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   California Dreamin'
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From: "Roxy Dee" <>
Date: Wed May 3, 2006  5:11 pm
Subject: The Wall Crawling Remedy~~

It was a slow afternoon at Station 51.

The whole gang had long ago given up newpapers and
checkerboards and were falling into round two of aimless television
watching and taking catnaps whereever they happened to be sprawled
around the rec room.

The only three people showing signs of active animation were Johnny,
Roy and Chet. The tinny volume from the station's cheap television
set held them rivetted, nonetheless.

"Would you look at that?!" Gage exclaimed in exasperation at the
current news story. "People are just nuts these days, I'm telling ya."
he said throwing a careless hand at the television screen.

A news broadcast was showing footage after footage of people waiting in
line at the gas pumps to fill their trucks and automobiles at filling stations
across the nation.

"Now that is just plain craziness.. We're not out of gas yet, so why the
ridiculously high prices?" Johnny wanted to know.

"Aw, Gage. Don't you know how politicians work these days? They're probably
taking hand offs from all the big oil companies to look the other way. And while
that's going on, it's the average guys like us who have to own up to their tabs
by paying them out through our gas tanks." Chet summed up.

"I don't know.." said Roy thoughtfully as he crunched a carrot from a plateful of
cut veggies and dip. "They say this is a true energy crisis going on because
of the oil embargo overseas. I'm not so sure this is just gas gouging."
Desoto frowned. "It'll probably blow over in a couple of weeks."

"Easy for you to say.." said Johnny with exasperation as he sat up to steal a
peanut buttered celery stalk from Roy's snack table. "You've got just
a tiny sports convertible to worry about."

"Hey.." protested Roy. "Go get your own!" when he missed grabbing Gage's
stealing hand.

Johnny ignored him, chewing happily. "You guys don't own a gas hog like I do.
My rover costs me twelve whole dollars to fill sometimes."

Chet just leaned back in his kitchen chair turned cock-eyed toward the TV and
stretched."Yeah, well that's what we monkeys get for digging in the dirt and
depending ourselves and most of our machines on a fossilized mineral
slime. I say we deserve what we get."

"Oh, that's deep... that's really--" began Johnny with irritation.

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"Would you guys keep it down a little?" asked a sleepy, booming voice
from behind them. "Stoker and I are trying to get some shuteye in the
bunkroom. We heard you guys commenting on things from the
peanut gallery all the way over there.." grumbled Captain Stanley
loudly. He wasn't yawning.

Johnny was so startled that he started slipping over backwards
from the two rear chair legs he was balancing on by the bookshelf.

Hank had no sympathy for him when he finally lost the battle over
gravity and thunked over, bruising his tailbone. "Ow, d*mmit! Why did
you have to startle me like that?" Johnny fumed.

"I'll try harder to tip toe next time, just for you." said Cap disappearing
back into the garage, heading for his bed. "In the meantime, pipe down,

Kelly just smirked as he watched Roy get up to help Johnny right his chair
and himself from his undignified heap on the floor."Anything startles you,
these days, Johnny. That's because you're always wound up like a top
from drinking too much coffee."

The body on the couch laughed out loud. It was Marco.
"That much is pure fact."

DeSoto glared at Lopez. Then he looked down.
"You ok?" Roy asked his partner. "You didn't hit your head, did you?"

Gage nodded no. "I managed to keep my neck up."

Chet mocked with a newscaster sounding voice. "That hollow sound we all
heard, folks, was just the skinny rack of bones Gage calls for a body coming
to a complete stop." Then he took on normal tones. "Should be familiar
enough to you by now, Roy. He always gets into mishaps these days. At
least once a week on the job by my reckoning."

"Very funny. I'm not going to even dignify that with a comment." Johnny said,
rubbing his rear.

"It's true.." insisted Chet. "We can always give Rampart a call and get the
official tally to see if I'm right."

"Oh, why don't you just shut up for once!"
Fed up, Johnny exited the room, moving to the equipment closet with alacrity
as he searched yet again for something worthwhile and productive to do.  He
ended up grabbing a still clean and full mop bucket and he started scrubbing
the floor in the corner by the front glass entryway door and Cap's office with
angry sloshes and wringouts.

His amusement wiping away, Roy followed him out into the vehicle bay.
"Wanna talk about it?" he said eventually, leaning up against the squad's

"No. Nothing to talk about." said Gage tersely.

Roy bit his lip. "Come on, Johnny. I know you better than that. What's your
problem? I'm a good listener, maybe I can figure something out for you..."

"Now that's it right there, pal. Why does everybody think they always have
the answers for me?!" Johnny said, splashing his mop back into the wash
bucket so agressively that Boot ansed away from the spreading puddle he
was checking out with curiosity. "Sorry, Boot." snapped Johnny. Then he
continued. "If it's not suggestions on how to manage my love life, it's razzing
about how klutzy I am when things aren't actually my fault at all in the first

Roy respectfully stayed quiet while Johnny ranted.

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"That snake bite wasn't my fault, neither was that monkey virus or my broken
leg last year. The only incident I can recall that was entirely my mistake was
reaching into that car in the L.A. river bed and cutting my hand wide open.
That.. was my fault.." spattered Johnny. "I wasn't wearing my fire gloves."

DeSoto decided not to mention that soap foam was getting sprayed onto
his shoes and pants legs. "Don't let Kelly get the best of ya. Why don't you
always do what you normally do to defuse him and craft a joke or two to play
on him? You always get the best of him. Well, every time except for that
once when the Phantom wars were going on."

Johnny didn't even look up from his rapid, irritated floor scrubbing. "That's not
even an option any more, Roy. Because, I'm sick and tired of stooping down
to his level just to control him.."

