Roy stood looking out the
back door of station 24. Today was the fifth anniversary of the day
Johnny had been killed in a car crash out of state. The life was gone
out of Station 51’s A-shift after that day and the group knew
it was time for a change. They remained a family, but Hank went on
to be a Battalion Chief, Mike and Roy had become captains and Marco
and Chet had both become engineers. Roy was secretly glad he had been
assigned Marco and not Chet as his engineer. Mike knew how to handle
the Phantom. Roy knew he could not have witnessed the pranks Chet continued
to play without painful memories of his “favorite pigeon”.
Johnny and Roy had three very bad shifts and Johnny had been the recipient
of an unending attack by the Phantom. Roy and Johnny had a small argument
and weren’t talking to each other until the last shift where
they worked things out, but were still on tentative ground with each
other. They had an unprecedented four day break since they had worked
a brush fire for two straight weeks. Johnny had requested an additional
two shifts off and was using the opportunity to do some camping away
Roy thought back to that time. He wished now that he had not taken
his frustrations with his son’s school out on Johnny. Sure, they
had worked things out, but he was still quiet and had not gotten their
friendship back to the solid ground it was on before Johnny went camping.
Then the phone call came. The Washington State Police had found Johnny’s
Land Rover over the side of a cliff. It had exploded on impact with
Johnny in it. His funeral was attended by firefighters from all over
the country. It still hurt when Roy thought of all the events that
Chris and Jenny would never get to share with their “Uncle Johnny” and
how many times he had wanted to pick up the phone and just talk to
Sure, there was a chance that Johnny would have been killed on the
job, but that was different. He had gone camping (his favorite pastime)
to try to relax and let the stress of the previous few shifts melt
away. There was something that Roy couldn’t understand—why
was Johnny in the state of Washington. He knew that Johnny was always
looking for new camping sites, but Washington was in its rainy season
and hadn’t had a dry day in two weeks. No one knew what really
happened that day. It appeared that he had lost control on a wet curve
and had gone over the edge of the cliff. Even though it had been five
years, Roy still missed his friend as much as if it had just happened.
He prayed that the old adage, “Time heals all wounds” would
soon begin to work. His wound was deep and he wasn’t sure it
would ever heal.
“Cap, are you ok?” Marco, too, was missing his friend.
When he couldn’t find Roy in his office to call him for supper,
he knew that he was outside looking at the sky. That was where he spent
his time whenever he thought about Johnny.
“Yeah, Marco, I was just remembering and thinking.” Roy
knew that Marco was hurting, too.
“Will it ever get easier, Roy?” Marco knew exactly what
Roy meant and his pain was almost as deep as Roy’s.
“I hope so, Marco. I hope so.” Roy patted Marco on the
shoulder and the two men went inside to eat their evening meal before
they got toned out.
Trenton Anderson sighed and leaned on the pitchfork he was using to
clean out the stalls. He really wanted to ask Clarissa Williams to
marry him, but he wondered if it was fair to her. Ever since he had
woken up in the Alta Vista Hospital in Las Vegas, New Mexico, about
five years ago he had been trying to regain his life—all of his
memories were gone. He didn’t know who he was, where he came
from or what his life was really like.
For the first six months after he regain consciousness, he had tried
to remember his past. But then he took the doctor’s advice and
stopped trying so hard. Finally, after about nine months, he came to
the conclusion that he would never regain his memories and had started
his life over again. After he had helped the doctor with a heart attack
victim while he was at the hospital for a routine checkup, he joined
the fire department and worked part time as the doctor’s assistant.
He picked up the medical knowledge very quickly.
But now he wondered what had brought him to this place and what his
life had been like. What did he have to offer Clarissa—all he
had for memories were the ones he had created the last five years.
But then he remembered a conversation they had in which Clarissa stated
she didn’t care about the past, she loved the man he was now.
She had told him that if he regained his memory she would be beside
him and that if he never did remember anything, she would still be
Night Wind started nibbling at his pocket for the carrots he always
carried there and gave him a nudge which brought him out of his reverie. “Hey
buddy, want a treat?” Trenton laughed at the antics of the big
horse. He had his head nestled against the stallion’s neck when
he heard a car door. Giving Night Wind one last pat, he headed out
to meet Clarissa Williams, his girlfriend.
“Hi, Trenton. How’s Night Wind today.” Clarissa
knew that the horse would have been nibbling on Trenton’s shirt
for the carrots he always carried in his pocket.
“As feisty as ever—how are you doing sweetheart?” Trenton
pulled Clarissa into his arms and held her close.
“I’m good now that I am here.” She snuggled close
as Trenton hugged her. Pulling away, she looked at him. “I am
really looking forward to our vacation. L.A. sounds like a great place
“Yeah, but it is a big city—I’m not sure I am going
to enjoy driving around with all those crazy people.” Trenton
loved teasing his girlfriend.
“You’re the one that picked L.A. If you don’t want
to go, just say so. I can always join Belinda on her trip to New York.” Clarissa
knew that Trenton was teasing, but after an especially difficult day,
she was in no mood for his teasing.
