This story follows Round One: A Small Victory posted on the Mother’s Day Stories Page of my site and Round Two: Thanksgiving posted on the Thanksgiving Stories Page.
Round Three: Mother’s Day Revisited
By Audrey W.
Johnny plopped a large brown paper bag on the table in front of Roy and stood by grinning, his hands on his hips. DeSoto glanced warily at his partner, then stood partway up to peer inside the sack. After a brief moment, he looked back at Gage.
“Is this for me? What’s the occasion?”
Johnny shook his head, an annoyed expression on his face. “No, Roy. It’s not for you. It’s for your mom.”
“Yeah. For Mother’s Day.”
Johnny stared at Roy a few seconds. “Man, don’t tell me you forgot this Sunday is Mother’s Day!”
“No, I haven’t. I’m just wondering why you’re buying my mom a present for Mother’s Day.”
Roy lifted the item out of the bag and placed it on the table. It was a miniature replica of a bowling lane with ten little plastic pins at one end and a man at the other, poised as if ready to send a ball down the alleyway. Only there was no bowling ball in his hand.
“What is it?” the older paramedic wondered.
“Man, it’s the coolest thing,” Johnny said, excitement in his voice. He pulled out a chair and sat beside his partner. “It’s a bank!”
“Yeah. You just put a coin in his hand that’s pulled back. Like this.” He reached in the bag and took a couple of pennies out that he had dropped in there. With a one cent piece placed in the bowler’s empty hand, Gage pressed a button on the plastic man’s back and the hand shot forward. The penny flew through the air. At the same time, the entire set of ten pins tipped back, revealing a hole underneath. The battery operated bank made a humming noise as it went through the routine. When the action was completed, the penny had gone into the hole, the pins back into place and the bowler’s hand ready for the next coin.
Johnny faced Roy with a satisfied smile. His expression turned to a frown when he saw a blank look on the older man’s face. “What?”
“I don’t know what to say.”
“I’ll bet you didn’t expect something like this, huh?”
“You could say that,” Roy looked at the bank again and shook his head.
“So what did you get Mom. . .er. . .uh. . .Harriet. . .your mom,” Johnny corrected, a sheepish grin on his face, “for Mother’s Day?”
“Joanne ordered my mom a nice flower arrangement to be delivered Sunday morning.”
“Yeah. We get flowers for both our mothers every year.”
“I don’ know, Roy. I’m not sure flowers are such a good idea.”
“Because everyone gets their mom flowers for Mother’s Day. Look around next time you’re out,” Johnny said, motioning with his arms. “Everywhere ya look, it’s ads for flowers. . .in the paper, on billboards. . .heck, I can turn on the TV,” he said, getting up and walking over to the television set. He pressed the power button and a commercial for flower arrangements was on. “I rest my case.”
“Maybe that’s because it’s a proven fact ladies like to get flowers.”
Johnny turned off the TV, then made his way back to the table. He picked up the bank and put it into the brown bag. “Think unique, Roy. Think different. Your mom has got to be tired of getting the same thing.” As the younger man started for the doorway of the room leading into the apparatus bay, he glanced over his shoulder. “A year from now, is your mom gonna remember the flowers or the bank?”
Roy watched as Johnny stepped out of the room. Maybe the younger man had a point. The senior paramedic sat back and chewed his lower lip, wondering if his mom was tired of flowers yet.
After being toned out to a motor vehicle accident and taking one victim to Rampart, Roy waited by Dixie’s desk while Johnny went into a treatment room with the patient. After giving DeSoto a refill of supplies, the head nurse filled out other paperwork while Roy chatted.
“Dix, what do you think of flowers?”
“I think they’re beautiful, but they can do a number on my allergies,” she answered, looking up from her work.
“No, I mean, what do you think of them as a gift for Mother’s Day?”
“Oh. . .well, I see plenty of places you can buy pretty arrangements. And what mother wouldn’t like getting flowers from her son?”
Roy couldn’t believe he was about to ask the next question, but once again his partner had managed to make him give thought to something he normally wouldn’t. “Do you think she would get tired of ‘em if she gets ‘em every year?”