Roy's eyes narrowed. "Are you sure you didn't hit your head earlier?"

"Oh, for Pete's sake." exasperated Johnny. "Now even you won't take me
literally anymore. Do me a favor.. Just go away."

"All right.." said Roy, getting stung. "I will. Enjoy your tantrum.
I was just trying to help out. Geez.." DeSoto said, moving around the
squad's front end to get to the equipment stow. He dragged out the
defibrillator case and the biophone to do a telemetry check. He hooked
up the antennae after he had the defib paddles charged on their metal
test plate and made his call. "Rampart, this is Squad 51 for an afternoon
Tetronix check, EKG and live paddles."

The two paramedics made it a production of not looking at each other.

Dixie's voice came over the line. ##Squad 51, we read you loud and clear.
We're set for your signal and shock.##

"Rampart, this'll be a lead II calibration, followed by a 100 watt shock!"
Roy yelled at her, slamming the phone down on the squad's roof to turn a dial.
Then he waited to hit the shock buttons.

##Squad 51, your strip's coming through as testing all channels. Go ahead.##
she told him, her puzzled tone at the anger in his voice apparent.

Sighing loudly, DeSoto placed the paddles on the test plate and fired them off.

##Cardioversion's registering properly, 51.## she said no nonsense to get
him to shape up mood wise without using other words.

"10-4, Rampart. Squad 51, over and out." Roy said softly apologetic to her.
Then he hung up the phone receiver back into its red metal case and latched
it shut.

Johnny paused in his furious mopping. "Leave those charged up for me,
would ya? I'd like to use them on Chet's head.."

DeSoto made a face, and put the EKG and defibrillator cases away. He then
drew out the resuscitation apparatus and a clean rag from the stow. He turned
on the oxygen flow and tested the mask on himself at the middle liter delivery
rate. It was patent. Satisfied, he turned it off and wiped out the inside of the
rubber face mask with a flourish. "Sounds like we all need a vacation.." he
told Johnny with an angry mumble.

Gage glommed onto that idea eagerly, suddenly very unangry and excited.
"That's it. That's it right there.. I don't think any of us has gone on one
since last Christmas, and it's what? Mid-May now?"

"Yep." said a confused Roy at Johnny's sudden about face mood change.
He added the drug box to his array of gear to check out on the floor.
He started to inventory their whole set of supplies against a check marked
laminated card stuck with a magnet to the ceiling of the gear stow compartment.
"Maybe we SHOULD just get away somehow. You know, re-bond with each
other or something. It might do away with some of this wall climbing we've  
been doing lately."

"I wouldn't go so far as to say that any of us needs to do that, Roy. It's more
like, needing to do another activity that's not so my-life-depends-on-you-to-do-
the-right-thing kind of thing." Johnny said, slowing down his mopping

It was the calmest Roy had seen him since he fell out of his chair.

DeSoto smacked his lips in agreement. "Ok, where can we go that's
cheap enough so the gas prices won't kill us off?" DeSoto asked.

"I don't know.. Uh,..Up north for a little skiing?"

DeSoto shook his head. "Stoker, Cap and Marco hate the cold. That's
why they moved to California."

"How about a little mountain fishing then?" Gage threw out.

"Nope. We've gone twice and have gotten saddled with medical
emergencies happening. And thoroughly stuck with saving all the locals.."

"Oh, that's right. I'd forgotten." Then his face brightened. "I know.. why don't
we all go to a hiking camp? We've never done that before."

"Where is there a park that's close?" DeSoto asked. "The nearest state park
I know of is in Santa Rosa County."

"We don't have to go far to find someplace really good, Roy. The place I'm
thinking of is only twenty two miles away." Johnny asked.

"Where's that?" asked DeSoto, scratching his chin.

Johnny pointed westward, out the open garage door. "Catalina Island, pal.
Didn't the Catalina Island Conservancy finally buy up the whole interior to save
it for posterity and all the wildlife?"

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"Yeah, I think they did it last year. They're putting in a pier eventually."
Roy said.

"Then why don't we go there? It's close, wild, and as far away from
firefighting as you can get."

"I don't know, Johnny. Does everybody even have camping equipment handy?"

"If they don't, we know we both do. We can share with em. And maybe we
can even get in some rented hang gliding time, too. All you need are a pair of
inexpensive permits to go inside Catalina so the Coast Guard knows
that you're there."

Roy looked skeptical at his partner, pausing in his count of paper sealed
narcotic syringes. "I'm still not so sure it's the best idea." he said thoughtfully.

"Roy, why not go? We can go for just a couple of days. Let's set it up for
the middle of next week. We all have that stretch off anyway for that firefighter
convention L.A. ended up cancelling on us." Gage said. "Boring time to get
unintentional leave, for there's no live ball games set on the bill for then. There'll
be nothing for anybody to do except sit at home and twiddle some thumbs."

::Spoken like a true bachelor..:: mused Roy. Then he spoke up again.
"Ok,..I'm in. I'll leave it up to you to approach the guys since going to the island
was your idea. I'm gonna be there anyway, because Chris's gonna be touring
with his grandpa by plane who's a pilot by trade."

"Is he now?" Gage grinned with surprise.

"I've already been made to promise that I'll let those two fly around by
themselves on all the fair weather days."

"What about Joanne and your youngest?" asked Johnny.  

"My daughter's not into that kind of thing. She'd rather stay home and be
domestic." DeSoto smiled. "And-and Joanne's simply content just being
with her, too, while she studies her english writing and takes ballet."

"Then it's settled. We're all going for an excursion into the great wild out of
doors. It's gonna be fun, Roy. I just know it."

