The Story Unfolds...|
Season Three, Episode Nineteen..
§§ Sacred Ground §§
Debut Launch: March 1st, 2005.
From : katalyia <email@example.com>
Sent : Tuesday, March 1, 2005 10:19 PM
Subject : Sacred
Johnny slowly opened his eyes, wondering what had awakened him. After
few moments, he realized that he was thirsty. Slowly, he sat up and
stretched a bit, before swinging
his feet over the edge of his bed
and standing up. Quietly, he shuffled his way through the dorm,
across the apparatus bay, and into the kitchen.
Even though he was still half asleep, he didn't
have any trouble
finding a glass and getting the necessary drink. Once he was done, he
the glass in the sink, turned and made his way back to the
As Johnny was making his
way across the bay, his foot bumped against
something in the dark. He paused as he tried to make
out the slight
noise it made. Deciding that he would find out what it was in the
wanting to get back to bed and catch a few more hours of
sleep, he started once again to the dorm,
unaware that the object he
knocked over was directly in his path.
A moment later, Johnny felt
the surface under his right foot move and
realized he had knocked over the slide board for working
squad. As his foot went out from underneath him, he turned and tried
to grab the railing
that ran along the top of the squad. But the fact
that he was tired prevented him from reacting quickly
and he missed
as the momentum threw him into the side of the squad.
Johnny heard the crack
that his jaw made as it connected with the
edge of the squad and the bang that followed as his head
met the side as he headed toward the floor. He hit the floor, as his
to his jaw and the air was knocked out of him with a
Roy jerked awake as he heard
what sounded like a bang come from the
bay. Looking around he noticed that the others were also awake,
trying to figure out what the sound was. Except for Johnny, who was
not in his bunk.
that his partner had probably tripped over something, and
that was the source of the noise, he started
to lay down.... started to,
as the next moment a muffled pain filled scream, echoed through the
Roy bolted out of bed as the light was slapped on by Stanley.
Reaching the door mere
seconds before his Captain, he saw that Johnny
was down, that he had been holding his jaw, and that
blood covered the
lower portion of his face.
From : Cassidy Meyers <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent : Friday, March 4, 2005 10:35 PM
Subject : How Sharper Than a Serpent's....
"Oh, L*rd, what now?" Cap exclaimed, rubbing
frustrated fingers through his hair when he spied
lying flat on his back just past the hallway
leading from the bunkroom into the large vehicle bay.
He had just about stepped on one of Johnny's outflung
DeSoto hurried forward,
bending low. Gage failed to move
at Roy's touch, shout or to a sharp knuckle rub to the
Chet's eyebrows rose in concern. "Seriously beaned, man."
He leaned forward to crouch down
by Johnny's head. "Looks like
he wiped out on the mechanic's creeper, Cap. It's no longer leaning
against the tool locker by the mop bucket. It's by his foot."
Hank sighed, "Now who managed
to bump it down
out of the rack and onto its rollers like that?" He kicked it away
squad in irritation and it clattered metallically
on ball bearing wheels as it hit the far wall in
a scooting ricochet.
"Probably accidental." Stoker replied. "Maybe Boot
horsing around in
here again, jarred it free. You know how
he likes to go after the damp mop heads hanging in the cleaning
dry. Roy, is he breathin' ok for you? Carotid pulse's fine." And he reached
jawline with two sets of spread fingers to get a cleaner airway
Roy stopped him,
"Wait a minute. There's more than just a bit of
blood here around his mouth. Let's stabilize his
head and roll him over
onto his side instead to get him opened up better. Kelly, go get the
a C collar, the backboard, and the biphone."
Cap wasn't worried much, yet. "I don't think he's
guys, he's not snoring any. I'll go call in a still alarm." Hank said,
DeSoto stopped him. "No, Cap, not yet. It'll take all of us to turn him
without bending his
neck at all until I get this collar on. It'll only
take a minute..."
Carefully, moving firm
but smoothly, the five men tipped Gage's
quiet form onto his side, keeping everything about him in
while Roy gingerly secured the soft cervical collar and fastened
its straps. Johnny's
mouth sagged open then and a flow of bright tinged
saliva and blood bubbled out from between his
"Is that blood coming from his tongue?" Lopez said, getting |
a hasty demand valve on full passive
flow ready for use.
Roy and the others finished getting Gage strapped securely
onto the light
oak spineboard. Kelly didn't let go of Johnny's
face until Gage's head was fully sand bag blocked
"No,.." said Roy, settling a hand on Gage's stomach
the change in his breathing following a deft bulb
suctioning. "His lower lip's not split either.
I think just the upper side of
his right jaw impacted hard on something. It's just beginning to balloon
up a bit here with a bruise right at the cheekbone by his ear."
"Look at your squad door,
Roy. That dent's the same size
as Johnny's face." Marco said in exasperation, wincing.
least that part of the chassis's hollow. " Roy sighed.
"Ok, get that O2 going, he's clear enough
now, but don't
tip him off his side until I'm done checking out his head
held the mask firmly over Johnny's nose and mouth
and let the stunned paramedic breathe it in on
his own without
any thumb triggering, which wasn't needed.
Roy was finishing a set of vital
signs, when Gage moaned
and coughed weakily, trying to move.
Everyone began talking all at
once, urging five different
kinds of encouragement, or stern warning, to keep still.
Johnny screw up his eyebrows in irritation as he
came to. Angrily, he choked on something, startling
who dropped the mask. Gage spit out a bloody tooth, complete
with its double forked yellowing
It rolled like a playing di across the shiny cement and clicked
against Kelly's shoe.
Chet picked it up. "Well, I'll be darned.
It's a whole complete molar!"
"More like a wisdom
tooth.." said Roy squinting with expertise.
"His upper right one." he sniffed.
his head like a dog twerking to an oddball sound.
