He sat just down the road from Station
51 plotting his revenge. The A-shift paramedics had not only ruined
but cost him the most precious thing in his life. Now, he would
make both of them pay. He would destroy their friendship and
take something precious from them. After several weeks of watching
and waiting, now was the time to make his move. With a smile
on his face he drove away to prepare for phase one of his plan—a
stab in the heart—for both men.
Johnny had agreed to work an extra shift to
fill in for Jed Carson. Jed had a family emergency and had to
go out of town. So as the rest of A-shift was getting ready to
leave, Johnny reminded each of them of the dinner at his ranch
the next evening and wished each of them a good few days off.
As they walked out of the door, Johnny joined the
rest of B-shift for roll call. He hoped it would be a quiet day.
They had had
a quiet night, so he wasn’t tired. He just wanted
a quiet shift. As the day went on it looked like he was
going to get
his wish. They had only had two minor calls and they
had been able to eat lunch.
When the tones sounded at 2:00 sending the squad
on a “woman
down” call, none of the firefighters knew the chain of
events that had just been started in motion that would cause
a lot of people, a lot of pain.
The man in the car watching as the squad pulled
out just laughed. “This
is just the beginning, Johnny, boy—just the beginning.
And when I’m through, you’ll know what pain really
is.” He drove off ready to implement the next part of
Johnny knew the address they were being sent to.
The knot in his stomach getting growing the closer they got to the
residence. He knew it had to be her. What had happened? Jason Andrews
was filling in for the other paramedic on B-shift and did not see
the look of pain that briefly crossed Johnny’s face. He didn’t
pick up on the slight tension in Johnny’s demeanor during the
call either. Johnny knew if he had been working with Roy that he
would have been questioned about what was going on. Since he wasn’t
ready to talk about it yet, he was grateful that Bob was his current
Johnny’s heart broke as he saw the condition they found her
in. She had been severely beaten and savagely raped. His biggest
concern was the large knot they found on her forehead just between
her eyes. He knew she had hit her head on something and hit it very
hard. She was unconscious and he didn’t like her responses—they
were too slow. Knowing she needed him right now, he kept his professionalism
at the forefront. Bob didn’t argue when Johnny said he would
ride in with the patient.
Upon reaching Rampart, Johnny was surprised to find that Dixie,
Dr. Brackett, Dr. Early and Dr. Morton were all off. It was the first
time he had been on duty and not had at least one of them working.
However, when Dr. Stevens walked in, he relaxed. Dr. Stevens had
taken care of him a couple of times when the other doctors had gotten
busy and he liked the man very much. He knew she would be well taken
care of. Giving the doctor the information he would need to treat
her, Johnny stayed in the room to help out where he was needed. When
she was taken up to surgery to relieve the building pressure from
a fractured skull, he made few phone calls and got Craig Brice to
finish out his shift.
As he waited for word on her condition, victims of a large MVA started
pouring in and he jumped in to help out where he was needed. He was
grateful for the diversion as it kept his thoughts off of her. By
the time the ER had settled down once again, it was 7:00 and she
had been settled into a room. Johnny planted himself next to her
side and didn’t leave until the nurses had to kick him out
when visiting hours were over with the promise they would call if
there was any change. She had still not regained consciousness and
Johnny was worried.
Roy sighed. Jo had asked him to go to the store
and pick up some supplies for her to bake cookies for Jenny’s
class party and Chris’s scout troop. As she gave him a kiss
on the cheek, she suggested he take Chris with him so that they could
spend a little time together. Roy brightened at that thought. Chris
was growing up and it wouldn’t be long before it wouldn’t
be cool for him to be spending time with his Dad. So with Chris tagging
along Roy headed out looking at the list Jo had given him. Neither
Chris nor Roy saw the car sitting just down the block from their
home. If they had, Chris would have realized it was the same car
that had been sitting there when he arrived home from dinner at his
friend’s house and would have asked his dad about it.
He waited for ten minutes after Roy’s car had pulled out of
the driveway. It was getting late and he wanted to get this over
with long before Roy returned home. Making sure no one else saw him,
he quickly made his way down the block and through the side gate
at the DeSoto home. He wasn’t sure how he would get in the
house, but he didn’t want to do it from the front in case someone
came by. Luck was with him as he found the sliding door unlock. The
grin on his face spread as he surprised Joanne who had just been
coming to lock it.
Knowing Joanne couldn’t see it, his grin grew bigger as things
kept going his way. “Don’t scream or I’ll kill
you now.” He loved the look of terror in her eyes as they focused
on the knife he held to her throat as he grabbed her. “I’m
just going to have a little fun paying your husband back.” Leading
Joanne into the living room, he put the next phase of his plan into
Johnny drove out of Rampart’s parking lot
with a heavy heart. How could this have happened? He didn’t
want to go home to an empty apartment. There was only one place he
could think of that would give him some peace. He really needed to
talk to Roy. As he turned towards Roy’s house, his heart got
a little lighter.
Pulling up in front of the DeSoto home, Johnny noticed that Roy’s
car wasn’t in the driveway, but Joanne’s station wagon
was. He thought briefly of not staying, but something drew him out
of his car and towards the front door. It was then that he noticed
the front door was wide open and there were loud noises coming from
the living room. With a determination, Johnny quickened his steps
and was running by the time he reached the front door.
What greeted him made his heart leap into his throat. The living
room revealed the signs of a struggle and Johnny saw Jenny lying
in a heap in one corner while a masked man stood over Joanne with
a knife as she lay on the floor. Her attacker had not heard Johnny
come in. If he had, what happened next would have had a very different
Without really thinking about it, Johnny threw himself at the man
and tackled him. They fought over the knife the man was still in
his hand. The attacker was trying to use the knife on Johnny. With
an inner push, Johnny wrestled the knife away getting his arm slashed
in the process. But he pushed himself off the attacker pulling on
the man’s mask at the same time. As they both stood, the mask
came off and Johnny couldn’t believe his eyes. The attacker
didn’t waste any time as he heard the sound of sirens in the
background. Both men realized that someone must have heard the commotion
and called the police. Johnny had turned to look at Joanne when she
had moaned. When he turned back the man had run out the back door.
What happened next would be engraved in Johnny’s memory for
a long time.
Johnny kneeled down next to Joanne to see how badly she was hurt.
She smiled at him just before losing consciousness. Johnny heard
Jenny’s soft “Uncle Johnny” just before she, too,
Johnny looked up at the sound of police announcing themselves and
Roy and Chris coming in. Roy asked what happened. Johnny never got
a chance to respond—he was roughly pulled to his feet, handcuffed,
read his rights and led out of the room. Looking to Roy for help,
all Johnny saw was the look of anger on Roy’s face and the
look of disbelief on Chris’s face as he was led out of the
house. Johnny had been arrested for the attacks.
Roy was still standing in the middle of the room in shock when Charlie
Dwyer and Bob Bellingham who was pulling overtime arrived on the
scene. Charlie grabbed Roy’s elbow and led him over to kneel
beside his wife. Charlie knew he needed be there to help.
“Roy, can you get this oxygen on her?” Charlie wasn’t
sure he was going to get a response.
“Um, yeah.” Roy’s training kicked in and he did
as Charlie asked. He would sort out everything later.
“What happened here?” Charlie knew if he got Roy talking
that Roy would be able to pull himself together.
