By Marty P.
Roy DeSoto and Johnny Gage entered the dayroom. It was 0545 and the likelihood of the paramedics getting more sleep was dubious. Roy approached the stove and poured a cup of coffee for Johnny before getting his own.
He saw his paramedic partner take a swallow of the hot liquid and then sat next to him.
“C’mon, Johnny, you’ve been glum all shift. What’s going on?”
“Nothing, Roy.” Johnny parked his head on his right palm and looked dazed.
Roy was persistent, “Is it a girl? Did Rita dump you?”
“No, it’s Tina right now and I’m not having girl troubles.” Johnny pivoted away from the other man, showing him his back, a signal that he had nothing to discuss.
Roy, tenacious, continued his questioning. “Something’s bugging you.”
“Roy, just leave me alone. I can handle this.”
“Well, I heard you toss and turn all night. That’s not like you. If you don’t talk to me about it, it’s just gonna eat you up.” Roy leaned back in his chair and stretched his legs out, crossing his ankles.
Johnny glanced at his partner, opened his mouth and then closed it again. He rubbed his left eyebrow. “I don’t get it.”
“What don’t you get?”
“I thought I got it out of my mind for good and then, wham, it was back.”
Roy waited for a few seconds and then continued probing, “What was back?”
“Remember our first rescue of the shift?” Johnny picked up his cup and his lips touched the rim before he realized it was empty. When Roy didn’t respond he supplied the answer, “The electrocution victim”
Roy nodded, “We were lucky, we were able to get him going again.”
“Yeah, but the smell of ozone in the air triggered images of other electrocutions I’ve been on.” Johnny took a deep breath and emitted it. “There was one in particular at Flower and Third. It seemed to take forever until the power was cut off.”
“I don’t remember that one.” Roy’s mind clicked through past rescues.
Johnny shook his head and his finger followed the pattern on the cup. “You weren’t there. It was when I was at Station 10.”
“That musta been tough.” Roy commiserated with him.
Johnny rose from the chair. “Yeah, I was sure I felt a pulse but when we brought him into Rampart. Brackett said all we rescued was a corpse. When I stepped out of the treatment room, there were his wife and kid, bawling.” Johnny lifted the coffee pot to refill his mug and then changed his mind, setting the cup in the sink. “I don’t get it, Roy. I haven’t thought about that incident for a couple of years and now I can’t get it out of my mind.”
“Joanne was reading an article to me the other night. It talked about odors triggering memories. It sounds like that’s what happened to you.”
“Well, I can understand baking cookies or the smell of a Christmas tree but this was ozone!” Johnny, frustrated, plopped down onto the chair again.
Roy’s silence was empathetic. “It’d be great if our brain only kept the pleasant memories but that isn’t the way it works. Smells evoke traumatic events, too.”
“What can I do to get this picture out of my mind?” Johnny raised his eyes to the man across from him.
“Let’s talk about it. Did you do everything you could at the scene?”
“Yeah, I think so, with the knowledge and equipment we had available at the time. I thought he was viable when we got him to the hospital. You know, we had a save.”
Roy sighed, “Yeah, to cheat death brings an unbelievable feeling but it’s even harder to accept when the person doesn’t make it.”
“Yeah, it frustrated and angered me and then I came and talked to you about becoming a paramedic.”
“Something good came out of it then.” Roy placed his hands on the table and intertwined them. “You’ve had many saves since then.”
“I know, but often the ones that stick with you are the ones you lose.” Johnny was studying an invisible spot on the table with intensity.
Roy tapped his thumbs together and rolled his tongue inside his mouth. “You’re right. But the department strives to make improvements to prevent losses in the future.”
“That’s true. And I hadn’t realized that incident was the deciding factor for me joining the paramedic class until you brought it up.” A glimmer of a smile appeared on Johnny’s face.
Roy could see the mantle of discouragement evaporating from Johnny. Once again, he had the energy of a young colt, eager for action. “I can see you’re feeling better.”
“Yeah, I am.”
Both men left their seats; Johnny strode toward the door while Roy dropped his mug at the counter. “And Johnny, the next time a scent conjures up a rescue gone sour, bring it up, would ya?
“I will. Thanks, Roy.” As the two men headed into the apparatus bay, Chet sauntered toward them.
