That Sounds Familiar
By Audrey W.
Seated at an outdoor table within the cafeteria at Rampart Hospital, burgers in their hands, John Gage and Roy DeSoto both looked at their handie talkie nearby when it squawked tones to get their attention. Roy listened with a look of discouragement, while his partner wore one of disbelief. They’d just sat down to eat a lunch that was already late in the afternoon, and now their delayed meal was not going to happen after all.
But as soon as a new female dispatcher’s voice came over the speaker, that interrupted meal wasn’t the only thing John couldn’t believe. Though it had been a surprise earlier to them both to even have a female in that role, there apparently was more to ‘the story’.
I know that voice! He thought to himself, having finally realized it. But from where?
He started to run faces of the young women he’d recently dated through his mind as he and his partner listened to the information being provided. They were being dispatched out for a man down at a location where they’d already had three not really necessary calls in just a few shifts.
As soon as the dispatcher completed the call, Roy picked up the HT and pressed the transmit button.
“Squad 51, 10-4.” He then looked at Gage. “Let’s go.”
John quickly took a couple of bites from his burger and a swig of milk before joining Roy, who was already in motion, out of the cafeteria area.
As they hurried down one of the corridors, John’s face registered shock when it finally hit him.
“I know whose voice that was!”
“The dispatcher! The one over the radio! It’s Gloria!”
“Trulove. Gloria Trulove!”
Now it was Roy’s turn to look surprised.
“Are you sure?”
“Of course I’m sure, Roy! C’mon, man. I’d know that voice anywhere!”
“If I remember right, there were three Miss Trulove voices. . .maybe four.”
Gloria Trulove was a woman. . .or a number of women. . . who’d worked for a credit card company John had had problems with when his credit card bill was mistakenly inflated a couple of years earlier. . .twice. . .before he was able to go down to the place in person and get it fixed. He’d asked that Miss Trulove out, but she’d turned him down once she discovered he only spent $8.48 for dinner on a previous date.
This Gloria person was the last girl his partner needed to get hung up on now.
“That’s true. But this was the one that stood out the most.”
As they reached their squad that was parked just outside the ER automatic doors, Roy just shook his head. He hurried around to the driver’s side while his still preoccupied partner climbed in on the passenger side.
Just as the men had expected, the man down call was questionable. Every time the forty-year-old man had to chores do around the house that his wife nagged him about, he swore he’d suffered one injury or another and had to stop.
The first time it was a back pain, the second a fractured foot that wasn’t really injured at all. The third was a sore shoulder he’d sworn he’d separated, but in reality hadn’t. Now this fourth claim was for a supposed concussion. But there was no sign of trauma to his head at all, though he claimed a large glass jar containing spare nuts, bolts and nails fell off a shelf and hit him on the head before shattering on the cement floor. His further claims of dizziness meant he’d have to be taken to Rampart via ambulance as a precaution.
Roy rode along with the familiar patient while John followed behind in the squad, his mind back on Gloria in Dispatch.
Man, I’ve gotta find a way to meet this Gloria in person. Surely two of ‘um can’t turn me down. . .
“Now just listen a minute, Roy,” John said as his partner brought the squad to a stop after backing it in to the apparatus bay. The paramedics had left their patient in the care of Doctor Early at the hospital and returned to Station 51.
“I have been, since we left Rampart. I listened while we picked up these burgers and fries we’re about to eat as soon as we get to the table. I told you, I don’t think ‘Gloria’ is going to appreciate hearing from you again if you try to look her up.”
He grabbed the white paper bag containing their fast food meals that had been on the seat between them, then climbed out as Gage exited from the other door. The latter came around the front of the rescue squad to join him before both headed for the dayroom table in the kitchen area.
John got out two plates for them while Roy set the bag on the table, then got the ketchup out of the refrigerator, as well as a carton of milk.
Soon both men were seated with their meals in front of them, a glass of milk for each near their plates.
Gage took a bite of his burger, then shoved the partially chewed food against the inside of his left cheek as he said, “What I’ve been tryin’ to tell ya, Roy, is that the Gloria Trulove I asked out who turned me down is not the one I heard from Dispatch. It’s not that Gloria at all.”