DeSoto returned a mildly excited grin. "I think you're right. I can't wait. Now the
guys'll finally be able to meet some of my family. Chris's sure growing up fast
these days."


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From :  Cory Anda <>
Sent :  Monday, May 22, 2006 11:26 PM
Subject :  Turn About..

It was three hours later and Johnny was impressed that
the rest of the gang actually warmed to the idea of a
camping getaway.

Chet had a few words on that matter. "I'll go as long as you
pay for my ferry, camping and hang glider fees. I'm strapped
for cash this week because of paying property taxes, remember?"

Gage scowled. "All right. Fine." he replied from where he
was regarding Boot with intense, feigned disinterested scrutiny.
"I'll pick up your part of the fees. Are you happy now?" he
said, without looking away from the shaggy, equally eye to
eye glaring station dog.

Kelly didn't answer him. Instead, he made a face. "What are
you doing to him?" Chet asked about Johnny's studying an
increasingly emotional, uncomfortable Boot.

Gage rubbed his face with frowning irritation. "I'm trying to figure
out why Boot doesn't seem to like me."

Roy snorted around his sipping from a coffee mug. "Maybe that's
why he doesn't like ya."

Johnny ignored both his coworkers and reached out a hand
absently to stroke Boot's head.

The dog gave a short growl of warning as he immediately
leaped down off the kitchen chair he had been sitting on
and fled for another part of the station.

"See?" Gage scoffed, throwing a hand in the direction Boot
had departed.

Marco had some sympathy. "I don't know, Johnny. I've seen
you and Boot squaring off over nothing through three of
his station visits now and I still can't believe you two aren't
getting along."

Captain Stanley offered up his view. "Maybe you're just trying too
hard with him, Gage. Try acting like you're his best friend. Spoil
him a little."

"I do. I do.." Johnny insisted, pouring himself a cup of coffee from
Roy's pot grumpily. "I bought him a bone from the butcher's last
week, didn't I? And what did he do? He buried it out in the yard
out back and peed on it."

Kelly and Cap and Roy chuckled.

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Stoker said. "Maybe he was saving it for later by marking his territory."

Lopez was a bundle of suggestions, too. "What do you expect, Johnny?
A bone's pretty slim pickings when you consider that he's probably used
to getting stuffed on beef fillets from the firefighters in all the other stations
he goes to see on his neighborhood rounds."

Johnny refused to be appeased. "Maybe I should go in there right
now.." he said, jerking a thumb at the doorway leading to the apparatus
bay,.."and drag a rope around in an invitation to play."

"Good luck." coughed Hank. "You can't just pick and choose your friends,
Johnny, and expect them to reciprocate. They have to pick you, too. It's
a two way street."

"Well in Boot's case. It's more like a dead end alley." sighed Johnny.

Roy looked up from his plate of nachos and smiled. "Why don't
you give Boot a little more time? I think he might be like a cat in
this case. If you ignore him completely, he'll hate it and double over
backwards to become pals with you."

"You think so?" Gage asked, brightening.

"I know so." said Chet from the couch. "That's what worked for me."

"Chet, you don't know anything. I don't know why I should even listen
to y---" Gage mumbled through tight, angry lips.

The station tones went off.

##Station 51. Altered level reported on a man at the supermarket.
1719 South Caine. 1719 South Caine. Cross street Burnett. Time out :
9:56.## reported L.A.

The whole gang leaped out of their seats and ran for their vehicles.


On the way to the call, Gage rubbed his chin around his helmet's
strap. "Which kind of rescue call is worse, Roy? This one were going
on right now? Or whenever we roll on a domestic disturbance?"

"It's hard to say." said DeSoto tracking the traffic around them as he
drove the squad through busy intersections. "More of a toss up. I guess
it depends on what the situation happens to be in the first place. If it's
just two newlyweds having their first dish throwing argument, I don't
ever have a problem with it. But if it's ever kids getting used as a
punching bag..." he let his words trail off.

"Yeah." said Gage, sighing. "I'm hoping our man's just some bum for the
drunk tank. I'm not in the mood for any excitement this morning."

Roy looked over at his partner. "Don't tell me Boot's starting to bother
you. Boot's just being.. well, Boot. Nothing to eat your stomach out over."

"That's easy for you to say. He lets you pet him." Gage glared.

A blast on the airhorn from the Ward LaFrance behind them made both
paramedics look into their sideview mirrors quickly.

"Huh.. I wonder what Cap wants." Johnny said as he got the hint to switch
over to their station's private truck to truck band. "Go ahead, Cap." he
said into the hand radio mic.

##I just got off the horn with L.A.P.D. They're gonna be delayed getting
to our call for at least five minutes. Looks like we're gonna be the
ones first in. They have a 211 in progress at the bank a mile down
the road.##

"Ok, Cap. Thanks for the heads up." replied Johnny and he switched
back to the station dispatching channel on the main frequency.
"So much for peaceful Sunday mornings." he grumped.

"Look on the bright side, Johnny. We're not working a useless junkyard
fire or anything." DeSoto grinned.

"Shhh.." Gage hissed. "Or you'll jinx us for real."

Roy lifted a puzzled face. "Now how does that work?" he whispered to
himself as he gripped the steering wheel more tightly for a turn off the

Soon, they were there.

It wasn't hard spotting where to park the squad and engine. A grocery store
manager wearing a bright yellow produce apron was standing in the middle
of the widest part of the parking lot, surrounded by a couple of bag carrying
housewives, gossipping about some spectacle unfolding right in front of them.

