The Winner’s Loser

By Audrey W




“What’re you so happy for today?” John Gage asked his partner. The senior paramedic had come into the locker room whistling a carefree tune before giving a cheery ‘good morning’ to the other. “No one should be that glad on their first day back at work from vacation.”


As he opened his locker, Roy DeSoto gleefully explained, “Because . .. you are looking at a man who has finally had his last turkey anything for lunch or dinner for the next twelve months.”


Gage glanced up from where he was seated on the bench in front of their lockers, tying his shoes.


“Wow, still eating turkey, huh? Roy, Thanksgiving was over a week ago!”


“Tell me about it. For the past eight days I’ve had turkey sandwiches, turkey salad,  turkey pot pie, creamed turkey on toast. I was beginning to regret taking the week off. But now it’s gone.. .done. . .twenty pounds of bird . . . fini’.”


John snorted a laugh, then got to his feet, now completely ready for the start of their duty.


“Maybe you should suggest somethin’ else for Christmas dinner in case she’s planning on cookin’ another one. Like spaghetti,” he shrugged.


Roy watched as his friend left the room, then contemplated the idea as he continued changing his clothes.


But he quickly berated himself for even giving the notion thought. After all, it wasn’t all that long ago that Gage had gotten him into more trouble with his already angry wife by butting into their clash over her spaghetti verses engineer Mike Stoker’s. Roy had made the mistake of implying Mike’s was better and things had escalated from there; especially when John took it upon himself to call her and give her Stoker’s recipe.


Then again, it *did* work out in the end. . .


A few seconds after that thought, Roy shook his head. Nope, it just wasn’t worth the risk. Besides, he was nearly certain his wife wouldn’t want to do two turkey dinners within a month. It was too much work.




Four days later, the various turkey meals were a distant memory for Roy. The paramedic returned for duty at Station 51 still quite happy.


“So, you didn’t mention it earlier. Did you tell Joanne you wanted spaghetti for Christmas dinner?”


Roy glanced at his partner who was squatted down between the engine and their squad, inventorying the drug box.




Gage looked up in surprise.


No? Why not?”


“Because if I offered a suggestion so soon after Thanksgiving, she’d think something was wrong with her turkey. Besides, we usually have ham anyway, so I’m not worried,” he concluded with a shrug.


John closed the box then stood to put it in its compartment on the passenger side of the squad. After a brief sigh, he offered, “Okay, it’s your stomach.”


“It’ll be fine. . .”


DeSoto was just glad that the subject would be put to rest.




Two shifts later a now very happy Roy told his partner, “Guess where Joanne is probably right now.”


John glanced at his watch. Eleven thirty in the morning.


“Home, making the kids lunch?”  He didn’t get what the big deal would be.


Roy shook his head. “At the grocery store, buying a ham for Christmas dinner, among other things.”


Gage patted him on the shoulder. “That’s great, Pally. Great!” However, as he took a seat at the table in the dayroom, added, “But I still think you could’ve suggested spaghetti.”


Roy was about to respond when the telephone on the wall near the door rang. Right next to it, he grabbed the receiver and answered.


“Station 51, fireman DeSoto.


“Oh, hi!


“Wait, slow down. . .


“Can you repeat that?


“That’s what I thought you said. . .


“Oh, that’s great, Honey. Wonderful.


“Okay, love you, too. Bye.”


He returned the receiver to its cradle, then leaned against the wall as he faced his curious partner.


“That was Joanne.”


John laughed under his breath. “Well, I hope so the way you ended the call! What’d she say?”


“Well, that she was calling me from the store because she was just too excited to wait to tell me.”


“Tell ya what?”


“You aren’t going to believe this. But she was in line to purchase the ham when she was picked at random to get a holiday surprise. She won a twenty pound turkey. So guess what we’re having for Christmas.”


Gage shook his head. “I told ya you shoulda’ suggested spaghetti. I tried to convince ya,, but you wouldn’t listen. Man, if nothin’ else, it would’ve just brought up the fact you’ve had enough turkey, Roy.”


The older paramedic had to hand it to him. Johnny was right. All he would’ve had to say was that he’d had enough turkey to last him months, even if it was the best ever. However he’d never let his partner know he was giving him credit or he’d never hear the end of that.


Instead, Roy gave the familiar response of, “ If I had to choose between you being right or a week of turkey served a half dozen different ways. . .I’d rather take the turkey.”


John shook his head as he grumbled something unintelligible under his breath. Roy was too busy trying to think of new ways left over turkey could be served to even notice anyway.





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