“I’m not really sure. I had gone to the store for Jo
and when I came home, I walked in to see this mess, Jo and Jenny
on the floor and the police arresting Johnny. He had a mask and knife
in his hand.” Roy started to get angry that someone had hurt
his family and even angrier that it was his partner who seemed to
have been caught in the act. Guilt at not being home to protect them
also started settling in. “Where’s Chris?” He remembered
his son had been with him.
“Johnny wouldn’t hurt your family, Roy. He loves them
like his own. Chris is with Captain Doolen. What did Jonny say when
the police talked to him?” Charlie knew that John Gage would
give his own life before he would hurt anyone let alone Roy’s
“I don’t think they gave him a chance to say anything.
I’m going to check with the police while you work on Jo and
Bob works on Jenny. I need to find out what happened here.” Roy’s
feelings were warring with each other. He didn’t believe that
his partner—his best friend—would hurt his family. But
the police had arrested him for these attacks. What did they know?
No matter who committed this crime, Roy was angry enough to kill
Looking around at the police that were looking through the mess,
Roy saw Vince Howard and walked over to get some answers. “Vince,
do you know what happened and why Johnny was arrested?”
“Well, the neighbors heard what sounded like a fight. From
the looks of this room, I’d say they heard Joanne and Jenny
struggling with their attacker. They called the police. When the
police arrived one of your neighbors said she had seen Johnny arrive
just before all the commotion started. She said she saw him pull
on a ski mask before entering the house carrying a knife. Then when
the police entered the house, Johnny was kneeling between Joanne
and Jenny with a knife in one hand and a mask in the other. So they
arrested him.” Vince was having a very difficult time believing
what the other police officer had said, but there seemed to be a
witness. He didn’t know the name of the witness, but if he
had and he had told Roy who it was, there would have been a whole
different view of her eye-witness testimony. He also couldn’t
believe that the officer had just hauled Johnny away without talking
to him or letting anyone else talk to him. Vince was going to have
a talk with Officer Ron Belk as soon as he could and the sooner the
Roy was about to ask who the police officer was so he could find
out which neighbor had seen Johnny when Charlie told him they were
ready to transport Joanne and Jenny to Rampart. His attention turned
to his family. Later Roy would regret not following through on finding
out just who the person was that lied about the events when Johnny
arrived at his house.
And Vince would regret that he did not take the time to find Officer
Ron Belk and talk to him that night or sometime during the next two
weeks. If he had a lot of the events that occurred over the next
two weeks could have been avoided. As it was, every time Vince or
Ron Crockett called to ask what has happening in the case, they had
to leave messages. Their calls were never returned. Both men would
later be angry at themselves for not following through with those
He sat in his car just down the block. With all the commotion and
the fact that the police found Johnny in the house, no one noticed
him. The smile on his face grew as he saw Johnny hauled off in the
police car. He quickly turned his car around and headed back to his
apartment. He needed to wait to find out if Johnny would turn him
in, but he had plans to finish and arrangements to make so he could
Johnny lay on his back on the cot in his cell. He
thought back over the last couple of days and wondered one thing.
From everything he had ever heard or seen, when someone was arrested,
they were questioned about the crime they supposedly committed. Then
why hadn’t he seen any police except the ones that had booked
him, brought him his food, transferred him upstate, gave him his
prison garb and “guarded him”? Not one person had come
to see him. Not one police officer had asked him even one question.
Not one word had been said about why he was arrested. He found out
by hearing the news on the radio the prisoner in the next cell had
played all day. And his thoughts went out to her. Was she conscious?
If so, what was she thinking right now? Had she heard the news? How
was she? When he had asked if he could find out how she was doing,
he had been told that he would have to wait. It never even occurred
to him to ask for his one phone call.
Roy was sitting beside Jo’s bed like he had
been for the last week and a half. Neither she nor Jenny had regained
consciousness yet. Roy had asked Vince to keep him informed of what
was happening in the case, but until one or both of his loved ones
woke up, no one was sure what had really happened that day. Vince
kept telling Roy that the officer that had arrested Johnny had yet
to return their calls. In different circumstances, Roy would have
pushed for more answers and for Crockett or Howard to find out what
was going on. But right now all he could think about was his wife
and daughter. Chris was having a hard time with what he had seen
that night and Roy didn’t know what to tell him. His denial
that Johnny had anything to do with the injuries his wife and daughter
had sustained—which turned out to include a terrible beating
and savage rape on both of them—had turned into anger when
the only one of his neighbors who had seen or heard anything other
than the sounds of the attack coming from their home had said it
was Johnny. All of his neighbors knew Johnny, so Roy didn’t
really question the report. He didn’t ask which neighbor it
might be. If he had, he would have found out that the “eye
witness” was really the single lady that lived across the street.
Then he would not have believed a word she had said.
This neighbor had been what really could have been called stalking
Johnny after he turned down her advances a few times. He had been
kind about it. But when she didn’t take the hint, he had come
right out and told her she was a nice lady but he was not now nor
would he ever be interested in her. Roy had heard her mumble under
her breath that she would get even with Johnny if it was the last
thing she did. No one said no to her. After that she would periodically
leave notes on Johnny’s car—at the station, at his apartment,
at the grocery store. He didn’t know when or where she would
leave them. Then she would call him at the station or at home at
all hours of the night. The things she said fluctuated between terms
of endearment and threats on his life.
If Roy had known it was this neighbor that gave the police the positive
ID, he would have had them investigate her. But as it was, all he
knew was that someone had seen his partner put on a mask and enter
his home with a knife. And then his wife and daughter were attacked.
If Roy could get his hands on Johnny, he would kill him. He thought
he had known Johnny. But what did he really know about Johnny’s
life before he met him—Johnny never said anything about his
past. Maybe Johnny had done something like this in the past and just
didn’t want anyone to find out. Maybe he wasn’t what
he appeared to be at all. Roy’s anger warred with his guilt
as a little voice told him that he hadn’t asked Johnny about
his past either. Johnny may rant and rave about some things, but
the important things were private. Roy knew that if he had asked,
Johnny would probably have shared his past with him. The guilt, however,
was pushed back by his anger at the attacks on his wife and daughter
and the thought that Johnny had been arrested for them.
Roy’s thoughts were interrupted when he heard moans coming
from his wife. She was starting to wake up. Roy determined to put
Johnny out of his mind as long as he could because Johnny was right
where he belonged—in jail. He took his wife’s hand in
his and pushed all thoughts of John Gage out of his mind.
It had been two weeks and still no one, not even
a police officer, had come to talk to Johnny. No one had asked him
any questions. If they had, he would have been able to tell them
where he was and that there were several people who had seen him
at the time these attacks were taking place. He also could have told
them that there was another victim—someone very special to
him. But no one asked him his side of the story. He had called Barney
Olsen and asked him to be his lawyer, but had yet to meet with him.
He didn’t know what evidence they had against him—all
he knew was that the news broadcasts said the DA had enough evidence
to put him away for life and no other suspects were being looked
Then he thought about the person who had stood in front of him when
he had removed the mask. He never thought that person would have
done something like that. Sure, this guy had been angry with both
Johnny and Roy. It was then that he remembered the words this guy
had said as they were fighting. ~What’s the matter, Johnny?
