” Roy said with a hopeful tone. “I’m sure Joanne wouldn’t mind an extra mouth to feed.”
“Thanks, but I don’t think I’m very hungry right now; maybe another time.”
“Sure,” he shrugged, apparently realizing there wasn’t much else he could say. “Anytime.”
Gage sighed. “Well, I’ll see ya the day after tomorrow.”
“Right.” There was a moment of silence as the dark-haired paramedic walked toward his Land Rover. Then his name being called out stopped him in his tracks. “Johnny!”
The younger man looked over his left shoulder and waited.
“I’m sorry we couldn’t have done more to help him. Just remember, we did all we could.”
Johnny nodded and continued on to his vehicle. As he drove from the lot, Gage glanced in his rearview mirror and saw Roy watching as he left, a look of sorrow and concern on his face.
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Man, it’s gotta be rough to see someone’s wife and kid so devastated by something like that when a guy’s got a family of his own. . .
Thoughts of Roy faded as they led to Drew; of his referring to Johnny as the county’s best paramedic and asking that a ‘farewell’ message be given to his wife Pam; of earlier times when they would get together just to visit, the paramedic often going to the Burkes’ home for dinner. Johnny was so lost in the memories, that his driving became strictly force of habit. By the time he arrived at his apartment complex, he couldn’t even recall the trip home.
He parked the Land Rover in the assigned spot, then slowly trudged up the steps to his second floor apartment. He was about to go inside after opening the door, but sounds of occasional horns honking and traffic whizzing by on the busy nearby street caught his attention. People were going about their plans or routines, completely unaware of what had happened the day before. It almost seemed like it was unfair to Drew that life would continue on without him.
You know better than that, Johnny thought to himself. Still, one of LA County’s finest police officers had been struck down at all too young of an age, and these strangers passing by in their cars should have to know. He couldn’t say why he felt that way; it wasn’t going to change anything if they did.
His eyes watery and red-rimmed, Johnny looked down at the concrete walkway under his feet and let out a sigh. You were a good cop, Drew. . . and a very good friend.
Johnny plopped down on his couch in his livingroom and leaned forward, his forearms resting on his knees and his hands clasped together. His empty gaze was fixed on the coffee table in front of him where his keys lay after he tossed them aside. Now that he was alone and in his own home where Drew and Pam had visited a few times in the past, the pain of losing his friend intensified. His gut ached, his eyes once again tearing up.
Drew’s dead. He’s gone. .
“Ah man,” he groaned as he brought up his hands and covered his face, his elbows resting on his knees. What if Brackett’s wrong? What if better communications would have made a difference . . . He slowly looked up, his hands rubbing against his skin with the movement, and rested his chin on his fingers that were now locked together. But how often has he been wrong? Maybe he’s right. Maybe that little bit of time really didn’t matter. The same thoughts had run through his mind many times since Drew had died, never quite convincing him of anything for certain. After a long moment, he sat back as he placed his hands on his lap. It didn’t really matter anymore. The only sure fact was that his friend would no longer be around.
Glancing at his surroundings and wondering what to do next, Johnny’s eyes settled on the telephone on a nearby end table. It was then he remembered that as bad as he felt, there was someone else hurting much more than he ever could.
You know what you need to do.
Knowing what he’d be getting into if his offer to help was accepted, he took a deep breath, then reached over and lifted the receiver. As he dialed, he recalled the difficult call he’d made to the same number the day before. This time it was much easier compared to that.
Johnny listened to the phone on the other end ring four times before a familiar voice sounded through the ear piece. “Hello?”
“Hi, Pam. This is John Gage. . .”
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