"He's just as pale as us, man. Is he doing ok?"
Roy glanced down between his backboard supporting arms to
get nearer to Gage's ear. "Hey..
Johnny. Talk a little. We got
your C spine. Where do you hurt?"
Gage sucked in a catching
breath and his eyes fluttered
opened. "Whaa.. happhh..nd? I can't moou--bb!" he blinked
around the demand valve's face mask. "Oh..spineborth?"
Roy grinned. "Yeah. You fell. Again.."
he rolled his eyes. "I told you that
you needed to get some sleep to avoid hitting your trusty ol
the dark button. Now answer the question. What hurts besides your
"I saith..nuffin!" Johnny winced. "Owww.." and he closed his right eye.
his tongue probed around a little. "Hey, Roy? I think I losth a toof..!"
he said in high alarm.
DeSoto straightened up in sudden, relieved, exasperation. "I think we can set
him on his back
now, fellas, don't you? He got that one right." he added dryly.
"Cap, go ahead and call Rampart.
He's doing good enough neurologically
now to manage without the gravity aid."
Chet was thinking
about Johnny's last horrifying self discovery comment.
"You sure did you lucky son of a--- Johnny,
....Roy here says you lost
one of your wisdom teeth..See? It's right here." Chet said, holding it
to Gage's eyes like a fine jeweler would a precious gemstone to
a watching buyer.
"Eeooowww. Get thath away frob me or I'm gonna puke on ya!" Johnny yelled
half in a mix of horror
and genuine anger.
"Why? It's just a tooth..." Chet said reasonably and puzzled.
not just any toof.. It's MY toof! Uoohh no.." And he turned green.
"Here I goOOOU.. GAAAAAuhgghhh......."
And he fake vomitted, jutting
out a gory tongue, just to shock Chet into dropping the thing out of
and fingers reach. He stopped pretend gagging before Chet hit his own
out point. Then he started laughing at how successful he
was in getting Chet's face to wash ghostly
He let Kelly off the hook."Of all the wayths to thave a little money by
thit to the dentith, guyths. Oh,, maaannn *Cough*"
"You sure you're all right?" Roy asked him
after exchanging a few words and
sentences with Dr. Brackett on Johnny's almost completely normal
##How's his Babinski's?## came the firm bass voice of Kel.
Roy licked his
lips, "Doc, I haven't got that far yet. Hang on a sec."
and he quickly covered the jarbles of irate
physician with his other palm,
deciding quickly that preventing hurt partner from getting irate was
a far lesser
evil than any mere doctor rage.
"I'mm no-- hurth!" Gage insisted around his
fattening cheek. "Jus
hath the win knockth out--me." he wiggled in the C collar.
even twitching when we all found ya.
Stoker, here.." and DeSoto tossed Mike his penlight. "Go check
his eyes for
any mismatching or misreactions.."
Gage sighed around the 02 mask. "Lope...
I don't nee thisth..!" he
said plainatively. "I'b fine.."
Roy sighed, too, rubbing his tired
face with his free hand. He froze
for about a quarter of a minute, meeting Gage's staring eyes that
were singularly boring through his own. They didn't even blink or wince
once, even when Stoker
checked their pupillary responses with the
overly bright pure white glowing L.E.D. illumination.
"Perfectly p.e.a.r.l., Roy. I checked twice." said Stoker seriously.
If you can't give me all the details now, transport,
and we'll definitely be talking about him and
managed my transmission later!!##
"I'm.......not......GOING!!" hissed Gage so
both the pink and the black and blue cheek puffed out in
around the demand valve. "It's
Friday, around three am ...and I'm lying on the friggin floor
the middle of Station 51.. in the heart of industrial ...
Carson City!" he rattled off, in barely
Derisively, DeSoto plugged his phone receiver ear to block out Brackett's
booming beratement while he said, "Gage's refusing, doc. One hundred percent.
Sorry about that.
Disregard this whole patient contact call. Squad 51, out."
And he hung up the black phone in seconds.
A loud silence overtook the vehicle bay.
Hank didn't know whether to fold
his arms in a glare or mince
his fingertips with worry in front of his suspender-ed T shirt.
"He can. He just did. I can't treat him if he refuses. Any more than |
I can treat any patient who's
awake, conscious and fully aware
of his surroundings. Guys, set him free.." he said, getting up
from his knee aching squat on the hard chilly cement floor.
"And let's save that O2 for somebody
who really needs it, huh?
Lopez get a ice bag for that face purpling from the freezer. I'm
he won't argue THAT recommended treatment to death any.
I'm going back to bed." he grumbled. "Thanks,
that was real funny...." he said deadpan sarcastic."Can't say it
was one of your best
gigs. It stank. Royally."
Roy's sleep dishevelled shadow shuffled sleepily back
bunk room. His was followed by Boot's and
the methodical click of bored claws.
All the rest
of the guys watched them go, all wearing the same
expressions of sheer dumbstruck muteness, including
strap and block immobilized Gage.
Then, one by one, all the gang got equally in a huff.
secretly in unspoken sudden conspiracy, the four of them swept up
Johnny and his long
board into their arms... and hung him on
the wall off a jacket hook.
Yawning, they turned
to go, imitating Roy to the point
of actually leaving John in the dark with the flick of the light
switch...... for several minutes.
"HeyyyyYY! Ya aren't just gonna leave me here!?" Johnny
rattled against the bricks. "I didn't plan anything.. Well,
maybe the fake chunk blowing part....
getting real uncomfortable!!! If you don't want me going
into shock for real, you'd
Laughing at his ire, the guys hastily returned and laid him
back down on the
ground to undo his arms and legs and
pull off the collar. Stoker and Marco helped Johnny up with
double grip of their hands, chuckling evilly.
Kelly said, "If you're feeling well enough
to call off an ambulance,
why don't you go put the gear away like a good little non-patient
you shower up to wash all that blood off."
