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 Integrity Game
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Page Three

Johnny felt a hand weakily clutching his
own. Gage leaned down. "Hold it
Crockett. Looks like Jose's trying to say
something."  It was a rare moment of
absolute clarity for the young teen.

Jose' met Johnny's eyes meaningfully
and he gasped as the ambu was lifted away.
"Don't let them kill that horse. Save him,
senior. I pay you t-" he said in very very
broken english. The effort to speak took his
breath away as Jose's pain bit down hard. His
lungs cramped up yet again. Gage gestured
Crockett to help the teen breathe
once more on the bag valved 02.

Jose' was so agitated, that Gage caught the kind
old trainer, Walter Farley's attention.
"Hey, Mr. Farley!"

"Yeah?" the old man shouted back from
where he was helping the colt stand.

"I'm that colt's insurance policy. Do
everything you can for him, ok?" Johnny

Walter smiled. "For the kid?"

"Yeah.. for the kid.." Gage replied.

Walter Farley gave Johnny Gage
a thumbs up in encouragement and
a slow nod of grateful appreciation.

Johnny saw Jose' start to calm

"Gracias, senor." Jose' sighed softly.


In the ambulance, Crockett took full
advantage of playing an active part in Jose's
care by letting his curiosity get the best of

"This is fascinating.." Squeeze. "What's
that taped to Jose's chest?" Crockett
asked from his place at the jockey's
head. "Looks like a metal ingot."he shouted
over the wail of the sirens as they sped to
the hospital.

Johnny didn't look up from where he was
setting up yet another IV for the teen rider
sitting across from where Roy crouched over his
own patient lying on the passenger bench.

He ducked his head self consciously. "Walter
Farley gave me one of the colt's lead saddle
weights to use to splint the unstable
section of ribs here." Johnny pointed.

"Oo, I'd hate to be the groom who has
to return that saddle to the winner circle's
weight scale." The detective quipped,
mentally filed away the name Gage gave
him for future reference.

Gage didn't laugh.

"Why would someone put a weight on
anyone with broken ribs like this?" Crockett
asked to lighten the feeling of tension
in the ambulance.

Gage grimaced with impatience as
he reached for a BP cuff. "I'd love
to talk about flail chest protocol with
you all day but I'm rather busy right
now, detective.." and he buried his ears
in stethoscope to tune him out.

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Crockett blinked and jerked a free thumb
at Gage in a questioning gesture to Roy,
offering a little what's-with-him? shrug.

Roy looked up from rechecking
his patient's breathing and pulse
rate. "Johnny gets a little intense about
anyone under his care. Especially if they're

Crockett's face fell into an immediate
frown. "You mean?" he looked down
at the increasingly groggy Jose' beneath
the ambu's face mask.

"Yeah, collapsed lung. And it's getting
worse." Roy said. "Try to cut my partner
some slack. He's just staying focused." he said,
quickly and sharp. Then he softened, raising
his eyebrows. "Good bagging. Keep it up
just like you're doing it, Crockett.
Any ease we can give Jose' now
is a point in our favor.."

"How's the girl?" Crockett asked

"Fair. She's might be trying to wake up here."
he said, readjusting her O2 mask so
it stayed out of her eyes.

"Did you manage to get her name before
she blacked out?"

Roy said. "Not directly. Her name's
Mary Kenner. I got it from the betting
tote board using her mount's number.
It always lists trainer and jockey."

::And another piece of the puzzle.::
the detective mused.

The rushing Mayfair ambulance turned a
corner as it left the Santa Anita Track

Crockett noticed a change in Jose' about
the same time Johnny did. "Hey, Gage,
he's not taking in the bag breaths too well. I'm
getting a weird resistance and he's not even
trying to breathe in anymore."

"Just keep ventilating him exactly as
you are." Johnny straddled Jose's gurney
and listened close to both sides of the
man's chest in haste. "D*mn." He
felt Jose's neck and he looked at Roy.
"I got absent breath sounds unilaterally and
he's starting to show trachael deviation.
I'm seeing jugular vein distension, too.
Gotta be a tension pneumo."

Roy reached over and ripped off the
occlusive patch  Marco had placed
earlier over the jockey's chest wound.
He waited a beat, then replaced it down
firmly over the jagged tear. "Did that help any?"

Johnny listened again through his stethoscope.
"Nah.. not enough to matter."