You and Roy are getting what you deserve. Too bad your loved ones
have to be the ones that suffer for it.~
And then when they had arrested him, the look of anger in Roy’s
eyes and the disbelief on Chris’s face. He knew that Roy believed
he was guilty when he did not visit or call—not even once—to
ask Johnny if it was true. With a pain in his heart for her, Johnny
resigned himself to spending the rest of his life in prison with
all his friends and family hating him. He didn’t think she
would, but he wasn’t sure she was even still alive or if she
had regained consciousness. She had been in very critical condition
the last time he had seen her. Barney said he would try to see if
he could get any information on her, but he hadn’t heard back
from Barney yet. And she would not fight unless he was there encouraging
her to do so. But he wasn’t and hadn’t been for the last
two weeks. Was she even alive?
His arm was hurting, too. The night he was arrested they gave him
some gauge and tape to treat himself but never had any medical personnel
even look at it. Being careful to keep it clean and dry, it had started
to heal. There would always be a scar because he didn’t receive
the stitches he needed, but at least it was healing. Then there was
the fight in the cafeteria. Johnny was not involved, but he had been
shoved against the corner of the metal serving counter. There was
a small piece of metal sticking out and it had caught his arm just
right reopening the wound. He had asked to see the prison doctor
when it had become infected, but his requests had been ignored. He
was beginning to hope that maybe the infection would get so bad he
would die from it. Then he wouldn’t have to face life in prison
for something he didn’t do—something that he could never
Two weeks—that was how long it had been and
the news kept reporting that John Gage had attacked his partner’s
wife and daughter, beating and raping them. His plan was going better
than he had hoped for. Evidently if Johnny had told the police it
was him, they didn’t believe him. Then of course, his friend
had made sure that any evidence that might lead to him had been “misplaced”.
He knew that even if Johnny was cleared of the crime, his friendship
with Roy had been destroyed. Rumors through the department had proven
that. And most of the “brotherhood” was on Roy’s
side and believed that Johnny might have done something like that.
Revenge was sweet. But now it was time to tie up loose ends and leave
Joanne had improved rapidly every day after she
woke up. Today was exactly two weeks after the attack and she had
asked to have Jenny brought to her room. Jenny, like Joanne, had
sustained a severe head injury and had woken up two days earlier.
Both of them had suffered rib fractures, broken legs and cuts and
bruises besides the head injuries. Joanne had to have her lung repaired
where a rib had punctured it and Jenny had to have some internal
Jenny lay in her mother’s arms when Roy entered the room followed
by Chet, Hank, Mike and Marco. “Hi, honey. The guys wanted
to see for themselves how you are doing. I’m glad Jenny is
here, too.” Roy went over and gave the two women in his life
“Where’s Uncle Johnny, Daddy? Why didn’t he come,
too?” Jenny wanted to thank her Uncle Johnny. She may be only
eight, but she knew that if he hadn’t shown up when he did,
she and her mother would be dead.
“Yeah, we really want to talk to him.” Joanne, too,
wanted to thank Johnny for what he had done.
Roy exchanged worried and confused looks with Hank. They had purposefully
made sure that Joanne had not heard the news until she was stronger.
Before anyone could answer the door opened admitting Vince Howard
and Ron Crockett.
“Hello, Roy, guys. How are you?” Vince had waited until
Dr. Brackett had said that Joanne was strong enough to answer his
“Hi Vince,” Roy had known that Vince and Ron were coming
and had wanted to be there when he questioned Joanne and Jenny.
“Joanne, I have a few questions I would like to ask you and
Jenny about the attack if you feel up to answering them.” Vince
hated doing this and felt it was better to get it over with as soon
“Sure, we’ll answer your questions.” Joanne raised
the head of her bed so she and Jenny were in a seated position.
“Well, I guess that’s our cue to leave.” Hank
started corralling his crew towards the door.
“No, that’s ok. If you stay, it will save us from having
to go through it again.” Joanne saw the looks of defeat on
the crew from station 51—including her husband—but didn’t
understand why. There was more going on than just her attack.
Before Vince could ask the first question, the door to the room
opened again. All eyes turned to see a doctor starting to enter the
room. Before he got all the way through the door, a nurse’s
voice was heard.
“Dr. Stevens. I need to talk to you a minute.” The doctor
stopped not closing the door.
“What is it Anne?” The doctor waited in the open doorway.
“I just came from Katie Selfridge’s room. She is very
upset. She won’t rest until she can talk to you and me. The
nurses had a terrible time getting her to settle down and have had
to sedate her. She just regained consciousness this morning and was
informed that John Gage was arrested the night she came in.”
“What does she want to talk to us about?” Dr. Stevens
forgot that he had the door opened and that this conversation was
being heard by the occupants of the room. It was a good thing for
them that he did not close the door.
“Well, you remember she came in the night before we both started
our vacations. It seems John Gage was arrested that night for something
that happened between 7:00 and 8:00 that evening. She wants us to
go to the police and tell them the truth—that Johnny was here
between 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. that day. It seems that none of the
other nurses that she talked to knew anything about it.”
“That’s right. He had been working overtime when they
were called out on a run that involved her. They arrived here at
3:00. I remember because I had just looked at the clock to see when
I could take a quick coffee break. When we took her to surgery, Johnny
stayed in the Emergency department and helped out because we were
short-handed. He had gotten another paramedic to work his overtime
shift so he could stay with her. Then when she was moved to her room
at 7:00 the nurses kept falling all over him until we had to kick
him out at 8:00. There is no way he could have done anything between
7:00 and 8:00 that night.” Dr. Stevens couldn’t believe
that anyone would even consider John Gage capable of doing anything
“That’s right. We were all here.” There was the
sound of another nurse’s voice in the hallway.
“I remember that night. There was no way we could have made
it through the shift without his help that night. I just got back
from being away for two weeks for my father’s funeral and just
heard the news. Johnny could never have done what they said he did.” Carol’s
voice was the one Roy recognized.
“Well, Katie has developed a severe infection and being this
upset and irritated is doing more harm than good. Remember, we were
surprised when she lived through our shift. But she is in critical
condition. The antibiotics we have been using don’t seem to
be touching it.” Roy heard the voice that he knew belonged
“Anne, you and Carol go talk to her and let her know I will
be right up as soon as I take care of examining this patient for
Dr. Brackett. He had to take someone into emergency surgery.” Dr.
Stevens entered the room in a hurry. As the doctor completed his
exam, Hank, Roy, Chet, Mike, Marco, Vince and Ron Crockett all exchanged
looks of dread. What had they done?
After the doctor left, Joanne turned to Roy. “Do
you have any idea why Johnny was arrested? He must have left here
and came straight to our house. If he hadn’t shown up when
he did, that man would have killed both Jenny and me. He saved our
lives. I couldn’t believe it when I saw Johnny tackle him and
start fighting with him. I know he got a good look at the guy, though
because he was able to get the knife out of his hand and pull off
his mask. I think that he was cut when he got the knife away from
him. That was right before I passed out. What happened after that?
Why was Johnny arrested?” Joanne wanted to know what Johnny
had done. She started to get a sinking feeling of dread.
“Yeah, that man was ready to kill Mommy and Uncle Johnny wouldn’t
let him. I want to see Uncle Johnny.” Jenny wondered why her
favorite Uncle wasn’t there.
