The Story Unfolds...|
Season One, Episode Seven..
15 April 2003.
Link to Main Characters Gallery
Jeff Seltun <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat Apr 19, 2003 3:43 pm
Subject: Here's to Irritability.
Dixie McCall headed with a firm purpose for
the cool caffeinated sanctuary of the main ER
lounge. Her hair was ratty, her feet ached
and she was grumpier than Kelly Brackett,
even on his
Joe Early saw her retreating form in the relatively
crowded hallway and he called
out, raising a few
fingers in a hail. "Say, Dix.."
McCall only saw red. "What now?!Can't
you see I'm going on break here?" and Dixie
whirled to face whoever was interrupting her
hard won personal off time. She about
faced sharply and angrily whipped the loose
of her eyes with the only thing
not frazzled by the 'Day from H*ll', her
"Oh, it's just you.."
Joe blinked in surprise and actually back peddled
a few steps."Whoa..
Is that too much coffee
talking or did that experimental resupply
inventory nurse screw up the
Dixie sighed immediately in resigned instant
buried her head against Joe's
shoulder. "Oh,.." she sighed in embarrassed
apology. "Rewind the
last five seconds, Joe please."
And she lifted her head, straightening his lapels
which were just
as rumpled from the morning as
hers was. "I'm snarly because I can't FIND any coffee.
What IS going
on around here? I swear every
nurse and doctor's got a vendetta against me
today. I can't find
a single pot even partially
"Well, how about in there?" Joe said helpfully,
pointing to the nurse's lounge that Dixie had
already been beelining for.
"Thanks so much for
she said wearily. "Let's go and then you
can tell me why you're here seeking
Joe grinned eagerly and darted ahead to
open the door for his work beaten friend
a gallant "no after you" gesture.
Dixie barely managed to muster a nod of
gratitude. Then she
rushed over to the silver
pot glistening on the hot pad by the wall
of mugs across from the couch,
a pretty young student nurse about to
reach for it too. The candy striper beat
hasty retreat at Dixie's pounce.
Smiling and purring ferally, Dixie grabbed
onto the steamy
The heft of the coffee service in her hand
made Dix double take and immediately she
started swearing like a truck driver. "I can't
believe it! I am seeing a whole wall of
coffee mugs stained with today's
coffee rings! Everyone's but mine.." and
she slammed down the
empty chrome pot
back onto the counter with a bang.
"Oo. Dix. Take it easy. Isn't there a
can of Folder's in the cabinet above you?"
Dixie banged the back of her head without
looking into its door and the olive green
cupboard swung neatly open behind her
to reveal a lone,
much bedraggled brand new
coffee can, crushed flat like an accordian.
"Brice's on duty today and
whenever he is,
coffee grounds evaporate like fog. Johnny Gage
thinks he brews and drinks it
all in one ten
minute sitting. How else is Craig able to
run at the mouth so much? That man's
high speed walking talking," her head bobbed
" and coffee drinking, paramedic manual."
chuckled. "No, I don't believe that
about the disappearing coffee thing. Brice's
just got perfect
recall and Kel thinks it's just
coincidence about the coffee going missing
from the rooms he's
been in. He thinks
that patient visitors are doing it."
"Well, that doesn't fix my dilemma
does it..?" and her lower lip quivered and
she started whimpering explicatives, this
tinged with tearful frustrated barely
Joe winced. "Oo. Dix. Take it easy.
I got an idea for you. How about calling downstairs
to commissary and ordering a fresh pot
of coffee just
for you. You could hide it in Kel's office where
nobody else would find it.." he
the thick gold rings on his fingers mildly."And Kel
could run interference using
his rank to keep the
rest of the staff away from it while bringing that
pot directly here."
Dixie's tirade immediately broke off.
"Now why didn't I think of that?" and her
face beamed in
discovery at Joe.
Her face right away fell. "Oh, nuts..!"
she said, leaning on the wall.