“I’m sorry. Today must have been hard.” Trenton
looked at Clarissa’s tired face.
“It’s ok. I’m sorry I jumped on you. Yeah today
was hard. We lost four children—two whose parents left them in
a burning house and didn’t tell the firemen they were in there
until it was too late—and four teens killed in a car accident.
They had been drinking to celebrate their upcoming graduation and missed
the curve on Harris Road. The car hit the tree so hard the bumper is
now a permanent fixture of the tree.” The memories of the bodies
that were brought to emergency brought tears to Clarissa’s eyes.
“Let’s go inside and I’ll fix dinner.” Trenton
lovingly led Clarissa into the house.
Roy’s crew was enjoying a quiet night. He was surprised that
they hadn’t been toned out all evening. He had finished his paperwork
which had surprised even him and was joining the rest of the crew in
the dayroom to watch a movie on T.V. They had just started, when the
doorbell rang. Ken Thomas, the junior member of Roy’s paramedic
team, went to find out who was visiting the station. Roy smiled as
he thought about the similarities between Johnny and Ken. Maybe that
was why he often thought of his friend—every time he watched
Ken, he saw Johnny. But he was thankful for that—he never wanted
to forget his friend.
Roy looked up as Chief Hank Stanley entered the room. All the men
started to jump up to attention when Hank waved his hand to indicate
they should remain seated. He remembered what it was like at Station
51 when Chief McConnikee would show up. He just prayed that the men
under his command were not as paranoid as he was.
Walking over to where Roy was sitting in the easy chair, Hank put
his hand on Roy’s shoulder. “I just stopped by to see how
you and Marco were doing today, Roy.” Hank knew that the five
members of the original Station 51 A-Shift crew had never really come
to terms with Johnny’s death. All too often something would happen
that would remind them of the fun loving paramedic. Hank believed that
because the accident had happened so far away from home, the “family” still
wanted to believe it was all a nightmare and that they would soon wake
“About the same, Chief—most of the time I can concentrate
on my job, but every once in awhile—especially when Ken is taking
a risk that reminds me of the ones Johnny used to take—my mind
wanders. How you ever stood back and watched him without getting an
ulcer is beyond me. Ken even pulled a stunt last shift that got me
laughing so hard because it was identical to one Johnny pulled during
our second year together.” Roy smiled at the memory. It seemed
that the memories were bringing more smiles than they did tears lately.
The pain was still there, but the memories were good ones.
“Yeah, and the other day he came out of the locker room drenched
in water and shaving cream—another vision of Johnny.” Marco
had joined the two men.
“Chet sub here?” Hank knew that it would have only been
Chet who would have pulled something like that.
“No, but I think Marvin is taking lessons from the Phantom.
If he hadn’t been working, I would have sworn he was here that
day. I even called over to 51s to make sure Chet was on duty.” Roy
was thankful for Chief Stanley’s support. “It is still
hard sometimes when I want to pick up the phone and share something
with Johnny. But we’ll all make it. There will come a time when
we can remember without the pain.” Roy wasn’t sure if he
was trying to convince Hank and Marco or himself.
Trenton had finally gotten up the courage and had asked Clarissa to
marry him the night before they left for L.A. She had instantly said
yes and now as they drove towards the California city, he wondered
what had taken him so long. Clarissa had reassured him that they would
face the future—and the past if he should ever remember—together.
Dr. Candleson had planned to attend a medical conference in L.A. during
the same week Trenton and Clarissa were going to be there for their
vacation. As soon as Trenton found out, he insisted that Dr. Candleson
ride with them instead of spending unnecessary money on a plane ticket.
Dr. Candleson had readily accepted and now shared the front seat with
Trenton. Clarissa was stretched out in the back after having been called
in unexpectedly to work right after her celebratory dinner with Trenton.
The two men had picked her up at the hospital. Trenton had stopped
by her apartment earlier and picked up her luggage. Although he couldn’t
remember his past, Trenton was content with his life. He had found
some very supportive friends and now had a fiancé he loved with
all his heart. She was his soul mate. No matter what his past had been,
he was thankful for his present life and whatever the future might
“I hear congratulations are in order.” David Candleson
liked the young couple and was glad that Trenton had finally asked
Clarissa to marry him. He thought they belonged together. “You
know, it’s about time.”
“Thank you. Yeah, I know. I guess I’m a little slow.”
“No, you just care about people too much.” Clarissa leaned
on the back of the front seat between the two men. “That’s
one of the things that I love so much about you. You don’t want
to hurt anyone.”
Kelly Brackett looked over the notes for his talk on the paramedic
program at the medical convention. His eyes stopped on the second line
of his talk. There among the names of some of the very first paramedics
was the name John Gage. The hospital had felt Johnny’s death
as deeply as the fire department had felt it. He missed Johnny’s
smiling face just like Roy did. Before his thoughts could turn too
dark, he felt a hand on his shoulder.
“How are you doing?” Dixie McCall Brackett smiled at her
husband. She was well aware of what or rather who he was thinking about.