“Vince, I think you and I had better get busy taking care
of a HUGE problem.” Ron Crockett was kicking himself. He had
checked that morning and discovered that Johnny hadn’t even
been questioned yet. They needed to find Officer Ron Belk and find
out what had happened the last two weeks and why Johnny had not been
questioned. Now he realized that Johnny had spent two weeks in jail
that he shouldn’t have. He had been unaware of Johnny’s
injury and something told him that it had not been taken care of
at the prison. He left the room followed quickly by Vince Howard.
Roy followed them out in the hall. “Hey, Vince, wait a minute.” He
waited until both police officers had turned around to face him. “Why
didn’t the police discover that Johnny has such a solid alibi
when they questioned him at his arrest? Didn’t they check out
his story? And which of my neighbors said they saw Johnny entering
my house? Whoever it was had to have been lying.” Roy was feeling
guilty that he hadn’t even tried to talk to Johnny to get his
side of what happened. He was getting a knot in the pit of his stomach
when he realized that he should have found out who the neighbor was
earlier. The suspicion that it was the lady across the street grew
with each passing moment. Why didn’t he ask that night like
he intended to in the first place?
“Roy, I don’t remember her name, but it was the lady
that lives across the street from you that said she recognized Johnny.
And he wasn’t questioned at his arrest. As a matter of fact,
he hasn’t been questioned at all yet.” Crockett wasn’t
very happy with the news he had to deliver.
“What?!! You mean that he has been sitting in jail and no
one even bothered to find out what he had to say about the situation?
Why not? Why didn’t the police do their jobs? And the lady
across the street—she has been out to hurt Johnny since he
turned down her advances. I wish I had known it was her in the first
place. She is lying and you need to prove it. And Jo said that Johnny
got a good look at the guy’s face. Since they haven’t
questioned Johnny, the police haven’t even been looking for
anyone else have they? What about Johnny’s injury? Is he alright?
I think you had better get some answers fast.” Roy’s
guilt only deepened at that news and he started getting angry that
the police hadn’t been doing their jobs.
“That is what I intend to do. And as for no one questioning
Johnny—I am going to try to find out why and some heads are
going to roll. I’ll make sure he is ok, Roy.” Crockett
turned with more determination than Roy had ever seen. Vince was
just as determined as he entered the elevator after Crockett.
Roy took a deep breath before returning to his wife’s hospital
room. He knew he was going to have to answer some hard questions
with answers that no one—including himself—was going
to like. The knot in his stomach was the size of a basketball and
growing every second.
Johnny looked up as Vince Howard and Ron Crockett came to a stop
just outside his cell. Well, this was finally it. They would question
him and then he would face a trial. He wasn’t sure he cared
anymore. If it had taken them this long to talk to him he knew they
wouldn’t believe anything he had to say anyway. Plus his arm
was hurting and he was beginning to run a temperature from the infection.
“Johnny, we have come to apologize.” Lt. Crockett was
the first one to find his voice. They had talked with Ms. Selfridge,
Dr. Stevens, Anne, Carol, several orderlies, a couple of interns
and a couple other nurses who had verified that Johnny was at Rampart
between 3:00 and 8:00 p.m. the day of the attacks. They also had
patient records with his handwriting date and time stamped that day.
If only they had checked on that the day Johnny was arrested—but
they hadn’t and he had spent two weeks behind bars. He should
never have been arrested in the first place. No one checked anything
out before he had just been hauled away to jail and left to sit in
This was not what Johnny expected to hear. His surprise deepened
as the key was turned in the lock opening his cell and Vince spoke
“Johnny, you are free to go. We should have talked to you
two weeks ago and you wouldn’t have been sitting here all this
time. We’re going to be taking you to Rampart to get your arm
looked at.” Vince couldn’t believe that no one had questioned
Johnny got up off the cot he was sitting on, looked both men in
the eye. “Yes, you should have talked to me two weeks ago but
you didn’t. And now you are taking me to Rampart to treat my
arm. I have been asking to see a doctor for three days. I don’t
know what makes now any different than two weeks ago. I guess no
one talked to me or bothered to check my arm because I’m not
worth the time or trouble.” The pain and bitterness was evident
in Johnny’s voice as he walked out of the cell and down the
hallway without looking back.
“I believe we deserve that.” Vince watched someone he
had considered a friend turn his back on him. He was sure that he
would never be able to call Johnny a friend again. He slowly followed
him as they were going to give Johnny a ride back to L.A. He knew
it was going to be a very LONG ride.
“Yeah, but it still hurts. And if it hurts us this much, how
much does he hurt right now? He didn’t deserve any of this.” Ron
Crockett wasn’t sure they hadn’t destroyed one of the
most compassionate, loyal men he knew.
“Yeah.” Vince sighed as he entered the squad room to
see Johnny staring out the window waiting for his ride.
“Daddy, you didn’t answer Mommy’s question. Why
was Uncle Johnny arrested?” Jenny wanted her favorite Uncle. “Where
is he? Is he alright?”
Roy tried to swallow past the lump in his throat and took a deep
breath. Before he could answer, the door opened admitting Dixie and
Chris. Roy knew that Chris needed to hear what had happened and had
asked the nurse to call down and have Dixie bring him up from the
doctor’s lounge where he had been waiting. Roy really didn’t
want to get into this in front of Jenny and Chris, but they deserved
to hear the truth. “Johnny was arrested for attacking you.” He
looked at Joanne’s face and saw that she couldn’t believe
what she was hearing.
“WHAT?! Johnny would never attack us. How could anyone even
think such a thing?” Joanne was in shock that anyone could
believe Johnny could ever hurt anyone let alone Jenny and herself.
“Well, that night the police said they had an eye witness
that said they saw Johnny putting on a mask and pulling out a knife
just before he entered the house. They said they saw him entering
about two minutes before the sounds of your struggle with your attacker
started. Then when the police arrived at the scene the only other
person in the room besides you and Jenny was Johnny. He was covered
in your blood, kneeling between you and had a knife and mask in his
hands. They immediately arrested him and took him away.” Roy
stopped to think about that day. He remembered Johnny had stayed
to work an extra shift that day for Jed Carson. Why hadn’t
he remembered before? The police had taken him away before anyone
could talk to him. Maybe if he had, Roy would have been able to prevent
“When did you get there?” Joanne wasn’t real happy
with her husband at the moment.
“When the police broke in and just as they were arresting
Johnny.” Roy couldn’t look either Joanne or Jenny in
Chris was uncomfortable too. He had been having warring feelings.
He had seen his mother and sister hurt very badly and his Uncle Johnny
being arrested for it. But he knew that his Uncle couldn’t
and wouldn’t hurt any of them. He would have put his own life
on the line before hurting them. Chris knew there was more to what
had happened that night than what they had seen. He remembered how
his father and mother had always told him not to judge by appearances,
yet that is exactly what his dad had done. He had wanted to talk
to his dad about it, but knew he couldn’t because his dad blamed
Uncle Johnny. Now maybe they would get the rest of the answers they
“Why didn’t you stop them? Didn’t you ask him
what had happened? Did any one look at the cut on his arm?” Joanne
thought Roy would have helped his friend. “Didn’t you
tell them that Johnny could never hurt either one of us?”
“I just saw the two of you unconscious on the floor. Johnny
was covered in blood and the police had taken the knife and mask
out of his hands. Then the police said that they had an eye witness
and all I could feel was anger. I didn’t notice the cut on
his arm and I don’t think the paramedics did either. I was
in a state of shock and couldn’t think straight. All I could
think about was that I was going to lose both of you.” Roy
wondered how he could have ever believed Johnny would have been responsible
“Uncle Johnny could have never hurt us, Daddy. You know that.