"The commissary operator on duty's currently ticked
off at me for begging ice off them
for the ER
"Why is she mad at you for that?" Joe wanted
to know, sipping his
newly poured tea.
Dixie's mouth thinned with regret. "Each time
I called, that girl waved,
a-doctor's-order in my ear two seconds after
what I wanted was out of my face.
I must have
called down there twelve times today, Joe, looking
for some. For Treatment One's
Treatment Three's sprained ankle. Treatment Two's
first trimester morning sickness."
Dixie shook her
head to erase the images in her mind of the madhouse
morning so recently played
out in her recent memory.
"I can't say that I was very charming to her by
the tenth or eleventh
call on hearing that same
you-must-follow-procedure speech." Dix said
the picture. And I can see her point."
"Huh?" Dixie asked not quite hearing him
for the stream
of complaints still pouring
out of her lips.
"Ah, Nothing. Oh, Hey, I got it! I'll call down
you and have it delivered ASAP to Kel's office.
I'll let him know what's up with your coffee
exclusitivity plans. I'm on my way in there now
to see him so we can organize both our notes
the all paramedic's meeting this afternoon. Yeah..
He can accept the order, sign for it,
then run it down
here. How does that sound?" Joe suggested eagerly.
"Like a godsen--" The
red phone went off
next to Dixie's head, making her startle off
the wall with a yelp. She caught
with a groan and blinked in cursing nonverbals
and she picked up the receiver. "Nurse's
this is Dixie McCall."
Joe saw her face sag into new depths of
suffering as she heard
the messenger on the
phone deliver news. Dixie hung up the phone
without looking and started banging
against the wall. "Why why why? Oh, geez..
can it get any worse? OOOghhhh.."
up?" Joe asked.
"Maintenance called and they're moving
room by room to scrub the ventilation
in all the treatment rooms. I had forgotten
they were going to do that today and I
filled every room with a patient."
She wilted and began bouncing her
head against the wall by the
To Dixie, the action was ....almost soothing.
it was a thing of worry.
"Hey, quit doing that. You'll give yourself
got one from not finding any
coffee remember?"" she moaned. But
she stopped thudding her forehead
against the wall.
"But I thought I just figured out how to
solve that dilemma.." Joe said
"No you didn't. My breaktime's over.."
Dixie sighed, tapping her wrist watch.
h*ll.. See ya on the floor.." and she
dragged herself back through the lounge
door with all the
weight of the world
falling heavily back onto her shoulders.
"Hey Dix..!" he called out
"What?!" she snapped.
"Kel can always set up that coffee IV
push for you,
and run your line in brachially."
Dix threw go away hands at him feebly
for the joke as she
paced the distance
back to her chart piled desk without
looking at him, with all the body english
of the classic down trodden, picked on
Joe chuckled and continued heading
the hall for Kel's office.
"*&%@#! Look out below!" Marco hollered.
The Station 51 gang, minus Cap, clustered
the base of the hose tower where
they had been watching Marco struggle with
his penalty chore
high above, scattered like
so many chickens.
Sixty feet of soggy heavy hose spaghetti-ed
the asphalt with a wet smack and the brass
nozzle coupling end rang with a loud bell ping
struck the ground before settling still.
Chet cupped a hand and grinned as he
shouted up to
his coworker dangling precariously
from his life belt from the haul up apparatus
on the tower frame.
"Hey Lopez, Cap's gonna
flay ya alive if you dent any more of those
connectors by bouncing them
off the pavement
Marco glared right back down again, swinging
where he had slipped from
the footstand. "Hey Kelly, I'm gonna loop the next
one around your neck
if you don't start zipping
su boca ahora!"
Roy was staying out of it, mildly discomforted by
the tension between Chet and Marco on what was
just payback on a lost bet. "Marco, he didn't mean
it. He's trying to gloat a bit to get more effect out
"Yeah? Well you're not helping
either.. You're all
staring. I hate it when people stare at me when I'm
doing something new. It
makes me clumsy."