Roy and Johnny pulled up into the middle of all of them while Stoker angled
the Ward to block off the avenue's entrance to give themselves working
room without a fresh crowd of cars being able to pull in.

A squat Asian man in a long oversized gray T-shirt and very baggy black demin
pants was seated in a wheel chair, out in the open, flailing his feet and
arms like a palsy case. A pair of black sandals had been kicked off his bare
feet and lay on the pavement.

No one else seemed to want to go near him.

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"Handicapped? Doesn't look like a seizure." puzzled Johnny as he and Roy
got out of their light flashing squad to pull their medical gear.

DeSoto rushed ahead and crouched down by the man, locking the chair's
wheel brakes for safety to stop the man's aimless random spinning in the
wheelchair. He lightly touched the man's still jerking, restless knee."Sir..?  I'm Roy
DeSoto, a paramedic from the Los Angeles Fire Department. This is my partner,
Johnny Gage. Can you understand me? What seems to be the problem here?" he
asked, sniffing breath coming from the man.

The twenty something youth didn't seem to be able to focus on faces for very
long but Roy found no sign of alcohol on the wind.

Their patient smiled.
"Hey.. whaz up? I...uh,..I..don't wanna cause.. I'm just trying to.. I..I.." he slurred.
He continued to writhe rhythmically in the seat, like an impaired invalid.

Captain Stanley, standing nearby, had removed his helmet. He cocked it
under an arm. "Want the O2?" he asked Roy.

DeSoto shook his head. "I don't think his confusion's new. Maybe a
pre-existing condition. There doesn't appear to be any bruises on him." he
said, carefully studying the man. He fell into orientation questions. "Sir,..can you
tell me where you are?"

"I'm..I'm at the super-- supermarket.." he twitched, still smiling and gyrating
his arms and legs slowly with dyskinesia.

Johnny wrapped a blood pressure cuff around the man's arm. "What day is

"Saturday.." he guessed wrong.

Gage and Roy exchanged significant looks.

"And the time?" Roy said, taking the man's pulse.

"Three thirty... I.. look.. I wanted to get some pizza.. Is that a crime?" asked the
fuzzy man in mild cooperation. His smile wavered from blandness then back
to an absent grin, in wavering cycles.

Roy tried to get the man to focus on him visually with a penlight but he
couldn't seem to connect with him long enough to hold eye to eye contact.
"Ok.. it's all right. We're here to help you out, mister. Just try to relax. Do
you have any I.D on you? We're gonna need one for our report so we can
treat you."

"S--Sure." said the small Asian man in the white baseball cap. "Here." he
fumbled into a front pants pocket for a nylon wallet. He couldn't grip it
too well, so Roy helped get it out so they could read it. "Victor Yang Lu
Ngyuen from 123 Hwy. 101 North in Escondido. There's also
his birthdate. March 7th, 1955." he said, passing it off to Johnny who had
completed an initial set of vitals.

Gage looked up. "Cap, could you ask around a bit on how he was found?
Looks like he might be tripped out on something. There's no medical
alert info or any old prescriptions in his wallet."

"Sure thing, pal." said Hank.

The store manager soon piped up. "He came into one of the side entrances
of my store asking for a wheelchair, saying that his legs didn't work too well.
So one of the cashiers gave him one. He was doing fine fellas, shopping and
reaching down groceries ok. But then he started talking loudly to himself and
spinning around like a space case. Made a mess of my cereal aisle when he
dropped a jar of tomato paste. So we got him to pay, brought him out here, and
then we called both you guys and the cops.." said the manager mildly.

"You did the right thing. He's not himself." reassured Roy as he read the vital
signs Johnny had written down. "Thank you for calling. We got it from here.
Would you mind getting all these people to step back a little. The ambulance
is gonna have to have some room to get through here."

"Oh, sure.." said the manager and he began loudly herding up the curious
housewives and other car parked folks drawn to the spectacle of a crew of
firefighters ringed around a limb flailing man in a wheelchair. "Come on, folks.
Go home or into the store. Nothing to see. Get outta here. Give the man some
privacy ok? You're gawking like a gaggle of geese. Shoo.." he said, waving
water wrinkled hands at them.

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The crowd dispersed.

Cap got on his handy talkie. "L.A. this is Engine 51. We've one male victim
in a parking lot possibly being effected by a controlled or illegal substance.
Respond an ambulance to our location. Do you have an ETA on P.D. to our

##Engine 51, this is L.A...A squad unit reports three minutes. I have sent
an ambulance crew to your twenty. Their ETA is one minute.##

Cap looked up at the sound of approaching sirens. "10-4. Engine 51 out."

Mike Stoker moved the drug box nearer to Gage's knee. "Want me
to set up an I.V.?"

"Yeah. String up a 500 ml of normal saline in case the doctor orders some
precautionary Narcan. Roy'll have his instructions in a few seconds." said
Johnny, watching as Roy hailed Rampart and gave his medical report to
Dr. Early.

DeSoto set the phone on his shoulder and nodded at the sight of the bag
Mike was tearing open with his teeth. "Yep. He wants it." Then he felt
the man's skin. "It's hot, dry. Early thinks he may be suffering crystal meth
overdose precursors."

Gage sighed. "Not another one. I sure hope the cops bust that
hidden neighborhood lab around here soon or those dealers are gonna
end up killing somebody for sure."

"Well, at least it's not gonna be him today.." said Roy, rubbing down a
place on the man's arm not already riddled with track mark scars and
shallow, self inflicted nail scratched pock marks.

The man continued to smile but didn't have the ability to hold still for
his I.V. start. It took both Marco and Mike to hold his arm down long
enough for the running inserted catheter to be taped firmly to an arm

Gage took another B.P. once the light Naloxone dose and a little IM
Thiamine had been delivered. "Still up. 172 over 110. Pulse 130 and
bounding.." he sighed.