Dixie smiled. Going back to her paperwork, she answered, “I’m sure any mom is going to be happy with whatever she gets. It’s being thought about in the first place that counts.”
“So in other words, she probably is tired of them.”
The nurse once again looked up. “If I didn’t know better, I’d think I was talking to Johnny. What’s up?”
“Nothing. Nothing. . .I was just thinking.”
“Uh huh. . .” she replied, doubt in her voice. “If you say so.” She started to write on the papers in front of her when Roy spoke out again.
“What do you think of someone getting another person’s mom a gift for Mother’s Day?”
Dixie gave Roy her full attention. “I’d say it’s perfectly acceptable. Sometimes someone else’s mom may have done more for a kid than their own has. Or maybe a person’s mother is deceased and the other woman fills that void.”
Roy nodded slightly as the nurse continued. “Why? What is Johnny getting your mom?”
“That obvious, huh?”
She nodded, her pen tip between her teeth. Setting the pen down, Dixie smiled. “Look, Roy, you and Johnny are close friends as well as partners on duty. And didn’t he and your mom hit it off last Mother’s Day?”
“Well, it’s only natural he’s going to want to make this year special. So now that you’ve got my curiosity peaked, what’s he getting her?”
Roy was about to answer when he saw the door to Treatment Room Two open and Gage come out. As the younger man walked over, DeSoto questioned him.
“You were in there long enough. Did the patient take a turn for the worse?”
“Ah, no. Huh uh.”
The two started walking away and Dixie realized she wasn’t going to get her answer.
“We were talkin’ a minute about Mother’s Day gifts,” Johnny explained.
“You buying his mom one, too?”
Gage glared a moment, then shook his head. “No, Roy. I just told him what I told you. He’s gonna have his girlfriend check out the store where I got the bank.”
“I wouldn’t be promoting the bank idea yet if I were you. You don’t know that it’s even gonna go over good.”
The paramedics walked out of the exit and got into the squad.
After calling them in as available, Johnny turned in his seat and faced his partner as Roy turned the key in the ignition and drove away from Rampart.
“When is your mom getting into town?”
“Saturday morning. Joanne and the kids are picking her up since we’re on duty. Why?”
“Just wonderin’.” He paused a moment, then questioned, “We’re all still going bowling this Sunday, aren’t we?”
“Yeah. Mom’s still waiting to beat the socks off Jo’s mother. You know, I have a feeling that if my parents still lived out here instead of moving to be closer to my sister, Mom would make this a regular event anytime Jo’s mother visited.”
Johnny grinned. “Now, see? There’s another thing I was right about. I tell ya, bowling is much better than going to the same ‘ol restaurant or somethin’ year after year.”
Roy glanced over, then shook his head, looking forward again. “Apparently you haven’t heard the saying don’t count your chickens before they hatch.”
The younger man sat with a puzzled expression on his face. DeSoto noticed the look and explained.
“We haven’t seen what’s gonna happen when my mom and mother-in-law go head-to-head at bowling.”
Johnny snorted. “Roy, everyone has fun at the bowling alley. Relax. . .they’ll be fine.” He looked out the passenger window, then to his partner again. “Besides, you’re gonna have me there to help.”
Roy rolled his eyes. That’s reassuring, he thought sarcastically.
When the paramedics returned to the station, the engine crew was back as well. The captain and the rest of their shiftmates were involved in a discussion about what to do for Mother’s Day.
“I want it to be really special, you know?” Marco was saying. “Something Momma will look back on and remember for a long time.”
“What’s up?” Johnny asked as he and Roy came into the dayroom, both heading for the coffee that had just finished brewing.
“We’re trying to help Marco think of a new place to take his mother Sunday,” Hank answered. “You guys know of any nice restaurants he might look into?”
Gage poured a cup of coffee for himself. “I don’t know of any that really stand out, but I have an idea that may work better.” He was about to take a sip of coffee, but Roy took the cup out of his hand. Johnny frowned slightly. Without missing a beat, he poured himself another cup as he continued with his answer. “Does she bowl?”
“Ah, Gage, you’re not still hung up on that, are ya?” Chet groaned. “Something works one time and you never give it up. You’re obsessed.”
