Techniques, Tunes and Trouble
By Audrey W.
As the two paramedics worked on the squad, Johnny was whistling It’s A Small World, unable to get the tune out of his head. He had taken a date to Disneyland the day before and, much to his dismay, the woman’s favorite ride was Small World. By the seventh time through, Gage figured he was going to be hearing the song in his head for the rest of his life. Much to Roy’s relief, Johnny paused in his whistling as Hank Stanley walked out of his office, a serious expression on his face.
“Uh oh?” Roy asked.
“Hey, Cap,” Johnny said, forcing a smile. “Everything all right?”
The captain nodded. “Yes, but I need to see you both in my office.”
The two paramedics exchanged glances and set their tools down on the roll around tool box nearby. They followed Hank into his office.
Captain Stanley motioned for Roy and Johnny to have a seat, but both men remained standing, anxious to know what was going on.
“Relax, it’s not bad news,” Stanley assured.
“What’s up, Cap?” Gage wondered.
“Well, you two are going to have a new trainee with you for awhile. He should be here soon.”
“Anyone we know?” Roy asked.
“I don’t know.” Hank leaned back in his chair and fiddled with a pen in his right hand. “I wasn’t given a name.”
“Huh. . .well, I hope whoever it is, he doesn’t come in with an attitude,” the younger paramedic remarked.
“Or she,” Roy interjected. “Don’t forget it could be a she.”
“As long as the person is ready to learn and willing to listen,” Gage said, “I don’t care what it is.”
“Well, if not, you two let me know and we’ll fix that.”
Johnny nodded. “Thanks, Cap.”
“Yeah, thanks,” Roy agreed.
“Sure thing. You two can go back to doing what you were until the trainee gets here. Then I want him or her shown around the place.”
“Got it.” The paramedics left, closing the office door behind them.
“So, a new trainee,” Johnny said, rubbing his chin in thought. “This could be fun.”
“As long as the person isn’t cocky like Ed Marlow was.”
“Yeah, he was somethin’ else. No one could be worse than that,” Johnny remarked. He began whistling Small World again when he glanced at the rear of the apparatus bay just in time to see someone approaching from the parking lot. His whistling slowly came to a stop. “Oh man,” Gage said under his breath.
“What?” Roy wondered.
“Melvin Meyers is here. That guy has the worst timing. Quick,’ Johnny said, laying down on the rolling board, “hand me a wrench so I can be busy under the squad.”
Roy grinned, handing his partner the tool. “Maybe the sooner you deal with him, the sooner he’ll leave. You really should be nicer, Johnny. The guy did save your life once.”
Johnny looked up from his position down on the board. “Yeah, and then he almost snuffed it out soon after.” Gage suddenly brightened as his foe got closer. Jumping up off the rolling board, he greeted Meyers. “Melvin! Hi!”
“Well, what brings you here?” the paramedic asked, his hands on his hips.
“Didn’t anyone tell you?” Melvin wondered, glancing from Johnny to Roy and back to Johnny again.
Both men shook their heads, puzzled expressions on their faces.
Meyers smiled. “I’m going to train with you two. I’m going to be a paramedic,” he answered proudly.
Johnny’s hands slowly slid off his hips, and his mouth dropped open in shock.
Kel Brackett looked up from the paperwork on his desk when Dixie walked into the room.
“I wonder how our new paramedic trainees will do today. What do we have, four new ones?”
“That’s what I’ve been told,” Kel answered. “The stations they got assigned to were 45, 36, 110 and 51.”
“Johnny and Roy, huh? You think they’re ready for another trainee?”
“I’m sure they are, Dix. They’ll do fine. It’s been a long time since Ed Marlow gave them such a hard time. They can’t get someone any more difficult to train than that.”
“Well,” she began as she sat down in a chair just in front of his desk, “if they do run into problems, I’m sure I’ll hear about it.”
Brackett nodded. He knew the paramedics had a lot of respect for his head nurse and tended to use Dixie as a sounding board between runs.
When no more of a reaction came from Johnny other than the open mouth, Roy could see an unsure expression coming over Meyers’ face. He quickly nudged his partner out of his stupor.
Johnny wasn’t sure what to say. “Uh. . .a paramedic?”
“Yeah, isn’t that great?”
“What made you decide on this?” Roy asked, trying to get the conversation on track.
