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 No Sooner Said
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           Page Three

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Gage was livid as he burst out of the squad's cab and got into
his turnout jacket. "You wanna tell me again that some operator
didn't shut out another caller on this incident who had more information
simply because he or she felt the 911 enhanced information was enough?"

Roy didn't have anything to say to that while the two of them ran
cautiously to the nearest window to look for a body on the floor.
When they got to a particular bedroom, the harnessed dog leaped
back into the house, utterly ignoring the fire around them.

"Hey!! You stupid dog.. Get back out here. What do you think we're
here for?!"  Johnny was worked up, and worried.

DeSoto let Johnny use that anger to heighten his awareness.
But he also wanted Gage secured onto a safety rope before he went
anywhere, too. "You going in?"

"Yeah.. The air's not hot yet. Looks like this fire started in the attic.."
Gage said.

"Want an air bottle?" asked Roy, tying off a rope around Johnny's waist.

"No, that ceiling's firm, and the rest of these windows are already blown
out. Ventilation's good enough to enter for me. But what do you think?"
Gage asked him.

"I agree. I'll give you two minutes. Uh,...follow that dog..." Roy pointed
with a glove.

"No kidding. Be ready for me, Roy. I'll bring em out one at a time if there's
more than one person in here.." Johnny said.

Roy fed Johnny slack as his jacketed partner jogged off through the flames
in pursuit of the anxious help dog. Then he got on his handy talkie
and gave a report. "L.A., Squad 51. We've got one going in on the west
side of the house on a lifeline with HT support. There's clear evidence that
the house is still occupied. Also, send police assistance for crowd control."
DeSoto said as concerned neighbors got a little too close on the effected
house's lawn for his liking. "Folks, listen to me... Move back to the street..
It's not safe. Please,.. everybody...just get back." he told them.

Then Roy concentrated on clearing the window frame free of shattered
glass with his jacket halligan, shaving away splinters and sharp pieces
of melted stripping in a couple of sweeps. "Johnny?!" he shouted into his
HT. "You've got a minute left! Make it count in there!"

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"He would have to be orange in color. That d*mned dog blends right in.."
Gage muttered as he searched, feeling around doors carefully before he
kicked them in.

He found a man in the last bedroom on the bed. He was an
unconscious adult in his forties with shortened and crippled arms and legs.

A phone receiver and cord was strewn and melted some distance from
the bed. It was apparent that he hadn't been the one to make the phone
call. Johnny looked at the worried, trained dog in utter amazement. The
man was still alive, breathing shallowly.

"Good dog.. I got him.. Come on.. Let's go, boy.." Johnny said
as he hefted up the small man onto his back into a carry. The helper
dog whined and danced away from sparking embers that were burning his
paws and landing on his rich tan and white coat. "I've got your guy with me.
Now let's get out of here. " Johnny told the dog, giving him a shove back
towards the dark window with a boot.

He tugged on his rope to let Roy know that he had found someone who
needed active rescuing.


DeSoto felt the pull back signal and he began peering into the window
again after Johnny. About thirty seconds later, Johnny reemerged, facing
backwards until he got his victim's butt perched on the window sill in preparation
for a dead weight shift with his fresher partner.

"He's already breathin' light.." Johnny warned, coughing out some thickening

"Where'd you find him?" Roy shouted, taking the man's weight onto a shoulder
while he waited for Johnny to climb out the window.

"Exactly where the dog said he'd be.. In the back bedroom. I got some of his
medications in my jacket pocket. He's got a ton of them. I grabbed all I could."
Johnny said.

"Let's get him to the squad. You ok, carrying him?"

"Yeah.. just go get the gear laid out.." grunted Gage as he slung the man
back over his back once again in a vertical carry by the arms.

"Where's the dog? Didn't he stay with you?"

"He did. I know he did.. He was right behind me.." Gage said insistently.

"I'll tell Cap about him once he gets here." Roy said grimly as he jogged
away. "L.A. called out the rest of the station."

Johnny looked back towards the house that was growing brighter and
brighter as the fire consumed more and more of its internal structure.
The window they had come through, was now completely obscured with
smoke and there was a sound of crashing debris as the ceiling gave way
just beyond it. "There's no going back in that way.." he whispered.
"I'm sorry, boy.. We've got to leave.." he called out.

