"I haven't had time. With the San Bernadino brush fire season in full|
swing. I'm behind doing a lot
of things." the wizened chief's eyes
alighted on a tray of packaged sandwiches being carted past
by a relief worker. "Including finding some grub. Hungry Hank?"
Stanley was not slow. He intercepted
the tray of food that
surprised the young tunic'd woman for a few seconds when
its weight left
her hands. She saluted and did an about face
to head outside for more sandwiches. "Thanks, maam. Could
you run a tray to the morgue? I've several downstairs with
under a dozen.."
"I'll be there.." flashed the young woman's smile
in the smoky lobby. "Give
me four minutes."
"Appreciate it." Hank waved, munching on
a ham and cheese.
was equally engaged with a roast beef
on rye. "Umm, nothing like deli on a busy work day."
inside a morgue?" Cap asked.
"Even in a morgue, Hank. Location's never stopped
before. Never has, never will." The chief
hefted up his sandwich in a mock toast. "Here's to
civilian casualties and a rapidly dying fire."
"Here, here." Hank celebrated. And the whole room
firefighters concurred from whereever they were.
The chief bellowed. "Get back to work all
of you slackers!
We still got a full week's hazard cleanup to do.." he yelled
with an unserious
grin. "Now where was I?" he asked Hank
over the map.
"Hot Zone center cleanup."
yeah.. Right. Now the best angle of attack I can see
for clean up is to continue the EMS personnel's
of stragglers for full decontamination in the Green Zone.
I'm convinced we won't need
Level A barrier isolation for
either the Decontamination nor the Rehabilitation Stations.
and aprons will be enough." the chief reiterated.
"We'll just keep using polybags for the evacuee's
clothing articles. Benzene will stay concentrated in those."
Hank nodded. "And I have
the third alarm units gathering
names and addresses and the businesses on all of
them so we can
get our headcounts and check for any
other potential missing people."
"Good. Good." the chief
nodded. "I've already had L.A. call
a clinical facility to handle all the hazardous waste we'll create
with our soaking sandpiles and demolition operations."
"And I've instructed L.A. City Fire Departments
112's to continue to check for airborne contaminants down
"Mostly carbon monoxide and some tetrahydrocarbons.
Nothing in the OSHA risk ranges yet. I'm
with the fact that the benzene is dissipating. The foam units
are doing the trick. Only
one backflash outside the back
alley has been reported." Captain Stanley said.
"Hmm, the one that you boys drove through getting back|
here. Is your engine bad off?"
Stanley was silent.
"Don't worry about E-51. I'll handle her repair paperwork
sure Charlie the mechanic and his lackies
will make her a priority. He loves your station's vehicles
"I know he does.." Cap complained. "The way he jumps all
over my men on every
visit proves that. " and he broke
off into an imitation of Charlie's gruff New York taxi driver
"You boys're gonna stop jamming the squad tires up
against the curbs on rescue calls or I'm gonna
come jam your
skulls along side of the backyard walls the first chance I get!"
"Ooo, " grimaced Battalion in sympathy. "He's that obssessed
with the Ward and Chrysler?"
"Yep. Almost as much as I hate getting surprise insp--" he broke
off, suddenly pale with embarrassment.
The chief cleared his throat, pretending that he didn't hear
Hank's slipped comment. "I'll curb
Charlie, too during
the repair job. Your whole station crew today has done
the department proud.
I'll be issuing commendations for
each and every one of you as soon as my staff can
get to it."
"Thank you, Chief." Hank said, lowering his head
in humility. "I'm sure my men will be thrilled
during the next monthly meeting."
"Keep them a surprise." Battalion ordered.
Right then, Hank's HT, connected to the one
in the morgue, came to life. It was
##Mr. Stanley. Your paramedic's awake and talking.
The M.D. you got
here's a real efficient man. Knows
his stuff better than I know mine. Just thought you should
You're busy so I'll sign off now.##
Battalion started grinning. "Hank..."
"Get down there before you burn holes in this
map of ours. Your body's home but your brain isn't.
Go see your man. You'll be no good to me until you've
reassured yourself that he's out of hot water."
chuckled. "You have three minutes.. Go....I'll assume your
command assignment until
you get back."
was still vocally protesting where he was.
"Oh, ughhhHHh. I'm on a cadaver table?! Get me off of
here. A stokes suspended between two chairs'll be just
fine.." Marco and Kelly hastened to move him
Kel Brackett halted them.