"Early wants a glucose stick to rule out hyperglycemia." Roy told him.

"I'll get it." said Johnny reaching into the drug box at his feet. He moved
aside long enough for the two newly arrived ambulance attendants to move
their gurney close to the wheel chair. "Wait a second while we draw some
blood for a glucose check. He's junked out, but cooperating."

Both the men nodded. They concentrated on preparing the low bed's sheets
and blanket to receive their patient.

Roy read the strip on the glucometer once the blood drop had soaked through.
"Normal. He's at 100. At least he's been eating here. Right, Mr. Ngyuen?"

"Yeah.. yeah.. had some salad. Wanted some pizza.. Did I get any?" he
asked muzzily, still writhing restlessly in the wheelchair with slow jerks and
starts. The smile returned, full and beaming.

Stoker had his hands full guarding the I.V. board which he held out in the
air in front of the man's chest. "Yeah, you did. Take it easy, sir. Soon, you'll be
at the hospital." he told him.

The man just grinned, his emotional reactions strangely child-like and at odds
with the rest of his shimmeying body.

Soon, the man was stretched out onto the gurney and strapped in. Mike helped
lower the man's head down onto the pillow. "Did anybody grab his sandals?"

"Yeah, I put them back on his feet." said Marco. "I gave him his I.D., too.
His wallet's in his hand."

"Ok...  Roy, I'll ride in with him." Gage said, after he completed patching the
man's four limb leads into the EKG monitor. "He's only sinus tach with slightly
elevated T waves."

"You sure?" asked DeSoto.

"Yeah, he's not gonna fight." Johnny said. "Just look at him." he grinned.

The man was humming and completely off into a deeper lala land.

"Ok,.  I'll grab the squad." Roy said, retrieving his helmet off of the
ground. He left for the truck to start its ignition.

Hank issued orders for Chet and Marco to clean up all the needle covers
and paper wrappers off the ground while Gage and the attendants
blanketed the man and gathered the medical gear together.
Then Stanley asked, "Are we done here, Johnny? If so, I'll put the
engine back into service."

"Yeah, we're done. Go on ahead, Cap. We'll be back at the station in

"Ok. I'll tell L.A. and P.D. that you're going ahead with transporting."
said Cap. "Let's go, gang."  he nodded at Chet, and Marco when they
were through with their task.

Hank, Kelly and Lopez climbed into the engine and shut the doors.

"Stay with him a sec, Mike? We're gonna put this stuff into the
ambulance." Johnny asked Stoker.

Stoker nodded, crouching down by the nearly sleeping man's head
to monitor his breathing. Soon he was quite alone with him.

Then suddenly, it happened.

@@@  @@@  @@@  @@@  @@@

Mike blinked and found himself face to face with the muzzle end
of a steely blue black .38 mm revolver, pointed at his nose.

And the gun was firmly in the hands of loopy, grinning,
tripped out Mr. Ngyuen. "Like my piece, mister? It's my ab- absolute
favorite. Just got it last week." he said proudly, still firmly lost
somewhere in his addiction high and wearing his kindergartner

Stoker's heart stopped in his throat and he froze in panic.

He found he could only squeak.

Image of gunatyou.jpg Image of stokershockhelmet.jpg

From :  Cassidy Meyers <>
Sent :  Thursday, May 25, 2006 7:07 PM
Subject :  Blink of An Eye..

Time seemed to stand still for Mike Stoker. ::Move!:: he thought
desperately from someplace very small and deep inside of his head.
::That gun's right now and it's very, very real!:: Stoker struggled
mentally through a thickening haze of tarry numbness and the
most absolute, paralyzing fright that he had ever known.

Long, terrifying seconds etched themselves in time with perfect
clarity in his mind.....the glint of shiny bullets cocked in the unspun
barrel as they caught and trapped his gaze....that idiot stupid, mild
smile still plastered on the ill man's face...

::I'm gonna die.:: shivered Stoker. Mike blinked a couple of times,
drawing in a ragged breath, trying to talk.

Then the gun was gone, concealed once more drunkenly
under a neatly belted blanket fold. The Asian youth
actually yawned and folded two hands beneath his head.

Mike found his mouth had become icy and dry and he still couldn't
speak at all when Johnny and the attendants returned to his side
to start wheeling away their patient.

::Do something!:: Mike's mind raged, but he felt utterly helpless.
There were still dozens of people in the area in close range of
the gurney. ::But what?! :: another part of himself demanded.
::Somebody's gonna get shot if we try to restrain him. He might
go superhuman on us if it's PCP he's on.::

His legs locked, Mike could only watch as the man was casually
loaded up into the Mayfair ambulance by his coworkers.

Then he had it. A way out of everything.

Stoker felt the snick of the stretcher wheels clicking inside as they mated
into the floor locks through the skin of the ambulance under one of his
sweaty hands. Then Mike took two steps to the rig's front bumper until he
was sure that the driver could see him clearly, and then he collapsed to
the ground onto his side, faced away from the truck, not moving. His
helmet clattered away from him with a satisfying clunk and skid across
the hot asphalt.

The driver startled, turning to the back. "Hey! Paramedic! Fireman

"What?" came Johnny's voice in the back. "I'll be right out!"

Image of johnseesmayfairgo.jpg Image of ambulancedrivermedscared.jpg

Mike heard the driver get out of the ambulance and felt him crouch down
quickly near his head to roll him over for a listening check at his nose and
mouth. Stoker reached up fast and grabbed him by the shoulders, making him
cry out. He muffled the man's face with his arm. "I'm ok. This was
a ruse to get you out of the cab. Mac, get your partner to come out with
Johnny! That man has a gun!" Then he laid down once more on the
pavement, as limp as he could get himself, around his frantic state.

