By Audrey W.
Chet wandered into the dayroom and plopped at the table across from Johnny. When the paramedic didn’t look up from the newspaper he was reading, Kelly pulled the Chinese Finger Trap he had bought at a dime store the day before out of his pocket and carefully turned it over a few times as if examining the item.
“Yep, these things are sure tricky,” Chet said, making sure Gage would hear.
Johnny glanced up to see what the fireman was referring to. “What. . .that little thing?” He snorted. “Chet, that’s a kid’s toy. It doesn’t really work.”
“I bet you can’t get it off in less than five minutes.”
“Yes, I can.”
“You say you can,” Chet said, with purposeful skepticism in his voice. “But anybody can claim that. It doesn’t prove a thing.”
Johnny sighed. “Oh, alright. Here . . . I’ll show ya.” He reached for the finger trap and slid it on his right index finger. “See? Now all you do is twist it. . .”the trap didn’t move. “Uh. . .kind of twist it the other way. . .” Still there was no sign of the finger trap releasing. “Well, it’s suppo--”
Suddenly the tones sounded, sending the squad to a call for a dog bite victim.
“This is just great,” Gage grumbled as he tried one last time to get the finger trap off. “Now see what you did, Chet?”
“Me? You’re the one who put it on.” The stocky fireman grinned. The pigeon walked right into the trap!
“Oh, never mind,” Johnny said, frowning. “I can’t believe this.” He hurried to the squad and climbed in. As Roy handed him the call slip, the Chinese Finger Trap came into view. The senior paramedic gave his younger partner a puzzled look.
“Don’t ask, Roy. Just don’t ask.”
Roy noticed Johnny trying to get the finger trap off while they were on their way to the call. He had no idea how it came to be stuck on his partner’s finger, since Johnny had clearly stated he didn’t want to explain. But after seven minutes had passed and the finger was still stuck, it was time to get answers.
“So what happened?”
“Never mind. It’s not important.”
“Maybe not. But how you’re gonna get it off in time is. So how’re you gonna do it?”
“Do what?” Johnny asked, his attention still on the finger trap.
“Get it off.”
Gage looked at his partner and sighed. “I’ll get it off somehow. I don’t understand. . .it used to be so easy as a kid.”
“Your fingers were smaller.”
“I don’t know, Roy.” Johnny shook his head. “I don’t think that’s it.”
“Cut it off.” DeSoto answered simply.
“And ruin Chet’s toy?”
I knew Chet had to be involved somewhere, Roy thought. “Do you really care?”
Gage’s face brightened. “No, as a matter of fact I don’t.” He reached in his back pocket and pulled out his scissors, thinking the toy would be off in a few seconds. “Oh, great.”
“What?” DeSoto asked, his eyes on the road ahead.
“The scissors won’t fit under anywhere to cut. And I can’t just slice it open, or I’ll cut my finger, too.”
“We’re coming up on the address of the call, so you’d better think of something.”
“Man, I can’t believe Chet got me into this. Well, at least it’s just one finger that’s stuck. I can still do my job.”
Roy shook his head. He could just imagine the looks they were going to get when they arrived at the scene.
The call went smoothly. Roy handled examining the dog bite victim, while Johnny called it in on the biophone, using his left hand as much as possible. It wasn’t a serious bite, so the victim was treated with antiseptic and advised to see his own physician as soon as possible. As Johnny was closing up the biophone, a young boy who had been observing the paramedics walked over to him.
“Mister, can I see your finger?”
“Your finger. The one with the thing on it.”
Gage sighed. It figured someone had to mention it. “Sure. Why not?” He held it out, resting his right elbow on his bent knee. He expected the kid to say ‘Cool’ and go on about his business. Instead the boy quickly stuck his finger in the other end, trapping the two together.
“What. . .?” Johnny looked at the youngster with surprise. “What did you do that for?”
The kid shrugged. “I wanted to see if it would work.”
Gage eyed the boy suspiciously. “Your name wouldn’t happen to be Chet or your last name Kelly, would it?” This kid has to be related to Chet somehow.
The boy shook his head. “No, Sir. My name is Rocky.”
“Well look, Rocky, I can’t be connected to you. Pull your finger out.”
The boy shook his head again.
“Rocky,” Johnny began, impatience in his voice, “pull your finger out of the trap, now.”
Johnny wiped his free hand across his face in frustration. Chet, I’m gonna get even with you for this.
After putting the other equipment back in the squad and calling them in as available, Roy walked over to his partner who hadn’t moved from the spot yet.
“What’s--” Roy stopped when he saw the two with a finger in each end of the trap. “What happened?”
“Uh. . .Rocky, here, wanted to try this thing out,” Johnny explained, forcing a grin. “And now he won’t try to get his finger free.”
Roy smiled and knelt beside the two. “Son--”
“Rocky,” Gage interrupted.
“Rocky, we have to be ready to go on another run at any time. So you can’t be connected to my partner, or we won’t be able to go when we’re needed. Do you understand?”
The boy nodded.
“Okay, then you need to pull your finger out of the trap, so that we can get back in our squad and return to the fire station.”
Rocky shook his head.
“Huh uh. I like being stuck with a fireman. I wanna go with you guys.”
Johnny scowled. Being nice isn’t getting us anywhere. “Look, kid, I’ll give you two minutes to get your finger out of this thing or we’re taking you to the hospital and they’ll probably have to cut your finger off.”
“No they won’t,” Rocky sassed back. “I know all about lawsuits.”
“Your last name wouldn’t happen to be Brice, would it?” Gage asked, still certain this kid had to be related to one of his nemeses.
Roy shook his head. He couldn’t help wonder if Chet had given any thought to what kind of problems he could cause with his little trick.
Without paying attention to what he was doing, Johnny lifted his right index finger to point at the boy. By some strange luck, it came out of the Chinese Finger Trap with no problem. The paramedic stared at his finger, a wide grin on his face. He then looked at his partner nearby, who appeared to be just as relieved.
“It’s free! Far out! I don’t know what I did, but that darn toy is off my finger! Let’s get out of here.”
“But what about me?” Rocky whined as the two paramedics stood up.
Gage was still grinning. “Keep the toy. It’s all yours, Rocky, compliments of Chester B. Kelly.”
“Someone I’m sure you’ll grow up to be just like.”
As Johnny and Roy reached the squad, the dark-haired paramedic set the biophone in its compartment while Roy walked around to the other side.
“So, what are you gonna tell Chet happened to his Chinese Finger Trap?”
“That’s easy, Roy. That I donated it to a cause Chet would approve of. . .Phantom Junior training.”
DeSoto smiled as he looked across the roof of the squad to the corner of the yard they’d just been in. Rocky already had the finger trap off and was trying to convince another youngster to stick his finger in it. The two boys disappeared around the other side of the fence.
You’re right about that, partner, Roy thought. More than you’ll ever know.
Thanks to Kenda for the beta read! Also thanks to Jane L’s son, Michael, for the idea. He mentioned that Johnny had never been trapped like this and I had to give it a try. lol So this story is the result of two internet friends finally getting their families together and we had a great time! :o)