On the EKG, Jose's heart rate jolted up
into the low 140's and an alarm began to
sound. Roy took a hasty BP. "It's down.

Johnny shouted. "Jose'..Keep trying
to breathe on your own. We're going to
help y--" He broke off belatedly. "Sh*t. I wish
I'd taken Marco up on his offer to teach me Spanish.
Crockett. You talk to him. Keep him calm."
and he snatched the phone to Rampart.
"Rampart this is Rescue 51, how do you read?"

Joe Early was still on the intercom.
##Go ahead, 51. What's the trouble? I note
Victim One's increased tachycardia.##

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Gage told him Jose's new development.

Brackett and Joe Early both met eyes
in sudden worry.

Kel said to Dix. "Have a chest tube set up
in his treatment room. Looks like Johnny's
gonna do his first needle chest decompression
in the field. Joe, go ahead and give him the
order. He can handle it."

Dixie left to make the arrangements.

Joe got back on the line.##51, pull over. You're going
to have to relieve the building pressure with a
pleural thoracotomy ASAP. Dr. Brackett
concurs with me.##

"10-4.." Johnny said and he got off Jose's
gurney and slapped the driver peek window
twice, loudly. They felt the Mayfair grind to a
halt at a curb just as Jose' fell into deep

Seconds later, Mike Stoker opened the outer
doors, and looked into the ambulance cab. "What's
the problem?" he asked, knowing the rig never
stopped unless it was for an invasive treatment.

"Chest tap for a tension pneumo. It's pretty
far along. Stick around." Roy told Stoker.
Wordlessly he thought. ::Let's hope we
don't need Stoker for some CPR here.::

Crockett cleared his throat. "Oh, boy.."
he said when Johnny drew out a long
needle and butterfly valve. "You're gonna
stick him with that?" he said.

Gage said. "Yeah. If you can't handle it,
I'll have Stoker take over f--"

"Just do what you have to, Gage."
Crockett said continuing to bag Jose'
steadily. "You're wasting time." Crockett
loosened his tie and wiped some sweat
off his upper lip.

Johnny's face cracked into a slight smile
for a moment before Roy swabbed
down the proper area over the right side
of Jose's chest. Then his expression melted
into one of concentration. "Ok,... Roy. I'm
going into the second intercostal space
anteriorly.. Don't hold your breath..."
Gage said, doing just that. "Crockett. Hold off
just a sec. Start ventilating him double time as
soon as I have this thing out again."
 Johnny felt his needle punch through into the
abnormally gaping pleural space and a loud
rush of air hissed out immediately through it.
"Bingo. Tension pneumo diagnosis is confirmed."
He chuckled withdrawing the needle slowly. "Ok,
Crockett. I'm through." he said, throwing
the hollow lance into the sharps disposal bin
on the wall. "It's out."

Crockett opened his eyes and smiled when
he felt an immediate change as he began to
work the ambu again. More oxygen seemed
to be getting into the teen's lungs.
"Hey, I think he's better."

Gage listened to his handywork. "Yep. He sure is.
Breath sounds are back. Just some new minor
rales on the right. Might be pulmonary contusion
noise cropping up." he sat back and sighed
grabbing up the phone as the EKG settled back
into a slower, more effective sinus rhythm.
"Rampart. Chest decompression was successful."

## 10-4, 51. Is the boy unconscious? ##

"That's affirmative, Rampart.."

##What are his vital signs?##

Roy had already anticipated that need.
"BP 112/86, Respirations unassisted are
8. Pulse is 110 and regular. He was getting
pretty tired before his new complication."

##Go ahead and intubate him for more effective
ventilations and support for those rib fractures.
Have two mg's Diazepam IV set to use to keep him
sedated PRN.  Return his drip rate to TKO
following any usage.##

"Two mg's Diazepam PRN and intubate for
controlled ventilations. IV to TKO following any
sedation med. 10-4, Rampart. Our ETA is six

Roy tapped Johnny on the shoulder and
handed him an unwrapped endotrach tube to
which Crockett said. "Y-You're going to stick him
with that?"

Even Mike Stoker cracked a grin.

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From :"Roxy Dee" <>  
Subject : Covering Bases~~  
Date :Tue, 11 Mar 2003 22:52:16 +0000

Dixie and Joe walked out to the main ER desk
and both sighed heavily as Jose'  Rivero's rolling
gurney left for surgery. Crockett followed them out
of the exam room, trailing after Johnny as he
headed straight for the call station coffee pot.