“I’m not obsessed,” the dark-haired paramedic defended. “Harriet. . .uh. . .Roy’s mom liked it enough last year. She’s the one who kept reminding Roy we were all gonna do it again this year.”
Roy nodded in answer to Chet’s question. “But she’s got an ulterior motive. She wants to out score Joanne’s mother.”
“Now there’s motivation,” Hank said, grinning. “Sounds like you might have a Mother’s Day brawl as well.”
“Johnny’ll be there,” the senior paramedic explained, smiling at his partner. “He’s volunteered to play mediator if need be.”
The younger man pursed his lips as Kelly could be heard snickering.
“Gage? You’re taking John with ya?” He looked across the table at Lopez. “Maybe you should take your mom to the bowling alley, Marco. Could be some wild entertainment.”
“You know what your problem is, Chet?” Johnny asked curtly.
“No . . . what?”
After a moment with his shiftmates staring at him, waiting for an answer, Johnny shrugged. “I haven’t quite figured it out yet. But when I do, I’ll let you know.”
“Just don’t ask ‘im what to get your mom for a gift,” Roy said under his breath.
Marco smiled wide. “Oh, I’ve already got that part taken care of. I’m getting Momma a beautiful big bouquet of flowers.”
Johnny looked at his partner. “See? I rest my case. . .again. Original, Roy. Think original.”
After having Friday off, the crew of A-shift returned to duty on Saturday morning. With roll call over, the men went about their morning chores, hoping to get them completed before either vehicle was toned out.
Johnny cleaned the oven while Roy swept the dayroom floor. His attention only halfway on his task, Gage stopped in mid scrub and glanced at his partner.
“So, did you talk to Joanne about getting your mom something else besides flowers for Mother’s Day?”
“I was wondering when you were gonna bring that up again.”
“Well? Did ya?”
Roy stopped sweeping and leaned on the broom handle. “As a matter of fact, I did. And we decided that flowers are the safest thing to get.”
“Yeah. Jo explained to me that some women get upset if they get any kind of gift with an electric cord attached to it, as it usually is for some sort of work. If you get them inexpensive jewelry, they won’t ever wear it anywhere. You can’t get them clothes, because if you get the size you think they wear and it’s larger than they actually need, they get their feelings hurt.” He went back to sweeping. “Well, you get the idea. Flowers are safe. You can’t go wrong.”
“Roy, I’m disappointed in you. Where’s your imagination? There’re lots of things you could get that wouldn’t be like any of the things you mentioned.”
Johnny tried to think of a suggestion to offer. But at the moment he was drawing a blank. “I don’ know. But I’m sure there’s gotta be plenty.”
Roy nodded, as he swept the dirt into a dust pan. “Well, when you think of something good. . .and I mean really good. . .let me know.”
“Sure,” the younger man said, going back to his cleaning. “Sure.”
The klaxons sounded, interrupting the paramedics’ chores. The two men trotted out of the room to the squad, and headed out on a call for an unknown type rescue.
Johnny and Roy arrived at the address where a single story ranch style house stood. A woman who looked to be in her seventies was waiting on the porch, a worried expression on her face.
As the two men approached, equipment in hand, she shook her head.
“Oh, I don’t think you boys are going to need all that.”
“Ma’am?” Johnny asked, hoping for some clarification.
“We got a call for an unknown type of rescue here,” Roy filled in. “Is someone sick or injured?”
The woman shook her head. “No, my poor little Lizzie is stuck, but I don’t think she’s hurt.”
“Stuck?” Johnny glanced at Roy. “Uh, can you take us to her. . .Lizzie?”
“Oh, yes, I’m sorry.” The woman led them around to the back yard and pointed at an opening in the wood at the base of the house. The hole was just large enough for a thin adult to fit through. “She’s in there and I can’t get her to come out.”
The paramedics were still puzzled. Roy set the equipment he was carrying down and got on his stomach on the ground. Peering in the hole, he called out for the trapped girl.
The sound of a meow coming from underneath the house surprised the two men. Johnny turned to face the elderly woman.
“Uh. . .”
“Bernice, is. . .uh. . .is Lizzie by chance a cat?”
“Yes. And you see, that’s all she’ll do for me when I call her. I believe she can’t get out.”