Then the gang DID leave Gage alone, exiting stage
In irritation, Johnny got rid of the last of his throbbing jawline
headache with a few snorts from the oxygen tank mask.
Then, in a re-inflamed case of the willies,
he started cleaning
up all the rescue apparatus, all the while cringing in anticipation
of his bare heels suddenly crunching down onto his now
truly lost, luckless tooth.
insult to injury, Boot didn't even leave his warm place
curled at the curve of Roy's butt, to help
him find it.
From: Roxy Dee < email@example.com
Sent : Wednesday, March 9, 2005 3:46 PM
Subject : The Sacred Ground
Gage was the
last one to breakfast.
He had spent the better part of a half hour poking
and prodding in
his mouth using the bathroom mirror
in and around the gap his knocked out tooth had left
The cheek bruise, he wasn't worried about.
It was the fact that nothing behind remained of
tooth, that did.
He sat, holding the long since warmed ice bag
Marco had given him last night
over his bruised
face self consciously, as he sank down in his
Roy immediately zeroed
in on him while he spooned
out a hefty portion of hashbrowns onto his plate.
"Headache gone yet?
If it's not, you've earned
yourself another mandatory vitals check. Cap's orders."
"Yeah, it's gone. My face doesn't even hurt anymore."
"Then why the long face, Johnny? You're
not the one
who's going to get the shop bill when Charlie comes to pop
out that door panel on the
squad this afternoon."
Kelly ribbed, taking a sip of milk. "Man, nothing like
taking a midnight
header into a solid object.."
Johnny frowned in irritation at Chet's light humor, tossing
spent ice bag into the trash so that it narrowly missed
smacking the curly haired fireman on the shoulder.
Kelly dodged it easily without even looking up. Gage
waited for a reaction, but didn't even get one.
Johnny said. "Didja find it before ya mopped the garage
out this morning?" he demanded.
Kelly kept on chewing.. "Hhmm. Chewy omelets, Cap.
Glad I got enough teeth to manage it..."
Marco chastised. "Knock it off.. You know how
much this is bothering Gage. Quit teasing.."
right.. all right.. I'll give. Geesh.. How else can a guy
get his fun around here? Yes, I found it.
It's in a glass of
water by the stove over there..." Kelly pointed with his fork.
"But I already
called the dentist's office. They said it's
far too late to do anything about saving your tooth.
short of an ambulance ride to the dentist chair would've saved
it in time and that trip...you
nipped in the butt before anyone could
say anything about it last night." Chet admitted honestly.
what'cha gonna do with it? Raise it on animal skin scaffolding out
in the woods somewhere
to dispose of it? I know how much
the physical body and its parts mean to your people."
flared. "Chet, you don't know what you're talking about.
I don't have to bury or burn it. I just have
t--" he broke off,
getting even more self conscious.
Cap wiped his mouth with a paper napkin
while he munched
on buttered toast. "To do what, Gage? Now don't clam up.
You've got us all curious
about it. Might as well 'fess up
because you owe me one for not filing a report on that header
took out in the vehicle bay." Hank said no nonsense.
Gage looked properly abashed, even though
his eyes rebelled
Cap went on . "Beside that, I let you sleep in to recover some.
I'm not subjecting you to any of the usual A.M. chore details. Heck,
Stoker even made you
some soft boiled eggs so you could actually
eat something this morning."
Johnny accepted the
plate pushed in front of him meekly.
"Thanks, Mike, Cap. But I really can't talk about it. What I
do is something that's.. real personal and private."
Hank stabbed Gage with a piercing glare. "I almost threw it out|
for being a biohazard in the station."
"What?" Johnny said in shock. "Cap, you know where I'm angling
and yet you're trying your d*mnedest
to make me talk about it."
"D*mned straight I am. How many times have I told you to
lights on in the garage at night when raiding the refrigerator."
"I wasn't raiding
the frig. I was getting a glass of water."
"Moot point. Your accident, was totally preventable."
"So's just about every other one Johnny's been in.." Chet chuckled.
Hank huffed at Kelly. Then he simply turned eyes on Gage
in firm insistence, to spill the beans.
"I...have to make a personal totem offering to the Spirit World."
miss a thing. "A what? You mean you have to burn your tooth up
in a bonfire or something while dancing
naked under the moon in warpaint?"
Gage just made a face. "No,, Chet. You make it sound as though
were still living in the dark ages. I just have to make a prayer sack and wear
a couple of days. No big deal.. Uh, that's if I can wear it under my uniform,
Why not.." Hank said throwing up his chin. "No different than Marco
wearing his gold crucifix under
his t-shirt. But I absolutely prohibit any
noxious weeds or other highly offensive olfactory offerings
going into the
bag. We've a public image to uphold."
"I think I can get Nakoma to make me
one that's subtle." Gage said.
Stoker lifted his head from the paper. "Who's Nakoma? Some sort
Gage started to look uncomfortable. "No.. he's an elder in my family
has the sacred responsibility of burying us when we die."
Kelly laughed. "Ah, I see where this
is going. He'll even bury just a
"Yes." said Johnny seriously. "That especially. My
the head to be closest to the Creator Spirit. It's where our soul
truly rests while
"Well what about the fighting spirit?" Marco asked. "I remember reading
that Seminole warriors believe that aspect lives in the blood
"It does. But I'm
not a warrior. So I don't have to worry about my blood
when I lose it. Only..." he broke off.
"Only physical body parts.." Kelly continued where he left off. "I get it.
Radical, Johnny. I never
knew you were such a religious fanatic."
Gage sighed while he gingerly slurped down his steaming
"Very funny. I got an appointment with Nakoma to get my prayer sack
today. I gotta go get
it before the sun hits noontime or there'll be
h*ll to pay with my Aunt."