Melvin gave his answer careful thought. He knew he couldn’t give them a completely honest answer. The truth was he had been certain that he would be recognized by some employees if he spent any amount of time at Rampart and they recalled he had been fooling around with an experiment in the lab at the time Gage had disappeared for awhile. But when he was taken into the ER after being in an automobile accident with John, he discovered that anyone on the main floor rarely had contact with the employees who worked down in the lab with him at one time, and no one outside of the lab paid much attention to him after so many months. He shrugged, giving Roy a partially honest answer. “Since I’ve seen you guys on the job more, I decided it would be rewarding to be a paramedic. To have the medical aspect added to the fire fighting and rescue.”
“You know, there’s a lot involved,” Gage offered, wondering if the fireman had given it enough thought.
“Yes, I know. They taught us that at Rampart.”
Johnny was surprised. “You’ve been going to Rampart?”
“I had to. . .that’s where the first part of the training is done.” Melvin shrugged. “Isn’t that where you started your training at?”
“Well, yeah,” Johnny answered. “But. . .” he looked to Roy for help.
“I think what Johnny means is that he’s wondering why we didn’t ever see you around the hospital. So this is kind of a surprise. . .a nice surprise,” he added. “Right, Johnny?”
“Yeah. . .yeah. . .nice.” Gage gave DeSoto a look like the senior paramedic was nuts. This was anything but nice in his eyes.
“Well, I was there,” Melvin said. “I don’t know why we didn’t run into each other. I mean, it’s not like I can make myself invisible or anything.”
Johnny got an alarmed look on his face as he recalled the experiment Melvin had tried that indeed made he and Melvin invisible for awhile. Neither Gage nor Meyers had talked about it since, but the mention of it now had Johnny wondering how much Melvin recalled.
Roy was caught off guard as well. DeSoto recalled his partner thinking he was invisible and had been surprised that Roy could indeed see him. Nah, Roy thought. Melvin’s just using that as an expression. A person can’t be invisible.
Captain Stanley came out of his office and saw the three men standing between the squad and the engine. “Well, what brings you this way. . .uh. . .Meyers, right?”
“He’s the paramedic trainee,” Johnny answered.
“John,” Melvin began, “if this is going to work out for us, there’s one thing we need to make clear.”
“When someone asks me a question, I get to answer myself.”
Hank and Roy smiled, as Gage frowned.
Captain Stanley folded his arms across his chest. “So, what made you decide to become a paramedic?”
Melvin glanced at the still frowning Johnny. “Him.” He motioned with his head. “I want to be more like John.”
Guilt washed over the dark-haired paramedic. As much as Melvin Meyers got on his nerves, the guy meant well. And he wasn’t always the cause of Gage’s problems.
Just some of the biggest ones I’ve ever had.
The grin on his regular partner’s face brought another frown.
Just wait till he spends more time with the guy.
Suddenly the tones sounded, sending the squad on a call for a woman trapped.
“Ready for your first run?” Johnny asked Melvin as Meyers got into the squad. The former chemist gave a wide grin.
“You bet! This beats the tights off Batman!”
Gage rolled his eyes. Oh swell.
When the paramedics and their trainee arrived on the scene at an apartment complex, there was no one in front of the building to greet them and only a few residents gathered at the pool since it was still early in the day. No one appeared to be aware of anyone needing help; they just gave the paramedics curious stares as the men passed by, heading towards the apartments.
Carrying their basic equipment, the three rescuers made their way up the outside steps that lead to the second floor. Luckily the address given to dispatch included an apartment number, so the men were able to get to the location of the victim without any assistance.
Johnny knocked on the door of apartment 217 and waited for someone to answer the door. After a few seconds without no response, he tried the knob and found that the door was locked. The men then jumped into action.
“Should I get a key from the manager?” Melvin wondered.
Johnny shook his head. “We can’t be sure there’s time for that.”
Roy was already peering into the livingroom window, which was the only one accessible from the walkway. “I don’t see anyone coming to the door. We’d better break the glass and get in there.”
Johnny and Melvin stood back as Roy used his helmet to shatter the glass. Once the window was broken, he took his helmet and cleared away some of the sharp edges that remained. He climbed in and quickly unlocked the door, letting the other two men inside.