Chet was about to issue another retort on the wide
open comment Marco had
just made when Gage
smacked a firm hand over Chet's mouth to hush
him up. "Chet, enough's enough.
Let's all just get
go back inside and give the man some dignity on
figuring out how to hang those
things right up
Kelly turned on his heels and regarded Johnny
eye to eye. "This
coming from the number one
gloater at Station 51? Amazing. Gee, Johnny. And
I was only imitating
you, pal. You've been such
an inspiration to me."
"I don't follow." Gage said levelly.
"Your behavior during our Phantom
Strikes war last year. Man, that was without a
doubt, the sweetest
example of a pro prankster
role model. Ya gotta gloat."
"Not that much. You've been at him
for ten minutes
"Well, you're all watching. Doesn't that make
you just as guilty
of contributing to my supposed
"Yeah..it sure does. And I'm no longer going
be an accomplice." Roy said mildly, and he turned
on his shoes and left for the kitchen door in a
instant departure from the yard. "I'll set aside
some dry towels for you, Marco, in the
"Thanks. Appreciate it.." the sweaty tired Lopez hollered
back. Then he regained
his feet once more on the platform.
He restrung the hose's buddy line through the pulley
over hand the errant fallen hose back up
onto the draining tower hook again.
Marco made it
a point to ignore those on the ground.
Soon, his move worked and even Chet lost his desire
egg Marco while he toughed it out.
There were still nine soggy hoses that needed to
up manually by rope and drained from
the to do pile.
And the conditions of the bet Chet had
prevented the loser from getting any help doing
the weekly tower chore.
Stoker managed to slyly untangle a
loop in the fallen hose with a foot when Chet
Marco grinned when he saw him from the corner
of his eye. ::Stoker. I love you. There was no way
I was going to climb all the way back down to do
that again..:: he thought in gratitude. ::I owe
one. Maybe even a whole afternoon's chrome
polishing. That's if I ever get my arms back..::
by one the guys left for breakfast
and Gage made sure Chet went through the door
gloating glance back, with a swift
boot to his rear. "Come on, Caesar.. the arena's
the day." Gage scowled and he shot Marco
an I'm sticking up for you look before he too
into the station.
Cap was reading
the paper in the recliner.
"Was that another nozzle biting the dust a
few minutes ago?"
studdered. "Ah, no Cap. " he lied.
"That was, uh.. Me.." he grinned badly.
"I was testing out the
bell on the old engine.
I mean, we...have to make sure it's still in good
condition after all winter
under that tarp. Right?"
"Hmph." Cap grunted from behind the stocks
the grunt was one of agreement
and that his fibbing worked. ::I'll sneak back
out there after breakfast
and help Marco pound
that nozzle round again before Cap discovers
it.:: He eased down onto the
and immediately stood up again when he
realized that he had almost sat down on their
mascot. "Oh, sorry Henry.. Didn't see you there."
"How could ya miss him, Gage. He's fatter than
a turkey and he fills up that whole side of the
couch." Kelly quipped. "I think, Henry needs to
on a diet."
"Sounds like someone else I know.." Cap
said seriously. "You know, a rep of 200
might not be such a bad idea for you. And that's getting
off light for a fireman who's
just lied to his captain."
His intended target, cleared his throat nervously.
I'm having second thoughts about
getting payback on our chili cooking contest bet
Gage said suddenly on the hot seat.
"Right. " Stoker said sarcastically teasing.
"If I ever
believe that, H*ll'll freeze over."
All the gang laughed,except Chet.
"Geez, that's the last time I ever take
up a betting challenge with you guys.
Marco's just being
a sore loser that's all.
I can't believe you guys bought his I'm so
wounded act." Kelly complained.
"He wasn't acting." Gage glared.
"Chet, there's collecting a bet and then there's
You standing there watching him
was definitely uncool."
"Well, I didn't see any one blindfolding
eyes shut, pal. I wasn't alone dodging those
hoses Marco dropped now was I?"
doesn't count. We weren't saying
anything." Roy said.
