The men of 51s A-Shift were lined up in the bare vehicle bay waiting for Captain Stanley to come out of his office. The engine and squad were gone, so the men figured C-Shift had a late run.
“Okay, men,” Cap said as he walked out of the office. “As you can see, C-Shift is out on a call so as soon as roll call is over, you can get to your chores.” Cap glanced down at the scrap of paper in his hands and gave his men updates from Headquarters.
“Chores. First of all, as soon as the engine is back, Stoker, Lopez and Kelly, I want you to clean it up and you’ll probably have to hang hose, so get to it ASAP. DeSoto, Gage, check the squad for any supplies you may need and you’ll be assigned the dorm and latrine. Stoker, you’re the chef.”
“Yes, Cap,” the engineer replied.
“Okay, men. Let’s get this day started.”
Since Stoker was cooking for the day, he headed to the kitchen to make a pot of coffee and see what was available for a quick breakfast, figuring C-Shift would be hungry and tired when they returned.
Johnny and Roy headed for the dorm. “Latrines,” Johnny grumbled. “I haven’t even been late once this month.”
“Johnny, it’s only the eighth of the month.”
“Well, still…it’s been over a week.” Johnny headed to the hated latrine and missed Roy’s snicker and shake of his head.
C-Shift returned and the engine and squad were whipped into shape, hose was hung and the chores were done before they had a call.
Then the klaxon sounded. It was a call for an injured child. Johnny and Roy hopped into the squad and headed out. There was no further information on the injury, so they had no idea what they were going to find. They hated not knowing, especially when it was a child.
They came to a stop at the address given, but they wouldn’t have had trouble finding it as there was a cluster of kids and adults standing around. They grabbed their equipment and pushed their way into the crowd.
A young woman was talking softly to a little boy. She had tears running down her cheeks. “Please help him,” she kept repeating.
Roy and Johnny knelt on the sidewalk. “Well, hello there, young man. My name’s Johnny, what’s yours?”
“Charlie. My leg hurts.”
“Can you tell us what happened?” While they were talking to Charlie, they had been assessing him.
“I fell off my bike. I was going really, really fast and I hit a bump. Is my bike okay? I just got it for my birthday. I’m six now.”
“Really, really fast, huh? Maybe you better slow down until you’re at least seven. Now, do you hurt anywhere else besides your leg? How ‘bout your head or arms?”
“Just my leg and maybe my elbow. It burns. My head’s okay. It landed on the grass.”
Johnny laughed as he examined the elbow and saw only road rash. He cleaned it and put a bandage on it.
Roy splinted the leg and was on the bio-phone with Rampart.
“Will I have to go to the hospital?”
“’Fraid so, Charlie. Doc wants to take a picture of your leg and maybe you’ll get a cast. How ‘bout that?”
The ambulance came and Charlie and his mom were whisked off to Rampart with Johnny in attendance. Roy packed up their equipment and headed for the hospital in the squad.
On their way back to the station they were beeped out to another call. Another trip to Rampart took up a good hour.
“I hope we don’t get called out again too soon. I’m starving.”
“You’re always starving, Junior. But, come to think of it, I’m a little hungry myself. I wonder what Stoker’s fixin’ for supper.”
“I hope it’s his world famous spaghetti. Man, I could go for some of that right now.”
“Yeah, me too. Or maybe he’ll fix his fried chicken. He hasn’t fixed that in a while.”
“With mashed potatoes, the ones he makes with the half and half and lots of butter.” Johnny had a dreamy look in his eyes at the thought of Stoker’s excellent cooking.
Once the squad was parked in its usual spot, Johnny and Roy got out, each one sniffing the delicious smells coming from the kitchen.
“Spaghetti,” they both said at the same time. Matching smiles broke out on their faces.
“And garlic bread,” Johnny added. “Let’s eat!”
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