“Well, it’s hard to say without going under there with a flashlight,” Roy said, getting to his feet and brushing dirt off his trousers. “I can’t see a thing.”
Johnny stepped closer to his partner. He quietly mumbled, “Roy, we can’t rescue a cat.”
“You want to tell her that?” he asked, pointing to Bernice. The woman was wringing her hands in worry as she stood near the hole and talked to Lizzie.
The younger man sighed. “I’ll get the flashlight. I hope the cat is declawed,” he added as he once again looked at the hole he’d be crawling through.
Bernice hugged her cat, rubbing the animal’s head and back as the paramedics placed their equipment back into the squad compartments. Johnny briefly examined the red marks on his hands and arms where the cat had lashed out at him as he initially tried to get a hold of her. She wasn’t stuck, as her owner had feared. But rather, for whatever reason, had decided to go under the house and hide out for awhile. The scratches stung, but amazingly only a couple drew blood. Gage forced a smile as Bernice came closer.
“I want to thank you boys again. I don’t know what I would’ve done without knowing Lizzie was okay. Now we can spend Mother’s Day together tomorrow and enjoy the beautiful flowers she gives me each year.” She ran a hand down the cat’s back once more. “We’ve been together for twelve years. She may be getting old like me, but she’s still my baby.”
Roy glanced at Johnny to see his reaction at the mention of flowers. Seeing a startled look on the younger man’s face, Roy smiled at Bernice. He surmised she bought the flowers for herself and pretended Lizzie gave them to her. “You’re welcome. I’m glad we. . .my partner could get her out for you.”
Johnny nodded in agreement. Like Roy, he knew the woman only pretended the floral gifts came from her cat, but Gage figured it wouldn’t be long and Roy would run with this latest experience to back up his gift idea.
The two paramedics climbed into the squad and Johnny called them in as available. As he hung up the mic and Roy drove the truck away from the curb, he looked out the window at Bernice. She was watching them leave, a grateful smile on her face. Waving good bye, he heard Roy’s voice behind him.
“So, looks like Lizzie--”
“Don’t say it, Roy. This doesn’t count. Cat’s know nothing about originality.”
The two men exchanged a grin and headed back for the station.
“What happened to you?” Hank Stanley asked when he saw Gage come around the front of the squad, scratches on his arms and hands, evidence of dirt still on his shirt and slacks.
“He had a run in with an aging baby,” Roy explained. He couldn’t hide the grin on his face. “And one with good taste in gifts, I might add.”
Johnny shot an annoyed expression in his partner’s direction, then addressed the captain’s question. “I had to crawl under a house to rescue a cat. And she wasn’t quite willing to come with me at first.”
“Ah, I see. Well, be sure and take care of those scratches. Don’t want you getting any infections.”
“Will do, Cap. Only a couple broke the skin. I think they’ll be all right.”
“You always say that.”
“That you’re all right.” The captain gave a friendly, but stern order. “If you have any doubts that the scratches are okay, say something. I don’t care if it’s just to Roy. Let_someone_know.”
As Hank went into his office, Johnny looked at Roy, his face appearing like he ate a sour candy. “An aging baby with good taste in gifts? That’s the best you could come up with?”
“You want some coffee?” was the only reply.
“Yeah, why not?” Gage followed his partner into the dayroom. “An aging baby with good taste in gifts,” he mumbled to himself, shaking his head.
It was only thirty minutes later when once again, the squad was toned out. This time it was for an injured child. The two paramedics were greeted at the scene by a woman with an attitude who showed no fondness of the firemen.
“It’s about time you guys got here,” the woman said, folding her arms across her chest.
Johnny glanced at Roy, his watch, then back to his partner again. “Ma’am, sorry if we didn’t make it here as quick as you expected, but we got here as soon as we could.”
“Oh forget it!” she said, waving her arms slightly. “Men never admit when they’ve made a mistake anyway.”
“We. . .” Gage was beyond annoyed already, but DeSoto got his attention and shook his head.
“She’s upset,” he said quietly. “Just let it go.”
Johnny tried to follow the advice, all the while not happy with their reception.