When he was fighting with that bad man I was afraid he was going
to stab Uncle Johnny. The man kept swinging at him with the knife.
And then when he cut Uncle Johnny’s arm, I thought he was going
to kill him.” Jenny’s tears ran freely down her cheeks.
She couldn’t believe anyone would think her Uncle Johnny could
ever hurt her.
“I know honey. I just wasn’t thinking straight. All
I saw was you and Mommy lying on the floor hurt.” Roy realized
that Johnny could have been killed trying to save his wife and daughter
and yet had been charged with their attack. How could things have
gotten so misconstrued? How serious was his injury and had it been
properly taken care of. Surely the prison doctor would have looked
at it by now.
“What did he say when you talked to him later?” Joanne
was sure that Roy would have at least confronted Johnny to find out
what he had to say.
“I never talked to him.” Roy couldn’t keep the
tears from streaming down his face. “None of us went to talk
to him.” Roy knew the others were feeling just as guilty as
The room was totally silent. You could have heard a pin drop. Hank,
Mike, Marco and Chet had remained, had heard the exchange and wondered
how they could have ever believed that Johnny could have done this.
Thinking about the evidence, they all realized that it was all circumstantial
and no one had investigated beyond what was in front of them the
night of the attack. They all also realized there was no way Johnny
could ever have done anything like this. What had they done?
“Who’s Katie Selfridge?” Chet asked the question
so softly the others just barely heard him. But none of them tried
to answer his question because none of them had an answer to his
Roy walked over to his wife to try to find comfort. But what he
received was a cold shoulder from his wife and his daughter’s
back. He knew he deserved both. He sat in the chair next to Joanne’s
bed as a uniformed police officer entered and questioned both Joanne
and Jenny about the attack.
Johnny didn’t say a word to either Vince or Crockett all the
way back to L.A. He totally ignored any attempt they made to apologize.
As they turned into Rampart’s emergency entrance, he finally
asked why they were releasing him now. Startled that Johnny had actually
said something, Vince quickly replied that the doctor and some of
the other staff of the hospital had provided him with an alibi. To
Lt. Crockett’s “because we know you have a solid alibi” Johnny
replied “I could have told you that two weeks ago if any one
had bothered to ask me. And I also could have told you who really
did it.” He left the two officers in their car as he climbed
out of the back seat and was inside the hospital before they had
a chance to get out and ask him about that night. Johnny just hoped
that no one he knew was on duty in the ER.
Johnny’s wish was granted. The on-duty personnel included
a new intern and one of the nurses who had been able to help establish
his whereabouts the night of the attacks. As they led him into a
treatment room, he was able to thank the nurse and relax. He had
been a little hesitant to face anyone else.
Johnny felt like he had the weight of the world on his shoulders.
He wanted to know if she was still alive and how she was doing. But
he was afraid to ask the question. What if she hadn’t made
it? Did he really want to know?
After the doctor had finished cleaning the infection out of the
wound, the nurse carefully bandaged it. The doctor gave Johnny some
antibiotics and mild pain pills and told him to keep it clean and
dry. Then the nurse told him she was awake and asked if he wanted
to see her. With a feeling of gratitude, he nodded yes and followed
her to the elevator where the nurse led him to her room. Thoughts
of his childhood and memories he had thought long ago buried were
at the surface as he rode the elevator to the ICU floor. Memories
of the two scenes he had witnessed that day, flooded his mind, too.
He was brought back to the present when the elevator dinged and the
Johnny was relieved to see the nurses who had been among those who
had provided his alibi the only ones on the floor. They were all
happy to see him and told them how happy they were he was out. He
had thanked each one for their help and found her room. It was with
trepidation that he pushed her door opened.
Roy walked down the hall absent mindedly sipping the coffee he had
just gotten in the cafeteria. Jenny had refused to even talk to him
ever since she had learned that Johnny had been blamed for the attack
on her and her mother and he hadn’t done anything about it.
But he couldn’t blame her. And Joanne had been cool towards
him. He couldn’t blame her, either. How could he ever make
it up to Johnny? Would he ever get the chance? Trying to put himself
in Johnny’s place, there was no way he could think of that
would ever make it up to Johnny.
Chris had even been a little standoffish with him. As they talked
about the scene they had both walked in on, Chris reminded his father
of the admonition he always gave Chris about not judging a situation
by appearances. Roy could only hang his head in guilt. Even if Johnny
had committed the attacks, Roy should have at least found out why
he would have done something like that. But he knew, as he had all
along, that Johnny could never do anything like that. Roy had always
told Johnny that he considered him a brother. But brothers believe
in each other and give each other the benefit of the doubt. Roy had
done neither and had not even talked to Johnny since that night.
Johnny sat by her bed as she slept. She had been so excited to see
him and had fallen into a restful, healing sleep without sedation.
Johnny was worried when he found out she had a serious infection
and was still in critical condition. But in the two hours he had
been there, her temperature had started to drop. He prayed she would
come out of this ok. Chet and the others would say she “wasn’t
his type” but as he really thought about it, he had been trying
to date girls who really weren’t his type. As he had gotten
to know her he realized she was the type he was really looking for.
As his thoughts wandered back to the day he had met her, he was
startled by the sound of the door opening. He smiled as Anne entered
the room. Anne motioned for him to follow her out and with a quick
peck on her cheek, he left her sleeping.
“Johnny, Jenny really would like to see you and I think you
need to talk to her.” Anne had been in Jenny’s room when
Roy had visited. She knew that Roy was feeling bad about the fact
that he had believed Johnny was guilty and Jenny’s silent treatment
hurt him that much more.
“What do you mean, Anne?” Johnny had no desire to run
into Roy in Jenny’s room.
“She won’t even look at Roy when he comes to see how
she is. She knows that he didn’t say or do anything to help
you the last two weeks and she is giving him the silent treatment.
I’m not asking you to forgive Roy, but Jenny can’t live
the rest of her life hating her father for a mistake he made—no
matter how big the mistake was. He is her father and I know that
deep down she loves him very much and he loves her.”
Johnny sighed deeply. “You’re right, Anne. And no matter
how much what happened hurts me, it really shouldn’t come between
Jenny and Roy.”
Seeing that Johnny was at least willing to try to help, Anne pushed
her luck a little further. “Would you talk to Joanne, too?
She isn’t giving him the silent treatment, but she is giving
him the cold shoulder.”
“Joanne and Roy are made for each other and I would never
forgive myself for letting this come between them. Yes, I’ll
talk to both of them on one condition.” Johnny really loved
Roy and his family even though Roy didn’t seem to trust him
and he now knew that feeling was not mutual.
“That Roy is no where near either room when I talk to them.” Johnny
was not ready to see Roy no matter how sorry he might be.
“Ok, you got it. Roy is with Joanne right now, so would you
like to talk to Jenny?” Anne had hoped that maybe the two would
run into each other and be able to work things out. But as she thought
about it, she wasn’t sure she would have even agreed to talk
to Jenny and Joanne had she been in Johnny’s shoes.
Vince Howard and Ron Crockett hurried down the hospital corridor.
