Disclaimer: The episode 'Surprise' was written by Preston Wood, and all characters belong to him, Universal and Mark VII. I've always loved the part with Johnny and Cora, from the time he reaches for her in the cactus patch, till he leaves her in the doctors' care at Rampart. It seems they built kind of a quick bond while on the way to the hospital, so this is my thought on what could have transpired. :o)





Surprise – Johnny and Cora

By Audrey W.



This takes place after Cora is rescued from the cactus patch and secured on the stretcher at the scene.


The men from Engine 51 stood near the rear of the ambulance as the attendants and paramedics lifted Cora in and got the stretcher situated. Johnny then climbed up inside and sat on the bench alongside her. Roy and Captain Stanley closed the doors, the senior paramedic giving them two slaps once they were secured. The ambulance pulled away, leaving Harry with the firemen, his dirt bike still on its side on the road up above. When the man didn’t move, Roy questioned, "Uh. . .you do have a vehicle parked out here some where, don’t you?” He looked around. “You didn’t ride all the way out here on the trail bike, did you?”


Harry looked at each of the firemen as they waited for an answer. “No, of course not. My truck’s parked around the bend,” he said, pointing further down the road. “I just need some help getting the bike in the back of it. I can’t leave my bike.”


“We’ll help you,” the captain said.


The man left to get his truck while the others prepared to leave.


“If you’ve got this, I’m gonna go on to Rampart,” Roy commented.


“Sure, go ahead.”


He climbed in the squad and carefully turned it around, then headed for the city.




Once the doors to the ambulance had been closed and secured, Johnny could tell Cora was already grateful for the silence. Her husband had only been adding to the agony the poor woman was feeling from the numerous cactus spines in her back, derriere and back side of her legs. 


The paramedic looked sympathetically at his patient as he felt the ambulance go into motion.


“Will it take us long to get there?” she asked, her head turned and slightly above the surface of the stretcher, eyes on Johnny.


He shook his head. “Shouldn’t, unless we get caught in some uncooperative traffic once we get into town.”


She nodded slightly, then with a sigh lowered her head again.


As they rode along in silence, Johnny noticed the miserable expression on her face. Wanting to help her feel better in any way he could, he gave a reassuring smile, the tone of his voice upbeat. “You know, you did a great job getting across that ladder.”


“I did?”


“Yeah,” he nodded, still smiling. “It made our job a lot easier.”


“I was so glad to get out of that cactus patch.” She frowned. “You’ll never see me on a trail bike again. Figures I’d be the one to end up in the mess while Harry’s just fine. It was his idea to get a trail bike in the first place.”


“That’s usually the way it goes.”


He noticed her grimace as she tried to adjust her position under the safety straps of the stretcher.


“Oo-oh. . .it just hurts so much.”


“I know,” he said, as he had a few times before at the scene. Acknowledging her pain was about all he could think of doing.  Man, it has to hurt like hell when her clothes rub on any of those cactus spines. “Just take it easy and try not to move at all.”




Even her one word answer was pain filled. Johnny tried to think of a topic for conversation to pass the time and keep her mind on something else.


“Where do you live?”


“What?” she asked, slightly raising her head.


“Where abouts do you live? There weren’t any houses out where we just were.”


“Oh. . .no, we live on the outskirts of Carson; on the west side. We’ve been in the same house for fifteen years.”


“Do you have any kids?”


“No. . .well, not exactly. A poodle. . . Millie. She’s our baby. Oo-oooh,” she groaned again. “How much longer?”


So much for keeping her mind off the situation. Johnny looked out the window to search for familiar land marks, then glanced at his watch. “ ’Bout five minutes.”


“It’s gonna hurt to get these out, isn’t it?”


“Maybe not. Doctor Early’ll give you somethin’ to minimize the pain while he does the procedure.”


There was a brief pause before Cora spoke again. “Can’t I request a nurse or a lady doctor instead?”


Once again Johnny smiled. He knew exactly what she was getting at. “Don’t worry, he’s been a doctor for quite some time. He’s strictly business; won’t even pay attention to anything but gettin’ the cactus spines out.” He glanced out the window again. “Well, we’re pulling into the emergency entrance; won’t be long at all now.”


She lifted her head slightly as she looked at Johnny. “Are you going to come in with me?”


“Sure, for awhile. Sure.”


It was obvious his reply had put her more at ease.




Following alongside the stretcher, Johnny kept reassuring Cora that everything was going to be okay as the woman was wheeled into a treatment room. But when they got into the room and saw both Joe Early and Mike Morton waiting, Cora once again looked to the paramedic with questioning eyes.


“You’ll be fine,” he reinforced. He then went on to introduce both doctors to her. Keeping his promise as best he could, Johnny stayed by Cora’s side until she seemed more settled. When the time came to leave, he bent down to be near eye level with her, once again trying to put her at ease.


“Don’t worry. You’re in good hands, okay?” he said with a smile.  




Johnny stood up straight and headed for the door, addressing the doctors on his way out. “See you guys later.”




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