Mac lifted only one horrified glance back at the Mayfair as he started
shouting. "Get over here, the both of ya! He's quit breathing on me!"
yelled the burly attendant, playing along desperately. He set a pair
of shaking hands on Mike's face, tilted it up, and pretended to begin
a ventilation by bending over.

The shout and pose worked. Stan and Gage flew out of the rig with the
defibrillator and a demand valve resuscitator, along with the biophone.

"Mike?" Johnny startled when he saw who was on the ground.

Image of stokerdown.jpg Image of gagetreatworriedlook.jpg

Even as Stan and the paramedic got onto their knees over Stoker, Mac
fled instantly for the back of the Mayfair. Seconds later, the older
attendant quietly shut both of its rear doors with a reaching arm without
raising his head to any window's level, locking them firmly closed. Then
Mac crouch-ran in a zig zagging dodge for 51's moving fire engine, just
pulling away from them in a maneuver meant to reopen traffic into the
supermarket. He leaped onto the side runner board to try and flag her
oblivious crew down. But the gang didn't hear him at all as the Ward started
a lazy repositioning circle towards the far end of the parking lot.

Mac was carried unknowingly away, unable to tell the firemen what was
happening just behind them. Helplessly, he watched also, as Roy DeSoto
turn the squad onto the boulevard, on the start of his way to Rampart.

Stoker shot up off the ground when he finally felt two new pairs of hands on him.
His paralysis was gone, now fueled by fear for his companions. "The junkie's
got a loaded gun in his pocket! Get into!" he told them and he
instantly flipped over and started crawling on his hands and knees, making
a hasty beeline for the closest row of parked cars in the lot surrounding them.

Gage and Stan hesitated for only a few seconds. "What the h--?!" Johnny blurted
throwing himself down onto his stomach to follow after Stoker. "Stan, grab the
biophone with ya. I left my g*dd*mned HT in the ambulance.."

Soon, all three of them were under a tiny yellow Volkswagon bug, keeping in line
of sight of the silent and shut Mayfair and all the medical gear lying
open and abandoned near it. Already, another curious spectator crowd
began to build.

" Why don't they just go away?" Mike hissed.

Johnny was stunned, ignoring everybody but Stoker. "Mike, are you sure?
How did you find out that he had one?"

Stoker let his head drop onto his forearms right where all of them lay on their
stomachs and he started trembling. "He pulled it out on me and pointed
the revolver right at my face, Johnny. I was n-nose to nose with it. I'm
more than sure."

Gage eyed him without convincing comprehension.

Mike lost his temper. "J*s*s Chr*st..Why don't you believe me? I was
almost killed a minute ago!"

Gage started cursing. "F*ck*ng baggy clothes. I never knew. You know we
can't hands on survey a fully conscious patient..." Johnny spat, rapidly
setting up the biophone. Then he got a good look at Stoker's complexion.
"Mike, are you feeling ok?"

"No.. I mean, yes." gasped Stoker. "Uh,...does wanting to throw up count?"

"Just stay down if you wanna black out. Stan'll watch you." Gage told
him. Then he started broadcasting. "Rampart, this is Squad 51! We've
a Code Yellow. Repeat, Code Yellow. I need a relay to our fire department
dispatcher in L.A. immediately! I've a 10-95. Repeat a 10-95 at our scene!"

Quickly, a base station listening Dixie McCall soon made the needed
connection about the same time a window pounding Mac got through to Cap
Marco, and Chet in Ward's cab to tell them about the same situation.

Rapidly, Marco pulled the engine back into a broadsided angle to give Gage,
Stoker, and Stan, the attendant, a clear route to safety behind its solid,
protecting bulk.

Then the whole gang and both the Mayfair attendants hunkered down against the
engine to await the police who soon arrived in three squad cars, ordered in on
silent reds, a minute later.

Mike closed his eyes firmly so he wouldn't see the outcome of any standoff
as the cops closed in on the Mayfair with all their weapons bristling cautiously
into the air. ::Vince. Watch yourself out there. Don't get yourself killed.:: he wished

He never even felt Johnny slip gripping fingers around his wrist to monitor his
post reaction.

Image of mayfaircarlot.jpg Image of royjohnnymanducksquad.jpg

From: "Monster Moofie" <>
and "Patti Keiper" <>
Subject: End and Beginning, The Debriefing
Date: Thu May 25, 2006  8:29 pm

Roy had received the radio transmission about a weapon at
the supermarket. He returned there and parked in a safe spot
and fidgetted with worry while he awaited an outcome.


Vince carefully opened the back of the Mayfair as he and
another officer positioned themselves behind the doors.  Peering
around he saw the junkie flopped out, sleeping it off.  A loud snore
punctuated the silence.  Vince carefully entered the ambulance and
patted the blankets, locating the .38.  Handing the gun off to the
other officer, Vince pulled out his cuffs and quickly locked the
man's wrist to the side of the gurney, repeating the steps with
another pair of cuffs on the other side.  He then called out, "John,
Roy, all clear!  He is cuffed and ready to go.  Officer Jackson will
ride in with you."  Vince climbed out of the ambulance and was
replaced by Jackson.

Roy grabbed all the gear, climbed up in himself and checked the
patient's vitals. He contacted Rampart, letting them know all was
well and that they were on the way.


Johnny still had his fingers wrapped around Mike's wrist, monitoring
his pulse.  As soon as Vince called out and exited the ambulance,
Mike's pulse changed drastically, his face turning a sickly gray.  