After Johnny had left, they both remembered that Joanne DeSoto had
said that Johnny got a good look at her attacker. They realized then
what Johnny’s parting words had meant. They didn’t know
how, but they needed to find Johnny. No one in the hospital could
tell them if he had been released and left the hospital or if he
was still there somewhere. They did know that he had not been admitted.
But where could he have gone? Maybe Joanne or Roy DeSoto would have
an idea of where they could look.
The two police officers entered Joanne’s room and found Roy
trying once again to explain his actions of the last two weeks. His
words sounded hollow even to his own ears. “Hello, Vince, Lt.
Crockett, do you have anything new for us?” Roy was secretly
glad for the interruption.
The looks the two officers exchanged were filled with dread. What
they had to say wasn’t very promising. How the police could
have bungled this investigation so badly was beyond them. And to
have it involved someone like John Gage made it even worse.
Knowing it wouldn’t get any easier the longer they waited
Lt. Crockett took the bull by the horns. “Well, this is what
we found out.” He then proceeded to tell them that Johnny’s
file had gotten buried somehow on the bottom of the pile. Lt. Crockett
was still looking into that because he believed it had been on purpose
and who was responsible but still had to prove it. Since the file
was no where to be found, every detective had believed another detective
was handling the case and had not questioned Johnny.
The arresting officer and the two lead detectives had said the case
was open and shut with the eye witness. Therefore, most of the evidence
had not been examined thoroughly or in some cases had not been examined
at all. They hadn’t even entertained the possibility of another
suspect. They were positive they had the right man. They had the
knife and mask. Johnny’s prints were on the knife because he
had wrestled it away from the attacker. There were no other prints
on the knife which to them proved he was the one who was responsible.
They didn’t even consider the possibility that the attacker
wore gloves. They had found that piece of news out from Joanne and
Jenny when they were questioned. Another piece of the puzzle they
chose to ignore was the cut on Johnny’s arm and how he had
A means of entry into the DeSoto home was not even investigated
as they had “caught” Johnny in the act and no other alternative
was even suggested. Joanne would have let Johnny into her home because
he was a family friend. Joanne had told them that the attacker had
come in through the sliding door off the back deck before she could
lock it. But it was too late to find any footprints outside as it
had stormed twice in the two weeks since the attack.
Lt. Crockett went on to inform Joanne and Roy that Johnny had gone
to the DeSoto home to talk to Roy. His fiancée had been attacked
by the same man early in the day. However, no one was there to defend
her and she was still fighting for her life. Roy’s heart broke—his
best friend had been hurting and had protected his family only be
accused for the attacks and thrown in jail. Then it hit him—Johnny
had a fiancée and Roy didn’t even know he was dating
“Joanne, I know you told the officer what happened, but would
you mind telling us again exactly what happened? We want to find
the man who attacked you and get him behind bars as soon as possible.
I would just like to hear it from you myself.” Lt. Crockett
was determined he would find the guilty man to try to make up for
what had happened to John Gage even though that would never really
“Roy, can I talk to you about something?” Vince had
an idea of a way they could try to clear John Gage’s name that
had been smeared across the front page of the LA times over the last
two weeks. They had to make everyone know that none of what Johnny
was accused of had happened.
“Sure. Honey, I’ll be back in a minute.” Roy wasn’t
sure what type of reception he would receive from his wife.
“Ok, maybe you can check on Jenny, too. See if they’ll
let you bring her down here when I finish with Lt. Crockett.” Joanne
wanted to help find the man who had attacked her and Jenny and try
to work things out with Johnny.
Johnny entered Jenny’s room to find her lying
on her side with her back to the door. She seemed to be staring out
the window. He saw her back tense up as she heard the door open.
Realizing that she thought he was Roy coming to check on her, he
knew that he
had to do something to heal the rift between his favorite little
girl and her father.
Chris was sitting in the chair with his back to
the door. He was lost in thought. How could his dad believe Uncle
Johnny would hurt his mother
and sister? As he thought back to that night, the scene he remembered
was of Uncle Johnny trying to stop the bleeding on his mother’s
chest. Then the police arrested him and his dad did nothing to stop
“Hi, Jenny. Hi, Chris,” Johnny’s heart hurt for
both children. They had gone through a lot in the last few weeks. He
wasn’t sure of what kind of reception he would receive from
Chris, but since this would be the last time he saw them, he proceeded
what he had come for.
With Jenny’s exclamation of glee, Johnny found himself holding
her. She had jumped into his arms so fast he hadn’t even realized
she was going to do it. “Uncle Johnny, you came to visit me.
Are you alright? How’s your arm?” Even she could tell
that Johnny was running a fever.
Chris jumped up when he heard Johnny’s voice. He saw his sister
leap into Johnny’s arms. Walking up beside Johnny, he slid his
arm around Johnny’s waist to give him a hug. Johnny’s
smile back at him relieved his worry.
Johnny turned back to Jenny. “Of course I came to visit you,
sweetheart. I had to see how my little princess was doing. It looks
like you are doing a lot better than the last time I saw you. My arm
is going to be just fine. It is a little sore and I have a slight infection,
but it is ok.” Johnny held the little girl tight. This would
be the last time he would have the chance to hold her and he wanted
to etch it into his memory to tuck away for times when he needed
something to remember.
“I’m feeling good. Dr. Brackett said I could go home tomorrow,
but I don’t think I want to.” Jenny knew there was something
different about this visit—something she didn’t think
she was going to like.
“Why don’t you want to go home?” Johnny had sat
down on Jenny’s bed and was holding her close.
“Because Mommy can’t go home yet and I am mad at Daddy.
I don’t want to go home with him.”
“Why are you mad at your Dad?” Johnny already knew the
answer, but wanted to hear it from Jenny.
“Because he believed you were the one that attacked us and didn’t
help you when you were arrested. He thought you would hurt us when
you were only saving our lives.”
Johnny moved Jenny so he could look her straight in the eye. “Jenny,
listen to me. What your Daddy did, he did because he was frightened.
When he walked into your house your mom and you were lying on the floor
in a lot of blood. All he could think about was that you were hurt.
He was afraid that one or both of you were either dead or would die.
And then the detective told him a lie that one of your neighbors had
told the police. Jenny, he just didn’t want to lose either
one of you and he was in shock.”
“But you could never hurt mommy or me. How could Daddy think
“I know that and deep down your father knows it, too. It’s
like the police—everything points to one thing and so there
is no reason to doubt it.”
“Daddy said he never talked to you during the last two weeks
though. Why not? Maybe he couldn’t think that night but what
about since then?”
“He was still in shock and worried about you and your mom.
Remember you were both hurt really badly and in comas. Jenny, don’t
shut your father out. He is hurting right now, and needs all the
support he can get.”
“Are you going to be there to support him, too?” Jenny
knew that Johnny loved her father and just believed things would
go back to the way they were before that night.
Chris had been listening to everything Johnny had said. As he listened,
he began to understand what his father was feeling and thinking over
the last few weeks. But, like Jenny, he knew that there was something
going on and he didn’t think he was going to like it one bit.
Johnny was afraid that Roy would soon come to check on his daughter
and he really wanted to end this conversation, so he stood up and
laid Jenny back on the bed as he talked. He backed towards the door
wouldn’t be within the reach of either Jenny or Chris. “Jenny,
I will be going away. I will always love you and your family and
will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Please promise me that
stop giving your dad the silent treatment. I need to know that you
will be alright.”
