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      Page Seven

"Do you remember if you blacked out at all?"

"I didn't. Not at all. Just got a little tired when I got cold."

Roy's agreeing nod confirmed it for Joe.

Joe stood up. "Your vital signs are normal. Your
temperature is now where it should be, and you
have absolutely no indications of internal injury."
he took his stethoscope off from around his neck
and stuffed it into a copious pocket. "I'm
releasing you."

"You mean, he's going to be fine?" DeSoto asked.

"Healthiest near drowning I've ever seen."
Joe chuckled. "But I am prescribing you some
antibiotics just as a precaution. There's no telling
whether or not that mud you ingested was
contaminated with sewage runoff or other
substances from the slide."

"Oohhwwk." Marco made a face.

Joe went on, with a kind smile.
"But I wouldn't worry about that.
Your body will excrete it naturally and maybe
the only thing you'll notice is that you may get
slightly constipated later on."

"Wonderful.." Lopez said sarcastically.

"I can prescribe a laxative if you're
worried." Joe added helpfully.

"Don't bother. My mother's probably got
a recipe somewhere that'll do the trick if
things get into a bind."

Roy hid a smile. "I think your mother's
corn tamales might be just the thing."

Marco looked aghast, "Are you saying my
mama's cooking..... " Lopez hunted around for
delicate terms. " off Roy?"

"Honestly? At does." Roy admitted,
refolding his arms subconsciously.

Lopez slumped back onto his pillow.
"Oh brother..She's not going like hearing about that.."

"Look. Lopez.. I- I- It's no big deal. Really. Listen..
Tell her it's just our intolerance for spicy
food." Roy said matter of fact. "That it runs only
in my family.." he added drolly.

"It does?"

"Yeah.." Roy said empathically and he
uncrossed his arms to present an image
of conviction.

"Oh.. Thanks for uh,.. letting me know
about that ..uh .. effect. Wouldn't want
mom to worry that her food bothered

"Tell her it truly doesn't. " Roy said. " Tell
her we DeSotos are atypical gastronomically
speaking. And that her reputation as Prima
Dona Cocina Senora is unthreatened. Have
no fear."

Marco studied Roy's face for long moments,
weighing his words. Finally, he slowly nodded.
His hurt feelings tamed.

"That settles it then. Marco's mom cooks Marco
some of her famous corn tamales.. and... I give
you this.."Joe rose with Marco's chart and ripped
out the form from it for Lopez with his written
prescription. "A broad spectrum antibiotic."

Lopez nodded in tired compliance, grudgingly.

Roy turned off Marco's O2
feed, took it off his grumbling co worker,
rolled up its tubing, and tossed
it into a waste receptacle bin. "Chin up, Marco.
You could be me.."

Marco glanced up in sudden alarm at Roy's out
of character self jab.

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Right then, the treatment room doors
opened and a bustling, cheerfully whistling
Chet, entered. He had body showered in the
surgical locker room and was wearing a
luxuriously clean uniform despite
his still heavily mud flecked face. In his arms,
he carried two more sets of shoes,
shirts and slacks for Marco and Roy.
And even two pairs of T-shirts and boxer

Roy recognized those right away.

But Marco remarked faster. "Hey,
who raided our lockers at the station?"

"Detello did. His company was released
off scene before Cap and Stoker and he
took a few liberties. Conned the Batallion
Chief out of his car for an hour to go
get us these."

"Wow.. what a saint." Joe said, raising his

"You have no idea, man. Detello's definitely
saint grade material. Or maybe even higher, doc."
Chet said, rolling his eyes. "He makes Camelot's
Lancelot Du Lacque seem like a two bit wuss."

"Really..?" Joe said.

"It was uncanny, Dr. Early. Just when we needed
equipment or needed a hand getting out of a tight
spot, this Detello guy always managed to come up with
a miraculous solution. He's the one who kept
Marco from drowning with a flimsy 02 mask
until we could get him outta trouble." Chet

"Yeah, only thing is he probably broke my nose.."
Marco said.

"He broke your nose?"  Joe asked.
"I thought that red on your face was just mud..."
and he drew out his penlight to examine the inside of
Marco's nose and he soon put it away to palpate the
surrounding face bones carefully. "Canyon mud
from Escondido.."

Roy blinked. "Yeah, we were near Escondido, off
the freeway." ::What a detective..:: he thought.

"I'm not feeling any crepitus here. Can you breathe
through your nose ok?"

Marco nodded. "Yes. It's just a little tender."

"Want us to do an x-ray to be sure?"

"Would it effect anything? I mean, what will you do
if it is broken?"

"Nothing. I'm seeing no deformity. "First do no harm."
Joe recited. "Better to leave well enough alone since
it isn't hurting enough to bother you much."

Roy grinned thoughtfully. "A symptom which seems
like no symptom IS no symptom."

"Exactly what I was thinking. My original prognosis
stands Marco. You're free to go." Joe said. "Kel's
rubbing off on you Roy. That's Dr. Brackett's

Roy smiled even bigger. "From paramedic training
class. I remember.." Then Roy's stress began to
poke through and he found himself growing
impatient to hold Kelly to his promise. "Chet..."

