The guys don’t belong to me, just having fun...this features characters from the episode Grateful
By Audrey W.
Thanksgiving Day, nineteen seventy something. . .
Johnny and Roy climbed out of the squad after returning from a run. As Gage came around the front of the vehicle, he and DeSoto were met by Captain Stanley.
“How’d it go?”
“Okaaaayy...” Johnny said, eyeing the captain suspiciously. It wasn’t like him to greet them like this, unless something was up. He glanced at his partner and could tell he felt the same uneasiness.
Noticing the odd expressions on the paramedics’ faces, Hank Stanley slapped and rubbed his hands together in anticipation. “Well, now that that’s out of the way. . .”
“Cap, what’s up?”
“Yeah, you aren’t acting like yourself,” Roy added.
The captain scoffed at the comments. “Guys,” he began as he held his arms out in an ‘I’m not hiding anything’ gesture. Seeing that neither man was buying the act, he sighed. “Okay. You two remember Carter and Amy Merkle?”
“Merkle. . .” Johnny repeated, rubbing his chin in thought.
“The trout,” Roy said, frowning.
Johnny looked at him, puzzled. Then it dawned on the younger man what his partner was referring to. “Oh man. Not--” his pained expression quickly turned to one of imitation glee. “Amy!”
Captain Stanley turned around to see the woman standing in the doorway of the dayroom.
“Hi, John!” She said, rushing over and giving him a hug. She looked at Roy, letting go of Johnny, and gave the other man a hug. “It’s good to see you, too, Ray.”
Gage shook his head. The woman never could get his partner’s name right. “Uh. . .it’s Roy. His name’s Roy.”
“Oh, I’m sorry,” Amy said, sheepishly grinning. “Well, c’mon in and join us!” She said taking Johnny by the arm and leading him away. The dark-haired man gave a pleading look to the captain and Roy.
As Gage disappeared into the dayroom, DeSoto stepped closer to Hank. “Cap, what’re they doing here?”
Stanley shrugged. “They showed up with a Thanksgiving dinner for us. I couldn’t say no.”
“But Joanne is bringing stuff over for us later.”
“I know, I know. . .can you call her up and tell her our plans have changed?”
“Sure,” Roy said lightly. “But do we really wanta eat what Amy cooks?”
“No, but I don’t think we stand a chance in hell of getting out of it.”
The two men headed into the dayroom in defeat.
“Okay, here it comes,” Carter Merkle said as he carried some of the food to the table.
“You sure we can’t help you?” Captain Stanley asked.
“No, no.” He shook his head. “This is our special treat to you all. You guys just sit back, relax, and enjoy being waited on.”
The men of A-shift glanced at one another, wondering what they did wrong to deserve another meal by Amy and what exactly they were in for. None were surprised when over-done sweet potatoes, dried out dressing, and very chunky looking mashed potatoes were set in front of them. No one made a move, hoping somehow the Merkles and their dinner would disappear.
When he noticed Carter staring at them, Hank spoke up. “Why don’t you start the food going around, John?”
“Sure. You’ve always got the heartiest appetite. So start loading your plate up with food, then pass the stuff on.”
Gage shot the captain a ‘do I have to?’ look, then reached for the dish of sweet potatoes, when the look he got in return told him ‘yes.’
“Yum, this looks good,” he lied. He started to dish them out onto his plate, but the marshmallow topping was gooey and left a stringy trail from the bowl to his plate. “Cap, do we hav--?”
“Yeah, we do.”
The paramedic frowned. He was hungry, but had a feeling they’d all be vying for a spot on one of the toilets after dinner started to digest.
While the men passed around the side dishes, a basket of rolls was placed on the table. They were a light golden brown and very smooth in appearance.
“Now, those look good,” Chet commented as he saw Gage reach for the basket. His look turned to one of dismay when the paramedic frowned and set the roll on his own plate, making a clanking noise. Johnny noticed the others staring and shrugged. “They’re a little . . .uh. . .firm.”
“Well, maybe the turkey’ll be--” Roy stopped when he saw Amy setting a well-done and very dry looking bird on the table.
“Here, let me carve it,” Carter said, crowding in between Mike and Hank. The two quickly scooted their chairs in opposite directions, each with the same thought in mind. If he slips with that knife. . .
The crew’s jaws dropped in horror as the dry stringy meat was sliced off the turkey, falling onto the platter under it.
“You boys want some gravy?” Amy asked, placing a small white ceramic pitcher between Johnny and Roy. “It’s my own special recipe.” She looked down at Roy. “Try some, Ray.”
“Uhm. . .it’s Roy.”
The two paramedics looked in the pitcher. It was a gray colored thick fluid substance. When he glanced up, Roy saw the engine crew watching, waiting for word on the gravy. The blond shook his head slightly.
Marco looked down at the disaster of food already on his plate. He longed for the big dinner his mom, grandmother and sisters prepared every year. If he lived through this meal, he planned on making sure he would be off during any holiday that involved a feast. No telling what the Merkles would bring the next time.
Once each fireman had some of everything on his plate, Amy stood near the table smiling. “Okay, who’s going to say a prayer?”
Six minds thought of the same thing: ‘a prayer we survive this meal.’
“John, how about you?” She asked. “Or maybe Ray would like to.”
Giving up on his name being correct, DeSoto smiled politely. “Sure. But aren’t you going to eat, too?”
“Oh no. This is all for you boys. We’ll grab something to eat later.”
“Of course,” Chet mumbled, as Roy nodded and began to say grace.
After dinner, Carter and Amy Merkle left the station and headed for Rampart General Hospital. They had a few pumpkin pies they wanted to deliver to the ER staff there.
The crew of A-shift stood around the dayroom, relieved to be rid of their visitors. Roy stared at two black-tinged crusted pumpkin pies on the table.
“Cap, we aren’t actually going to eat those, are we?”
“I hope not,” Chet said, poking one of the pies with his finger. “It feels like a sponge.”
Johnny grimaced. “Oh man, as if they weren’t bad enough already. You had to stick your finger in one?”
“I wanna know what we’re gonna do with all the left overs,” Mike put in. “Give them to Henry?”
“I doubt Henry would eat ‘em,” Gage snorted. “I can’t believe we actually got some of that food to stay down.”
“Me either,” Marco chimed in, groaning.
“So, do we warn Dixie and the others that the Merkles are on the way?”
Johnny looked at his partner in shock. “And ruin the surprise? No way, man. Besides, they’ve got nothing to worry about.”
“What do you mean?”
“They’re already in a hospital. Just the place a person should be after eating a Thanksgiving meal cooked by Amy.”
Thanks to Jill H. for the idea, Wanda H. for the title and thanks to Kenda for the beta read!
And Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!