Then there was no more time to waste.

Roy helped Johnny lay the man down onto the sidewalk near the resuscitator.
A quick check proved that the man had given up trying to breathe because of
all of his smoke exposure. DeSoto looked up. "He's respiratory arrested.
Gimme the trigger.." he gestured at Johnny, who was trying to get his wind
back while getting the biophone set up to send telemetry at the same time.

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Gage passed it over with a correctly sized oral airway. "I'll scope him."

Johnny snatched open the defibrillator and laid passive paddles over
the man's chest around the sooty shirt Roy had torn open. "He's SVT."
he announced. Then he felt the man's neck. "Viable.. I've still got
a carotid.."

Roy nodded while he worked to deliver ample oxygen into the man's

Sirens grew in the distance and it wasn't much time at all before Engine 51
appeared, sparkling red nimbuses before itself onto all of the sleeping
houses as it arrived on scene with Engine Company 24.

Hank stepped out of the cab and gave another fire report on what he saw
happening in front of him. "Engine 24, cover the east side in full scba in
a frontal attack. Engine 51, wye line to a hydrant and supply Engine 24 with
water support. Battalion One, we've one victim so far with Squad 51. Assign
at least two responding ambulances. We can use the second on fire standby."

##10-4, Engine 51. I concur with your assignments..## said Battalion as he
watched the house burn.

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Then Cap crouched down near Johnny and Roy."Need any help here?"

"Yeah, Cap. Patch him in, would ya? Johnny's still a little fried."

"I'm not overheated, Roy. I'm just worried about the dog.." Gage said,
holding the biophone against his shoulder as he panted, sucking in
the cool night air through his teeth as he recovered.

"The assistance dog?" Hank asked.

Roy nodded. "He led Johnny to his owner and then didn't make it back
out again. We didn't have time to do a complete house search for
anyone else before our only way to the outside collapsed in behind us..."
said DeSoto sadly.

"Dogs are resourceful. Instinct would have driven him to cooler places.
Don't worry, we'll find him. And don't fret about missing a chance at
getting out another victim. Phone Directory says this man lives
alone.." Hank told him as he rubbed the sweat off the dwarfen man's
skin for a twelve lead reading with a glove. He placed the EKG monitor's
limb lines carefully, too, and afterwards he switched on the machine and
turned it so Roy and Johnny could see all the changes on the screen
while they delivered their care. Then he placed the defibrillator and
the opened drug box so that it was within their easy reach.

Hank got on his radio. "Marco.. Chet.. do a quick house search.
We've a missing work dog somewhere inside. Keep safe in there and
pull out at the slightest risk of further collapse. Have a fully charged
hose backup team with each of you when you go inside.."

##10-4, Cap.. Looks like the north end of the house's not burning yet.##
Chet reported over HT. ##We'll both be going in there. Battalion's got
all of our accountability tags.##

"Copy that, Kelly." Hank rose with a "you're set" nod at his two paramedics.
"I hope you find him.." he told his men by the house over the radio.

"Cap, one more thing.. I've got this man's medications in my jacket over
there. Could you get them out for me? I'm just about ready to give Rampart
my patient report..Maybe we could get a name off one of them or something
or a medical chart number that can clarify what his normal baseline
condition is." Gage asked.

Cap retrieved Johnny's abandoned, smoking, jacket from the lawn and
dug around until he found them. "Are there five bottles?"

"Yeah... just the five. thanks.." said Johnny, already focusing on the voice
coming over the phoneline.

Hank made himself useful at Battalion's side monitoring the battle against
the fire. The wind blew up several times despite the darkness and that made
the chief order up a standing water curtain to protect the surrounding trees
and homes nearest the blaze.

Gage spoke to Dr. Early after grabbing a page full of notes from Roy.
##Rampart, this is Squad 51. How do you read?##

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From: Patti or Jeff or Cassidy <>
Date: Thu Jun 29, 2006 4:54 pm
Subject: Good Things Come In Little Packages..