"She already knows
about your tooth?" asked Roy.
"Yeah.. I called her last night after you guys went back to bed.
I had to. It was my duty as her nephew to let her know that a part
of me had just died."
That's so morbid.." Kelly squirmed.
"Chet. I didn't expect any of you to understand any of this
so why don't
you just shut up and forget about it. Let Roy and I handle this ourselves."
set his jelly knife down onto his saucer with a clatter.
"What do you mean let me handle it with you?"
"Roy.. you're my oldest friend.. And...whenever there's a sacred
ceremony on the Grounds with
Chief Elder Nakoma, a non married
tribesman always has to have his closest friend in attendance..to...show
he's lived his life honorably by having someone who's already proven themselves
to be a ..true
soulmate." Johnny blushed. "I mean, what else can we be to each other?
We've saved each other's lives
a dozen times over."
Roy smiled. "I'll be happy to stand with you, Johnny Gage. Wouldn't have
it any other way." he said sipping his coffee. "Just so long as I don't
have to run around naked,
wearing beads around my neck
or anything like that, roasting my skin off in a sweat lodge."
won't have to do anything but be there and smoke a pipe briefly...Thanks."
Gage said, without looking
The rest of the gang continued eating in respectful silence...until
Chet piped up. "So,
you both gonna have to wear face paint for
this tooth memorial ceremony thingamabob going on today?"
It was ten A.M. and Johnny clutched the saline filled jar holding his
tooth in his hand nervously.
"Roy, I hope to G*d we don't get another
squad run.." he said, pulling off his helmet while he and
drove for a resupplying stop at Rampart. "There's only two hours left
until my spiritual
"Easy way to fix that. We won't eat any food. It seems we never get a
when we're not eating..." Roy joked.
Gage surprisingly didn't laugh. "There is that.."
he said seriously.
"You're really worked up about all this, aren't you?" Roy asked.
course I am. All these years since leaving the reservation, I've
never even once had to visit Nakoma.
When I was a boy, he used
to make me nervous..." Johnny said.
"Why? It's no different than
say, me, meeting my pastor."
"It's a lot different.. Nakoma just doesn't oversee tribal religion.
says that he can see into you.. Directly. Up close and personal.
And he doesn't even have
to know anything about you..." Gage
sighed. "I guess I'm afraid that my life so far won't measure
I haven't done anything for back home.. since..since I left.." he said,
throwing up his hands
and pulling off his overcoat.
"A dereliction of duty, huh?"
"You can call it that.." Gage
"Well, no matter what happens. I'll be with ya." DeSoto nodded.
we've restocked I.V.s we can go to Nakoma's shop, ok.?"
"Ok.." said Johnny nervously..." ok."
he said to reassure himself
mostly. "Oh,...man.." He fumbled setting his tooth jar into a cup
and almost dropped it onto the floor. Only a hasty catch
"Relax.. or do I have to
get Dr. Brackett to prescribe you a sedative?"
"I'll be relaxed once I have that prayer amulet
sack and things are
under way. This whole process will take a week. We gotta fast,
and be outside
during certain times and the whole works.." Gage
"Cap isn't gonna like this fasting part.." he scratched his nose|
as he drove the squad into the hospital's
driveway. "And I don't
think I'm gonna like it much either. I think we oughta grab some
the cafeteria while we're here because we still can."
Roy said evenly.
"No! No.. Roy, you
said it yourself. We'll get a run then for sure.."
"I was joking.."
Johnny didn't hear
him and immediately flung his squad door open
the moment Roy had backed it to a halt near the ER's
Gage rushed inside, seeking out Dixie McCall..
From: "Cory Anda" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue Mar 15, 2005 5:40 pm
Subject: Body Part Paranoia
Johnny Gage made his way
through busy bustling Rampart
with all the skill of a medical worker to the ER's front
Dixie.." he said without preamble.
"Oh, hiya Johnny. How's it going? You fellas made good
from Anaheim for this time of day. Traffic must be real
light. I got the supplies you requested right
here. Double check
me. Two bags of Ringers, six Travenol set-ups. An ET sized
7.0 French. Two
epinephrines, at 1/10,000.. Three MS adults,
and a box of cardiac electrode pads." she said.
"Missing a peds Narcan dose." Johnny said, fidgetting with
a couple of pens like a drummer would a
pair of drumsticks on
top of Dixie's latest metal patient chart. He didn't look at
nurse, nor did he beg off for a cup of coffee from
That got Dixie's attention faster than
a fainter in the waiting
room. "Ok, what gives, Johnny Gage? You're jumpier than an addict
heroin this morning."
"Whaa.. say, listen, Dix." Gage said, still rubbernecking down both ends
the hallway. "Are Early and Morton nearby? I gotta talk with them. It's
not replying to that question until you actually show signs
that at least one of your ears are still
working." she said, noticing
the deep, dark bruise purpling the right side of Johnny's face.
this is important!" Johnny insisted, leaning in on her.
"I gotta track down my last M.D. surgery notes
A.S.A.P. before it's too
late to do anything about it."
A puzzled frown knitted itself across
Dixie's face. "That might take
a while. Your patient records are buried somewhere in the depths of
Records, inactively status-ed , because you're currently 100% perfectly healthy."
change in....an hour. Exactly."
"Are you hexing yourself for some reason or do you just love me
so much that you want to get that nasty face bruise looked at right away?"
McCall squinted suspiciously,
reaching for it, trying to use humor to
curb her own sudden, rising worry about him.
jerked his face away from her long fingernailed grip.
"I'm fine. This is nothing."
not.." offered Roy, finally catching up with his partner."I think
that cheek bump is the first case
of frontal brain pan concussion in
the history of modern medicine..." DeSoto quipped. "Trip and fall
last night. Minor." he confided to the head nurse. "Relax, Dix. I already
gave him a once over before
he pulled a refusal on me."