“I’m fine. Just reminiscing—I have some great memories
of him. He was one of our best paramedics and I hope I can honor him
today.” Kel looked at Dixie with a sad smile.
“You will.” Dixie leaned over and lightly kissed him on
the cheek. “After all, you finally took his pestering to heart
and broke down that wall between you and me and now we are living ‘happily
Kel laughed as he gave his wife a quick kiss and returned to preparing
his speech for the conference.
The two young men stood on the Valley Court overpass waiting. Brad
and Adam were angry. Their parents had been controlling their lives
and now that they were in their early 20s, they were determined to
take control of their own lives. To spite their parents they had started
running with the wrong crowds and had been in trouble with the law.
Even now they were waiting for sentencing for a joy ride they had taken
in a stolen car. They had used sling shots to break the windows on
passing cars and even some businesses as they had driven by.
When they had been arrested for the joy riding, all their “friends” had
disappeared. No one had been there to help them. Their parents had
gotten so angry, that they had insisted the two boys plead guilty hoping
they would get easy sentences. But the two boys had been so defiant
that they had pled innocent and had fought all the way. The jury found
them guilty and that intensified their anger.
Then they had gotten arrested again when they tried to pull a robbery
at a local store. Customers had jumped them and their guns had gone
off. The cashier was killed instantly and a customer was injured so
badly, he would never walk again. Brad and Adam had gotten out of the
store, but they had been picked up about five blocks away. They had
threatened the survivors and felt confident that none of them would
dare rat them out. However, the four survivors had all picked them
out of a lineup and were going to testify against them.
The anger Brad and Adam felt consumed their entire being. They decided
that if they were going to be convicted, they would go out in style.
Going into another store, they started causing problems when they were
caught trying to shoplift. Brad had tried to buy some cigarettes and
had been thrown out of another store. Adam had gotten into a fight
with one of the kids from the high school. They had gotten a couple
of their old friends to associate with them again until this incident.
They had eluded the police, but now they were going to make the world
pay for what had happened to them showing everyone who was in charge.
Adam had been able to get them several rifles and handguns. They had
spent hours in a hidden field practicing their shooting. They had gotten
so good they both could shoot two rifles at the same time and hit their
target every time. Adam had made sure they were able to hit moving
targets as well as stationary targets.
Now it was time to make their move. It would be dusk soon and they
would be harder to see. Brad checked the rifle he held in his hand.
He also made sure that the extra ammunition was within easy reach.
He had already checked his second rifle and was just waiting for the
right time. Adam checked the scope on the rifle he was holding one
more time. Four hand guns lay at their feet. Both men were getting
antsy. Picking up a rifle in each hand, the two men were just waiting
for the right time to make their move.
As soon as the sun dropped below the buildings, Adam took the first
shot. He whooped as it hit his target—the tire of the passing
truck. He laughed as the driver fought to keep control as he pulled
over to the side of the road. “Score one for me!” With
a huge smile on his face, he reloaded the rifle he had just shot.
“Let’s see if I can top that one.” Brad aimed at
the passing car. He got angry when he missed his target. “I’ll
get the next one.” He had been a little nervous at taken the
first shot, but now that he had he knew that the next one would be
on the mark.
“Why don’t we both shoot at the same time.” Adam
didn’t believe Brad had missed. At the firing range, Brad had
hit the bull’s eye every time. He was sure that if the two of
them fired at the same time, Brad would have more confidence.
“Ok, let’s get ready—here comes another car.” Picking
up a rifle in each hand and balanced them on their hips the two men
were ready to fire at the right moment.
Dr. Candleson was very interested in Dr. Kelly Brackett’s talk
on emergency medicine and how the paramedic program had advanced. Getting
the wrong room, he had missed the beginning of Dr. Brackett’s
talk and the slides he had presented. But he was interested in learning
how the paramedic program would help their smaller community. As he
listened to what had been accomplished, he started thinking about what
they would need to do to implement this type of program in there area.
As Dr. Brackett gathered his notes and collected his slides, Dr. Candleson
approached him. After introducing himself, Dr. Candleson started asking
a lot of questions—good questions about the program. Always enjoying
the chance to share the paramedic program and help start a new one,
Dr. Brackett invited Dr. Candleson back to his office at Rampart to
continue their discussion.
Trenton and Clarissa were discussing their upcoming wedding and enjoying
the beautiful California evening. They had enjoyed a very relaxing
day at the beach. Now they were headed back to the hotel to pick up
Dr. Candleson and take him out to dinner. The four pops Trenton heard
had just registered when he heard the cracking of the windshield and
felt a burning in his left shoulder and a pain in his head. Just as
he lost consciousness he heard Clarissa’s voice calling his name
at the same time he heard the tire blow. He wondered why Clarissa’s
voice sounded full of pain.