He was shaking his hands and massaging them
to work out some cramps. "I don't know how
you paramedics handle that bagging thing without
your fingers falling off. I don't think I'll be
able to lift a fork by dinner time."

Johnny laughed in sympathy.
"A typical week sees us breathing for people
that way for hours. Especially on all the bad cardiac
runs. Guess I never noticed what a work out ambu
ventilating is probably because we lug fire hoses
around so much." he admitted. Then he eyed Joe.
Gage asked. "Hey, doc." he said pouring himself
a cupful and then enough for everyone else. "Do you
think that rider'll pull through?" he asked. "I
know that sometimes, the pulmonary contusions that
come afterwards with broken ribs that extensive, can
get a little tricky sometimes."

"He's young and strong." Dr. Early sniffed, rubbing his
nose in careful thought. "You saw how much
having that chest tube inserted improved him. I
think that a lifetime in the racing saddle will be his
ticket to a speedy recovery. Jockeys are top
notch athletes and they're usually in terrific shape.
I've heard it's hard to make them lose their focus
about anything as trivial mere broken bones." he
joked. "They always stay on their game and never
lose sight of what's important to them."

"I sure got an earful of that.. I think Jose' talked
me into an arrangement I just may regret." Johnny

"Oh?" Dixie commented sipping her coffee

Roy had rejoined them from his treatment
room where Mary Kenner was getting her
fractured arm and torn radial artery emergency
repaired by Dr. Brackett and he grinned,
leaning on the wall spinning the walkie talkie slung
on one wrist absently.  "The thoroughbred Jose'
was riding got a little too much sun after his little
tumble in the jockey pileup. Mr.  Rivero
wouldn't relax for us until he knew he had
someone lined up to step in to accept the horse's
care costs in lieu of any move the owners
might make to put him down."

Dix's face split into a wide grin, which Joe
echoed. "You didn't?"

Gage cleared his throat uncomfortably and
just sipped his coffee.

Crockett chuckled, folding his arms across
his elbows in amusement. "Now that might
be kinda costly, Mr. Gage. You just might have
entered into a binding verbal agreement which
is well on the way to actually acquiring him."

"What?! I did?" Johnny said, nearly spitting
out his drink.  

Crockett moved in for the killing tease.
Yeah... I've seen handshake deals out there
going on all the time. No one bothers with paper
work. It's all on the honor system. Heh.
I hear that the average race horse costs, what?
Five to ten thousand dollars for those who
regularly bring in the purses?"

"At least." Joe Early said.

Gage's mouth fell slack in a stunned "ouch."
His mind was still working on the idea of
racehorse assumed ownership.

Crockett smoothed down his detective jacket's
lapels. "I wouldn't worry about it, Johnny.
Who knows? Maybe you can get your other
fire crewmates to help you cover all of his
shares by splitting costs among all the
shift assignments."

Johnny's eyes boggled out as he kicked into
scheme gear. "Say.. that's true! I mean,
we all chip in already and share costs
for our food." he insisted.

"Oh no.." Roy said blandly, his smile dropping
off his face into one of sheer dread. "Johnny,
I wouldn't exactly say a racehorse is the same
thing as a package of T-bone steaks."

"Knock it off, Roy. How are a few bucks up front gonna
matter? It's all for a worthy cause. It's not like
we're going to the stock market to gamble it
it all away."

"That's just what I'm afraid of." Roy said with a frown.
"Everything about owning a race horse IS a gamble,
Junior, in case you haven't noticed. I sure did. And I
only like to bet on 'em." he voiced in dire insistence.

But his partner was oblivious.

"Listen, Johnny, you can talk to the guys about this
later. All I know is that I'M not letting you talk me into
this thing, no matter how hard ya try.." and Roy picked
up the drug and IV resupply box Dixie had prepared
for them and made tracks for the squad where
Mike Stoker was waiting. "See ya later, guys."
he said to Crockett, Dix and Joe.

"Hey.. Roy.. Wait a minute!!" Johnny said,
eagerly setting after his departing partner.
Then he remembered. "Oh, heh. Sorry, all.
Bye Joe, Dix, Crockett. Thanks for everything.
I'll be seeing you.. Excuse me here... I gotta go talk
some SENSE into my thick headed partner.
He's talking crazy..." he insisted with quickly
gesturing fingers.