Johnny felt him start to go and switched from gripping his wrist to
placing his hands under his armpits, lowering him to the ground as
he fell.  "Something tells me you're not faking it this time."
Johnny said to the fading engineer.  Gage didn't find a pulse easily
the second time, he found one only higher up in the crook of Mike's
elbow. "Just relax. It's over. Everybody's safe now, thanks to you."

Cap, Marco and Chet quickly surrounded them, demanding to know what
in the world was happening.   Recovering from shock, Captain Stanley
quickly asked Johnny, "What gear do you need?" Cap looked down
from the peek mirror he had cleverly angled towards the now un-beseiged
ambulance. "How's Mike doing? The other guy's still quiet for now."

Chet grabbed a blanket out of the squad, opening it quickly and offering
it to Johnny. Stoker started shivering again as he tried to nod that he
had heard them.

Gage smiled as he opened Mike's collar where he lay on the ground.
He studied the engineer while Stoker stared out at nothing in particular.
"He's a little shocked, but ok, Cap."

"H*ll, I would be to if I'd been in his shoes." Hank replied.

"I was there once before, Cap. Remember Vince's concussion?" Gage

"How could I forget that? You almost got your head blown clean.." Hank
broke off, very sensitive about Stoker's possible feelings right then.
"Ah, well. Now's not exactly the nicest time to talk about that particular
little adventure."

Removing the blue uniform jacket he was wearing, Johnny placed it
under Mike's head as he answered, "Let's get his feet elevated.  
It's just psychogenic shock. He had that gun in his face."  
Grabbing the blanket from Chet he covered Mike with it.  

Image of enginesquadcopcarfarawayshot.jpg Image of gageholdstokershead.jpg

Chet kneeled down by Mike facing Johnny while Cap and Marco
squatted down one on each side.  

Only about thirty seconds had passed before Mike's eyes fluttered
back open.  He moaned. Then he rocketed up, turning away from Johnny.
Vomiting, he spewed his recently ingested meal all over an unsuspecting

Completely shocked, Chet could only sit and gape, mouth open.

Recognizing that Mike was pulling out of it, Johnny lightly
quipped, "Well, Mike, looks like to me you caught the Phantom
sleeping."  Turning serious again, he instructed, "Lie back down here
while I check your vitals. I think you're fine but I know Dr. Brackett
might want to see you."

Now completely embarrassed, Mike began to protest, only to be
silenced by a stern, "Mike!" from his Captain.  Mike resumed his
prone position and allowed Johnny to verify his recovering status.

Chet, meanwhile, hadn't said a word. He had merely risen, removed
his uniform's outer jacket and grabbed a rag to clean himself up,
leaving Mike to wonder what the conniving Phantom would do when
things calmed down.

"Do you need another ambulance for him, Johnny?" Captain Stanley
asked.  In spite of his paramedic's assurances, he was still extremely
worried about his engineer.

"No, Cap.   He can ride in with you. His system just had a small
shock. I'm not worried now."  Giving Mike a hand up, he stepped
back and allowed Cap and Marco to steer the embarrassed engineer to
one of the passenger seats in the engine. "Mike, We'll check you out a little
better once we all get back to the station. Let me know when that nausea
starts to go away, ok?"

Cap was finally convinced. "Get Stoker into the engine as soon as the
cops have all of the information they need from us and cover him up with
our turnouts if you have to, to counteract his chilling symptoms. Johnny,
I promise I'll get Chet to make him start talking about it on the way back
to quarters. And I can put in a call for a CISM counselor to help him out if
he still feels like it, once we get back there."

"Sounds like a plan." sighed Gage unhappily. He turned back to Mike
and kept his hands on his shoulders just to let him know that he was still there
and that he was absolutely safe in his arms. "Easy, Stoker. We're all right
here with ya."

Image of vincegageambulancegunapproach.jpg Image of caphelmetgangclustered.jpg

Then Johnny picked up the HT and jumped in the squad where Roy
used to be and drove off to Rampart after Roy's departing ambulance.


Detective Lt. Ron Crockett waited patiently for Gage and DeSoto
to finish a routine vital signs check on their station's engineer. Finally,
he couldn't hold his questions in any longer. "Now, let me get this straight.
None of you had a clue about this character having a weapon on him,
at all?"

Johnny got angry on Mike's behalf. "No, detective. We didn't have a clue.
I'm telling you, this guy was totally happy we were there to help him out of
his crazy predicament. Isn't that right, Mike?" he asked, pulling the blood
pressure cuff off of Stoker's arm. "Roy, he's finally back to normal. 132/98."

"Same here. Pulse's 56." said Roy, then he spoke again. "Go eat something
once we're done here, ok?" he told Mike no nonsense. "I'm sure Marco'll be
pleased as punch if you stuff yourself to the gills on his mother's cooking.
He's been wanting to do that to you ever since we got back here."

"I will." grinned Stoker shyly. "But I'm still mad at myself for not seeing the
gun on that guy. I was right next to him."

Cap and the gang spoke up protectively in a rush once more about how they
all had been duped when Vince Howard, the policeman, spoke loudly over them
from where he was butt perched on Cap's office desk. "Now, boys. Don't go
blaming yourselves in the slightest for that kind of oversight. Police officers
miss weapons that are located in a suspect's front pants pockets all the time.
And sometimes, even after very thorough body searches have already
been conducted. It didn't help that this junkie was looking like Fat Albert
in clothes sizes five times too big for his body frame." said the easy going
police officer.

Detective Crockett rubbed his chin thoughtfully. "What I'd like to know is why
the paramedics didn't do a head to toe exam on the man once he was placed
on the gurney." he wondered to Vince.