"You didn't have to, you heard Marco.
said that being stared was just as bad."
"Oh, Chet. You're impossible.." Gage said.
"No, I'm just right for once so live with it."
Cap finally cleared his throat, more than
few times. "Do I detect a little animosity
here? I mean, I know we had a little too many
and useless runs last night that kept
us from getting much sleep, but this is
just plain unprofessional
behavior I'm hearing
"Cap.. How can you say that? You're a part of
it. You were the
one who judged who's
chili was best.."
"Yeah, well you didn't see me out there
like an MVA gawker now, did you?"
That shut Kelly up and the feeling of tension
in the room
Only the sounds of eating filled the air during
the rest of the meal. Everyone winced
they heard another hose nozzle bite the dust out
in the yard.
From : "Cory Anda" <email@example.com>
One Thing After Another...
Date : Sun, 27 Apr 2003 22:59:02 +0000
Marco Lopez finally
had the tower squared away.
One hand was still grooming his hair into
place with a comb while
the other shovelled
breakfast into his mouth at a rapid fire rate
when the inevitable call went
"Madre dios! No otra vez.." Lopez cursed.
"Always at a meal time." he grumbled throwing
both comb and fork onto his plate.
The rich tones from the speaker grill continued
a multiple tone run.
Chet Kelly rose from his seat at the kitchen
table, wiping his mouth with
a hasty napkin.
"I'm surprised you're surprised Marco. It's
always once again around here." he
spinning around neatly in a dodge to
avoid Stoker's chair as the engineer bailed
"Let's move out.." Cap hollered, abandoning
his paper and apple. "Here ya go, boy. I
an ample feeding of a lot more
when we get back.." And he sailed a crisp
meaty missile of bacon
high into the air
in the general direction of the station's snoozing
slumped body suddenly animated
and his head shot up from the depths of
the couch to intercept the
tasty treat with
a tail wag of instant forgiveness.
Gage gulped down the rest of his milk
half a banana as he and Roy jogged to
the rescue squad after the rest of the gang.
He chucked his
banana peel out the window
neatly into a mop bucket leaning against the
51 with Station 10 and Truck 127.
Unknown type rescue at the Los Angeles City Zoo.
18 south Ramsfeld
Ave. Cross street, Hollywood Blvd.
18 south Ramsfeld Ave. Crosstreet, Hollywood Blvd.
on location requests all on response,
to enter at the eastern gate. Time out, 9: 04.##
Station 51 arrived first to the scene.
Captain Stanley eyed where they were to go
his place, bouncing in the cab seat and
he voiced one single solitary question to
Mike, as he
swung the wide wheel hard to
the left to turn onto the zoo property.
"Well, I'll be. Stoker. What
day is it today?"
"Sunday.." he replied.
"Right. Then just where the heck are all
people? This parking lot's empty.."
Chet and Marco rubbernecked out the engine
windows from where they were fussing into
their trenchcoats. The squad and engine's
away and they all piled out
of the vehicles. Only birdsong met their
ears. That and the wind.
Roy and Johnny ran up with all their|
med gear and a stokes stretcher. "Cap, we got it all.
wants to know if we should pack more
rope in with the stokes here just in case w--"
off, seeing the engine gang
standing mute and puzzled at the wrought
iron gate that was ajar, next
to the big
metal sculpture of mountain gorillas.
Roy and John were caught up in the
right feel of the location.
Stanley pinwheeled around in place,
his HT firmly in hand as he
sign labelling the gate where they idled
on the curb. "What the h*ll? This IS
east gate... Where's our informant?"
Cap knew he had the right place since
he could see the responding
and station called with them just entering
the corner of the avenue framing the
empty parking lot on their way
"Hey! Fire Department!" Gage called
out inside the gate,
hefting the weight
of the gear inside of the stokes between
him and a very quiet and alert Roy.
and Marco moved to help them manage
There was no reply. Johnny's voice
eerily through the fake stony animal exhibit
cliffs and ringing eucalyptus trees dotting
that side of the city zoo. There wasn't any
sign of anyone at all rushing up in a panic to
them exactly what the problem was.