He shook his head before taking another bite.
“Is it the Gloria Chet said had a voice that was soft and low, like she just ate a pound of cocoa butter, or something like that?”
“What? No. . .no. . .that must’ve been Gloria number three, the one he talked to on the phone here.”
Roy nodded, then stated, “Well, Gloria number two had an accent and you said she sounded older, so it can’t be her.”
“That’s right. It’s the first Gloria Trulove. The first and what should’ve been the only Gloria Trulove in my life.”
“I don’t know,” Roy warily said. “I still don’t think she’s the girl for you.”
“Ah, c’mon, Roy. It’s February eleventh, nearly Valentines Day! It’s gotta be a sign after all this time. . .like cupid’s arrow.”
“How do you figure that?”
“Think about it. Almost Valentines Day, Trulove comes back into my life. . .true love. . .get it?”
Roy found himself once again rolling his eyes. He got it all right. But he didn’t think Gage was going to get anywhere with Gloria. . or what ever name she went by at the current job.
John took a drink of his milk. “A pound of cocoa butter? He actually said that?”
Well, at least some of what Roy had said sunk in.
Suddenly their meal was once again interrupted by the klaxons and Dispatch. ‘Gloria’ sent them out on another run, this time for a difficult breathing situation.
The female voice over the loud speaker had gotten the rest of the crew at Station 51 talking throughout their spare time during the day as well. Though they didn’t know who she was, just the fact it was a lady in the job of what had solely been a man’s to this point had them pondering a few things.
“It’s sure gonna make things interesting,” Chet Kelly commented from where he stood near the engine in the apparatus bay, a dust rag in hand. He was helping his crewmates, minus Captain Stanley, wipe down the large vehicle after returning from a junk yard fire.
“I wonder if she’ll do the morning wake-up calls, too,” Marco added, also a rag in hand.
Mike Stoker paused where he’d been polishing the front bumper and peeked around at the two on the driver’s side. “That’ll get everyone moving.”
“Yeah,” Chet snickered. “I can see the guys jumping out of bed now. Only to remember afterward, it’s only a voice filling the room.”
When a returning Squad 51 came into view, the men watched as Roy backed it into the bay next to them. Once stopped, the paramedics climbed out. Roy came around the front end to join Gage and the others between the two trucks.
“So what do you guys think of having a female dispatcher?”
“Don’t ask,” Roy half mumbled.
John glanced at him with a sly crooked grin, then looked at the others.
“I think it’s kinda far out.”
“You know what I’m wondering?” Marco asked, not really expecting a response. “If she looks anything like she sounds.”
John rocked on his feet, a smug expression on his face now. “Well, it just so happens I’ll be able to let you all know that before long.”
“You don’t know that,” Roy reminded him.
“I will. . .I will.”
The others all exchanged puzzled glances.
“Don’t tell me you’re gonna ask her out!” Chet said, disbelief in his voice. “C’mon, Gage. She’s probably outta your league.”
“Look, I already know ‘er. Sorta anyway. We’ve talked on the phone before.”
The others looked on in disbelief as Mike challenged, “You have? When?”
“Yeah, spill, Johnny.” Chet stepped over to him until they were face to face. “Now.”
Gage shrugged. “Gloria Trulove.”
“The computer lady from a couple of years ago?”
He nodded in response to Marco’s question.
“Wait a minute. Gloria already turned you down,” Chet reminded. “When you went down to the credit card place to straighten everything out and she discovered you’re . . .” this time he shrugged. There was no other way to say it. “Cheap.”
“That was the last Gloria, Chet. This is the first.”
“Who was the second?”
John looked at Marco, then shook his head before addressing his partner.
“Roy, I have connections at headquarters. I’ll meet Gloria Trulove. I’ve just gotta make a couple of phone calls,” he shrugged.
“I still think you should leave well enough alone. You don’t even know if she’s single.”
“Only one way to find out.”
Roy watched as he headed around the front of the engine, toward the dorm, where he’d have more privacy on the phone.
“I know one thing for sure,” Chet said as he watched John leave as well.