Clarissa had been telling Trenton some of her ideas for their wedding
when the pops sounded. She saw Trenton slump over and the red pour
out of his shoulder when she felt the pain in her stomach. She felt
another pain in her right shoulder as she heard the tire blow. She
lost consciousness as the car careened out of control and spun around
and around before hitting the light pole and flipping end over end
down the ditch beside the road.
Brad laughed as he watched the car spin. He had been surprised when
Adam had picked up another gun after shooting the two rifles he had
been holding and shot the tire out. But when he realized that the first
four shots had hit the passengers in the car, he started to panic.
Shooting at the cars and hitting the tires, fenders or windshields
was one thing—passengers could survive car accidents. But they
had shot the passengers and then caused an accident. He started grabbing
all the guns and ammunition at his feet. He wasn’t sure that
anyone could survive both a shooting and a car accident.
“Why are you in such a big hurry? It will take a few minutes
for the emergency vehicles and police to arrive. Let’s have some
more fun.” Adam was flying high.
“Let’s get out of here. Those people could be dead.” Brad
had been angry and thought they would have some “fun”,
but he had not wanted to kill anyone. He turned to run back to his
car and leave the area. He hadn’t bargained on an attempted murder
or murder charge. As he started towards the car, he wondered just what
he thought would happen when they shot at cars. Was he so naïve
that he assumed nothing bad would happen?
“Yeah, but our fun is just starting.” Adam grabbed Brad’s
arm and spun him around. But before the two men could get into an argument,
they heard the sirens that were almost on top of them. Police and been
canvassing the area and four squad cars pulled surrounding them. They
gave themselves up knowing they wouldn’t get very far. Brad just
prayed that the two people would be alright.
Roy had just poured himself a cup of coffee when the tones sounded.
Hearing the details of the call, a chill ran down Roy’s spine. “Station
24, MVA on Valley Drive just before the Valley Court overpass. Cross
road Stevens. Time out 18:45. Police have been dispatched due to shots
fired. Proceed with caution—sniper or snipers may still be on
Roy acknowledged the call, passed one copy of the address to his paramedics
and went to take his seat on the engine. He prayed that whoever had
been injured would be alright. He also prayed that the police would
have the scene wrapped up by the time his crew arrived.
Pulling up on the scene, Roy was glad to see that the police had everything
under control and that his crew would be able to start their work immediately
and not wait. Calling out orders, Roy was out of the engine before
it even stopped.
Bruce and Walter started towards the driver’s side of the vehicle
while Steve and Andrew headed towards the passenger’s side. Marco
started pulling all the equipment he knew the two paramedics would
need. He pulled the jaws-of-life in anticipation of needing them to
open the doors of the car.
Bruce reached inside the driver’s window that had broken when
the car had rolled. Holding his breath, he felt for a pulse. Sighing
when he felt a steady, rapid pulse, he called for Marco. Turning around
he wasn’t surprised to see Marco right there instantly.
After Marco got the driver’s door open, he hurried around to
help get the passenger door open. Steve had called for the jaws just
as he had finished.
Bruce and Walter worked together to get Trenton out of the car. Walter
helped Bruce carefully moved Trenton out of the car and over to the
triage area Roy had set up for them. Walter removed the wallet sticking
out of Trenton’s pocket, both to find out who this man was and
because it was a bulge Trenton would have had to lay on. He also found
a picture of the passenger with her name on the back—now at least
they knew the names of the two people they were working on.
Roy was called over to help Steve and Andrew with the passenger. Walter
called after Roy. “Cap, if it helps, her name is Clarissa.” Roy
acknowledged Walter with a wave and hurried to the car.
Bruce worked feverously on Trenton to try and stabilize him. The wound
in Trenton’s shoulder was bleeding profusely. Bruce hoped the
bullet hadn’t done any damage to any vital organs. He knew the
only way they would know for sure is by the x-rays Brackett would call
for at the hospital. He started to really worry when Trenton’s
head wound started bleeding again as they moved him onto the gurney
to load him into the ambulance. Realizing he couldn’t wait for
them to get Clarissa out, Bruce let Steve know he had called for another
ambulance and was taking Trenton to the hospital.
Steve acknowledged his partner’s communication. He didn’t
have time to think about Trenton and what his partner had found. They
were having a hard time getting the dashboard and seats moved to extradite
Clarissa from the car. Just when he was stating to get really frustrated,
Roy and Marco got the passenger door open and the seat released. Andrew
had pulled the dashboard up and they were able to move Clarissa out
of the car. Working feverously, he was relieved to hear the sirens
of the arriving ambulance. Knowing time was of the essence because
Clarissa’s “golden hour” was almost over, he jumped
in the ambulance and nodded when Roy said that Andrew would drive the
squad in and they would all meet them at the hospital. “Thanks,
Cap. See you at Rampart.” Then he went back to work on stabilizing
Roy stood and watched the second ambulance pull away and then turned
to help Marco, Andrew and Walter they cleaned up the mess at the site.
He shook his head as he saw the New Mexico license plate on the back
of the car. These people were visitors to L.A. and to have something
like this happen—he just prayed that the couple would be alright.