All three men stopped in their tracks when they were met at the front end of the hallway by a much sunburned young woman crawling on her hands and knees.
The woman groaned when she saw the broken window. “Ooooohh. . .I wasn’t fast enough. I thought I heard glass breaking.”
“Wha. . .we got a call for a woman being trapped. . .” Johnny trailed off.
The lady sighed. “That’s me.”
“Uh. . .were you stuck?” Roy asked. “Are you hurt?”
Still on her hands and knees the woman nodded. “I couldn’t get outta bed. I had to tip out and land like this when you knocked. I can’t straighten out my legs.”
The three men quickly gathered around the young woman, setting their equipment down. Johnny instructed Meyers to get Rampart on the biophone while he and Roy gently helped the sunburned lady to lie down on her left side, her legs still bent.
“I’m John Gage, and this is my partner Roy DeSoto.” Johnny could see the hurt expression on Melvin’s face as the trainee talked to Brackett on the biophone. Better not leave him out. “And that’s Melvin Meyers.”
“I’m Carla. Carla Reece,” the woman said, wincing as Johnny examined her legs.
He noticed the pain filled expression. “Did you fall? Do you have any back pain or numbness?”
“No. It’s not that,” Carla said, shaking her head. “I sunburned my legs real bad yesterday. So I put this new lotion on them that a friend gave me. It’s kind of sticky.” She sighed, wondering if she was turning redder from embarrassment. “Anyway, I went to bed and I always sleep in the fetal position. Well, when I woke up this morning, I couldn’t stretch out my legs. It feels like the skin is gonna rip right off!”
“Ahhh. . .I see.” Johnny glanced at Roy, who was grinning. Their patient was in a spot, but it would be an easy fix.
“You have any other kind of lotion in here?”
“In the bathroom at the end of the hall. Near the sink.”
Roy got up and walked towards the bathroom, while Johnny had Melvin take Carla’s vitals. The dark-haired paramedic took over duty on the biophone.
DeSoto came back and kneeled down by their patient. He carefully squirted some of the hand lotion on the woman’s legs near her knees. Embarrassment took over when he realized he was going to be spreading the cream on Carla’s legs. Roy glanced up at his partner’s grinning face. “You want to do this?”
“No,” Johnny said, still smiling. “You’re doing just fine.”
Roy gave a ‘thanks a lot’ look to his partner, then awkwardly spread the lotion on her legs in the area of her knees, front and back. He then slowly straightened them out.
“Oh, that’s much better,” Carla said as she sat up. “I didn’t know that would work.”
Roy handed her the bottle of lotion. “Just keep your legs moist. I’d keep this handy by the bed in case they tighten up again overnight. But you should be okay in a day or so. . .till you peel.”
“I’m never sunbathing again as long as I live!” Carla said. “I’d rather look like a ghost!”
With everything checking out okay, Johnny, Roy and Melvin headed back to the station.
When they got to Station 51, Roy took Melvin into Captain Stanley’s office to show him how to fill out the log book. Once again whistling Small World Johnny headed for the dayroom to get a cup of coffee.
Chet looked up from reading the news paper when Gage came into the room.
“You’ve still got that stupid song in your head?”
“You’re whistling Small World again,” Marco explained.
Both firemen gave the paramedic a doubtful look. Neither believed Johnny wasn’t aware what tune he was whistling. Seeing the expressions on his shiftmates’ faces, Gage grinned.
“Just messin’ with ya. I can’t get that song off my mind. See if I ever take a date to Disneyland again.”
“Hey, Johnny,” Mike said as he leaned back in his chair. “Who’s the new trainee?”
Once again whistling, Johnny turned from pouring himself a cup of coffee.
“Uh. . .” He knew Chet would start in on him if the Irishman found out that Melvin Meyers was the trainee. But Gage also knew Chet would find out soon enough anyway. “Meyers,” Johnny said quickly, immediately taking a sip of coffee afterwards.
“Who?” Marco asked.
The paramedic sighed. “Melvin Meyers,” he replied, purposely keeping his eyes off Kelly.
The three men sat silent for a few seconds, then while Mike and Marco exchanged glances, Chet burst out laughing.
“You’re training Meyers to be a paramedic?”
“Yes, Chet. We are. Roy’s teaching him about the log book now.”
“Oh man. This is too good. Well, it’s like that song you’ve got going through your head. You know. . .it’s a small world after all.”