##Go ahead, 51.## said Joe Early. ##I read you loud and clear.##

Johnny sighed as he watched Roy grab what he knew he
needed airway and cardiac medication wise."Rampart, we've
a male, approximate age, in his mid forties. He's a victim of
acute smoke inhalation. He's currently unconscious and respiratory
arrested on assisted ventilations at fifteen liters. The datascope is
showing a nonspecific supraventricular tachycardia with an irregular
widening QRS interval. Pulses are palpable. We're sending
you a strip: Leads Twelve. Request permission to start an I.V.
Also, there's a pre-existing physiological complication. Our victim
has severe achondroplasia.."


Dixie McCall, who had just joined Joe in the receiving alcove,
looked up. "Dwarfism? That could get tricky if it's due to osteogenesis
imperfecta. His bones and cartilage might be extremely brittle."

"He's survived to the age he is. That's a good sign in those kinds
of cases. Usually, brittle bone syndrome kills those afflicted before
they even have a chance to leave their childhood years." Joe
turned back to the base station radio and pressed the talk button.
"Go ahead and start an I.V., 51. Make it Normal Saline and run in
250 cc's initially to offset the effects of shock. What are his vital signs?"

##Rampart, vitals signs are : Left arm BP, 82/60. Right arm BP, 70/44,
pulse is 170. Skin is cool and diaphoretic. Pupils are dilated.
There are no signs of surface dermal burns. Breath sounds: His chest
is bubbling in the upper trachea just below the vocal cords on auscultation.
Deeper lung sounds are clear. But his PaO2 perfusion is growing poor.##

"10-4. Position the patient to ease ventilations and prepare to intubate
either with a pediatric EOA or ET tube. If necessary, prepare for a rapid
sequence induction using ... 51, what do you estimate your victim's weight
to be?" Dr. Early asked.


Roy looked up at Johnny as he bit the packaging off a 1000 ml saline
bag. "80 pounds, maybe..."

Johnny quickly nodded his head in agreement, for he had carried the
man for several minutes. "Rampart, we are pretty sure he's around
eighty pounds or so."

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##Ok,..Then prepare one to two mg/kg of ketamine, I.V. for a paralytic
agent only if the esophageal tube placement's unsuccessful. We can use
its brochodilating effects.## said Dr. Early. ## I'm reading atrial fibrillation
with Wolf-Parkinson's-White syndrome. Looks like his heart's atria are
getting pre-excited, so avoid any AV nodal blocking agents like adenosine
in order to slow his rapid cardiac rate. I'm banking on the intubation process
to do that for us manually first, through a little vagal nerve stimulation. He may
cardiovert back to normal on his own during the process. But be prepared
for V-Fib at any time and treat him accordingly.##

"10-4, Rampart. After our victim's airway secured, I've a medications
history to relay to you." said Gage and he set the phone down to relay
to Roy what their orders were.

##Understood. I'll be standing by..## answered Joe.


"Careful, Joe." McCall grinned. "You're starting to sound a lot like Kel with
that using-RSI-to-slow-the-heart move." said Dixie into Joe's ear.

"And why shouldn't I use a such a good idea as that? Kel's not a top
notch cardiologist for nothing, you know. The less electricity used on someone.."
Early chuckled, raising both eyebrows at her.

"...the better." Dixie completed for him. "Uh huh, I know. You learned that
one from him, too. I'll go call for a cardiologist and respiratory therapist for
him. Let me know if you get a name, I'd like to pull all of his medical records
and have them ready for everybody before he arrives."

"Call an orthopedic specialist, too. He may be more familiar with electrolyte
imbalances than any of us are concerning this man's adult/child sized body."
added Joe.

"Today, it'll be Dr. Keenan." Dixie said, leaving the room.

Joe turned to wait for an outcome from Station 51's two paramedics' current
treatment effects. ::They've more  to worry about on their hands right now than
they probably realize.:: he thought privately.


Johnny looked at Roy once he had a patent I.V. up and running into
the man's arm. "What sizes do you want?" Gage asked, referring to
the Broselow tape color coding system.

"He's a blue.." DeSoto said very fast. "A 5.5 uncuffed ought to do it. I couldn't
get the EOA in worth a d*mn. He's spasming too much." Then
Roy looked at Stoker, who was using an ambu bag very carefully, to
artificially breathe for the man. "Get ready to hyperventilate him on my
word. It'll be about sixty seconds after I get this paralytic injected. He
won't bite down on your suction tube when this goes in, all of his muscles
will get relaxed until I'm done. All right?"