"Oh. So his fidgetting here, like a five year old in a dentist office,
"Yeah, he's got an appointment he doesn't want to go to.."
Roy said, collecting
the box of medical supplies from Dixie
after signing off on a requisition form.
"With Morton or Joe Early?" Dixie asked, watching Johnny|
mince uncomfortably. "I noticed the tooth
jar in his hand and he's
asking where they are right now."
"Neither. He's got a date with a
close relative concerning a
personal matter. At noon."
"What can be so personal that's got
Johnny wound up this bad?"
Dixie wondered while they both watched him get a drink that he
need from the hallway drinking alcove. Then she remembered
what he had just said to her. "Locating
a surgical record...?" she
mumbled, answering her own question with an even deeper puzzle.
Roy jerked his head around.
"Johnny was plugging me to drop everything, including today's
chartwork to snag the surgical notes from his last
visit here when he was under the knife..." Dixie
"Specifically, Joe and Mike's surgical notes..."
blinked slowly with a confiding nod.
An uneasy light flickered on in Roy's eyes.
"I think you'd
better humor him and get them. This may get ugly."
"What'll get ugly?" Dixie demurred.
don't think I'm allowed to talk about it."
"Shh. Here he comes again...Keep it down." DeSoto hissed.
"Hi Johnny. Cup of coffee?" Roy asked brightly, feigning
a cheerful casualness.
McCall got busy on the phone.
"Nah. No thanks." said Johnny glumly. "I'm not thirsty.. Dix.. any
luck in finding them yet?" he said grasping the tooth jar so tightly
that his fingers were turning
"Careful! " Roy shouted, snatching the jar out of Gage's hand.
"Or you'll shatter it
and earn yourself a place in the waiting room."
"What? Oh, sorry.." Johnny said, still searching
worriedly for Joe
Early and the young African American resident. "Dix?"
"Working on it. Betty
says she's calling an orderly right now to
run it up personally. A burly one." she joked.
ha. ha. My chart's not that big..."
"Oh, yes it is..." said Roy and Dixie together.
pursed his lips, refusing to be cajoled into a better mood.
"Just so I get that sheet."
then.. Dr. Morton left Treatment Room Five, drying his hands
with paper towelling. He tossed it away
into a medical waste bucket.
"Just the man I wanna see..." Gage muttered and he quickly crossed
the few steps between them with Roy and Dixie tagging along behind,
trying to stop him. "Doc.. you
gotta help me..!" he began.
Morton took one look at Johnny's face and took Gage under the arm.
"What happened here? Orderly! Get a wheel chair! Stat..."
"No...not for this thing. It's just
a bruise." Gage said, feeling up his
purpling face and under eye.
"H*lluva bruise if it knocked
one of your teeth out. Roy was smart
to bring it in with you.." Morton said. "Now sit."
shrugged and tried to deny the need for himself be
wheeled into a nearby empty treatment room. "I
don't need to.
I need you for ANOTHER reason real bad.."
"Sit down. Shut up. We'll talk about
it." Morton commanded darkly.
"Or do I have to call in another musclehead to get you in order?"
The orderly pushing Gage's summoned wheelchair flexed his biceps
Embarrassed, Roy and McCall both followed doctor, orderly,|
and Johnny into the darkened room. Morton
flicked on a light switch
with an elbow and immediately started probing Johnny's tender face.
stop with your face? A truck fender?"
"Yeah..The squad's." Roy said firmly sarcastic.
explaining that one to me? How the h*ll did he get under
your front tires?" Morton jibbed.
minced in frustrated irritation. "Doc. He's not here to be seen.
He's here to..."
him, pulling out his penlight. "I'll be the judge of that.
Roy, I'm surprised at you. His pupils are
showing that he had a black out
about eight hours ago. Why didn't you bring him in as soon as this
he snapped at the blonde paramedic.
"He didn't want to go. This is all nothing!
Really! Just ask Dr. Brackett.
He'll vouch for me."
"I'm gonna do that..Right now." Morton
withered them both with a trademark glare.
"Johnny, don't move outta that chair.." He made his way
over to the phone
on the wall and started dialing. "Dix, get a left arm blood pressure reading."
"That's an order, Miss McCall!" the young physician resident pointed a sharp
to be denied finger at her before turning back to the operator.
"Right away, Doctor Storm."
Morton ignored the jibe.
Dixie's mouth was still hanging open in confusion. "You both lost me
minutes ago at the front desk. Care to clarify?" she said wrapping a
BP cuff around Johnny's arm.
"He's gonna kill me..." Gage mumbled, reclaiming the jar that Roy
held, into a tight protective
cradle of laced fingers.
"Oh, come on.. Morton's not that bad.." Dixie breathed. "Well,..maybe
that bedside manner of his is. He's never been a good listener." she sighed.
"However I AM, so spill
it Johnny. The whole sordid tale.."
Gage swallowed. "I need my spleen back.."
dropped the stethoscope in her hands. "What kind of
crazy comment is that? And I thought I'd heard
"Look, do you think it's still in Pathology Store from this spring or not?
know how you guys like to save organs for teaching all your medical
students. Plleeaaasse say that
it might still be down there."
"Johnny. Calm down.." Dixie she said, patting his arm, trying
to get a
BP around his wild gesturing. "It might be. Though I can't be sure that you
the right forms for that then. You were pretty out of
it the night that car hit you."
signing a donor form when I first signed up for the fire
department!" Johnny yelled, his voice getting
That made Morton, in close discussion with Kel Brackett, look up.
"Is he getting combative?
I'll be right there...."
Roy and Dixie both denied that observation vehemently.
no no no no.. He's fine. Just mad. Emotionally mad.
Uh, he's just...fine doc. Heh. Look I'll prove
it. His pressure's
140 over 96, doctor.."