“Yes, Uncle Johnny, I promise. But where are you going and
“Thank you. Now it is time for me to say goodbye. Promise me
that you will be good for you mom and dad and that you will take care
of them or me. And Chris, please help your dad out around the house.
I won’t be there to do that anymore and he will need someone
to help. Show him how grown up you are.” Johnny backed away.
He knew that if he was within reaching distance Jenny would grab
on and then he would have a hard time getting out of her room.
“Don’t go, Uncle Johnny.” Jenny’s tears
ran freely down her face.
“Please don’t go, Uncle Johnny.” The tears were
streaming down Chris’s face, too. At that moment he didn’t
care that boys weren’t suppose to cry. His heart was breaking
just like his sisters.
“I have to guys. Just remember that I will always love you and
your family.” Johnny’s heart broke at the sight of the
hearts of someone very special to him breaking.
“We don’t want you to go” Jenny and Chris chorused
together as Jenny began to sob.
“I don’t want you to go, either.” Roy had arrived
at Jenny’s room in time to hear the entire conversation. He
saw his daughter reaching out to him and hurried to her bed to pull
into his arms. When he turned around to face the doorway he found
it and the room empty. Johnny was gone.
Johnny realized that it would take Roy awhile to calm Jenny and Chris
down. That would give him the opportunity he needed to talk to Joanne
Then he would go and make arrangements to have her transferred to
a different hospital and they would leave LA.
Arriving at Joanne’s door, Johnny heard Vince Howard’s
and Lt. Crockett’s voices. Realizing this opportunity would
solve his problem about having to talk to the police about the attack
took a deep breath and entered the room.
Vince looked up as Johnny entered. He stood up and offered his chair
to Johnny. Then Lt. Crockett started asking Johnny questions and for
the next few minutes Joanne and Johnny relayed the events of that fateful
When they had finished Vince and Lt. Crockett left
Johnny and Joanne alone in an awkward silence. Finally Johnny found
his voice. He wanted
to get this over with and out of Joanne’s room so he didn’t
run into Roy again.
“How are you feeling, Joanne?”
“A lot better. Thank you for saving our lives
“There is no way I was going to let him hurt
either of you any more.”
“I’m sorry you were arrested for it.”
“There is no need to be sorry. That night was all I thought
about for the last two weeks. If I had been in the police detective’s
shoes, I probably would have done the same thing. They had a supposed
eye witness and I was kneeling there with the knife which had only
my prints on it and the mask the attacker wore in my hands covered
in blood. But it would have been better if someone had questioned me
and they had verified the eye witness’s story. But that is
all in the past.”
“But Roy and the guys should have come to
talk to you. If they had one of them could have gone to the police
and pushed for the police
to do their jobs. How they could ever believe you would do something
like this is beyond anything I could image.”
“Joanne, like I told Jenny and Chris, don’t be angry with
Roy. He was scared and in a state of shock when he walked in and saw
the two of you lying on the floor in all that blood. He was sure he
was going to lose you. I believe he wasn’t really processing
what was going on around him that night.”
“I know, Johnny, but what about the last two weeks? Where was
he then? Why didn’t he at least talk to you?”
“That’s what Jenny asked me.”
“What did you tell her?”
“That he was still in shock and worried about you and her. You
had both been hurt in a brutal way and were in comas. He still wasn’t
sure that he wasn’t going to lose one or both of you. Jo, don’t
shut him out. Like I told Jenny and Chris, he is hurting right now,
and needs all the support he can get.”
“I won’t shut him out but what about
you? You were hurt that night. How is your arm?”
“Like it has been all my life—I don’t
matter. My arm is fine. I have a slight infection in it, but with
and time it will be as good as new. Jo, take care of Roy and the
guys for me please.”
“Sure, but Johnny, won’t you at least talk to them. Can’t
we work this out?”
“Joanne, I will always love you and the guys. But it is time
for me to move on. I thought it would be different this time, but I
have finally learned it will always be the same no matter where I go.
Take care, Jo.” Johnny gave her a quick peck on the cheek and
hurried out the door so she wouldn’t be able to see the tears
running down his cheeks.
The elevator doors opened and Roy stepped out with
Jenny in his arms and Chris beside him just as Johnny was leaving
He was too far away to say anything and couldn’t catch him as
Johnny turned to take the stairs. Roy’s heart felt like it
was breaking in two. He knew his best friend was gone.
He was giddy. Everything had gone better than planned and in just
a couple of days he would be leaving LA. The last news report he had
heard said the DA was going to be going to the Grand Jury for an indictment
against John Gage for the attacks in a few more days. He would be able
to start over in a new city with a feeling of satisfaction that his
plan of revenge had worked.
Johnny sat beside her bed deep in thought. He didn’t want to
resign from the fire department or the paramedic program, but he knew
he couldn’t go back to station 51 or for that matter any other
station in the county right now. He had been arrested for the attacks
on his best friend’s wife and daughter and no one in the department
had even bothered to come and talk to him. He was sure that everyone
believed he had committed the attacks. After all, the department
grapevine had probably spread the word of his arrest even before
the ink was
dry on his fingerprints.
But what was he going to do? He had been in deep contemplation as
Dr. Stevens completed his evening rounds. After the doctor had left,
he was thinking about his future. Then he remembered that Dr. Stevens
was involved with the paramedic training program out of St. Francis.
Maybe he could get assigned there until he could figure out what he
wanted to do. Tomorrow morning he would talk to Dr. Stevens and headquarters
and get the ball rolling.
The front page story in the LA Times brought two
different reactions from two different key players in the story.
John Gage was in a state
of shock when he opened the paper and saw his picture on the front
page—again. But this time it was a story written at the request
of the Police Department, the Fire Department and all the people
he had called his friends. The Police Department had laid out how
had wrongly arrested him and then had not done their jobs in carefully
analyzing the evidence and following up on testimony and leads.
They also spelled out how they had not questioned Johnny at all
two weeks he had sat in jail. This oversight in the Police Department
had launched an investigation into the matter.
The Fire Department and his so-called friends had
publicly apologized for not even trying to talk to him. They had
all been told it would
be better to wait until the Police had finished their investigation.
Since the Police hadn’t even talked to him yet, neither had
The reporter had asked Roy if he would ever be able
to trust Johnny again either on or off the job since they were partners.
response was to say it wasn’t a question of whether he or any
of the other guys could ever trust Johnny again but a question of whether
or not Johnny could ever trust any of them again. Roy went on to stress
that Johnny had defended his wife and daughter and had been injured
in the attack. He also made sure the reporter knew that Johnny’s
fiancée had been attacked earlier in the day.
The first paragraph had stated that the Police had
just assumed Johnny’s
guilt based on what the officers’ thought they were witnessing
when they arrived and the unsubstantiated false testimony of an eye
witness. They went on to say that they had not done their jobs in that
no one had followed up on what they were told or even carefully looking
at the evidence they actually had. The biggest mistake they said they
made was not questioning Johnny even the night he was arrested. If
they had, they would never have arrested him since he had an iron-clad
alibi. They also stated that they had not treated the injury Johnny
had received in the act of defending the two victims either the night
he was arrested or later when infection set in when the cut was opened
again. Johnny was glad they hadn’t put the part about his identifying
the attacker in the paper just yet. Vince and Ron Crockett had told
him and Joanne to keep it quiet until the police were ready to arrest
the guy. After what had happened to Johnny, they had both readily
Johnny couldn’t believe that it had made the
front page. Oh sure his arrest had been front page news, but he knew
from other cases
that when the person was found to have an alibi or to be innocent
that news was usually buried way in the back. Taking a deep breath,
up the phone and dialed a number he could dial in his sleep.