“You’ve been in there forever. Were you talking about me?” The curly-haired fireman tweaked his mustache.
Johnny caught sight of Roy watching their interaction. “Wouldn’t you like to know?”
Chet looked at him hopefully, “get real, Chet. Why would we be talking about you?” Chet’s face clouded with disappointment as he returned to the dorm.
“Ya know, Johnny, you really are mean sometimes.” Roy needled him.
Johnny, pleased with himself, pulled out a rag to polish the squad, tossing one to Roy at the same time. “I know, but he expects it. He wouldn’t know what to do if I was nice to him.”
“I wouldn’t gloat too much if I were you. You know he’ll get you back.” Roy chortled as Johnny declared there was no way Chet would catch him off-guard.
By Audrey W.
John Gage stifled a yawn as he looked down at the nearly empty cup of coffee in front of him. The dark-haired paramedic let out a sigh; it was his third cup of the brew in as many hours, and he still felt like he could crawl into bed and sleep for another eight hours. His left hand positioned as if flipping someone 'the bird', he shifted his tired gaze to the surface of the table.
I wish I *coulda'* flipped him off. . .
Gage’s partner Roy DeSoto turned from where he stood at the sink and addressed the younger man as he walked toward the table with his own cup of coffee in his hand. “I take it the caffeine’s not helping?”
Johnny shook his head, once again yawning. “I feel like crap.”
“Maybe you should just give in and take a nap,” Roy suggested, pulling out a chair and taking a seat beside him. He grinned at the supposed hand gesture before continuing. “It might be better than trying to fight it all day.”
“Roy, if I do that, then I let him win; it'll mean he got the best of me.”
“You know, you never told me exactly who it was that kept you awake; just that the phone never seemed to stop ringing.”
“Oh. . .sorry. I guess I got carried away on one of my rants, huh?”
Roy grinned slightly and nodded. “You could say that. Not to mention both times you came close to giving more details, we got toned out.”
Johnny sat back in his chair, his eyes still on the table as he began to explain. “It all started yesterday late in the afternoon; I got a phone call from some guy trying to sell something. Only I never heard what it was he was sellin’ because the connection went bad as he went into his spiel and his voice was garbled. I didn’t see any reason to stay on the line,” he said with a shrug, “So I hung up, figuring that was that.”
“Something tells me that it wasn’t.”
Gage looked at Roy with a ‘you got that right’ expression. “Man, I tell ya, it was only the beginning. He called me back!”
“Sounds like he was persistent.”
“Ooohh nooo. He didn’t call me back to try and sell me anything.” He noticed the bewildered expression on Roy’s face and continued. “He asked if I was the guy who’d just hung up on him in the middle of his sales pitch. So I said, ‘sure, but I only did it because your voice was garbled and I had no idea what you were even sayin’. And you know what he said after that?”
Roy shook his head, although he knew the younger man really didn’t expect an answer.
“He said ‘yeah right’ and hung up on me when I tried to assure him I was tellin’ the truth! Can you believe that? The guy calls me at my apartment, insinuates that I’m lying and then hangs up on me! Roy, I don’t even know who this joker is!”
“Wow, I’d say he’s in the wrong line of work if he can’t take a simple hang-up.”
“Man, is he ever. The guy shouldn’t be allowed near a phone.”
Roy swallowed a sip of coffee. “So he called you all night?”
“Yeah. Well, most of the night. I got at least two phone calls an hour from then on up till about 9:00. If I answered, the person would hang up. If I let it ring, it went on forever till I picked up the receiver and put it in the cradle again. I might’ve hung up on my own aunt for all I know, but I wasn’t gonna let him get me again.”
“Sounds like he did anyway.” Roy took in Johnny’s tired eyes a moment before asking, “So why didn’t you call the police?”
“And what? Tell them I thought I had some psycho telemarketer calling me and hanging up? Besides--”
“You didn’t want him to know he was getting to you,” Roy finished for him.
“That and I really wasn’t sure it was him at the time. I just figured it probably was. So anyway, this keeps on into the night, like two times an hour if I picked up, three times if I didn’t. Finally at 2:00 in the morning it stops. But then I couldn’t get to sleep because I kept waiting for more. I laid awake till the phone rang again at 5:05 this morning. That’s when I figured out it was him all along.”