Entering the house behind the woman, Johnny and Roy saw a little boy sitting on a couch. He was holding a washcloth with ice cubes gathered in it on the top of his head.
“What happened?” Gage asked as he and DeSoto made their way towards the boy.
“Well, tell the firemen what you did, Barry.”
“Do I hafta?”
The mother folded her arms across her chest and gave the six-year-old a stern look.
“Man, she gives new meaning to the phrase tough love,” Johnny said under his breath.
Roy made eye contact with the younger paramedic, then brought his full attention to the mother when the boy hadn’t answered.
“Ma’am, maybe it would be better if you just told us instead.”
“Did he fall?” Johnny asked.
“I guess if he’s not going to cooperate, I’ll have to tell you. He was sneaking a snack out of a lower cabinet in the kitchen. I walked in and startled him, and he whacked his head on the top frame of the cabinet.
“Did he lose consciousness at all?” Johnny wondered as he set up the biophone. Roy was getting the boy’s vitals.
“For maybe half a minute. Damn kid’ll never learn.”
The paramedics were taken aback by what little compassion the mother showed. It was hard to understand. Just earlier they’d witnessed Bernice treat her cat like royalty and here was a mother with little regard for her son’s dignity.
After receiving the information from the paramedics, it was decided by Brackett that Barry be brought in for further observation. The mother was upset that she was now going to miss her usual Saturday get together with a few of her lady friends.
Johnny climbed up into the ambulance with the boy. Roy handed him the biophone and drug box, then began to close the doors. Before DeSoto got them shut, the younger man looked out at the mom getting into her car and whispered so Barry wouldn’t hear, “She should get a sack of coal for a Mother’s Day present.”
Roy nodded and quietly replied, “This time I’m in agreement with you. It’s not very original, you know. But it fits.”
Johnny smirked. “You just had to get that in there, didn’t ya?”
“Yes, I did. See you at Rampart.” DeSoto closed the doors and gave them two slaps. He quickly got into the squad and behind the ambulance.
Johnny watched a few minutes as Doctor Brackett examined the small lump on Barry’s head. When the doctor was done, he patted the boy on the knee and smiled. “I’ll be right back.” He then spoke to the nurse who was helping. “Susan, keep an eye on him a minute.”
“Goin’ to talk to his mom?” Johnny asked as Kel neared the door.
“Yes. He’s going to be fine, I’d say. But she’s going to have to keep a watchful eye on him for a couple of days.”
Johnny opened the door, allowing the doctor to exit first. “Good luck.”
Brackett waited as Johnny followed him out. “Something I should know about?”
“Let’s just say we’ve received warmer welcomes before, and I don’t think she’s gonna be up for Mother of the Year any time soon, either,” he replied dryly.
“Not the attentive type?”
“Doc, she’ll probably ground the kid if he complains that he’s got a headache.”
Brackett nodded knowingly. “I’ll be sure to emphasize the importance of her observing him carefully for the next 48 hours. Thanks for the heads up.”
“Sure. See ya later, Doc.”
Roy and Dixie watched as Kel Brackett walked by and headed for the waiting area where Barry’s mother sat with her arms folded across her chest, an angry expression on her face. The sour demeanor made it easy for the doctor to pick the right person out of the many that were seated.
“I wonder if a person like that can have a happy Mother’s Day,” Roy commented.
“I don’t know. But I hope for her son’s sake she gives it a try.”
The senior paramedic just nodded, then joined up with his partner, who was ready to return to the station. After bidding Dixie goodbye, the two men headed for the squad.
“So, did you ever decide where to take your mom for Mother’s Day?” Johnny asked Marco as the men all sat down for lunch.
“No. My sister, Nita, is supposed to be checking out a few restaurants. Maybe she’ll have better luck.”
“I still say nothing you pick could be better than a bowling alley with Gage playing mediator to two women who can’t stand each other,” Chet commented.
“Chet, they don’t hate each other,” Johnny corrected. “They just don’t see eye-to-eye on a few things.”
“Yeah, so they can’t stand each other,” Kelly re-emphasized.
Before any more could be said, the klaxons sounded, the station being called out for a rescue involving an unknown type rescue at Lake Castaic. The men all got up from the table, leaving most of their food still on their plates.