Dr. Candleson and Dr. Brackett were in Dr. Brackett’s office
discussing the paramedic program. David looked around the room and
saw the pictures Kelly had on his office wall of men in fire department
gear. “Who are these men?”
“These are pictures of the first paramedics in our area.” Stopping
in front of the pictures of Roy and Johnny, Kel had to catch his breath
before continuing. “These pictures are of two of the first paramedics—the
best we have ever had.” Looking at Johnny’s picture still
brought back painful memories.
“Are they still paramedics?” David stopped, looking at
the two pictures with Kel.
“No, five years ago Johnny was killed in a car accident in Seattle,
Washington. Roy was devastated because not only were they partners,
they were best friends—closer than most brothers. He tried, but
just couldn’t work with any other partners. Although he has kept
his paramedic certification up, he is now a Captain. He was actually
the one that pushed the program and recruited Johnny. I don’t
think he has really gotten over Johnny’s death yet.”
Just then Dixie opened the door. “Kel, we have several ambulances
arriving. We really need you out here.”
“Sure, Dix, be right there.”
“Kel, can I help?” David knew emergency rooms always needed
an extra pair of hands.
“Sure, David, I’ll have one of our interns help you. Thanks
for the offer.”
Both men started out the door to face whatever was coming through
the emergency entrance doors.
Chaos ensued when the two ambulances arrived at Rampart at the exact
same time as three ambulances from a major warehouse fire and two ambulances
from a multi-car pile-up on the 405. Dr. Candleson went into treatment
room four with Dr. Thomas. He was surprised to see that their patient
was Trenton. “What happened?”
“There were two snipers on the Valley Court overpass. They had
some high power rifles and were shooting at just about everybody. After
they were hit, the car crashed down the embankment.” The attending
nurse smiled at the visiting physician.
“She’s in the next ambulance. Dr. Brackett, Dr. Sanders
and Dixie will be in charge of her case. She’s in good hands.”
With a nod, Dr. Candleson followed the entourage into the treatment
room. He let Dr. Thomas take charge, but he was there to assist in
Trenton’s care. When Trenton was taken to surgery, Dr. Candleson
went along to assist.
Kelly Brackett was joined by Dr. Sanders and Dixie in caring for Clarissa.
She, too, was taken to surgery for her injuries with Dr. Brackett doing
All the other emergencies were handled by Dr. Early, Dr. Morton and
other staff doctors and interns called into help. Roy walked in looking
for Steve, Bruce and Andrew. He knew he would find them in the lounge
waiting for news on the couple they had brought in. Opening the door,
he saw the three men sitting around the table. “How are they?”
Andrew looked up as their Captain opened the door. “Trenton
has a bullet wound in the left chest. They aren’t sure how close
it is to his heart so they took him to surgery immediately. But the
problem is he also has a bullet wound to the head. The bullet grazed
his head, but they aren’t sure how deep it is. They’re
afraid it may have caused some damage. He also broke some ribs when
he hit the steering wheel and may have a broken leg.”
Steve couldn’t get the picture how bad Clarissa looked out of
his mind. “Clarissa has a bullet wound in the stomach causing
internal bleeding. The second bullet wound in her right chest had an
entrance wound, but not an exit wound. Then she had a compound rib
fracture in one of her back ribs. Dr. Brackett almost didn’t
stop in the treatment room. As it was, he only stopped long enough
to get her stabilized and then rushed her to surgery.”
“We’ll have to pray that they will be alright. The license
plate on their car is from New Mexico. I found sight-seeing info in
the car. They were just visiting our city.” Roy still couldn’t
believe what had happened.
“Why would anyone do something like this?” Bruce couldn’t
believe what he was being told.
“Because two very angry young men wanted to prove to the world
they were in control. They have been in trouble with the law before
and are waiting sentencing and trials on two other cases. They just
thought they would have some fun.” Vince Howard had walked in
just as Roy had told his crew about where the couple was from.
Roy’s crew had a lot to think about as they returned to the
station after talking with Vince Howard. Two young men who had a whole
lifetime ahead of them had decided that shooting innocent and unsuspecting
people was “fun” and now two people were fighting for their
lives because of that “fun”.
Dr. Candleson pulled his skull cap off. The weariness showed on his
face and in his movements. Dr. Thomas was getting Trenton settled into
ICU. He had warring feelings—on one hand he was relieved because
Trenton had made it through surgery. On the other hand he was still
worried that Trenton might not make it. Having made it through the
surgery gave Trenton better odds of making it, but he was not out of
the woods yet.
The sound of the doors to the surgical theaters opening caught his
attention. He smiled as he looked up and saw the same weariness in
Kel Brackett as he exited the hall. “How is Clarissa?”
“She made it through surgery. We were able to stop the bleeding,
remove the bullet and reset her rib. She will be in a lot of pain,
but I am confident she will make a complete recovery. How’s Trenton?”
“Well, he made it through surgery, too. The bullet creased his
skull a little more than I would have liked, but I don’t think
it caused any major damage. The bullet in his left chest just missed
his heart. It came mighty close, but didn’t hit any major organ.