All three nodded and rolled their eyes as
Johnny quickly darted around people in
the busy hospital corridors in hot pursuit
of Roy DeSoto's retreating back.

"I think you created a monster.." Dixie
mumbled to Crockett as she refilled their
cups to the brim once more.

"Heh, heh, heh. Actually I think it's more along the
lines of the fact that I just created a firehouse
full of bonafide saints, Miss McCall... " Crockett said,
rocking back on his heels. "Have a wonderful afternoon.
Give me a call when Miss Kenner's awake, would ya?
I'd like to speak with her about the accident today."

"Sure thing." Joe said, looking up from Jose's
patient chart, where he was dictating notes.

Crockett left, heading for the police station
to read Vince's crime report that he had ordered
the officer to gather from the track incident's
trainers and uninjured jockeys.


Racehorse trainer, Dusty Schraeder, entered his barn full
of green thoroughbreds. He immediately headed for his
one lone groom tending to a wheel barrel full of straw
and manure that he had just cleared out from the dead
stallion's stall. He was halfway down the aisle leading
to the rusty dumpster set outside for just such material.
"Hey, Manuel! Paramiso, mi amigo.  Uno momentito.."
Dusty called out, tossing his black five gallon cowboy
hat onto the tack tree hook holding racing bridles
as he strode into the dark, fan noise filled barn row.

The tiny old jockey Mexican native turned at his
jefe's voice, "Senor Schraeder?" he coughed as
he pulled on his cigarette and he rubbed his ripped
and soiled T shirt absently with tobacco stained
gnarled fingers clean, to offer out a handshake of
congratulations. "He died fast, no? It is really a
seemple thing to kill a horse.."

Dusty immediately backhanded the little man in
the face, sending him over the laden wheel barrel
onto the shoddily raked earthen floor. "That was

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Waste soiled straw spilled onto Manuel as he struggled to
his feet in fear. "Senor? Que? No Comprendo !
I do it good enough. Did he not go down on the final turn?"
his cigarette smoke raspy, south of the border voice

"You imbecile!" Dusty screamed. "I'm not talking
about Charismatic! I'm talking about his STALL!.. I'm
not smelling any Lasix in here." he said, walking into
the decrepid box stall, sniffing the air. "How
are we going to prove ourselves innocent of his
sudden death if there's no drugs showing up in his
p*ss hole?" He angrily drew out a syringe full of the
antibleeder from his jacket and bit the needle cover off.
He squirted out half in a careless rain into the urine hole
at his feet and the rest he injected into the horse's water
bucket. "Now I don't wanna have to tell you twice.
Don't TOUCH that bucket."

"Si, senor, lo ciento.. " Manuel said, immediately
recovering his battered L.A. Angels cap from the muck
on the floor as he wiped away the blood from the
side of his mouth. " The aqua is no toca, si. A-And
I not forget the next time about the shots to the dirt
like you do now." he said. "Sorry.."

Dusty's anger melted away and he tossed the spent
Lasix syringe into Manuel's wheel barrel and helped
the shaken man pitchfork its tumbled load back inside
of it. Then he drew his crooked groom under one arm.
"I didn't mean to hit ya, buddy. I....wasn't thinking.
I hate it when we have to kill a perfectly good horse just
for appearances. Let me make amends?" he said,
pulling out a fat wallet full of cash. He started counting
out bills one at a time before the small man's cowering

Manuel's toothless grin erupted almost as big as his
eyes and he greedily held out his dirty hands for the

Dusty said, "Here. Two hundred for the job. Just like
we agreed. And another fifty just for the h*ll of it.
You did good my friend. Even your rival Jose's horse,
Swale, got hoof clipped into a good fall. Jose' was wrecked
up bad. He won't be riding for months. Looks like it's
clear sailing for you AND me. Now go get some ice for
your face. And take the night off. I'll finish up here."

Manual scrambled away, mumbling in gratitude and he
quickly climbed onto his ramshackle seatless bike and
pedalled off for the barn dorms.

Dusty Schraeder knew that by sundown,  his way ward
groom would be in no condition to talk to the police and
track officials he knew would be stopping off in the barn
for the standard post mortem stall tests. ::With 250
greenbacks in hand, I doubt Manuel will be sober enough
then to even know his own name..:: the evil trainer thought.

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 Integrity Game
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