“He asked if I had a good night’s sleep.”
Roy shook his head. “So what happens when we get off shift? Aren’t you worried he’s going to start harassing you again?”
“Nope.” A smile spread across his face. “I got to thinking about what might turn the tables on him and then I got my answer.”
“Well, I thought of what gets on everyone’s nerves here. And I know sometimes I can when I go on and on about a subject.”
Johnny shot him a displeased look, not quite happy at how easily Roy agreed with him. He then shrugged it off, and continued. “So I told him I was glad he called and ranted on about every meaningless subject I could think of, not giving him a chance to even get a word in edgewise. I don’t think he could hang up fast enough.”
Roy had to grin. His partner did have the gift of gab at times. Obviously it had paid off.
Johnny yawned as he got up from his seat at the table and started for the doorway leading to the apparatus bay.
“Where’re you going?”
The dark-haired paramedic glanced over his shoulder. “To take a nap. I just realized I’ve already won. ‘Sides, now that I re-lived last night, I’m really exhausted.”
He continued on his way, leaving his partner alone still sitting at the table. Roy shook his head as he took another sip of coffee.
If he'd just learn to take my advice in the first place. . .
**Note: This was inspired by a real incident. I got a call for my husband and he wasn't home. The telemarketer went on to start to tell me stuff, but his voice got garbled so I hung up. He called me back and did this same thing to me (though not the all night calls <G>). Later in the day I got a a few calls where the person just hung up when I answered. It was very bizarre.
Taking a break from
their assigned duties, Roy and Johnny were enjoying a cup of coffee and the
music that played on the radio. The Eagles just finished up with "Take It Easy"
then a parody song began to play.
"That's a stupid song!"
"The Streak." Johnny answered with a bit of disgust in his voice.
"Johnny, what's wrong? It's not like you to get so upset over a silly song." Roy questioned.
Running his hand over his face, Johnny apologized for being so snappy. "I don't know, nothing."
Taking a good look at his partner, Roy noted the dark circles under John's eyes and his face looked a little puffy. "You look tired. Have you been having trouble sleeping?"
"No, that is when I get to go to sleep I have no problem."
"What do you mean?"
Johnny sighed, got up and walked over to the sink, poured out the rest of his coffee, then turned to face Roy. Just as he started to speak, Chet and Marco came into the kitchen.
"What's up guys?" Chet asked. He'd noticed the strained look on Johnny's face.
"Nothing, just enjoying a cup of coffee before we head back to work." Roy replied, saving Johnny from having to answer.
"We better get back to work, that dorm isn't going to clean itself." Johnny said as he left the room.
Roy knew that if he was going to find out what was going on with his partner, he would need to get him alone. Something wasn't right with Johnny and he wanted to find out the problem and help him through it, if possible.
After they finished cleaning the dorm, Roy suggested they make a run to Rampart for supplies. Alone in the squad he hoped he would find out what was wrong with the younger man. Almost half way to the hospital the silence was broken by Roy clearing his throat, he began his questioning.
"Ok, tell me why you look like something Boot drug in."
"Johnny, what's going on?"
"I'm just a little tired."
"I figured that out. Why?"
"I've worked over-time the last few shifts and they've been pretty busy."
"You look like you're about ready to drop. When we get back to the station, I'm going to have Cap call in a replacement for you, you need to go home and rest."
"No Roy, I'll be fine. I'm just a little tired but I can do my job. You don't have to worry." Johnny stated a little defensively.
"I am worried. You're pushing yourself and I think you're at your limit."
"Man, I knew if I said anything you'd make a big deal out of it. I don't need a lecture, I know what I'm doing. If I didn't think I was up to the job I'd ask Cap to go home, but I'm fine, honest."
"Ok, Johnny" Roy conceded.
To Johnny's relief the subject was dropped, at least for the moment. They pulled into Rampart and headed to the nurse's station. Dixie wasn't at her usual place. Betty walked up and greeted both paramedics with a bright smile.
"Hi Betty, where's Dixie today?" Johnny asked making small talk.
"Oh, she has the day off. Is there something I can help you with?"