"Yes." said Stoker, checking the liters left on the oxygen tank he was
working from. He called for a second one over his HT from the nearest
engine when he saw that its level had slipped below 500 liters psi.

##More O2, on the double.## Cap affirmed when he heard the request.

"Here's a 14 stylet and a 2 straight bladed laryngoscope." said Johnny,
passing the instruments over that he had torn free of the intubation set he
had laid out on the man's stomach. "Want me to do it?"

"Nah, I'm good. Prep the ketamine with a two hundred cc bolus, and
hook it up, piggyback until his O2 sats are high enough for an attempt."
said Roy, looking at the EKG monitor's pulse oximeter readout.
"He's just at 94."

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Gage nodded at Lopez. "Ok, Stoker.. Knock yourself out. Nice
and easy. I've got the cricoid hold against distension." he said,
grabbing the ring around the sweaty man's trachea with a couple
of fingers. He pressed down on it slightly while his other hand
started delivering in the sedative.

Roy got busy, aligning himself onto his elbows at the top of
the man's head. He whistled, piercingly, without turning around
or moving from his position until a fireman flicked on someone's
squad headlights so he could see what he was doing.

Deftly, he slid the man's tongue out of the way to the right with
his intubation blade. He felt the jaw lift up and loosen as
the medication began to work. "I got em.." said Roy as he
saw the white vocal cords shot through with swollen venation.
"I'm through.." he said, advancing the endotracheal tube to
around fifteen centimeters."Ok. Stoker, reattach the bag here
and start in while we listen for placement."

Johnny looked up at a anomalous blip from the EKG monitor.
"He's gone bradycardic. Rate's fifty. I'm giving him .5 mgs
atropine I.V. and pushing it, until you've decided that you're
through monkeying with him..." he prodded.

Roy grinned at being teased and kept listening in all fields
around the man's chest for the man's new breath sounds.
"Equal bilaterally. No gastric noise. Right first time."

"That's why I let you do it. I'm not very good with the little people.
I haven't seen enough of em yet.." said Johnny.

"Felt no different than a four year old child." DeSoto admitted
while he marked off on a piece of tape where the tube settled
along the man's lips. "He's at 15.5 cm." he reported. "And that
21 gauge butterfly's working like a charm here.." he said, eyeing
up the I.V. bag's drip chamber.

Both paramedics turned their attention back to the EKG monitor.

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"He's nearly normal. Elevated sinus rhythm at....120. I can
live with that." said Johnny, turning up the I.V. to hurry their
patient's fluid replacement. "Let's see what 250 cc's more'll do.
I'll just bet we can get him down into the nineties by the time
we get to Rampart.."

Roy grabbed up the biophone. "Rampart, we've established
an endotracheal tube. And I've learned that there's some
erythema, and a deposition of soot in his throat above the
vocal cords."

##10-4, 51. Deflate your tube's cuff to minimal levels, even to
the point of allowing a small leak, to prevent iatrogenic tracheal
damage since he's already been compromised. Continue to monitor
his vital signs every five minutes and transport as soon as possible.
Nice work, gentlemen. His EKG's looking more than just adequate.##
said Joe.

Gage grinned from ear to ear. "Hey, Roy, Stoker, would you
look at that? They found him.."

DeSoto and the engineer straightened up to see Chet and
Lopez running with a four legged burden.

A dog pound crew met them, and took the light brown assistance
dog into their arms, wrapped in a yellow shock sheet. Cap
tapped Marco on the shoulder. "Nice job. Now go get
the squad's nearly spent first oxygen cylinder from over there
and go see what you can do for him.."

Gage got Lopez's attention when he caught on to what he
was doing. "Here's a fresh mask.." he said, tossing a non-rebreather
at the fireman for the dog. "How does it feel to be a hero?"

"Awfully nice." answered Chet for Marco. "Thanks, Gage. I'll
let you know the moment that sweet little mutt wakes up."

And with that, Kelly and Lopez were gone.

"Huh." Gage said after they had gone and were deeply involved
tending to the dog's breathing recovery needs.