The engine and squad arrived at the lake, which was accessible without the assistance of the Coast Guard or a helicopter. They stopped several yards away from a docking bay. A houseboat was parked nearby, part of it adjacent to a long dock that stretched out into the water. The engine crew climbed down from their big rig, while Johnny and Roy were already getting their equipment out of the squad compartments.
Captain Stanley spoke with the few witnesses that were gathered around, and his men anxiously awaited instructions.
“She’s over there!” A man pointed. “She was on the boat and just passed out! She’s isn’t breathin’!”
With those words, the paramedics needed no direction from their captain. They quickly ran over to where the victim was laid out on the ground, another man giving her mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Roy immediately began to check her vitals, as Johnny set up the oxygen.
“She’s got a pulse,” DeSoto said. He barely was aware that the rest of his shiftmates had gathered close by.
Johnny was just about to put the oxygen mask on the lady when a yell came from the houseboat near the docking bay.
“Kimmie’s unconscious!” A man was waving from the back end of the boat, trying to get the firemen’s attention.
“Chet, can you get this on her?” Johnny asked, indicating the mask. In a second, the fireman was taking over. Gage scanned the boat that was parked with the bow facing land as he got to his feet. “I’ll check out the other victim.”
“Okay,” Roy acknowledged. He contacted Rampart and informed them of the situation.
Once on the boat, Johnny was directed to a young girl lying unconscious on the swim platform located below the main deck and at the rear of the vessel. He jumped down, ignoring the three rung ladder that lead to the platform. Kneeling beside the young girl that looked to be seventeen-years-old, he noted she wasn’t breathing either. Quickly checking for a pulse and finding one, Gage started mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. He hoped to at least get her breathing before having to move her ashore.
After a few breaths, the dark-haired paramedic felt a throbbing headache start at his brow. Trying his best to ignore it, Johnny kept at the assisted breathing of the victim.
Roy held open his patient’s eyelids and shone his penlight in her eyes. Her pupils were constricted. There had to be something in her system no one had told them about. The paramedic looked up at one of the bystanders.
“Is she on any kind of drugs?”
“Margie? No. Absolutely not. She’s a good mother.”
“Where was she when she passed out? Here in this spot?” Roy asked.
“No, she was on the swim platform, where her daughter Kimmie is now. . .” the man’s eyes widened. He glanced over at the boat. “Kimmie’s out. . .”
“Rampart, there’s no knowledge of drug use, but the victim’s pupils are constricted. She apparently was on a platform at the rear of a boat when she passed out.”
Brackett’s voice came back in reply, “51, is the boat’s motor running?”
“Get anyone who is near the rear of that boat away from their location and have someone shut the motor off.”
Marco looked at the others and on a cue from Hank Stanley, ran to help Johnny get his patient off the swim platform, while the captain went to turn off the motor.
Johnny’s headache increased to where the paramedic thought he was going to be physically ill at his stomach. Not having any choice but to stay with the victim, he kept at the mouth-to-mouth, ignoring the fact he was now feeling dizzy and light-headed as well.
Marco stood on the deck and looked down at the paramedic and the girl. “Johnny, Brackett said to get you off of here.”
Gage shook his head, immediately regretting it afterwards. It felt like the entire boat was spinning.
Not now. I can’t get seasick now.
Marco could tell something wasn’t quite right about his shiftmate. “Johnny, are you okay?”
With that, the paramedic looked up for a second. “Yeah. . .I. . uh. . I. .yeah” Johnny couldn’t form a full coherent sentence, nor could he recall what Marco had just asked him.
Lopez noticed the slight rise and fall of the girl’s chest. Johnny had revived her. “Hand her up, and I’ll carry her off for you.”
Gage stared at the fireman as he tried to process what had just been said. He then slowly began to put his arms underneath the girl. Marco climbed down to assist when he saw Johnny moving slowly.
“You sure you’re okay, Johnny?”
The paramedic nodded, not really understanding the question, but rather just realizing he was expected to give an answer.