Just then Roy came into the room and headed to the counter to get himself some coffee.
“Where’s Melvin?” Johnny asked. “Stuck on an entry in the log book?”
Roy shook his head. “No, as a matter of fact he caught right on with the routine. He’s in the dorm room making up a bed for himself.” Noticing a frown on his partner’s face, Roy poured a cup of coffee, then addressed the younger man. “I don’t know why you’re so against Melvin Meyers training as a paramedic. He handled the call we just had with perfection.”
“That was an easy one, Roy,” Gage argued. “And all he had to do was call Rampart and take the victim’s vitals. You haven’t seen how easily Meyers can get someone into a spot by just being himself. Just wait, you’ll see.”
“I know he’s caused you some problems. And I’ll admit, there’s been a time or two I was apprehensive about him being around you. But we’ve never seen him do anything to try to cause you harm. It’s all been guilt by association, if anything.”
Johnny shut up as Meyers came into the room. The dark-haired paramedic forced a smile.
“You get your bed together okay?”
“Yes, I sure did. Roy said I could use his while I’m training.”
Johnny’s gaze snapped to his partner, who smiled and shrugged. “It’s only temporary.”
“So, how do you like it here at the station so far?” Marco asked Melvin.
“He hasn’t been here long enough to know,” Johnny replied, still giving a baffled look to Roy.
“John, you did it again.”
Gage’s eyes traveled to Meyers. “Sorry.”
“What’d you do?” Mike wondered.
“I answered for him. If this is going to work out, when someone asks him a question, he gets to answer for himself,” the paramedic answered, parroting what Melvin had said earlier.
Chet shook his head, grinning. This is gonna be great.
Suddenly Meyers had a hurt look on his face as he stared at Johnny’s coffee cup.
“What?” Johnny asked, looking down at his cup in his hands and back to the trainee.
“Where’s the lucky Batman cup I gave you? Didn’t you like it?”
“I. . .it’s. . .” Gage thought feverishly for a good excuse to use. “It’s at home for safe keeping.”
“Oh. . .” The hurt look didn’t go away. Melvin wasn’t buying it. Johnny sighed as he noticed the others giving him a look like he’d just punched his baby brother.
I knew it. I can’t wait till he’s out on his own.
The rest of the day went as expected, including the fact Gage couldn’t stop whistling the tune Small World when not busy on a run. Luckily the paramedics went on several rescue calls, giving Melvin plenty of experience in his training and Johnny something else to think about.
Meyers was catching on to the job quickly. It didn’t surprise Roy that he was. The fireman was what some would call a brainiac. The only problem was, he often lacked common sense and maturity.
It was time for the men of Station 51’s A-shift to turn in for the night, each man hoping they would get a decent amount of sleep. Johnny got under the covers, and looked at the bed beside him. It was empty as Melvin was still brushing his teeth in the other room. Soon the trainee came in and pulled back the covers on his bed. His back to Gage, he didn’t see the dark-haired paramedic roll his eyes at the Batman briefs Meyers had on with his white t-shirt.
Once in bed, Melvin lay on his side and smiled at Johnny.
“This is like camping out together.”
“Yeah, all seven of us, huh?” Gage said in a wry voice.
“What are you doing tomorrow after we get off?”
Johnny tried to think of anything he could. He didn’t want to get stuck with Melvin on his day off. It was enough he was having to spend almost every minute on duty with the guy.
“I’m. . .uh. . .I’m going to. . .uh. . .I’ll be real busy,” Gage finally spouted out. He cursed himself for his inability to lie.
Johnny turned onto his back and put his left arm across his eyes. “Whatever I can think of.” Working on getting this dumb song out of my head for one, he thought.
Meyers stared at the man across from him. Johnny obviously wanted to spend his day off alone. Maybe another time.
The firemen and paramedics lucked out with only one run to a house fire during the night, thus they were able to get a decent amount of sleep. When it was time to get off shift, Johnny sought out Melvin, figuring he had better let the guy spend the day with him so as not to hurt Meyers’ feelings. Johnny came into the locker room once again whistling Small World. Roy and the trainee were just getting changed into civies.
“There you are,” Johnny said, smiling. “Hey, I was wondering if you still wanted to hang out. . .figured maybe we could do some bowlin’ or somethin’.”