"What?" asked Roy, covering up their patient as a pair of Cadillac
ambulance men strapped him onto their wheeled gurney.

"Guess that 911 system really works." Johnny summed up simply.

"What makes you so sure all of the sudden..?" asked Mike, who
was still being the stricken man's lungs on the bag valve mask.

"Somebody had to call out the dog pound to come treat him
and take him to the vets.." said Gage in exasperation. Then
he started smiling. Hugely.

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Johnny and Marco, along with Chet, were at Rampart for their post
fire physical examinations, waiting for a treatment room to open up.

Dixie was having fun egging them on. She said....

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Click for new music. :)

From: Patti or Jeff or Cassidy <>
Date: Fri Jun 30, 2006 3:53 pm
Subject: The Clever Means..

"I've never seen an ansier trio of nervous firefighters in all
my working days.." she giggled. "It's just Dr. Morton who's gonna
be giving you fellas your exams, not Dr. Frankenstein.."
mused Dixie.

"It's not the raising the dead part that I'm worried about..."
mumbled Chet.

Gage smacked him on the arm for impropriety.

Roy, the designated driver as their medical followup on
Cap's orders, broke right in. "Uh, Dixie.. how's our man
doing? He..seemed to be coming around a little on the way

"He's holding his own. A bit of Albuterol ended that tracheal
spasming that you were dealing with in transit. And I've just
heard from the dog pound that his dog, Trip, is gonna pull
through just fine, too." McCall grinned, taking a sip of her

"That's wonderful. It's about time we pulled a live pet out
of a burning house again." smiled Marco, looking pleased.
He high fived celebrating hands with Chet, who immediately
winced when a small burn was palm slapped.

Johnny grabbed his wrist and shoved Chet's hand back into
the bowl of ice water where it had been soaking seconds before.
"Ah, ah, ah....This is only first degree, Chet. If you don't want it
to blister into the second, chill out." he glared.

"Is that a pun?" Roy asked his partner.

Dixie lost it completely. A minute later, she composed herself
enough to ask on the latest of the mine fire that they had all
experienced first hand. "So, what's being done on the property
now? Is the whole place still a death trap?" she asked the

"Not anymore.." replied Gage. "The fire department found an
engineering firm who's developed a heat resistant "grout"
to pump in on the fire. It's a mixture of sand, cement, fly ash, water
and foam that oozes in around all the burning material. Headquarters
is coining it 'Thermocell', because it's helping to cut off the underground
fire's oxygen supply while allowing the blaze to cool down a whole bunch."

Chet added more. "That stuff is being used to fill that trench tunnel
I was overcome inside of to bury the illegal canisters of acetylene
stacked there. Would you believe those things Marco saw
were being stored only ten meters from an exposed coal seam."

"Acetylene?! Isn't that highly flammable?" Dixie exclaimed,
setting her coffee cup down with a thump.

"OHHhhh, yeahhhh.." said Kelly empathetically pursing his lips.
"I could have been blown sky high on top of getting asphyxiated
then. The barrels are all drowned now but the danger's not quite
over yet."

"Oh? How so?" Dixie asked.

"Unmined coal can smolder when exposed to air only one seventh of
that on the surface.  Especially the bituminous coal being found in
this part of California." Chet answered. "Nope. Looks like
that underground mine fire's gonna be burning on and on, for centuries.
That's thanks to some jerk who parked a backhoe on that road without
washing off the tires first before leaving it there."

"What happened?" asked McCall.

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Roy elaborated. "Coal dust is opportunistic. It can spontaneously
combust without warning in certain specific conditions of temperature
and humidity. For the previous two days, the backhoe had been mucking
out slag and coal collection ponds to remove coal fines.  A security guard
failed to notice a fire that started on the backhoe rear tire the morning
we got there to handle our emergency. Facility personnel believe the
cause of the fire was those coal fines, which had adhered to the tire, going
literally up into smoke. Some of the thick coal mud in the ponds had not
been exposed to oxygen until it was churned up by the tires of the backhoe.  
It's blatant negligence that some worker ignored instructions to wash
his equipment vehicle's tires when he left those ponds for the day."