Cap got on the horn. "L.A., This is station 51,
scene. Stand by for details."
"Ok. Everyone.. You know the drill. Let's just...
get in there and have a look around. If this
is just a false alarm, I want to be doubly sure
it before we call it off. Stoker charge a line
just in case this is a fire call."
Hank led the way through the entrance gate
and into the zoo and his men followed
the gear laden stokes.
Inside, all was eerily quiet. Even the overhead
Kelly mumbled to the others. "Man. Where
is everyone? This is a weekend, shouldn't there
droves of people enjoying themselves right
"That's my understanding of it.." Lopez muttered,
loosening his helmet strap.
Cap and the men eagle eyed everything, alert
for anything that
What they didn't expect was a galloping camel
running down the neat asphalt path,
The gang barely got out of the way as the
dromedary lumbered by, foaming
at the mouth
and gasping as it ran in the heat, past them.
They had barely registered that
their minds when a low peeled threat call came
from the direction from which the camel
The stunned firemen froze as a snarling black
panther, quite uncaged and free, crouched
hiss at them in fear and anger.
Cap lifted his HT. "Stoker.. We need that charged
inch with refrigeration now. We've a loose
predator on us fifty meters down our path." he said
Mike Stoker was there in less than fifteen seconds,
backing up his crewmates
with a fizzing nozzle
aimed at the cat.
"Easy.. Don't hit him. Just scare him." Cap ordered.
The sun glistening ebony panther fled at the sound of
the hissing barely contained pressurized
released at a touch on his hose bar.
It headed in the direction of the
uphill and into thicker cover.
"That would explain why there are no people|
around Cap.." Kelly said, swallowing around a very
Hank frowned, very very frustrated with the way
things were going. "Open cages? No
What is this? Some kind of re-enactment of the
Day of the Animals going on here?"
"I loved that movie, Cap." Kelly chuckled.
"But I don't think there's any filming scheduled
today. I should know. My sister lives a few blocks
from here. Besides, there's no wrangler running
after those two."
"Somehow, I'd feel better knowing that this whole
thing WAS a movie set,
Chet. But things aren't
feeling like that situation at all." Cap said, listening
to an intuition
that was screaming at him.
Gage adjusted his helmet. "I know what you mean.
"Duh.." Kelly said, throwing a careless glove in
the direction the big cat had
you notice our very large friend with all the teeth
a few moments ago?"
Stoker began to relax and just sealed
off the hose to closed again with a grin.
The other guys
Gage said. "I saw him. I saw him. I'm...talking
about the lack of people around here.
I just wanna
know how they vacated the premesis so fast.
I mean, even if there's an escaped animal
there's bound to be some crazy yokel who'll want
to hang around despite things, just to
Just like they do all the time at our fire calls.
But I don't even see any of them right
That sobered up everyone.
"What's scarier than a four hundred pound very hungry
panther?" Hank asked frankly, still eyeballing
where the cat had gone warily.
"Do we really want to find out?"
Hank blinked. "Gee, that's why we were called
Stoker, stay close with that hose
and have it set to tight stream for our security."
set.." Stoker replied.
Cap got on his HT. "Engine 51 to Station 10
and Truck 127. Hold your
Animal Control that we have a panther and
camel loose on the grounds. There may
others nearby. We've a water line with us for
##10-4. Standing by, Engine 51..##
The caps of
10's and Truck 127 replied over the frequency.
The gang slowly moved up the path
in the direction
the two escapees had come, dragging gear and
primed ice water hose behind them.
Three wild animals later, Station 51 located
the problem at a loud clattering sound
their hearts leap into their throats.