Melvin shook his head. “No thanks.”
“No?” The dark-haired paramedic couldn’t hide the surprise in his voice.
“Uh uh. I gave it more thought and I don’t think I could stand another day of you whistling that song.”
Johnny’s mouth dropped open in total shock. He wasn’t supposed to be the annoying one. Meyers was. The quirky fireman had turned the tables on the paramedic before and he just had done it again. Gage stammered, trying to reply to the latest comment. Roy was unable to stop the grin from showing on his face.
“See you next shift, John,” Melvin said as he headed for the door.
Johnny was still stammering on. As the trainee left the room, he gave up and simply said, “Yeah, see ya.” When Melvin was gone, Johnny addressed Roy.
“Do you believe that?”
“He’s got a point,” DeSoto snickered.
“He’s got a point,” Gage mimicked. “That’s it. That song has got to go!” Not bothering to change his clothes, he shoved the door to the apparatus bay open and headed for his Land Rover.
Roy quietly closed his own locker and shook his head. Next shift ought to be fun.
Johnny got into his Land Rover and backed out of the station when an advertisement for Disneyland came on the radio. A multitude of short clips of songs from the park played in the background. When the words, ‘it’s a world of laughter, a world of tears. . .’ could be heard, the dark-haired paramedic quickly changed the station to another that played popular music.
“Oh no ya don’t. You aren’t gonna get that song in my head any more than it already is,” he said to the radio. Johnny made a point of singing along with every tune that played between the station and his home.
“Surely another song has gotta get stuck in my head or at least take this one out.”
He decided that when he got home, the day was going to be spent listening to his favorite albums.
The following shift Gage came into the locker room all smiles, whistling the tune Take Me Out To The Ball Game. Mike and Marco were the only two already in the room, and both turned to face the paramedic.
“You got rid of that other song!” Marco said with a grin.
“Yeah, I was listening to my albums, trying to get a new song in my head, when I remembered baseball was on. So after watching the game all afternoon, this song took over instead.”
“Hey, that’s great,” Mike commented. “I don’t think we could’ve stood listening to that other song another shift.”
Johnny snorted as he opened his locker. “Yeah, I know what you mean.”
The three men glanced at the door leading from the apparatus bay as Roy and Melvin came in to get ready for duty. After exchanging greetings, Mike and Marco left, Johnny went back to getting changed. Roy could hear his partner whistling the baseball tune beside him.
“You got a new tune, huh?”
“Yep,” Gage said with a smug grin. “Just took an afternoon of watching some baseball.”
Melvin looked over from his locker farther down the line. “You saw that game, too? Wow, it’s a small world, isn’t it? I was doing the exact same thing as you.”
Johnny nodded as he fastened his trousers. “Yeah, small world.” As he grabbed for his shoes and socks he started whistling again.
Roy, Melvin and Johnny himself frowned at the tune that was coming from his lips. Small World was back on his mind. Gage sat on the edge of his locker and rested his chin on his palms, elbows on knees. “Oh no,” he groaned.
Shortly after roll call, the squad was toned out to a woman down. The address sounded familiar, but the three men weren’t sure of why until they arrived on the scene.
“Apartment 217. Now I remember,” Melvin said as he got out of the squad. “Carla.”
Johnny was opening the compartment doors as Roy came around the rear of the truck.
“Yeah, the sunburn,” Gage said.
Roy grabbed the biophone out of Johnny’s hand. “Well, if she needs lotion on her again, you can have the honors.”
Johnny snickered as he followed behind, carrying the drug box in case it was needed. Melvin ran through a checklist in his mind of what they needed to do first.
Let’s see, knock and if no one answers, try the door knob. If the door’s locked, break in unless we know it’s not an emergency.
Many of the people who had gawked at them when they were there before were once again watching them with curiosity as they headed to the steps.
When the men got up to the apartment, they saw that a big board was covering the window where they had broken it last shift. Roy knocked on the door and a muffled woman’s voice could be heard from inside yelling, “Come in!”
Roy opened the door and stepped inside, Johnny and Melvin right behind him. With no sign of anyone in the livingroom, they started to split up to search when they heard Carla yell from the kitchen.