The second key player was angry. Now he would have
to come up with another plan to get back at Roy and John. He did
hope that the original
belief that Johnny was guilty was enough to destroy the friendship
between Johnny and Roy. He also had to figure out what his next step
would be because although the article didn’t say it, he knew
the police would be coming after him now. They were following “new
leads” and John Gage would have told them by now that he was
the one who had committed the crimes. His afternoon plans just changed.
Grabbing his keys to go find a place where he could hide out for
awhile, his mind started mulling over ideas on what to do next. He
had to get
in touch with his contact in the Police Department and make any new
evidence somehow disappear.
Hank, Mike, Marco and Chet were all sitting in the
dayroom having arrived at work early. They had agreed to come in
half an hour early
to discuss the situation with Johnny. They were all surprised the
article had been on the front page of the newspaper when it ran three
ago and it had filled their conversation for the last 20 minutes.
They were sure when they contributed to the article that it would
in the back section of the paper. None of them knew it would be
front page news. The talk finally turned to Johnny and what had happened.
Marco voiced what was on all their minds—how was Johnny taking
Talk turn to how Roy was doing when the phone rang. Hank answered
it and immediately went to his office to finish the conversation. After
completing his conversation he prayed that Roy had arrived during the
time he was on the phone and that he could talk to his crew before
But his prayers went unanswered. Roy was arriving
just as Hank returned to the kitchen. “Good morning, Roy.”
“Morning, Cap.” Roy was still in a sour mood and the others
noticed it immediately. He had wanted to talk to Johnny and really
wanted to think of a way to make it up to him. But the more he thought
about the situation, the more he realized that had the roles been reversed
he didn’t think there would ever be any way to rectify the
“Pal, I need to talk to all of you. Could
you hurry and change into your uniform and get back here.”
“Sure, Cap. Be right back.”
Questions started flying at Hank from the other
three men sitting in the room. But he stalled them by raising both
his hands. “When
Roy gets back I’ll tell you all at once.”
Roy had just retuned to the room after changing
when footsteps were heard out in the engine bay. All eyes turned
to the door, but when
no one entered chairs were pushed back from the table. Hank tried
to get the guys’ attention, but failed. He joined the retreating
group as they went to see who was in the station.
Entering the locker room Roy stopped dead in his tracks with Chet
bumping into him creating a domino affect with the rest of the guys.
Not realizing why Roy had stopped, Chet pushed him
into the room. “Geez,
Roy, why did……” His voice trailed off as he saw
the reason Roy had stopped so abruptly.
Hank knew what the hold up was and pushed his way
into the locker room. “Good morning, John.” He took the
bull by the horns not being sure how Johnny would react.
“Good morning, sir.” Johnny didn’t like having an
audience. It was hard enough to walk into the station and now here
they all stood watching him change into his uniform. “Captain
Stanley, would it be alright if I changed into my uniform without the
audience?” He was beginning to think this might have been a
“Yeah, sure, we’ll get out of your way. Come on guys let’s
go get a cup of coffee before roll call.” Hank led the rest of
the crew out of the locker room and into the kitchen. All five men
were in a mild state of shock. They also knew that with Johnny’s
response, he had let them know that the friendly banter would not
be there today. He had called Hank sir and all five men knew that
would have to call him John or Gage. The right to call him Johnny
was for his friends only and he had let them know that they did not
that right at this moment. He had asked them to leave while he changed
his uniform. It had never been a problem before.
“Did you know he would be here today, Roy?” Chet
thought maybe Johnny called Roy on their days off.
“No, seeing him in there was a shock to me.” Roy
wondered what this shift was going to be like.
“Did you know, Cap?” Marco was sure
that Hank would have told them earlier if he had known that Johnny
was returning, but maybe
Johnny had asked him not to tell them.
“Not until I received that call earlier. That’s what I
wanted to tell you before he arrived, but didn’t get the chance.
He is only here until his transfer can be processed. He needs to work
and it will take awhile before his new job will start. Chief McConnikee
said he wasn’t thrilled about coming back here but was willing
to try. If it gets too hard, he will probably work out of headquarters
until his transfer comes through.” Hank prayed that they would
all get through this somehow and that things might even work out so
Johnny would stay. A-shift just wouldn’t be the same without
him. But could things ever go back to the way they were? He knew
it was going to be a long shift.
As the five men sat in the kitchen waiting for Johnny
to come in and get a cup of coffee Chet remembered that there was
a lady named Katie
Selfridge that had been the one to make sure the police were aware
of Johnny’s alibi. He really wanted to ask Johnny about her,
but knew he didn’t have the right. He realized that she must
be his fiancée.
Johnny slowly made his way across the bay wondering if this was the
right thing to do. Would he be able to work with these men he had thought
were his friends? Were they really his friends? He took a deep breath
as he fell in line for roll call.
He paced back and forth in the small room. He had
to get his revenge on Roy DeSoto and John Gage. Oh how he wished
that John Gage had not
had such an iron clad alibi. That would have permanently destroyed
the friendship and “best paramedic team in LA County” and
he would have had more revenge than he had planned on. But now he had
to come up with another plan. John Gage had seen him and could identify
him to Police. He thought using the DeSoto’s neighbor to identify
John Gage had been a stroke of genius. Her dislike for him made her
an easy target for bribing her to lie about seeing him enter the
home. But now that testimony was in jeopardy. He had hidden her away
the time being, but she was getting nervous. Maybe he would have
to take care of her.
Now he had a plan to still get back at both of them
and keep out of prison. The next step was finding the one man he
knew would help him
pull it off. Too bad there would be innocent people hurt in this
but that couldn’t be helped. He would have his revenge.
Things at the station were a little strained as
assignments were handed out. Johnny gratefully accepted the dorms
as that was a one man job.
He wasn’t sure he could have worked with anyone on the mundane
chores. Roy had pulled latrines and Johnny was sure he had wanted to
talk to him. Being thankful Roy hadn’t approached him yet,
Johnny wondered what he would say when Roy tried to apologize. How
feel? Should he even be here?
As he worked Roy thought about the morning checks
on the equipment and supplies. Neither of the paramedics had said
a word other than
the checks with Rampart and to say that they did not need to restock
just yet. Then they left to do their chores without another word.
Roy had wanted to say something, but he really couldn’t think of
anything that would change the situation or that he would have accepted
had the roles been reversed. How he could ever believe that John Gage
would do such a thing even baffled him. Johnny would give his life
before he let anything happen to any of Roy’s family let alone
being the one to hurt them. As a matter of fact, he could have been
killed defended them. With determination, Roy put down the mop and
headed towards the dorm. He knew it would sound hollow, but he really
needed to apologize to his partner.
He never made it to the dorm. Just as he pushed
open the door to the latrine, the klaxons sounded—and kept
sounding and kept sounding. Realizing that this was going to be a
big one, he followed Johnny out
of the locker room and towards the squad. This would be the test
as to whether or not they could still work together no matter how
the situation may be and both men knew it. Roy just prayed that
they would be able to somehow rebuild the friendship that he had
To be continued.....
To be continued
in A Stab in the Heart, Part II
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