"Ah, ah ah.. Not so fast. You're still suffering some myocardial
sensitivity Johnny. Any unnecessary motion might send you
into V-fib." Kel warned.
willing to take the risk. You've got a defibrillator right there.
I'll just slide over into the basket
"You just freeze right there, Johnny Gage..." Dixie glared,
pushing both her hands
down onto his chest so he couldn't
rise up onto his elbows.
Mike Stoker whined. "Aw, Gage.
Don't make me live through
a second endotrach on you again. The first time was scary
Gage blinked, shifting his blankets around over his bare
body. "You..did ..did what? Where was
"Elsewhere." DeSoto grinned.
"Oh yeah?" Gage asked, frowning at Mike. Then he
a tongue over his front teeth. "I think you screwed
up a bit Stoker. I feel a chip here."
Stoker's face started to fade into a look of horror
when Gage smiled, letting him off the hook.
Dr. Brackett crossed his arms in a no business attitude.
"Leave him alone, Gage. Or I'll sedate you
myself and let
him take another run at you. Now lie still. And that's an
order you can't ignore."
Gage realized his cause was lost. "All right, all right. You win.
Just.. gimme some eye covers
or something. I don't wanna
see what's in those jars over there. And a nose plug." he mumbled
his oxygen mask.
Dr. Scribbs looked up from admiring Dr. Brackett's triage|
chart with a wounded look. "My ward's spotless
Not a trace of odor anywhere. I personally disinfected your
table myself before you were
transferred onto it."
"Charmed, doc. It's not the physical odor I'm talking about
"...psychosomatic one.. I know.." Scribbs sighed sadly. "I hear
that from absolutely everybody
non department who comes
in here." he sniffed. "And I've even tried to cheer up the place,
for all the clinical residents I get visiting me each week."
and he threw a hand at a prominent Garfield
tacked up under a stark white, round two handed clock.
"Doesn't it help?"
Kelly started an empathetic no, but Mike Stoker
stepped on his foot to silence him.
his head thunk back onto his paper sheeted pillow.
"A little... I guess.." he replied when Dix put
on a little visual
pressure with a do it or die face.
"Oh, what a relief. I can only decorate
so much you know.
It's because of the nature of my work."
"If you're so hung up on decor, why
don't you go be
a mortician in a funeral home. That kind of place is
totally lavish. Satin coffins,
velvet curtains, carpetting.."
Chet needled Scribbs.
Scribbs refused to rise to the bait. "I
solving too much to be satisfied with just corpse restoration
for burial. Here, I
can determine cause of death and there's
nothing, gentlemen, more intriguing than that." he
with a grin.
Mike Stoker cleared his throat. "Yes, well. Uh... Chow's
on. Looks like Cap sent
us down a tray.."
Gage reached for a sandwich eagerly.
Dixie slapped his hand away. "Not
so fast, Near Death Boy.
You've orders for nothing P.O."
"Aw,, Dix. I feel fine.." Johnny said.
"Yeah?" Kel admitted. "Well the tests Dr. Scribbs and I
ran on you say otherwise. If your blood
within the next hour, I'll see about you eating anything.
Until then, that I.V.'s
all you're gonna get."
"Ok, doc, you're my doc."
"And so am I." glared Scribbs. "er...
for the time being."
Johnny mock saluted them both, grumbling while
everyone but Sheppard moved
away to fill their bellies.
Malcolm declined his food saying he
might lose it when his arm
Dixie dove into her egg salad. "Suit yourself."
she told him.
a needle cover at Mike Stoker's
back to get his attention when the others had
gone. He didn't mind
Gil Sheppard remaining
for Gage trusted the paramedic to have selective
hearing while he dove through
the sports pages.
Stoker swallowed his last bite of chicken breast on
wheat and he sat by Johnny.
Gage studied his hands. "Yeah, your ear." he said
timidly. "Look, I didn't
mean to critique all you did for
me. This chip's nothing the dentist can't fix. I have
I'm told. And you must've had to hurry or
"I did. You quit breathing less than
ten seconds after
you dropped the BP cuff.." Mike Stoker said.
must have been some benzene dose you
took. Something in liquid form I suspect." Mike nodded.
anyone else effected?" he asked quietly worried.
"Chet was. Both his eyes.."
screwed up in complaint.. "Well why does
he get to eat?! For crying out l-- That's not fair.."
Mike hushed him. "His tests came out negative for phenol."