"And that's why the surface road failed.." murmured Dixie, putting two and
two together.

"Umm hmm." nodded Johnny. "The coal vein underneath all that asphalt
caught fire and absolutely powdered all the concrete making up the drive
in just a couple of seconds."

"Now how is the fire department gonna put out THAT fire?" Dixie

Marco told her. "The fire's gonna be extinguished by injecting gaseous
nitrogen into the crevasse over all the hot spots. It'll be easy getting in
there because some pavement's still intact."

Chet contributed. "And the rest of it's gonna be fought with foam smothering
bore holes, tunneled side shafts into which water can be poured, and
digging out the glowing coal veins that are actively embering."

Dixie sat back onto her stool. "Sounds like you boys've done
all your homework with this incident."

"We sure have." said Chet. "Anything that's likely to kill you in short order
always gets dissected and solved before it can happen to someone else."

"Especially in our line of business." added Lopez.

"I shouldn't wonder.." McCall smiled.

She looked up when Dr. Morton appeared around the corner, wearing
his stethoscope.  He noticed them, stopped in his tracks and he beckoned
impatiently at them with a finger. "Ok.." sighed Dixie. "Who's gonna be first?"
she asked, eyeing them all.

The fire sooty three fidgetted and played a quick game of paper, scissors,
stone where the young doctor couldn't see them.

Roy crossed his arms over his elbows and watched with mild amusement
for an outcome.

Gage lost.

" *Groan* " Johnny grimaced. "Looks like it's gonna be me..." he
said, hanging his head.

Johnny Gage took his post fire examination and blood test,.. like a man.

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Later that day in the station, Roy looked up from his newspaper.
"How's your arm?" he asked his partner.

Johnny made a face and flexed his sore inner crook sporting a band-aid.
"It still hurts." he sighed.  Then he dropped the ice bag he had been
holding over the bruising. "What is it about doctor these days? Why do
all the teenaged zit faced lab technicians always seem to know how
to draw arterial blood gases better than the doctors they all work for?"
he exclaimed.

Chet didn't look up from the couch where he was brushing Boot.
"Maybe it's because those doctor no longer have to sweat the small
stuff so much because they know that all they have to do is snap
their fingers and the menial work gets done for them."

"Highly unlikely.." Hank gruffed from where he was doing the lunch
dishes. "Don't doctors have to pass physical skills tests just like
paramedics do at regular intervals to keep up their certification?"

"Probably.." mumbled Roy, around his glass of milk. "I wouldn't
know for sure. Johnny and I just take orders from them."

"Speaking of orders. Guess who won that bet, Roy." said Johnny.

"What bet?"

"The one we kicked around getting to that 911 call this morning..."
Gage said pointedly.

"Oh..." Roy ejected, remembering. "Who won?"

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"I did. The DOG made the call out to 911.. There's no question about it."

"How do you know that?" Cap asked, frowning. "Is a dog even smart
enough to know how?"

Bark!  protested Boot.

The gang ignored him, rivetted by Johnny's news.

"The guy was on the bed six feet away from his motorized wheelchair."
Johnny told them. "And it had manipulator arms on it."

The others blinked in total incomprehension.

Johnny sighed at their obtuseness. "It was parked on the opposite side
of the bed next to the window... Tell me how a crippled man in a fire
could make an emergency call about it,  then be so worried about
parking his wheels neatly out of the way long enough to collapse
onto the bed afterwards.."

Roy set down his glass of milk. "You're right. That doesn't make sense."

Chet leaned forward on the cushions, scrubbing Boot's ears affectionately.
"You mean to tell me that service dog knows how to dial 9-1-1?"

"Why not? A child can do it.." grinned Gage. "Why can't a dog? Especially
one who's smart enough to answer doors and open refrigerators after
beer cans on command.."

Kelly blew a raspberry at him. Then he murmured into Boot's ear.
"Say, boy. Go dial us all up a pizza. Heavy on the sausage..."

Boot barked and jumped off the couch immediately.

Gage grinned and gestured at the departing tail of their
station's mascot. "No sooner said, than done.."

The rest of the gang giggled warmly at his joke.


Episode Thirty Four, No Sooner Said..
Emergency Theater Live

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No Sooner Said...
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