Johnny’s mouth dropped open in shock what they found in the kitchen. Carla was sitting on the floor and leaning against the end wall. Three inch deep suds covered the ten foot long and four feet wide tile floor from one end to the other. More suds came up out of the sink and down to the floor like a snake. The sound of a dishwasher could be heard.
“Small world, isn’t it?” she said, turning red from embarrassment.
Small world. . .yeah. . . Johnny thought.
Roy surveyed the mess. “What happened?”
“I. . .uh. . .fell. . .in the suds.” Her voice was filled with pain. “I think I broke my ankle.”
The three rescuers started forward into the bubbles taking careful steps. Johnny slid a couple of times, but managed to stay upright. When they reached Carla, Roy placed the biophone on a counter and squatted down. “Which ankle?”
Having set the drug box on the counter near the biophone, Johnny did the honors of reaching into the suds and bringing up Carla’s ankle so that he could examine it.
“Yep, I’d say it’s fractured all right. But the sunburn looks better,” he grinned, trying to illicit a smile from the victim. It worked as planned.
"Melvin, hand me the trauma box," Roy directed. The trainee stepped back into the livingroom area to retrieve it.
“How’d all these suds get in here?” Johnny asked. “The dishwasher do this?”
Carla nodded. “I didn’t have any dishwasher soap. . .I only run the thing once in awhile. So I used laundry detergent instead. Guess I shouldn’t have done that.”
Roy nodded, looking around. “I’d say you’re right.”
Johnny picked up the kitchen telephone that was now wet from being buried in the bubbles. “Looks like your phone may need a little fixin’, too.”
Carla gave a slight grin. “I pulled it down to call for you guys.”
As soon as Melvin returned with the needed supplies, the paramedics got the girl ready to transport.
Johnny and Melvin rode in the ambulance non-code R with Carla while Roy followed behind in the squad. Although there wasn’t much Meyers would learn on the way to Rampart, Johnny and Roy figured he could at least get used to being one-on-one with victims.
Gage sat back and listened as Melvin and Carla talked. It wasn’t until all was quiet and they both were staring at him that Johnny realized he had been humming Small World. The dark-haired paramedic shifted his position uncomfortably. “Uh. . .sorry.”
I’m in here with two disaster magnets and I’m annoying *them*? Johnny thought. I’ve gotta get rid of this song.
Roy was waiting at Dixie’s desk when Johnny and Melvin came out of the treatment room after turning Carla over to the care of Doctor Morton. The senior paramedic had a list of supplies they needed and handed it to Meyers.
“Here. Another lesson in getting supplies refilled. It’ll help familiarize you with the names.”
As Melvin told Dixie what they needed, Johnny leaned against the wall next to the desk and watched. Suddenly an image flashed in his mind. It was of Melvin in black-framed glasses and a white lab coat. He was staring at Johnny in a strange way while standing in the corridor not far from Dixie’s desk. The look was almost as if he was studying Gage like a scientist would a lab rat.
The younger paramedic was brought out of his thoughts by Roy.
“Hey! Hey, you okay?”
“Hmmm? Yeah. . .I’m okay, why?”
“You were really out there. Melvin got the supplies and we’re ready to go.”
Johnny pushed away from the wall with his right shoulder. “Sure, let’s go.” He waved to the head nurse. “See ya, Dix.”
She gave Roy a quick look, but dismissed everything as okay when DeSoto shrugged and waved as he followed behind his partner and their trainee.
Johnny stared out the passenger window of the squad as they headed back to the station. He wasn’t sure why the image of Melvin popped in his mind back at Rampart. But it seemed like a very real memory.
But why just that little bit? And why was the image taking place at Rampart?
He knew he still had a gap in his life that he was unable to recall. Was this a part of it?
Gage decided to dismiss the brief experience as a fluke and not mention it to Roy or Melvin.
When they arrived at the station, the paramedics and their trainee went into the dayroom to get themselves each something to drink.
Later in the day, Meyers was playing Chess with Chet Kelly, while Roy sat on the couch across the room observing the two men from a distance. Johnny, Mike and Marco were taking turns playing ping pong in the rear of the apparatus bay.
Johnny whistled as he watched the other two swat the ball back and forth with their paddles.
“Hey, if you think whistling an annoying tune is going to get you a chance to play sooner, forget it,” Marco said.
Mike nodded in agreement. “If anything, it’ll get you a chance to play the game by yourself. Can’t you give it a rest? You’ve been whistling that same song all shift so far.” He shrugged. “I don’t know how much more anyone can take.”