He lost a lot of blood so it is touch and go right now, but I think
he will make it.”
“Let’s go get a cup of coffee.” Dr. Brackett slapped
Dr. Candleson on the shoulder and the two men headed towards Dr. Brackett’s
Dixie, Kel, Joe, Mike Morton and Dr. David Candleson were sitting
in the lounge having coffee and relaxing when the emergency room had
“I’d like to go check on Trenton and Clarissa one more
time before I head back to the hotel. Kel, would you like to join me?” Dr.
Candleson rinsed out his cup and turned to face the Rampart staff members. “I
would like to talk to you about something.”
“Sure, let’s go.” Not wanting Dixie to later say
something about a visitor rinsing out his coffee cup when the doctors
on staff didn’t, Kel rinsed his coffee cup out, too and then
followed David out the door.
The two men walked in silence as they headed towards the ICU. Kel
was thinking about what had transpired in the last few hours. Why would
anyone think that shooting at other people was “fun”?
David was thinking about Trenton. He had some questions to ask Kel
When they walked into the room, Kel Brackett immediately picked up
Trenton’s chart and started reading it. David waited until Kel
was finished. “Do you want to do his check?”
“Sure, Kel put down the chart and turned to start examining
Roy entered Rampart and looked for a friendly face. Kel had called
him and said he needed to see Roy right away. Chief Hank Stanley had
already found his replacement when he called headquarters because Kel
had called there first. Roy wondered what was so important that Kel
would ask him to get a sub and come in immediately. Walking quickly
down the hall, he saw Dr. Candleson and Kel just going into Kel’s
office. “Dr. Brackett, wait up.”
Roy was still at a loss as to why Kel Brackett had requested his permission
to exhume Johnny’s body. It had been five years but Roy wasn’t
sure he really wanted to go through all that would entail right now.
But Kel had said it was very important and Roy had given his consent.
Now he was leaning against a tree as the men worked. Why was this so
Roy straightened up as the casket was removed and placed in the hearse
to take to Rampart. The painful memories resurfaced as he followed
the vehicle back to the hospital.
Kel Brackett was waiting when they arrived at Rampart. With a hand
on Roy’s shoulder, he guided him behind the casket to the morgue.
Kel hoped that he was right and that all the pain he saw in Roy’s
face would be erased when they were through with their exam.
Dr. Candleson was pleased with the progress Trenton and Clarissa were
making. Trenton was still unconscious, but he was starting to show
signs of waking up. Clarissa had regained consciousness and was making
rapid improvements. Dr. Candleson and Clarissa had spent a couple of
hours talking. Both were waiting for Trenton to wake up.
Dr. Candleson was thinking about his talk with Clarissa as he entered
the morgue. Kel had asked him to join them. As Roy stood back and watched,
the two doctors listened to the coroner as he examined what was left
of John Gage. Since the assumption had been made that this was indeed
John Gage, no one had done an autopsy or any kind of physical examination.
Roy wondered why they would be checking now.
The two doctors nodded as the examiner showed them what he had found.
Then the tech from the lab found them and handed a report to Kel. Glancing
at it, he showed it to David and nodded.
Turning to Roy, Kel didn’t tell him what was in the report or
what the examiner had said. He was still trying to sort it all out. “Roy,
will you come with me please? I need to talk to you.” Roy and
Kel followed David out. He didn’t realize until the elevator
had stopped that they had gone to the ICU floor. Not sure what was
going on, Roy followed the two doctors down the hall until they stopped
at a room with the name Trenton Anderson on it. Roy knew it was the
man from New Mexico he and his crew had rescued a few days earlier.
Still puzzled, Roy knew he would at least be able to get an update
on the man. He had been meaning to stop in to see him, but had not
had the opportunity before now.
Kel and Dr. Candleson kept back as Roy walked over to Trenton’s
bed. He was so lost in thought that he didn’t really look at
the man in the bed until he was right next to him. When he looked up,
Roy’s eyes locked onto brown ones that were just beginning to
focus on the world around him. But Roy couldn’t say a word. He
turned with a shocked look to Kelly Brackett when the brown eyes slid
closed once again.
Roy finally found his voice. “He could be Johnny’s twin.”
“Roy, he’s not Johnny’s twin—he is Johnny.” Kel
knew the news would be a shock to Roy and had moved close enough to
put his arm on Roy’s shoulder.
“But Johnny’s dead.” Roy wanted to believe his friend
and mentor more than anything in the world, but he was afraid to—afraid
that he would get hurt all over again.
“No, the body downstairs does not belong to Johnny. The examiner
is now going to have to figure out who it is, but Johnny is alive and
lying right there in that bed.”
“But, this man’s name is Trenton. Why would Johnny change
his name and not try to contact any of us? He would never deliberately
hurt us like that.”