Picking the young victim up in a fireman’s carry, Lopez proceeded up the small ladder, assuming Gage would follow behind. But Johnny had grown too light headed and groggy. Still suffering from an incredible headache in addition to the other symptoms, the man laid down on the swim platform. Within a few seconds he was unconscious.
When Brackett first ordered everyone be cleared from the rear of the boat, Roy looked over at the vessel, puzzled. But the next words that came over the biophone gave the paramedic the explanation he needed.
“51, it’s possible the victims are getting carbon monoxide poisoning from the exhaust system of the boat.”
DeSoto was relieved to see Marco on the dock, heading towards them with the second victim. That meant Johnny wouldn’t be far behind. Only problem was, he couldn’t see his partner anywhere.
Lopez laid the girl on the ground where his shiftmates were gathered. “Johnny was giving her mouth-to-mouth. She just started breathing on her own.”
Roy looked at Mike who had the oxygen supply off the engine and ready to be put to use.
“Get some 02 on ‘er. That’s all they need right now is clean oxygen.” He then directed his attention to Marco. “Where is Johnny?”
“He was supposed to be right behind me. I got the girl and asked him if he was okay. He nodded ‘yes’, so I thought he was following me up.”
Roy checked the young girl's eyes and confirmed her pupils were constricted, just as her mother’s were. Carbon monoxide poisoning. . .Johnny may not have realized. . .
“Marco, Mike. . .go find Johnny. If he was getting the same poisoning, he may not have been aware of it.”
The two firemen nodded and took off towards the boat as Hank Stanley returned.
“What’s up, Roy?”
“Johnny was down on the swim platform with the second victim.” DeSoto glanced down at the girl, then up to his captain. “He may still be on it.”
The two men glanced at the boat as Stoker and Lopez disappeared over the back end.
Mike kneeled beside Gage. He couldn’t see any evidence of breathing and his friend’s jaw was clenched. Just like with the other two victims, the paramedic still had a pulse. The engineer looked up at Lopez and shook his head.
“He’s not breathing, Marco. Let’s get ‘im out of here, fast!”
Mike helped to get Johnny onto his shiftmate’s back, then followed behind, reaching out with a hand to steady the paramedic as the three made their way up and across the deck. They hurried to down the dock to where the other victims were laid out on the ground, and did the same with Johnny.
Stoker instantly started mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, while Roy called into Rampart on their third victim. Since the first woman had been breathing on her own for awhile, and it was so critical Johnny receive the pure oxygen, Roy was directed to place the oxygen on his partner and allow the first victim to now breathe in natural air.
“He’ll be okay. . .I mean, once he gets some of the carbon monoxide out of his system . . .he’ll recover fine, won’t he?” Chet asked.
Roy listened as Stanley radioed in that they had a code I. He then answered Kelly. “He should be, Chet. I hope so.”
Both men looked at the younger paramedic. He lay unmoving as the ambulance attendants brought over a stretcher for the first victim.
Roy rode in the ambulance with the first two victims. He wanted to go in the second one with his ill partner, but he knew that these two ladies took priority by the rule. The senior paramedic had to have faith in an ambulance attendant to take care of Gage, as another paramedic unit hadn’t been available soon enough. Although he had his patients to keep his mind occupied, and Johnny was breathing on his own when he was loaded into the ambulance, this ride to Rampart still proved to be one of the longest for Roy.
When they got to Rampart, the two female victims were taken to the same treatment room, while Johnny was placed in another by himself. Brackett tended to the mother and daughter, as Morton handled Gage’s case.
Once he completed his briefing on the latest condition of the ladies, Roy slipped out of the room and headed to where his partner was being tended to. There Morton was able to assure both Roy and Chet, who had come in the squad a few minutes after the ambulances, that Johnny would be okay. It was just going to take him a day or so to bounce back after going through the ordeal.
All three patients were admitted for observation.
Late Saturday evening, a very downcast and still tired John Gage sat alone in his hospital room. Although he was faring much better, Morton was being cautious and keeping the paramedic overnight for observation.
When the door to his room opened, the dark-haired man looked up expectantly. Seeing it was Roy, his face brightened. His partner had a large brown paper bag in his hands.
“I hear you’re doing better.”
“Yeah. Man, that was a close call, huh?” Johnny said, still just happy to have some company.
