The Picture

By Audrey W.




“What are you doing?” Roy DeSoto asked his partner when he found him posing with various facial expressions in front of the mirror over the locker room sinks.


It was time for lights out at Station 51 and the two paramedics were in the process of getting ready for bed after having returned from a late night rescue. Or at least Roy thought that’s what John Gage had been doing. Now he wasn’t so sure.


“I’m tryin’ to see how I should look tomorrow,” stated the shirtless younger man. “You know. . .when I renew my driver’s license.”


“Hey, that’s right. Tomorrow’s the day. Well, a picture without a shirt is only going to help you if a female officer stops you some time. I don’t think it’ll get you out of any tickets with the guys.”


Roy walked out of the room with a grin, while Gage wore an annoyed look, one he certainly wouldn’t want on his license.


“Oh that's hilarious. You  know you're a regular comedian. . .” 


Roy glanced over his shoulder with a smile still on his face. John rolled his eyes, then faced the mirror one last time, now with an impassive expression.


Nah. . .not that either. . .




The following morning, Gage was back in front of the mirror, trying out various grins, from barely noticeable to wide.


Roy sat on the bench in front of their lockers watching when Chet and Marco walked in from the adjoining dorm room. John spun around, immediately trying to act as if he hadn’t been doing anything but standing around.


However, he hadn’t moved fast enough.  


“Practicing for a hot date tonight?” Chet wondered. “I think I’d go with a more serious look, myself.”


“I don’t have a date tonight.”


Roy shook his head. When was Johnny ever going to learn that the less ammunition he offered to Chet, the better off he’d be?  Sometimes he was his own worst ‘enemy’.


 “I think I might’ve just thanked him for the suggestion and left it at that.”


“So what are you doing?” Marco asked as he sat down beside Roy.


Gage looked at the two men on the bench, one obviously wondering how he was going to get out of the situation without more teasing, the other sincerely waiting for an answer. He shifted his attention to the mustached fireman, who was standing with his arms folded across his chest as he waited for the explanation as well.


“So?” Chet prodded.


“Sooo. . .look, if ya gotta know, I’m gettin’ my driver’s license renewed today.  I just wanna see what looks best for a picture, that’s all,” he shrugged.


“You’ve got to be kidding me.”


Chet looked at Roy, who immediately spoke out with, “He’s not. He’s been at it since yesterday.”


With his attention back on Gage, the curly haired fireman screwed up his face in puzzlement.


Why? I mean it’s a driver’s license. What’s the big deal?”


“The big deal is, what if I lose it someday? And a hot chic finds it or somethin’? I don’t want her thinkin’ it’s not worth trackin’ me down to give it back. I don’t want a girl thinkin’ ‘man, I wouldn’t wanna meet this guy’. No siree.”


“I don’t think you have to worry,” Roy offered. “Most people hate their pictures on their licenses and I really doubt anyone’s going to hold it against you if it isn’t the best shot of you.”


Chet nodded in agreement. “Yeah, who ever looks good in one of those pictures?”


John pulled his wallet from his back pant pocket, then opened it up. He pulled out his about to expire license and handed it to Chet.


The fireman took a quick glance, then handed it back with, “It figures.” He looked at Roy and Marco. “His actually looks pretty good. . .for Gage,” he quickly added when the two raised their eyebrows in surprise.


“Why don’t you just do the same thing you did before?”


John stared down at the picture ID still in his right hand. “Ya know, I was a few years younger then, Marco. I’m not gonna get the same results,” he stated as he brought his gaze upward.


Roy rolled his eyes while Chet and Marco both shook their heads. Sometimes figuring John Gage out was a science in itself they each thought.




The following shift, John walked into the dayroom a few minutes before roll call, where some of the others from the crew were gathered. Captain Stanley was in the office with the captain from C-shift, where the latter was discussing a three-alarm call he and his men had been out on overnight.


“So, how did the driver’s license thing go?” Roy asked from where he stood against the counter near the stove. He figured it was better he bring it up than the others.




“The picture,” Marco reminded.


Seated at the table with the rest of the engine crew and a few lingering members of C-shift, Mike Stoker remained quiet, not sure what either man was talking about. He hadn’t been let in on the issue, neither had the other shift.


“Oh that.”


Chet looked disbelievingly at the others, then to Gage. “Yeah, that. You were so worried about it, did it go okay?”


John walked over to the stove and poured himself a cup of coffee. He turned to face the table as he stood beside Roy.


“Man, did it ever. Turns out, I didn’t need to worry at all. Not__ at__ all. Not only did my picture come out good, but beforehand the girl taking it said it couldn’t possibly be a bad one! She said I have the best space between a nose and lips she’s ever seen. An' ya know she's gotta see plenty with her job. In fact, she called it ‘cute’.” He ignored the eye rolls and continued with, “Then when I smiled for the picture, she said my grin was sweet. She was pretty cute herself an’ I noticed she wasn’t wearing a ring. So I thought, ‘hey, this chic digs me. Maybe I should ask her out’. So I did.” He took a sip of his hot beverage, then flashed a wide lopsided grin. “We’re gonna go to a movie Saturday night.”


“Roll call!” Came Captain Stanley’s voice from the apparatus bay, interrupting the conversation.  


John set his cup on the counter, then headed for the doorway that led to the other room, still looking very happy.


As they followed, Chet grumbled to Roy, “The best space between a nose and lips ever?  Who pays attention to that? I mean, is that really even on anyone’s list?”


Roy shrugged. “Apparently Johnny met someone who’s as hard to figure out sometimes as he is.”


Chet put a finger tip on the bushy mustache that covered his own space above his upper lip as he walked behind Roy.


I wonder if I shaved this off, mine would qualify for second?


However, he’d never find out. Each time he put a razor up to his mustache, he just couldn’t do it. Best or not, the look was going to have to do for his next driver’s license picture.      





This was inspired when I recently had to get an ID renewed, and my husband and I talked about how no one is usually happy with their picture. Also, years ago Jen B once brought up the fact ‘Johnny’ has a cute space above his upper lip and I had to agree! :o)



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