“Didn’t you get it out of your mind once?”
“Yeah, but I told you guys, Melvin got it back in my head.”
Mike shrugged. “Well, think of a way to get it back out.”
“Start singin’ a tune,” Gage suggested. “Maybe it’ll help.”
When Mike started singing Row, Row Your Boat, Johnny rolled his eyes. Marco joined in and sang it starting one verse later.
“Oh, what’ve I got to lose.” The paramedic joined in a verse later than Marco. Getting carried away, they kept it up until Mike noticed Captain Stanley standing with his arms folded across his chest, a disgusted expression on his face. Stoker was the first to stop, followed by Marco and Johnny as they turned to see what Mike was looking at.
“Oh, hi, Cap,” Gage said.
“What are you guys doing? Trying to drive us all outta here?”
“We were trying to help Johnny get Small World out of his head,” Marco said with a smile.
“Yeah, Cap, he’s driving us crazy.”
“That’s fine, but Row, Row, Row Your Boat? In succession?”
“Sorry, it was my idea.”
Hank sighed after Mike admitted starting the song. “I don’t mind you helping John, but please think of another song. That one drives me crazy.”
“We will,” the three men promised.
As the captain turned and headed back to his office, they could hear him humming Row, Row, Row Your Boat. He stopped walking just past the back end of the squad, then threw his arms up in the air in surrender. “Great, this is just great. Now I’ve got that song stuck in my head.” Much to their relief he continued on to his office and shut the door.
“See you guys later,” Johnny said, heading for the dorm. “I don’t wanna be around if he ends up hummin’ that song for the next hour.” He hurried off, once again whistling Small World.
It was just before dinner when the squad got a call for a man down in an alley. As the paramedics approached the location in their truck, Johnny glanced at the surrounding abandoned warehouses. He wasn’t sure why, but somehow the buildings looked very familiar to him.
Maybe we’ve had calls here before. Man, it sure *is* a small world, when ya think about it.
“There’s a patrol car,” Roy said as they turned in behind one of the buildings. “This must be it.”
He stopped the squad not far off the main street. The three men got out and gathered their gear together before meeting up with the police officer on the scene.
“You guys got here in good time.”
“Not much traffic,” Roy commented. “I think everyone must be eating dinner.”
“Yeah, everyone but us,” Melvin mumbled.
Johnny was too involved looking around to pay attention to what was being said. He was having a definite dejavu’. With the old tin trash cans and dilapidated structures in and lining the alley, Gage had a feeling it wasn’t his first time being there. He couldn’t place a rescue at the location before. Was it another place like this?
“The guy is this way,” the officer said, motioning for them to follow. “I was patrolling the area when I saw two young guys run out from the alley. I just had a gut feeling something had happened, so I decided to investigate. Sure enough,” he explained as he pointed at the bruised, bleeding and filthy homeless man near where they now stood just inside a building. The man was unconscious. “We’ve got an APB out on the two guys, but I’d be surprised if we find them.”
Roy nodded as he, Johnny and Melvin knelt down around the victim.
“Makes you wonder why anyone would go after a guy like this,” the officer said. “It’s not like he’s got any belongings to take.”
“Sometimes maybe it’s better we don’t understand,” Roy commented.
Johnny set up the biophone, glancing around the dim interior of the building at the fallen concrete and wood strewn about. Once he made contact with Rampart, he watched Meyers carefully wrap a sterile bandage over one of the more severe gashes on the victim’s right arm.
Gage was taken aback by the sudden vision that raced through his mind. He could see Melvin in the same building walking around with black-framed glasses on, searching for something. The paramedic could almost hear the trainee’s voice utter the words, ‘Where are you? You may as well give up now…I’m not leaving till I find you!’ Johnny shuddered, but he wasn’t sure why.
Man, maybe this is something to do with when he found me in that fire awhile back. Maybe I wasn’t completely unconscious after all.
As the victim came around, he became combative and the paramedics had to restrain him. Johnny forgot about the strange vision in his mind as the injured man became his only focus.
When they had the victim ready to transport, Roy turned to his partner. “You wanna ride in with him?”
Gage shook his head. “Nah, I’ll bring in the squad. You and Melvin can go ahead.”