"Hmph." And Morton turned back to the phone, getting
the rest of
the details about Johnny's accident and jotting the notes down in
his pocket notepad.
Johnny was still plenty worked up, biting his fingernail.
"I gotta fix everything.. Make it right
before I go over there." he mumbled.
"Just what the heck are you talking about?" Roy asked. "I
you were angling being hurt to get a new nursing student in here
to fuss over you so you
could cheer up a little. I wouldn't put
a stunt like that past you."
Johnny grabbed Roy's collar
and hauled his face down
to his level. "I gotta get my spleen back or prove that Joe and Morton
out my spleen knowingly in writing or they'll be h*ll to pay. He's
gonna know, Roy!"
was looking at his partner askance, the same way the
doctor and nurse were. "Are you feeling ok? Maybe
something on you last night."
"I'm fine. Roy. I just need either of those two things
he looked at his wrist watch. "ohmyg*d forty minutes, or I'm dead meat.."
panicked, fussing in the wheelchair. His activity earned another
sharp glance from the rapidly talking
young doctor across the room.
Dixie frowned, setting a gentle hand on his heaving chest.
out to get you?"
"Nakoma. And very soon after that, my aunt'll be."
A light bulb went off
inside Roy's head and he buried his head in
his hand against the wall. "Oh no. Not the burial rites
"Yes, the burial rites thing. Roy, the more I think about it, the more
think I'm in. No one has ever not atoned for a body loss
before in my family. And now I know I have.
I allowed a splenectomy
done on me."
"You were in life threatening shock, Johnny. You had
It was either that or...." Roy began.
"I know that. Dixie knows that. And so does
Morton here. He
and Joe are the ones who cut it out of me..." Gage said with exasperation.
he froze still in discovery.. "Say.. maybe Morton can come
along with us today and confess what he
did to me. Or..do I need Joe Early
too? As his co-murderer?"
Roy's face twisted in searching, very unwelcome, disbelief. He couldn't|
quite fathom what his ears
were telling him.
Dixie was a little faster absorbing details.
"Won't that chart entry be
enough? Joe nor Mike can't leave the ER
right now. Kel'll more than have a fit." Dixie insisted. "Take
easy, Johnny...I think I can put a rush on it.."
Johnny clamped down on Dixie's arm in a
vice grip. "That might
not be fast enough, guys!" he agonized."Nakoma's traditional to
He might not even know how to READ a chart entry let
alone accept one from the outside world."
"Johnny.. this is the 1970's. Everyone reads. Especially curio shop
owners in this day and age, or
their taxes would never get done."
Roy said no nonsense.
Johnny froze, considering. And then
he relaxed a whole nine yards.
"Oh, yeah. You're probably right. I must be snowballing..."
are.." said Dixie and Roy in one breath.
"Enough to freak out Dr. Morton here. And that's not
easy to do.."
"Oh. I am? Gee, I guess I'd better let him off the hook, huh?"
said mildly. "Hey doc.." he called out.. "Doc..."
Morton barely looked at him.
Johnny horsewhistled sharply between his front teeth.
"What?! I said I'll be right with you, Gage."
said Morton in irritation
from his phone conversation. "Malcolm? Watch him. Closely.."
to the orderly. "I'm almost done."
Gage poked Malcolm the orderly in the stomach. "You can't touch
me. That would be assault and battery. Hey doc, guess what?
I'm refusing again... Bye.." and then
he, Dixie and Roy hurried
out of the room as fast as the wheelchair could move.
left behind, helplessly tied to a highly re-annoyed Kel
Brackett who had overheard Gage's parting
shot over the phone line.
From: Katherine Bird <email@example.com>
Date: Tue Mar 15, 2005 6:35 pm
Subject: Elder Encounter
Johnny Gage didn't trust himself
to not fidget. "Roy, did ya remember
to bring my chart log?"
"Right here. Relax, junior." Roy
sighed as they left the street where they
had parked the squad curbside. He held up the surgical notes
Dixie had copied for his partner up in the air as he ambled up to the
door of Nakoma's curio
and trading shop. He tried to peer inside
around the ornate gold lettering and tribal designs stenciled
the door's glass. "Hasn't he opened yet?"
"Not to the public. This morning is reserved all
for me..." Gage
said nervously. "Oh, man. I'm wound up worse than what I was for
my first day morgue
clinical for paramedic's class.."
"That's good." Roy said. "Then you won't say anything you
regret. You have a tendency to clam up when you're really flustered.
Just think, now your
foot won't be able to get wedged so tightly in your
mouth once we're standing in front of him. Ready?"
"Open your eyes, Johnny. I'm reaching for the door knob right
sharp tone on both their belted HTs, came to life. ## L.A., Squad 51.##
Johnny jumped and was
shaky enough to not be able to reach his
radio's release clip fast enough to reply.
the hail. "Squad 51.."
##Squad 51. Message from the L.A. Shop Office. Standby for communications
"Standing by..." said Roy, with a puzzled look.
"Oh, no.." groaned Johnny.
"That's Charlie I'll bet. He's probably itching to get at the squad to pop
"The sooner the better. "
"I don't know who's gonna be worse.. Charlie the mechanic
or Nakoma here.."
Roy was a friend enough to not laugh. "I promise I won't tell him exactly how
it happened or who was actually responsible for the dent.."
Gage completely missed it. "Roy,
Charlie'll never yell at Boot. He loves
that dog more than his own mother. Didn't you know that Boot
at the Engine Shop for a whole two months and got so good at anticipating
fire department repair routine, that he started being able to hand
out the tools Charlie needed to
work with before Charlie realized that
he was even thinking about using em.."
I have your patch to 602.##
"Copy 602.." Roy told L.A.