"We need a few supplies." Roy spoke up since his partner seemed a little distracted.
After restocking the supplies, the two paramedics headed back to the station. The trip back was done in total silence. As soon as the squad backed into its usual place beside the engine, Johnny exited the still moving vehicle before Roy could utter a word. Johnny didn't get any further than the dorm room door when they were once again called out.
Later that evening, Roy was determined to find out what was bugging his partner even if he had to suffer through another bout of Johnny's rants insisting that he was all right.
Searching the station for his wayward partner and coming up empty, Roy stepped out to the back lot. In the shadows of the moonlit night, Johnny's silhouette was leaning against his Rover, head tilted back, looking heavenward, stargazing.
Roy approached Johnny quietly not wanting to interrupt the peacefulness of the moment. Settling himself next to his best-friend.
At a glance, Johnny looked content, but not. What had been, at first, observed as peace was in reality a wistfulness bore of a soul sodden with despair.
A sharp intake of breath, jostled Johnny from his musings.
"Roy, I didn't hear you come out here."
"Umm, you were doing some intense stargazing," Roy replied.
"So see any, oh I don't know, flying saucers?" Roy tried for a bit of humor.
Sighing, Johnny knew what Roy was doing and he appreciated it. More than Roy could ever know.
"No, no aliens around other than our resident alien, Chet," Johnny played along.
Both men snickered.
Deciding to take the bull by the horns and just confront his friend, Roy took a deep breath.
"Johnny, what's wrong?"
"And don't say nothing when I know good and well that something is bothering you. Now, Junior, what's wrong?" Roy asked, his worry evident in his voice.
Head bowed down at the asphalt, Johnny kicked at a pebble with the toe of his shoe. Looking back up at his partner, best friend, his family, Johnny
whispered, "They canceled Adam 12."
Dumbstruck, Roy looked at his partner as if he'd grown two heads.
"What?" Roy asked trying to comprehend what was being said.
"I said they canceled Adam 12," Johnny said.
Not understanding why this news was upsetting his partner so badly, Roy was at a loss as to how to proceed.
"You don't get it do you, Roy?!?" Johnny sighed.
"I know you liked that show, Junior, sometimes to the extreme of being so focused, so hung-up on an episode that you'd loose sleep over it, hell we'd all lose sleep over it," Roy said, with no malice.
"Then why is this tearing you up so much, it's just a television show."
"It's the end."
"The end sure, but they'll probably have re-runs," Roy tried to cheer-up his friend.
"Not the same, Roy. Don't you get it?" Johnny huffed.
Roy didn't get it.
"Explain it to me, Johnny," Roy pleaded.
"No more Malloy and Reed. No more partners. No more friends, no more....family."
Wide-eyed the clue bus finally hit Roy.
"Johnny, listen to me."
Once Roy was satisfied he had Johnny's attention he continued.
"We are NOT Reed and Malloy."
"I know that, Roy, but..."
"No buts, Junior. We are Roy and Johnny. Partners, best friends and family. No matter what we do in the future, nothing will ever change that. You and I may not always be partners but we will definitely always be best friends, always be family, I love you, you goofball," Roy spoke with such passion.
Johnny smiled, "I love you too, Roy."
"So, are we okay? Are you okay?" Roy asked.
"We're good, hell we're GREAT!" Johnny exclaimed.
"Okay, then. Okay." Roy smiled.
Standing in companionable silence, stargazing, Johnny finally said, "Uh, Roy?"
"How come you're first?"
Not knowing what Johnny was referring to, Roy grunted, "Huh?"
"Why not Johnny and Roy? Who's the star of this partnership anyway? I mean tall, dark, handsome, sexy...."
As Johnny continued to rant, Roy walked back toward the station house smiling.
Disclaimer: Of course, the guys from Emergency! do not belong to me. I’m just having a little fun. Thank you, Universal and Mark VII.
A HELPING HAND
By: Vanessa Sgroi
“So, partner, tell me why you were up half the night.”
Johnny Gage groaned as he looked at his empty coffee cup and tried to work up the energy to get up for a refill. He mumbled something unintelligible.
“I said I was chasing a chipmunk.”
At Roy’s quickly-stifled laugh, Johnny scowled. “Sure, laugh at your best friend.”