Roy nodded and stepped over near Meyers. “Grab the drug box and biophone. I’ll get the trauma box.”
“Okay. Hey, is Johnny okay?”
“He seems kind of despondent.”
DeSoto shrugged. “Cases like this always leave us feeling kind of down. It’s hard to believe someone would do this for no apparent reason.”
Melvin nodded slightly in understanding, then after taking a quick glance at Johnny talking to the officer, followed behind Roy and the stretcher with the victim.
“I hope you guys get a hold of whoever did this to the poor man,” Johnny said to the policeman as they headed out of the warehouse to the squad. Suddenly the dark-haired paramedic was startled when a stray cat jumped out at them from one of the trash cans just outside the building. Both men jumped back. Gage lost his balance and instinctively reached out for support on another trash container, only to realize too late that it was tipping over from the force of his weight. When all was done, Johnny lay on the pavement surrounded by old garbage and tin trash cans. The policeman was standing nearby, already reaching out to help the hapless paramedic to his feet.
Johnny brushed off his trousers and blue shirt while still sitting on the ground, then waved off the offer for help in getting up. “Yeah, just disgusted.” Once on his feet, he brushed off the seat of his pants. “I’d better get goin’.”
“Okay. I’ll be checking on the guy to see how he’s doing so we can get a report from him.”
Johnny nodded in approval, then trotted to the squad. He quickly climbed in and drove out of the alley, lights and siren going as he tried to catch up to the ambulance. While traveling down the street, his mind wandered to the alley and the cat as he was hit with another dejavu’.
What *is* it about that place. . .? It’s like this all happened before. . .but the victim wasn’t there. . .and neither was. . .Roy. . .
Johnny shook his head.
I must be goin’ nuts. And why not? Melvin’s back in my life.
He subconsciously whistled Small World as he continued on to Rampart.
Gage met up with Roy and Meyers as they were coming out of the treatment room after turning the victim over to Doctor Brackett.
“What took you so long?” Roy asked.
“I . . . uh. . .I had a run in with a cat,” Johnny said, rubbing his own lower back. It just dawned on him that he was a bit sore from the fall he took. He’d been too lost in thought and concerned with getting to Rampart to notice. “Did that place seem a little familiar to you?”
DeSoto shook his head. “Not really. Should it?”
The younger man frowned. “I was just wonderin’.” He glanced at Melvin, then shrugged it off. Meyers didn’t seem to think anything of it either. “We need some supplies.”
Melvin Meyers watched as Johnny got the supplies from a nurse momentarily filling in at Dixie’s desk. The head nurse was in with Brackett and the man the paramedics had brought in. The trainee was glad he was able to hide the nervousness inside when Johnny mentioned the abandoned warehouse seeming familiar. If the dark-haired paramedic figured out that Melvin had abducted him and taken him there to shrink him, Meyers knew his life of freedom would be over. That is if Gage could convince anyone the story was true.
When Johnny had all the supplies in hand, Roy motioned for the other two to follow him.
Gage fell in step behind his partner, saying over his shoulder, “C’mon, Bob.”
All three men stopped in their tracks. Roy turned around and gave Johnny a bizarre look, while Melvin stood puzzled as how to react. Johnny glanced from one man to the other and shrugged. “I don’t know where that came from.”
Meyers decided to play it as innocently as possible. Johnny didn’t have a clue. . .yet.
“Maybe you were thinking of Bob Bellingham. Has he filled in for Roy before?”
“Yeah, he has once or twice. . .maybe that’s where it’s from.”
“That makes sense,” Roy commented. “I thought you lost it there for a minute.”
Johnny grinned slightly. “You and me both.”
The three men headed for the exit doors leading to the squad outside.
After grabbing a bite to eat, Melvin Meyers sat on the couch in the dayroom, lost in thought. When he was assigned to train as a paramedic, he had been excited. And it seemed as though the past with him trying to gain fame at Gage’s expense was going to stay there. But the trainee hadn’t counted on Johnny getting part of the memory back that he’d lost. He watched as Gage got up from the table and headed to the apparatus bay rubbing his temples.
I’ve gotta do something. If he remembers it all, I’m history. But what can I do to stop him from recalling what happened? Meyers rubbed his chin in thought. I could ask to train somewhere else. . .but that might bring on suspicion. He would have to think of a way. . .