Cap sighed and leaned back in his chair. "We don't have the authority to do
that typically, lieutenant. Not when someone's completely conscious and
talking to us without signs of obvious injury..."

Image of 232.jpg Image of crockett.jpg Image of captalkingintentlyoffice.jpg

Roy spoke up. "We both agree with our captain there." DeSoto said
quickly, letting Crockett know about his and Johnny's viewpoint. "A
routine medical call usually doesn't need us to go into that kind of
detail since the patient can usually tell us what's going on verbally."

"And even if that kind of exam's needed, we still have to ask permission to
do so every step of the way, like,..' Do you want some oxygen? Can I take your
blood pressure?'" explained Johnny.

Police Detective Ron Crockett wasn't content.
"You mean you fellas decided on your own not to wait for the police for
backup even though this guy was clearly altered mentally?" asked Detective
Crockett sharply. "That was stupid. Doesn't your fire department policies
state that at any time a patient displays incompetent faculties, a police
officer should be on the scene to oversee things to assure safety measures
are being taken in case the patient needs to be physically restrained?"

All the firemen in the fire station office shifted uncomfortably and then
they got angry. Fast.

They all started talking at once.

"Now wait just a gosh darned minute here!.." said Gage. "That would
mean we'd have to call the cops for even the simplest fainting case."

"That's a little uncalled for.." said Roy. "Most of our patients are always
half out. And those are just the non-trauma related ones."

Chet bristled. "We saved ourselves this morning just fine."

"Cap, did I do something wrong?" asked Stoker.

"No way in h*ll, Mike. You did everything absolutely by the book. If the
fault's anyone's, all of us are guilty for missing the danger. Including the
witnesses who called us out to help him in the first place." Hank growled.

Vince held up appeasing hands in defense of himself and his stern
faced African American supervisor. "Boys, boys. We're not playing the
bad guys with this little meeting here all right? That was never our intent.
We're just trying to get a clearer understanding about what happened
today so that maybe,.. just maybe, all of us can keep this from ever
happening again."

Silence reigned in the office, except for Boot's anxious whining.

Mike Stoker picked him up and began petting him to quiet both his
stress reactions and the dog's. "Shhh, easy boy. We're just talking.
I think.." he glared at the detective.

Image of royboot.jpg Image of stokerlookscaredclose.jpg Image of vincehospitalclose.jpg

Crockett threw up his hands in exasperation with a huge frustrated
sigh and placed both hands on his hips firmly. "Ok,..looks like we're
gonna get nowhere with this informal inquiry. Howard, we're not helping
here. Let's go hit the streets after filing their report and do something
that'll make a real difference to someone else, huh?" he said

Then Ron left the office in a huff, his brusk manner very apparent.

Vince Howard rubbed his hands together. "Sorry for that. We both
spent a real unpleasant last couple of hours on this case. It doesn't make
it any easier on any of us that my police coworker had to handcuff your
patient's legs, too, after he woke up and freaked out for seeing us
standing over him. His attending doctor just about chewed us up and
spit us out for doing it."

Stoker looked away, putting a hand to his mouth, stifling powerful emotions.
"He became dangerous?"

"Yeah. And it didn't take much to provoke him." replied Howard.

Cap set a gentle hand on Mike's arm in support. "Are we done? All my men
and I want to do is forget this whole incident for a while so we can get on
with the rest of our workshift and start to begin to feel better about this whole
horrid mess just as soon as we possibly can."

Vince rose. "You're absolutely right. Nothing else can be done here
today. Any protocol changes in your department and mine regarding this
kind of rescue call gone bad will have to be hashed out by higher paid
administrators and other bureaucrats. I'm sorry I let Detective Crockett
inflict himself on you the way he did. I had no choice in the matter. See you
fellas, later." he said moving to the door. Then he turned back.
"Mr. Stoker, if I can show you a few moves on how to disarm someone with
a gun for later, give me a call." he said, handing Mike Stoker an L.A.P.D.
business card. "It seems that requests for that kind of training's reaching
me more and more from all you paramedics and firemen lately. It kinda
makes me mad that no one ever asks me to do this until something really
bad happens first."

"I'll definitely look you up for that lesson after we're back from our vacation."
replied Mike with sincerity.

Vince actually smiled, as glad to change the subject as the fire gang was.
"Oh? Where are you fellas off to?"

"Santa Catalina.. We're all leaving Saturday for ten days camping and doing
the usual touristy things people from the mainland normally do out there."
chuckled Cap.

"Well, hug a Beechey's ground squirrel for me when you see one. They're
real friendly on the island." waved Vince. "I had two of them who liked getting
into my backpack all the time looking for food when I was on a hiking trip
three years ago."

"I promise you we'll watch out for them." said Chet, waving back.
"No one's gonna steal a meal from me and get away with it."

"No, you'll only wear one on occasion." quipped Gage, sotto voce.
No one heard him at all then, and he smiled at his own humor.

Vince nodded, putting on his helmet and left the station.

Hank looked up when the side doorbell rang. "That'll be Gloria Schaefer
from Headquarters, the CISM. Kelly, would you go let her in? We've all got
lots to get out and talk with her about, isn't that right, Mike?"

Stoker sighed. "Let's get this thing over with." he said, rising. He had never
been a fan of crisis debriefings. It meant admitting weaknesses. ::And no
firefighter will ever show weakness to anyone. Not if he can help it.:: thought
the engineer.

Gage and Roy patted him on the back in encouragement as they
all left for the coffee pot in the kitchen and the formal introductions soon
to come between them and the crisis counselor.

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