Hank's talkie came to life. ##Engine 51, to HT 51.|
All the gear's stowed. Want us to put the Engine
Hank lifted up his talkie and said.
"When we're base bound, Engine 51."
##10-4, HT 51.## came Lopez's reply. And
the station frequency fell silent.
Rubbing his mouth,
Cap could see Mike and Marco
watching them from where they sat in the idling
engine cab, waiting.
He flashed them an okay sign
without radioing back. He saw them visibly relax.
Cap sat by
Roy, not directly looking at him,
as he took in the same spectacular view of
the valley over
the concrete river bed that
Roy seemed to be looking at. He took in a
deep breath of the canyon's
sweet, spicy air.
"Hear that, Roy? The birds are still singing..."
Roy swung red, swollen
eyes towards him.
"Hear what, Cap? All I hear are the sounds
of all those school kids, screaming,
hill came down on top of them. I just
wanna know why it had to happen. That's all.
that too much for a guy to ask for?"
But Roy didn't cry again. His face remained
only dusty and
Cap handed DeSoto back his helmet and
slowly put on his own. "Come on, let's go."
he said, grabbing a hold of Roy's gloved hand
to pull him to his feet. "We'll take the engine
DeSoto clasped Cap's dirty hand numbly,
and then used its strong steady leverage until
stood. Cap watched Roy put on his helmet
only after he seemed to contemplate the
which it stood for long, unseeing
moments. Then he saw Roy sigh a lengthy
quavering breath. Roy's
face was now a little
less pale but his voice was weaker than a baby's.
He murmured. "Yeah. Let's
get outta here."
Cap, threw a stokes blanket around Roy's
shoulders and together, they went
up the hill
to the road.
Date: Wed, 15 Jan 2003 10:34:05 -0800 (PST)
or Jeff or Cassidy" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Come Uppance...
It was four
hours after the L.A. river call.
Marco Lopez looked up from where he was
dishing out chow for
Henry. The longish hound
was snuffling excitedly as the Rival can of dog food
filled his chrome
dish. All the guys were watching
him get worked up. And some of them even had
their fingers crossed
for luck while Marco finished.
Stoker, ignoring their "sport", was the first
to see Cap enter
the kitchen. "How's he doing, Cap?"
"Roy? Still resting. I did order him to take a nap. And
I explained to Joanne what happened and then
called the crisis counselor just a few minutes ago.
She's coming for a station visit, and she's towing
along Roy's wife. They'll one to one with
and then we'll get our session over dinner as
planned." Hank announced. He knelt and
Henry as the dog licked his lips in anticipation of
"That's good. Maybe
..having Joanne around will
help Roy get back his equilibrium." Kelly said
his balled up snack napkin
into a wide shot for the trash bin. It landed
it will." Cap said empathetically, rubbing
some dust out of his nose.
The gang fell to the
moment as the salty scent
of horsemeat filled the air. "Do it Lopez.." Stoker
said with anticipation.
"This time it's gotta work."
Marco carefully set down the dish gingerly, as if
jarring it would
cause Henry to lose interest.
"There you go, Henry. Dive in."
The slowish hound looked up,
licked Marco's face,
jumped down from the leather couch, almost
on top of the food bowl, and then
he kept right
on truckin forward and straight out the kitchen
"Hey, where are you
going ya crazy mutt?!" Kelly
said from where he was sipping coffee at the kitchen
a schmo...Geez, that's two cans of
grub now, slated for the trash can.."
Hank only chuckled.
"You forgot Henry's a true
station dog there, Kelly." Cap grinned. "Can't you see
a house call? It's more important than
food to him."
"Yeah, Chet. He does it all the time whenever
one of us
is feeling out of it." Marco said, retucking his shirt in around
his belt. He had just
come out of the shower.
Johnny neatly rose to his feet, abandoning his
coffee mug. "That's
my cue.. Excuse me guys. I'm
right on Henry's angle.." and Gage, too, exited the
kitchen for the
bunk dorms. On a second thought,
he grabbed a couple of donuts on the way out,
one for him and
a second one for Roy.
Gage noticed that Cap had pulled all the
shades down around Roy's
bunk and had
even set a water pitcher on the desk
tabletop with a paper already opened to the
racing section next to it.
Gage smiled when he heard Roy stir in his
sheets to play
with Henry. Respectfully, he
knocked on the wooden doorframe first
before he entered the room
"Yeah, Johnny. I'm awake.." his partner said.
"Didn't anybody feed Henry yet?
He's acting like
he wants his bowl now."
Gage walked into the room and grabbed the
from the desk, inverted it, and straddled
it to sit. "Now, Roy, you know Henry won't eat for
else but you. And we're dumb enough
to keep forgetting that. He turned his finicky nose
at Marco just a minute ago when he
opened a can right under his face. You sure got
a way with
Roy's face unexpectedly fell at Johnny's comment.|
and he stopped petting Henry's broad back.
well. I wish I had a way with children right
about now. Lately my luck's been running kinda dry."
Johnny scoffed gently. "Now what's that supposed
to mean? You got two wonderful kids who're incredibly
proud to call ya dad. You got a beautiful wife.
That's more than what I got. What more can a man
"To turn back the clock for starters. How about
turning it back about..oh,...forty eight
hours or so.