Biting his cheek, Roy said, “Sorry. So how did you end up chasing a chipmunk in the middle of the night?”
“My neighbor, Betsy, called me around midnight. She let her cat in for the night, and he came in carrying a little buddy.”
“At first Betsy thought it was dead—hey, is there more coffee over there?”
DeSoto checked and found the pot half full.
“Half a pot. Want some?”
“Yeah,” Johnny mumbled around a yawn.
The blond-haired paramedic filled his partner’s cup and then his own, waiting patiently for him to restart his story.
Johnny savored a long sip of the hot brew.
“Betsy thought the thing was dead. So she lunged for Wiley to make him go back outside. The cat ran, but not before he dropped the chipmunk—who was definitely NOT dead.”
“So where did you come in?”
“I heard Betsy scream. I thought she was in trouble so I ran over to her apartment. The door was open, and she and Wiley were staring under her couch.”
“So you went in to help.”
“Well, yeah. She was so relieved when she saw me . . . I just couldn’t ignore her. So she got a broom, and I got a box and we scared it out from under the couch.”
“And you ended up chasing it around the apartment.”
“We both did. Man, those little critters are fast! I finally cornered it in her kitchen. You shoulda seen it. That poor little guy was huffin’ and puffin’. I moved real slow trying to get the box over it. I was THIS close,” Johnny held his thumb and forefinger a hairsbreadth apart to demonstrate.
“And you got him?”
“No. He got scared and ran between my legs. And when I spun around to follow . . . well . . . I tripped.”
“On the chipmunk?” Unable to help himself, Roy laughed at the picture in his head.
“No, on Wiley! The stupid cat was sitting behind my leg.”
“Oh. So how long did this go on?”
“We tried for another half hour to find it again. No luck. I told Betsy I had to leave so I could get a little sleep before work. She didn’t want to stay there alone with it, so she came over and slept on my couch.”
“So what’s she going to do today, call an exterminator?”
“Oh, no. There’s no need for that.”
“Why? It’s still in her apartment, isn’t it?”
“Nope. I walked her back to her place this morning when I was leaving for work. She opened her apartment door, and there came Wiley strolling out as big as you please. With the chipmunk back in his mouth.”
“Nope. Betsy scolded him, and he dropped it. It laid there for a second and then got up and ran away.”
“Well, all’s well that ends well, I guess.”
Swallowing more of his coffee, Johnny nodded. “Yeah, but you know what, Roy?”
“I looked at that cat after he dropped that chipmunk. He looked right back at me. And I swear to you, he was laughing!”
* * * The End * * *
Obsession Or Not
Johnny sat dozing at the
table while nursing his cup of coffee. He hadn’t said anything to Roy yet about
that new trainee they’d had. He was just glad the shift was over with. The guy
had nearly scared the wits out him when he’d gotten behind the wheel of the
squad after that last rescue of the night before.
The man had driven like a speed demon as if he’d been on a race track. Once they’d gotten to Rampart and backed into the slot and the trainee had shut off the engine, Johnny reached over and snapped the keys out of the guy’s hands.
“Hey! What’d you do that for?”
“I’m just trying to figure out where you got your drivers license. I mean we’re not running a race.”
The trainee grinned at the dark haired paramedic. “Sorry, but sometimes I forget that I’m behind the wheel of a rescue vehicle. I race at the dirt track on my off time, and sometimes I just forget and start racing.”
“Well, be more careful next time. I don’t want to respond to a rescue and find out the victim is you and your partner.”
The newbie swallowed hard and just realized his mistake. “Does this mean your washing me out of the paramedics?”
“No, but I want you to realize the dangers of driving at those speeds on the street.”
“I promise, I’ll be more careful next time.”
“Johnny, what are you going to do on your days off?” Roy asked.
The younger man yawned and wiped a hand across his face. “I think I’ll go check out that race track that opened recently.”
“I didn’t know you liked auto racing? I thought you said it was a waste of time.”
“Well, that was before I met someone who races there. I guess I’ll give it a shot and see if I like it or not.”
Roy finished cleaning up and decided to let the subject drop as the next shift began to file in. ‘I don’t think I want to know about this. Hopefully he doesn’t obsess about it like he does with Chet.”
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