For personal use and select distribution only © by Addmom

DISCLAIMER: "Emergency!" and its characters © Mark VII Productions, Inc. and Universal Studios. All rights reserved.

The poems and songs used in this story do not belong to me. I have indicated the singer/writer of each one.

No infringement of any copyrights or trademarks is intended or should be inferred. This is a work of fiction, and any similarity to actual persons or events is purely coincidental. This story is only written for entertainment. No financial gain is being realized from it. The story, itself, is the property of the author. Please ask before archiving elsewhere and/or using characters created by the author.

I am in no way connected to the medical profession and take responsibility for all mistakes in dealing with treatments, diseases, etc.

A Stab in the Heart


Part I

He sat just down the road from Station 51 plotting his revenge. The A-shift paramedics had not only ruined his career, 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 his plan.


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 partner.

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 motion.


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 outcome.

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, lost consciousness.

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 family.

“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 them.

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 better.

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 calls.

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 leave town.


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 at.

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 do.


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 LA.


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 bleeding stopped.

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 a hug.

“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 questions.

“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 as possible.

“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 illegal anyway.

“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 to Anne.

“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 a cell.

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 up.

“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.

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 his arrest.

“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 the eye.

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 needed.

“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 for this.

“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 he did.

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 question.

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 door opened.

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.

“What’s that?”

“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 received it.

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 anyone.

“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 happen.

“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 them.

“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 with 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 you could?”

“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 so he 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 you will 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 why?”

“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 her 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 alone.

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 he 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 night.

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 Johnny.”

“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 the antibiotics 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 Joanne’s room. 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 they 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 during the 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 they.

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. Roy’s 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 agreed.

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, he picked 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 days ago and it had filled their conversation for the last 20 minutes. They were sure when they contributed to the article that it would be buried 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 it?

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 roll call.

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 situation.

“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 bad idea.

“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 they 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 have 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 for 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 would he 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 temporary 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 torn apart.

To be continued.....

To be continued in A Stab in the Heart, Part II

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