“If she was the Gloria Trulove that sounded like she just ate a pound of cocoa butter, he wouldn’t stand a chance.”
Roy glanced at him, not sure he wanted to hear more.
“I’d beat ‘um to the punch!”
Roy shook his head as he turned to go to the dayroom.
They’re *both* delusional. . .
The next duty day fell on the 15th of February. Roy hadn’t heard from John since they’d gotten off duty on the morning of the 12th. The bachelor had gotten in touch with his ‘connection’ at headquarters late on the 11th, as he said he would, and had been rehearsing what he was going to say to Miss Trulove . . .who was actually named Brandy Hodges. His plan was to ask her out for Valentine’s Day the day prior to create a ‘special opportunity’.
So much for ‘true love’ and ‘cupid’, Roy had thought once her real name was revealed. Now he wondered how it went for Gage.
With John pulling into the parking lot behind the station as he got out of his Porche, Roy figured he was about to find out. He stood by the back of his car while the other parked beside it.
Gage seemed happy enough, even had a bounce in his step as he came around from the driver’s side of his white Land Rover. Before Roy could ask him anything, he instead started the conversation with, “Good mornin’! How was your Valentine’s Day?”
“It was nice.”
“Did you and Joanne do anything special?”
The two civilian clad paramedics started for the open rear door that led to the apparatus bay as Roy answered, “We got a sitter for the kids and went out for dinner. But I want to know about you. How did your date go with Glor-- er, Brandy?”
The younger man frowned. With a sigh, he answered, “I was kinda hoping you wouldn’t ask so soon. But if you must know, it didn’t.”
“No? What happened? Your connection fall through?”
Gage shook his head. “Nope. My connection had nothin’ to do with it.” He looked at his partner as the two reached the door to the locker room. “She quit,” he shrugged.
“That’s right. Apparently I wasn’t the only fireman interested in ‘er who had connections. Five of the guys beat me to it. Askin’ her out, that is. Word is, she told the others she doesn’t date men associated with where she’s workin’ and prefers to be anonymous on the job. So she already went back to work with another credit card company.”
He scowled when he saw an already-in-uniform Chet come around the back end of their squad and head toward them. The look didn’t escape Roy.
“Chet? Chet beat you to it?”
But the other didn’t answer him directly. Instead he addressed the new arrival.
“You had to try to meet Brandy. . .”
Roy shook his head. It was going to be a long shift if the two were at odds over this Brandy girl.
“So? So? Is that all you can say? I mean, ya aren’t even gonna try to deny it?”
Chet looked at Roy for help interpreting his partner’s thinking, but the senior paramedic appeared as baffled as he was. He also seemed determined to stay out of it.
“John, why would I deny it if it’s true?”
Gage’s lower jaw dropped, his mouth open in wonder.
“Oh man. I don’t believe this. You knew I was gonna ask ‘er out, Chet! Why? Why would you try for the same girl?”
The curly haired fireman’s face brightened. He had it figured out.
“Oh, I get it. You thought I was trying to meet her to ask her out on a date.”
“Why else would you?”
“I wasn’t interested in her per say. I just wanted to see if she could give me the name and phone number of the Gloria Trulove with the soft low cocoa butter voice. She said ‘no’. Geez, you’d think by sharing a name they’d know each other a little better,” he said with a shake of his head.
Chet turned and went back toward the rear of the squad, where he soon disappeared from view on his way to the dayroom.
John glanced at his partner.
“Do you believe that?”
“Considering the players? Yes, I do.”
The younger man was about to ask him to clarify what that statement meant, when Roy quickly blurted out, “Well, at least you learned one thing from all this.”
“You mean the fact that Chet’s a rat?” He remarked as he pushed open the swinging door to the locker room.
DeSoto followed him in and the two stepped up to their respective lockers beside each other.
“You haven’t answered me yet.”
“Well, I guess what you said,” Roy agreed. “But more importantly, that ‘true love’ isn’t always where you expect it to be.”
Gage rolled his eyes as he unbuttoned his yellow plaid shirt. “Ha__ha__ha__”
This was inspired by the picture.
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