Johnny relented and suppressed a cough
so the EKG monitor
wouldn't set off a PVC alarm and send the others running.
He just thought about
what he was going to say for a minute
and then he looked up at Stoker. "Thanks for bailing my
Mike. I could've died today."
"Well you didn't. And even if you had, no one does for long
"That much is true.." Johnny chuckled, seriously. "Still.
Thanks, pal." And he held
out his I.V. taped hand.
Mike Stoker took it into a clasp, moved far beyond easy
he didn't speak. A nod sufficed. But then he tilted
his head and he stuck out a pinning finger. "The
you're back on your feet and back on duty. You're gonna drill
me on the mannikin.
I wanna get a full intubation done in less
than the minute they give you. And I wanna learn how to
cause a laryngospasm."
Johnny warmed up to the new subject heartily and his
monitor sped up into an excited range. "That's
easy. Here, move closer. I wanna tell you how I do
all MY endotrachs.
Roy's method's good. But a tad slow. I got a few seconds on him
and he's been
in this line of work longer than me.." he grinned
lopsidedly. "Now after you've visualized the cords
a positioning trick you can do with your elbows where you just
cock your non stylus hand
up a hair.. like this.. Here let me
show you.. Gimme your hands.. Are you with me so far?"
"Ok, so you've got your scope blade in and the tongue's
pushed to the right out of
the way.. now all you have to do
Roy DeSoto listened
to his crewmates quiet babble from
the far side of the room with contentment while he sipped
well deserved cup of coffee Dixie had given him. She
was with him now, helping DeSoto keep an eye
EKG monitor and she caught his slight smile of pride.
"What?" she asked, mirroring
one of her own.
"Nothing. They're bringing back some memories that's all."
"What kind of
memories?" Dixie pegged, challenging.
Roy was caught like a dog on a pole and noose.
"I remember talking shop with Johnny about
paramedic stuff, just like they're doing right now."
"Does it feel good? Or bad?" McCall asked with a mixed
look on her face, half worried and half horrified.
"Both, actually. I taught Johnny everything he knew and now
he's got a chance to teach Stoker
the same thing. In one
respect, that proves that I made a good teacher. On the other
hand, it makes
me feel really ...old.." DeSoto mused.
"Oh, rubbish.." McCall said. "If I felt that way every time
of my student nurses suddenly figured it out and became
well seasoned, I'd never crawl out
of bed in the morning.
Just,.. let it happen,. and be done with it.."
Kel Brackett interrupted
them from the autopsy reports he
was reading through that Dr. Scribbs was showing him
like a proud
papa. "That's what I do, Roy. Look how I feel.
I'm a great grandfather now.. First I trained you.
trained Gage. Now Gage is training Stoker... See? Great
grandfather. And I never wallow
in an I'm getting older
"Yes you do.." Dix peeped.
"I do not!" Kel said, setting
down his report slate.
"Sure you do. Whenever you graduate yet another
paramedic class, it
happens every time. Carol tells me she
hears you doing it all the time."
"Well,," Dr. Brackett
sputtered. "That's ..that might
be true.. But I try to curb it."
"Relax, doc.." Roy smiled,
leaning forward. "I won't
let anyone on to the fact that we're all human beings."
frowned sarcastically and reburied his
nose into the autopsy reports.
Scribbs added his own
opinion. "I know the value of
human sentimentality probably more than the both of
you put together,
since I see just how mortal each and
every person,.. truly is." And he raised his cup in
"Here's to life. And our mutual fight to thwart
Roy and Dix and Kel all raised their
mugs of coffee
and joined the medical examiner in his toast.
Chet Kelly sat
in his chair, well away from the others
and the corpse cooler, watching Stoker and Gage run
an intubation call at his tableside. Something
inside of him made him get up and walk over there.
He interrupted their conversation self consciously.
"Can I listen in?"
Mike Stoker and Johnny
Gage fell silent.
Chet stammered. "I ..I..I mean.. I was there, too. Maybe
I could learn a
thing or three... like... like he is." he
Mike Stoker smiled and pulled up a second
stool. "Why don't you find a third seat for Marco. We'll
all learn together." And Stoker's
eyes twinkled in the
It wasn't long before a newly arriving Hank Stanley was
as rivetted as the others to Gage's helpful hints and
entertaining expertise on the finesse of good
life support techniques.
And it seemed like no time at all before the whole quarantined
bunch was bound for Rampart aboard the helicopter,
soaring high above the Carson City skyline.
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