## Hey slackers! Where the h*ll
are ya?## came Charlie's irate New York
sounding taxi driver's voice. ## I got my truck idling in
the back yard waiting
"Grab some lunch with the fellas, Charlie. It's Cap's chowder
dangled. "We'll be around in..." Roy looked to Johnny for a time estimate.
silently mouthed.."One hour."
"...an hour." DeSoto said over his talkie. "See Stoker for the damage
They're on Cap's desk so you can guess how much time you're gonna need
in order to--"
##Already saw em, fireboy. Just get your butts back at the station with my
poor abused squad in an
hour, five, or there'll be Hades to pay. Don't think
there won't be any because I'm a smidgeon away
from accruing overtime that
I don't need! And do me a favor that I won't regret...## boomed Charlie.
"What's that, Mr. 602?" Roy said with an amused expression on his face.
##Be sure to wash
the blood off Lil Red's paint job before it cakes on
any worse in the sun before ya get here. Next
time, slow down enough to nail
the d*mned squirrel with your front bumper, not with the door with
up trying to get away from it.##
" * squeak..squeak..* " Roy
teased Gage, covering the speaker. "Well, well
well. Will wonders never cease? Looks like Chet managed
to turn your
dramatic escapade last night into something mundane enough to chill
of Charlie's. Good for him. I think you owe him one, Johnny."
Gage was too nervous eyeing up the
curio shop's dark animal taxidermied
and artifact filled windows to pay any attention to Roy.
##602, Squad 51. Did you two bozos copy my last transmission or not?!##
"Squad 51 to 602.
10-4. Squad 51, out...." DeSoto replied. "Our ETA is
confirmed at an hour, five."
## It'd better
be. ## snapped a barely mullified Charlie. In the background,
Roy could hear dishes being served up
onto a table and sounds of bubbling.
In spite of itself, DeSoto's stomach growled. :: I'm missing
Then the open line cut out and Sam Lanier's voice came back onto the frequency.
602 signals automated termination at his location. Do you affirm?##
"We do, L.A... Squad 51's
now 10-8 at the 1100 block of Lerner and Oseola."
##10-4, Squad 51. Noting your change on the
grid. L.A. out. * Spap.* ##
Gage startled at the severed line click from Headquarters. Then he|
squared his shoulders and said,
"Let's get this over with..."
His hand reached down and turned the intricately Seminole pictogram
carved door handle.
The two paramedics made their way into the shop. A low growl met their
Turning, Roy and Johnny came face to face with what looked like
a wolf lying in the doorway leading
to the back of the trading post's
Unbidden, Johnny's left palm came up into the air
in a respectful
benediction before his own forehead. "Ko-wah-yah- lot to chené
pahén empom. Numpagalaale
The hybrid dog's hackles slowly fell and it sank back down onto its
belly, and licked
its lips in resumed boredom.
Roy unfroze.. "What was that all about?"
Johnny shrugged a
shiver of incomprehension.
"I dunno.. It just came to me without my even thinking about it.
right to say that somehow.." he said, licking suddenly dry
"Not quite right, Ya-laahe
Kowechobe. You just told Nageela that flowers
are yellow and that three horses are eating hay in your
gift mother's tongue."
said a voice, stepping out of the shadows. It was a shorter older
man dressing in colorful beads, silverwork, ribboned pants
and an airy mauve speckled shirt opened
at the chest. "You should
be ashamed of yourself to let your native language slip so badly.
dishonors all your ancestors."
Johnny paled to almost Roy's skin tone.
"Nakoma! I meant no
offense. I'm feeling a little off balance here. Look, can
we go outside for some air? I-I..I was working
a house fire this morning and
haven't yet cleared out my lungs good enough yet to think straight."
"So you now fight Ee-te Yo-ga-hé, Orange Panther? She said as much.
That, at least, is a step
in the right direction. Fire is an enemy not many men
are brave enough to face. But that is no excuse
to shun your aunt's desire to
impart some wisdom about your heritage through Speaking."
sorry, Nakoma. I haven't had much time to keep up my lessons with Kehayke."
Johnny said like an eight
year old school boy in front of a chastising school
teacher. "I could honor my pledge to gain knowledge
if only Snow Hawk
wasn't so stubborn about moving into my ranch house so I could take
The wizened old tribal elder simply held up a gentle hand to silence him.
a piece of the West Wind, Johnny Roderick Gage. And I now see
that the same wind is in you, too. No
one can tame such as that easily. Not
even one whose birth embraces it. This speaks much to me of
Panther." Nakoma studied Roy closely with a wrinkled, piercing gaze that
"So, your closest companion is Miccosukee, Johnny. Honorable
that you've chosen him of the Other
People whose homeland now dances
with our own. Nakoma bids you welcome, Roy DeSoto..."
blinked in surprise when his name was spoken out loud without
"I read your
name tag, son.." said Nakoma with a toothy grin. "And I see
you carry the spirit proofs I'll be needing."
he said, indicating both the tooth
jar and the folder containing Johnny's patient notes in Roy's
"Uh, yes sir.." sputtered Roy, rubbing his nose in embarrassment.
"Come. Nageela will show you the way into my Sun Circle.. uh, my personal |
garden. I've already set
aside some refreshment.." he said with a slight angle
of his whitening head. "After we've eaten and
are filled from the pool's waters,
we can begin your purification rites. I have Young Opa Henle,
me today. He is a most promising initiate."
It was forty minutes later, Johnny was almost completely untensed
after the simple meal of palm
hearts and fried corn cakes. The sun felt
warm on his back as he listened to Opa and Nakoma say the
chant of Atonement for his behalf. He hadn't even coughed when
the ceremonial pipe of herbs
passed between the four of them.
::Guess all this fresh air's finally doing something for me.:: he
He closed his eyes for a few seconds, fending off a slight drowse.
A steamy puff of
summer wind made him open them...
And he came face to face with a slabbering, roaring maw of a
pound grizzly bear.