Chet was busy at the sink and cupboard finding
a wash bowl and a stand so Marco could rinse
off the worst of the mud off himself before
he changed into his clothes.

"Chet.." Roy repeated.

"Hmmm?" Kelly said, after frothing up the antibiotic
soap in the bowl with a few fingers. He couldn't
resist bending over and rinsing his own face free
of mud.

"How's Chris?"

"Chris..?" Chet said, still preoccupied with the
luxury of steaming clear water so near at hand.

"My son..? H- How's he doing?"

"Your son's here?" Joe asked quickly, looking
up from the chart he was recording.

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"Yeah, he was in the bus with us.." Marco said.
"Yeah, Chet. How's he doing?"

Chet grimaced and said.  "Ahh! Roy
couldja hand me a towel? I think I got soap in
my eye.."

Roy levelled one at his face with force.

"Oww, thanks. Uh," Kelly said using the towel's
corner to twist grit out of his ear. "He's one hundred
percent  Ayee Okay, Roy. Just some surgery to
suture him up. No lasting damage.." he said mildly
to them all when he looked up.

"You're certain..."

"Does Morton ever smile?" Chet said deadpan.

Roy let down his suspicion about the validity of
his news immediately and relaxed.

But Lopez was still discontented.
"Chet.." Marco prompted.


"How am I supposed to wash up with that?"

"With what?"

Roy and Lopez both pointed down.

Kelly's charitable wash bath offering was now
dark red with mud and crusty sand. "Oh,, sorry.
Here Marco, let me draw you up another one."

Joe left the treatment room, chuckling.

Roy followed him, admonishing after Marco and
Chet as he left, holding the door open with
a deep lean.
"You guys got fifteen minutes to clean up. We
can then all leave in the squad together. If
we jam in tight, we can get four in the
cab. We've done it before.."

"Wait a minute. You're going to leave Chris
alone here at Rampart?" Kelly asked.

"Yes.. No.. Oh, I don't know.. Never had this
happen before, don't know if Cap'll let me
remain here."

"Of course he will, DeSoto. Are you outta your
everloving mind?" Kelly frowned passionately.

"Yeah, just a little. The crisis is over and I guess
I'm finally reacting.." Roy said numbly.

"I'll say."

But Roy acted as if he didn't hear Kelly at all
as his mind was still racing.
"I'll call Joanne, let her know what's
happened to Chris, and get cleaned up myself..
Then we can go.." he muttered, already losing
recollection of Chet's firm belief Cap would release
Roy from active duty because of his son's mishap.

"You're gonna do all that in fifteen minutes?
Man, Joanne's gonna fall apart for sure.
Nothing like the maternal instinct." Kelly

"Yeah well that maternal instinct's also
been down this route before. Joanne's
not some snivelling panicky mother who'll
faint at the slightest bad news."

"Never said she was going to faint I said
she might fall apar--" Chet began.

"Kelly..." Roy said irritably.


"Just go help Marco change."

Chet finally saw he was outta line.
"Right.."  He peeked out further from
the Treatment Room. "But then we
gotta talk pal.."

"About what?" Roy snapped.

"About something your son's into, man.
Think I might wanna get into it, too, real soon."
Chet said mysteriously.

"I'm dying with suspense..Can it wait? My life's
sorta kinda been turned upside down today if
you haven't noticed.." DeSoto said sarcastically.

"Yeah, I noticed.. And yeah. It can wait. Better yet,
I'll bring up my idea to Johnny. He might be in a
better mood to offer an opinion. Man, at least I know
GAGE can handle his stress.."

"Not this kind.." Roy fired back and he let the
door swing shut between them. DeSoto felt like
an immediate terd for lashing out at Kelly but
a part of him really didn't care at the moment.

All he could think about was that phone call
to Joanne.

All through his shower in the hospital locker
room, he rehearsed how he was going to break
the news to the family.

Then he figured it out. He would let Chris call
home himself, before he was prepped for surgery.
::Nothing like hearing news from the source::
DeSoto sighed. ::Maybe I'll have Dixie string
in a landline from the wall, to Chris's bed so
he can dial out directly from a phone that isn't
the red one. Might ease the shock for Joanne
and my daughter.::

An overwhelming paternal angst gripped
Roy. His separation from his son following
his near fatal accident suddenly felt intolerable.

Roy couldn't seem to dress fast enough for
comfort's sake and all he could see was the
memory of Chris's mud covered face blending
in with the hillside's guts, pooling in the bus,
whenever he closed his eyes.

Something very integral inside Roy, ....finally snapped.

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From:  Katherine Bird <>
Date:  Wed Jan 15, 2003  12:10 am
Subject:  The Shell..


It was morning, and the day after the school
bus rescue. A-shift slowly made their way into
the kitchen for coffee after changing into their
work clothes.

Cap was the first one to the steaming coffee pot.
In his hands were the run sheet forms for the
bus's incident.  He placed them fanned out in
the middle of the table top and placed the pot
in their center so anyone reaching for it would
have to see the forms before getting a cup filled.

 Click the Resuscitator to go to Page Eight :)

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