Then I'd truly be a happy man, Johnny." Roy
said, with a groan. He flopped back onto
back and drew his sheets up to his chest as
if chilled suddenly in his T shirt and boxers.
"Roy, cut it out. You shouldn't be ashamed of
your emotions. What happened out there today,
to all of us. H*ll, Cap's been there. He just
told us when and why over coffee a few minutes ago.
And I bet if we took a poll, we'd find that there isn't
a single guy on the rosters who hasn't
in the same shoes you wore this morning." Johnny
said. "I'm not immune either. I've been
Remember? I lost it only two weeks into the
Roy regarded Gage
quietly for long seconds,
"Not everyone, Johnny." A slight smile curled
his lips, "What about
"Oh, yeah.." Johnny chuckled. "Brice. Forgot about
him. How can a man without
sense of humor
find something about our line of work that'll make
him lose his lunch? Brice sure
can't. He's an Iron Man."
Johnny grumbled, answering his own question. "Maybe
he should team
up with Detello at ten's for a while and
learn something about compassion." Johnny took
from his donut, then belated remembered that
he had already bitten into the first one. Lamely,
offered the pastry to Roy.
DeSoto took it, and began offering the pieces wearing
tooth marks to the snuffling Henry who had
sprawled his heavy weight across Roy's legs. "Here, buddy.
Yeah, that's a good boy.." and he smacked Henry's hide
loudly in affection. The rest, he popped into
"Nausea finally gone?" Johnny asked.
Roy looked up, almost as if he had forgotten
partner was there. "Yeah, that anti-emetic you gave
me worked." he said chewing slowly. "Who
"Joe Early. He knew what you had been up against
yesterday. And understood
the need for the
"Does everybody know about ...what happened to me?"
quietly, caressing Henry's ear as the dog
snoozed in his lap.
"Only those who care a whip about
ya." Gage quipped.
Then he leaned forward, lacing his fingers together.
"Listen, Roy, so what if
it took six years for you to
finally crack on a call. Big deal. You're a human
being. It means
that you care.."
"Yeah, maybe I care a little too much." Roy said
his mouth in frustration
and then he got angry."Oh, boy, here we
go again. You didn't make that
driver hit the
bus. You didn't cause that canyon wall to come
caving in on us. And unless you're
I know you didn't cause that rain storm to
flood us out like it did. So knock off
the pity pit.
A paramedic's GOT to have empathy. H*ll. You're
the one who taught me that.." he
back with exasperation.
Roy was silent for a time. Then he said.
"I'm thinking about
leaving the program
Johnny. I really think I can't hack it any more."
he pointed to the uniform
that Cap had folded
neatly on the dresser and said. "I really don't
know if I can ever get myself
to wear that
uniform again. Ever. It now hurts too much.."
and his lip quavered.
Johnny showed no sympathy.|
"You're just saying that. Now what would I do
in a few months if Kelly
kept good on his threat
and suddenly became my new partner?"
Johnny asked drily.
smiled and laughed. "You two'd
probably, most likely kill each other the first
"There ya go.." Johnny said. "So don't leave
me in that kind of spot. And quit talkin like
You're just hurting, that's all. You're not
disabled. A little time taken with the family
make it all right again."
"Now you're sounding like Cap." Roy said.
"Good, cause he's right.
And that's what
he said worked for him when he cracked
over his own child call."
up. "You know something Gage?"
"What..?" Gage said, curling Henry's tail
and scratching its
white furred tip until Henry
picked up his head to see who was messing
with it. Henry's tail started
wagging when he
saw who it was.
"You're right. M- Maybe that's all I'll need.
A little time
off. Just enough ta.. get my clear
thinking back again and maybe I'll even find
that sense of
inner balance that I had before.. "
he said, grinning.
"That's the ticket.." Johnny beamed,
taking another bite out of his donut.
"No, wait a minute, I can't go on leave."
not? You got enough vacation time
coming to ya. As long as I've known ya, you've
only been on vacation
twice. Once to Santa Rosa
with me, and the other time when you took
Joanne and the kids to the
f--" he broke
"You can say it, Johnny. Farm. I'm not mad
at you over that any more.
I mean who can
"And that's it right there, Roy. On your coming
off, hold that thought and you think about
it, real hard.." With that, Gage disappeared,
the rest of his donut abandoned on the
Roy blinked, amazed that Johnny could move
so fast. And that, in itself, made him think all
the more about Roy DeSoto. Johnny's cool advice
and Henry's warm tongue on his fingers, made
him mull over what was really the most
thing going on in his life apart from
Sighing, Roy picked up the donut and began
doling out the correct pieces to the proper
mouths. Then, feeling thirsty, he reached
the water container.
And a bit later, after a long tearful talk with
the crisis counselor and
...Roy DeSoto reached for his uniform..
It was a week later. And the gang on A shift
finally felt like they were a whole crew again.
Roy DeSoto was back on the job.
But Gage sighed and didn't even turn around when
he felt Roy
sit on the locker room bench next
to him and opened his locker.
"Mornin.." Roy said cheerily. He broke off into |
a jaunty whistling tune. One he knew would
Gage didn't reply. He just changed in silence.
"What's the problem, Johnny? An
knock out your ears or something? I'm back."
"Good for you Roy. I'm proud ya made
the right decision." Johnny said finally. "But frankly,
I'm really depressed right now if you have
Click the Resuscitator to go to Page Eleven :)