"YahhhhHH!" he shouted, flinging himself backwards off of
brightly colored woven prayer mat.
Nakoma, Opa and Roy fell to laughing as the
tame bear began snuffling
Johnny's outflung hands, begging for any shred of leftovers.
did that bear come from?!" Gage gasped.
"From under that tree, Panther." said Opa, the young indian
"She was lying under it the whole time to keep herself cool. You mean
to tell me that you
never saw her there? Miccosukee did, right away.."
Roy chuckled. "You'll have to forgive my partner.
He.. injured himself
yesterday enough to addle his brains. Always takes a day or two for
to sort himself out."
Nakoma patted the affectionate giant bear's dusty coat fondly.
I saw the battle marks on his face that showed how his tooth
was taken from him." he gestured with
a ceremonial ribbon dressed
hawk's feather. "And Coo-Wah Shoke here knows she might get
from one who's still slow from his wounds.." he said.
Gage laughed. "Big Pig? Is that what you
"Yes, for that is her nature. How she gets with food and her love of
in the mud. The city says I can have her as long as she
never goes into the shop and stays behind
my gated fences. Are
you still frightened of her my boy?" Nakoma asked.
"A little. Let's just
say bears and I haven't ever gotten along. Lions
and tigers don't like me much either.." Johnny said,
Clucking his lips, Nakoma sent Coo-Wah Shoke away from the
food fire on the tiny
willow tree ringed shore of the garden's pool.
"Go for a while. This one needs my healing without
his fear of animals
rising, my old friend. He'll be all right.." the old man told the bear.
Roy and Johnny looked at Nakoma thoughtfully until the elder|
explained. "She worries about those
who're heart sick and is
drawn to them. I'm afraid you were enough to break her sleep,
Tell me of your old transgression that effected you here.."
he said, motioning to the general area
of where a spleen would
be located. "You will not be judged by me for that is not my place
World.." said Nakoma. "I see that part of you has been missing
for a half circling of the sun."
Roy handed Nakoma the medical records Dixie had managed to
scrounge up. "I don't know if we have time
for you to read all of
these doctor notes. Johnny was hit by a car and had to have
to save his life. I was there when it happened."
"We will have time. The Creator will send those
who might need your
medical healing and fire fighting to the others in your House. It always
that way." said Opa with certainty, briefly touching the broad
cast monitoring HT that Roy had set
on a rock by their blanket.
Gage blinked and so did Roy. "We did eat without getting a rescue
Think it'll last?" he joked to the young man.
"Until we are done here. Yes." said Opa
"Wish I had your confidence.." Johnny murmured, as Opa took away
his grass woven
food plate and pottery fired water cup.
A cloud passed over the sun, and its shadow chilled the
making the pleasant sweat on Johnny's face turn uncomfortable.
Nakoma's eyes opened and
he fixed Johnny with a sad stare.
"I am sorry.There is little I can do to restore your Spirit's balance,
Johnny. It is because the circles that you move within have been
disrupted for too long."
"Disrupted? How?" said Johnny, his old apprehensions about keeping
the tribal appointment coming back
in a flood.
"Your body takes on its hurts and pains often. Does it not?"
but.. I've always sort of had a klutz gene."
"Not always. It is only since then.
did not see me when the first Loss of Body happened.
It does not matter that it was the Miccosukee
doctors who took your
body's spleen without your knowledge then. What does matter, is that
did not atone for its loss, until now." Nakoma said. "I can erase
that old transgression now. But
the harm that comes often to your Great
Circle, will stay near for a time."
Gage felt uneasy.
"I'm sorry.. I didn't think that my surgery was a critical
matter for the tribe to have to worry about."
"There is always a serious cost for delay when the spirit/body is concerned.
You as a city healer,
as a paramedic, should know that. But, what's done is now
done and I cannot lessen the imbalance.
I'm afraid I can see that you will
suffer more in that which surrounds you, before your spirit circles
balance again." said Nakoma. "For every neglect, comes a price," said the
elder,.." In blood or in its ties.."
The warm sun had fled, and a dreary, inadequate rain fell on Station 51.
All the gang only
half heard a complaining Charlie the mechanic banging
away on the squad door, finishing up its restoration
work out in
the vehicle bay. Johnny Gage thought that sipping a mug of Cap's
chowder would cheer
him. It didn't. So he started talking instead. "Roy,
what do you think he meant by that?"
you mean Nakoma's doom and gloom statement that he shared with us
before we left him or Charlie's
last oath in Italian?" Roy grinned.
"I'm talking about Nakoma.." said Johnny quietly.
smile on Roy's face died.
"I don't know. I'm not good at understanding mystical stuff....and about
what happened earlier today.. I understand, even less. Maybe he was just
trying to scare you into
spending more time with your Aunt to learn your
native language like she wants you to."
"Roy, Nakoma's a respected elder. He wouldn't stoop to such pettiness|
to get anybody back in line.
"Johnny said. "A man doesn't become a
Spirit Elder by being manipulative. There's only one born
every generation, and that is earned with years and years of dedication
and study. Nakoma's the free-est
spirit I've ever encountered."
"I've heard of one freer.." smiled Roy, looking up at Johnny.
"Nothing. I wouldn't worry much about what Nakoma said.
No one is subject to manifest
destiny. We all have free will.
I sincerely believe the choices we make in our lives are always
made free and clear from anyone's influence, except perhaps,
sometimes, our own."
Johnny didn't say anything and just toyed with the steaming soup
"You look hungry again," Roy said gently. " Eat your soup before
we get called
out on a---"
The tones went off.. and the call that followed them began to
transmit over the
speakers as the whole gang piled out of
Charlie the mechanic grabbed Boot's collar
and got both himself
and the shaggy station mutt, out of the way of traffic.
## Station 51....
Click the MRI scan |
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