A man, fully clothed in jeans and nothing else,
like an ape in an empty seeming
exhibit with a row of keys and chains dangling
from his pocket
up where he darted about the
He spotted the firemen and began to laugh
"Bingo.." Kelly quipped. "Try a zoo employee
suffering an O.D. of some kind."
seen it all.." Hank's eyes shot up.
"Shh,, or you'll jinx us. The day's not over yet."
"Ok... let's have at it." Cap said, and he
took off his helmet to appear less threatening
to the man. "Everyone, inside. And shut the
door behind ya. Believe it or not, we'll be safer
than out here."
No one argued and the stokes, hose and gear
quickly piled onto the yellow dirt
in the animal
Mike Stoker tensed as a dust cloud and snorting
met them from the
left. They all unlocked once
more when they saw the animals that called the
enclosure the man had
"Whew.. Just pigs this time..." Kelly sighed.
"They're peccaries.." Gage
"What?" Hank asked.
"Wild pigs..I remember similar ones from
They won't harm us. They'll
run first. Just stay away from the piglets."
Roy was ignoring the
idle chitchat going on
around him. His attention was fully on the man
swaying like a monkey on
the rocky shelf above
their heads. "Hey... are you ok? We came to help
you out a bit here." he
spoke softly, moving slow.
"Fat chance fire boy. You don't wanna help me.
You wanna help them..."
the sweating manic man
gasped. To Roy, he looked violent.
Then he saw the fresh oozing track
marks on the
man's arms and was assured that his first impression
was a correct one. "Heroin..or
Cap's eyes fell to where Roy noticed those signs.|
"Looks like.. Ok, everyone, stay still and let
Johnny and Roy handle him. Mike, make sure
the way outta here's blocked."
"We're locked in.
I just closed the exhibit's
gate." Stoker admitted.
At those words the young wild haired man
in blue jeans began to wail and fret. He started
to scramble on the rocks and very nearly slipped
on loose stone up where he was.
Johnny threw out a hand. "Easy! Now we're not
gonna hurt you.
Careful.. Or you're gonna fall
and hurt yourself.."
"Whatda you care?" their victim slurred.
"You justwanna come and get me so the
fuzz can arrest me..."
"Do I look like I'm wearing a
pistol and cuffs?
I'm not a cop here. Just a paramedic."
At that word, the man's attention
suspicion to craving. "Y- you got drugs down
there? Really? Uh,.." and he scratched
feverish face, swatting at the dust in his
nose. "Can I ..uh,...wanna share?"
eyes flickered only for a moment
in hesitation. Then his brainstorming began.
He crouched down
over the stokes and slowly,
cautiously flipped open the drug and IV box.
"Yeah man.. Look, I got
some nice stuff..
Won't cost ya much.." he grinned in an act.
"The first hit's free. Just like
the west side.
A real deal.."
"I don't believe you." said the agitated man.
"I don't even
know you!" he shouted.
"Does it matter..?" Gage shot back, setting
his hands on his hips. "Look
I haven't got all
day. My buyer's gonna wonder where I am
with the stuff if I'm not there in...twenty
minutes.." Johnny made up. "And you know
how that goes. I'll pay for the delay.. in skin.."
drug high man angled his head.
"Prove your worth pusher.. I ain't got all day."
fell for one sec while the gang
around him licked nervous lips and all had a full curiosity
what he would do next in his victim negotiation.
Roy crossed his arms in amusement.
Cap felt confident enough to put his helmet
Johnny snatched up a saline push and unsheathed
it, hiding its label so the man wouldn't see its
non drug label's color. Then he tied on a tourniquet
and fitted a needle onto the syringe. "Ooh, yeah.
This is meperidine. Gives me a good rush. Especially
on boring days like today. And its clean, Mac. Not cheap
home lab sh*t. I think I'm gonna shoot it
for me since I don't like the way you're talking."
He fingered a vein and stuck the needle
into his own arm and started depressing the
plunger, sending the liquid in with a sigh.
"No! Wait man... I was only kidding.. I trust ya.."
the man fretted. "Gimme some.."
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