“I can answer that for you Mr. DeSoto.” David Candleson
joined the two men at Johnny’s bedside. “Trenton was injured
about five years ago. He was found at a campground just outside of
Las Vegas, New Mexico. When he was brought in, he had been severely
beaten and had been hit in the head with a tire iron three times. One
of the hits was hard enough it fractured his skull. When he regained
consciousness, he had no memories whatsoever. He didn’t even
know his own name. The police had searched the area where he was found,
but there was nothing that would help us identify him. It looked like
someone had been camping a short distance from where he was found,
but had left the day before. There was no camping gear, no vehicle
and no forms of identification anywhere. We sent his fingerprints around
and looked to see if there was any type of missing persons report,
but nothing turned up. For the first six months after he regained consciousness,
he tried to regain his memory, but was unsuccessful. Then he just decided
to stop trying so hard and see what happened. He was just coming to
terms with the idea that he would never remember who he was and finally
asked Clarissa to marry him the night before they came here on vacation.”
“What happened to him at that campground?” Roy looked
at the face he thought he would never see again.
“Only Johnny can answer that. However, we need to be prepared
for the idea that he will still not remember anything when he wakes
up.” Kel didn’t want Roy to get his hopes up.
“Yeah, but I thought I would never see him again. Even if he
never remembers who he is, I am glad he is alive.”
Roy took one last look at his friend as the three men left the room.
All three were praying that eventually Johnny would remember his past.
Roy knew he had to think quickly when he answered his door and found
all five of his former crewmates standing there. As he invited him
inside, he knew something was up.
“Roy, we have a problem.” Chet didn’t even wait
to get in the door before blurting out what was on his mind.
“What kind of a problem?”
“Well, we were just over at the cemetery and Johnny’s
grave was been vandalized. Someone not only took the grave stone, they
took the casket, too. The grave was standing wide open.” Chet
was really upset.
Roy, Kel and Dr. Candleson had agreed to not let anyone else know
that Trenton was really Johnny until Johnny woke up and they could
see what happened. Now Roy had to think of what to tell these men without
really lying but also without telling them anything.
“It wasn’t vandalized, Chet. I authorized the removal
of his body.” Roy tried to think of a good explanation in a short
period of time.
“You what? Why would you do something like that?” Chet
stopped dead in his tracks when he heard Roy’s words.
“Well, the police reopened the investigation on Johnny’s
accident and needed to do an autopsy since they didn’t do one
at the time of his death.” Roy hoped they would accept his answer
and not ask any more questions. He could never lie to these guys and
if they asked, he wasn’t sure how he was going to answer.
“Why would they need to do an autopsy now? It has been five
years.” Mike did not understanding what was going on. He had
a feeling that there was more than Roy was telling them.
Roy was saved from answering when the phone rang. He hurried over
and picked it up before Jo could so that he wouldn’t have to
answer Mike’s question. “Hello.” As he listened,
his heart beat just a little faster. When his conversation was done,
he turned to face his “family”. “I’m sorry
but I’ve got to go. Dr. Brackett needs to see me about something
and it is kind of important.”
Roy was out the front door before they could question him any further.
Hopefully, after this trip he would be able to tell them everything.
“Hi, Clarissa, how are you feeling?” Dr. Candleson led
the way as he, Dr. Brackett, and Roy entered the room.
“Very sore—I feel like a semi hit me. What happened?” Clarissa
looked wearily at the two men who accompanied Dr. Candleson.
“First, I would like you to meet a couple of people. Then we
see how much you can remember and fill in the rest. Clarissa, this
is Dr. Brackett. He is head of the emergency department here. And this
other gentleman is Roy DeSoto. He is a fire captain here in L.A. Clarissa,
what do you remember?” Dr. Candleson sat on the bed and took
her hand into his.
“Well, Trenton and I were talking about plans for our wedding
on the way to pick you up for dinner. Then I heard some loud pops and
Trenton had blood flowing from his chest and head. Before I could find
out how he was, I felt a burning in my stomach and blacked out. Then
I woke up in here just a few minute ago. Is Trenton alright? Where
is he?” Clarissa started to get agitated.
Roy had been listening to the woman who had won his best friend’s
heart. Just the few minutes he had been with her, he could see why.
When she started getting agitated, he walked over to the opposite side
of the doctor and took her other hand in his. In the voice he had learned
to use to calm patients, he tried to gain her confidence. “Clarissa,
it was my crew who took care of you at the accident. Trenton had to
have surgery just like you did. He is next door and is holding his
own. Would you like me to go check on him for you?” Roy watched
as she calmed and smiled at him.
“Thank you, Mr. DeSoto. I would really appreciate it.” Clarissa
liked the man standing beside her. She had the feeling there was more
to his being in the room than the fact that he had been there when
she was injured.
Dr. Candleson and Dr. Brackett took the opportunity to fill Clarissa
in on who Trenton really was and how Roy was involved. Both men were
grateful that Roy seemed to be using the time to spend a minutes alone
with his friend.
“I bet Roy is turned upside down right now.” Clarissa
felt for the man she had just met. She watched as he entered her room
once again. “How is he Mr. DeSoto?”
“Please call me Roy and his vital signs are improving. He is
even showing signs of waking up. I thought maybe Dr. Candleson and
Dr. Brackett would like to check on him.”