“Too close. Not to put a damper on your evening, but Cap has vowed to have a sit-down discussion with you on this saying you’re okay when you’re not.”
“I did it again?”
Roy nodded. “Yep. Marco asked you if you were okay and you nodded that you were. Apparently right before you passed out.”
“That’s not my fault,” Gage defended. “I wasn’t exactly with it, ya know? I didn’t know what I was doing.”
“Cap’s the one you’ve gotta convince, not me.”
“Yeah, but you backing me up can’t hurt,” Johnny said with a hopeful smile.
DeSoto just rolled his eyes. He then noticed his partner eyeing the bag. “This is for you,” he said, handing it to Gage. “Dwyer and I picked it up awhile ago between runs.”
“What is it?”
Johnny complied. He looked up at Roy, then back into the bag. “You gotta be kidding me.”
“A bank? Who gets a bank for someone in the hospital? Usually people give cards. Or flow . . .ers. . . oh, I get it.”
“Flowers aren’t very original. Look around next time you’re out. You see ads for them everywhere,” Roy said, grinning. “Joanne wanted me to thank you, by the way.”
“Your ideas. She cancelled the flower arrangements and we’re getting our mothers each a set of fancy wind chimes. I don’t know why we didn’t think of it before. They both’ve said they wanted to get some. We just kept leaving it up to them,” he shrugged.
“So you went with my idea,” Johnny said proudly.
“Yeah, but don’t let it go to your head.”
Ignoring the comment, Johnny switched the subject. “So how are the ladies from the boat doing? Have you heard?”
“Yeah, Dix said they’ll be released in the morning. Looks like all three of you will be out for Mother’s Day.”
“Great. That’s great.”
“So you feel up to bowling tomorrow?”
“Marco’s going to bring his family. And Chet’s gonna be there with his mom and sister.”
“No kiddin? Well why--”
“It’s the first annual John Gage Bowl-A-Thon. We’re all gonna do it every year.”
Johnny didn’t know what to say. He just smiled, and looked in the bag at the bank again. It was just like the one he was giving Roy’s mother. As an after thought the younger man frowned and asked, “Hey, this isn’t the one I bought for Mom . . .uh. . .Harriet. . .for your mom is it?”
Roy shook his head. “Don’t worry. Your gift is still safe in your Land Rover, waiting for you to give it to my mom.”
The smile returned to his face and Johnny sat back, anxious for Sunday to come.
Mother’s Day went smoothly. Joanne and Roy’s mothers made a point of getting along, although often exchanging glares. But Chet Kelly would step in between them and wag his finger at the women, reminding them that they were being watched. The Irishman was doing what he felt was his part in making up for the teasing he did to Gage prior to the boat incident.
Roy’s mother loved the bank Johnny gave her, and the wind chimes from her son and daughter-in-law. Joanne’s mom seemed disappointed at first, but when she saw that Harriet got a gift of the same value, she was satisfied.
As they exited the bowling alley at the end of the evening, Johnny turned to Roy.
“You know what the best part of this day was?”
“Not that the event was named after me or even that the gifts went over good with your mom.”
“Yeah. . .so?”
“It was seeing Chet try to referee. Think he’ll get over Joanne’s mom accidentally raising his voice an octave?”
“Yeah. He shouldn’t have been standing so close when she pulled her arm back to throw the ball.”
Gage snickered. “Guess I kind of owe it to ‘im not to bring it up at work tomorrow, huh?”
“I’d say he’d appreciate it if you didn’t. Besides, Marco may just do it for you.”
Gage nodded, agreeing. “See you tomorrow,” he said, as Roy’s family caught up to them.
Johnny stopped in mid stride when he heard Harriet exclaim, “Look at the beautiful picture of flowers on that billboard! You know, that’s one thing a woman can’t get too much of. . .flowers.”
Thanks for the beta reads Jill H. and Kenda! Any mistakes, medical or otherwise, are mine. Also thanks, Vanessa, for the encouraging words! :o) The lake mentioned in this story was used in the episode Alley Cat for one of the rescue locations. In doing research for this story, I found numerous links on carbon monoxide poisoning and boats, one of the best being this one:
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