Glad to hear some positive news, both doctors left Clarissa’s
room and headed towards Johnny’s room. Roy watched was the two
men hurried next door.
“Roy, Dr. Brackett and Dr. Candleson told me that Trenton is
really your friend Johnny. I’m glad to finally know someone who
knew him before his accident. It has bothered him that he didn’t
remember who he was. I know that was part of the reason it took him
so long to ask me to marry him. I do have a question for you, though.
Was---is Johnny married?” Clarissa prayed that he wasn’t
but knew she would step aside if he was.
“No, Clarissa, he isn’t. But I can see why he loves you.
I hope we can help him together.”
“Roy, I would really like him to be able to regain all his memories.
I want him to feel like he has a whole life instead of half of one.
Maybe he’ll start remembering things now that he is in a place
he used to call home.”
“I hope you’re right, Clarissa.”
Johnny opened his eyes and tried to focus on the noises and sights
around him. He noticed Dr. Candleson standing beside his bed. His eyes
twinkled when Dr. Candleson realized he was awake.
“Trenton, glad to have you back in the land of the living.” Dr.
Candleson wasn’t sure what Johnny remembered, so he used the
name that Johnny had been going by for five years.
Johnny looked at the doctor with Dr. Candleson. The man looked familiar,
but as far as he knew he had never met the man. He didn’t dwell
on it as Dr. Candleson started his exam.
“Can you tell me your name?”
“Where are you?”
“In a hospital in L.A.”
“Do you remember what happened to bring you here?”
“Clarissa and I were talking about our wedding plans and then
I heard some pops. I felt a burning in my shoulder and heard Clarissa’s
voice calling my name. Then I blacked out. Where’s Clarissa?
Is she ok?”
“She’s next door and has been asking about you. She was
shot twice—once in the stomach and once in the chest. The crash
left her with a compound fracture of one of the ribs in her left back.
But as you know she is a fighter just like you—she is improving
Just then there was a knock on the door. The man lying in the bed
watched as a fair-haired gentleman hesitantly entered the room. A feeling
of confusion washed over him. The guy looked familiar, but he didn’t
think he knew him.
“Hi, Dr. Brackett, Dr. Candleson. How’s he doing?” Roy
didn’t want to frighten his friend now that he was awake.
“He’s doing very well.” Dr. Candleson saw the confusion
as Trenton/Johnny watched Roy enter the room.
“Do I know you?” Johnny had a feeling that not only did
he know this person but also that this person was someone special in
“I’m the Captain of the fire station that responded to
your accident.” Roy looked at Johnny and hoped that he might
start regaining his memories.
“Thank you for helping me and Clarissa. How long have you been
a Captain?” There was something niggling in the back of Johnny’s
“About four and a half years. Before that I was a paramedic
out of Station 51.” Roy wasn’t sure why he added the last
part. Maybe it was a hope that it would trigger something in Johnny’s
“What made you decide to become a Captain?” Johnny didn’t
know why he asked, but he needed to find out more about this man.
“Five years ago, my best friend…my ‘brother’…my
paramedic partner was reported killed in a car accident while he was
on vacation after a week of bad shifts. He was the life of our station
and after his death, we all moved on. It just wasn’t the same
without him.” Roy could tell Trenton/Johnny was thinking about
what he was saying. There was something going on in his mind, but Roy
wasn’t sure if it was good or bad.
The next words out of Johnny’s mouth surprised even him. “I
would like to meet the guys you worked with at Station 51.” For
some reason “Station 51” stuck in his mind. Not knowing
why, he saw a picture of a fire station in his mind. Was all of this
somehow tied to his past and who he really was?
“Sure, that can be arranged.” Roy was startled and looking
questioningly at the two doctors who each slightly shook their heads
yes. Maybe this is what he needed.
“Can you get them here this afternoon?” For some reason
Johnny felt that it was very important to do this immediately.
“Yeah, just let me go make a phone call and I can have the guys
here in about half an hour.” Roy saw how important this was to
“Thanks, and on your way back here, could you check on Clarissa
for me?” Johnny hoped that he would regain some memories. He
didn’t care how many; he just wanted to know who he really was.
“I’d be happy to.” Roy left the room wondering what
would happen when the other members of the original Station 51 A-Shift
came to visit. Would it be helpful or harmful for Johnny? He hoped
that Johnny would regain his memories, but he also hoped it didn’t
make matters worse if he didn’t—that it didn’t bother
Johnny if he didn’t. Hurrying to make his phone calls, Roy prayed
that everything would turn out for the best.
Johnny was lost in thought as Roy left the room. He would have asked
more questions, but the pain medication the nurse had given him just
before the doctors and Roy had arrived, took affect and he fell asleep.
Dr. Brackett and Dr. Candleson left the sleeping man praying that things
will work out ok.
Roy had used the Doctor’s lounge to call Hank Stanley and ask
him to bring Chet, Roy, Mike and Marco and met him in the Doctor’s
lounge at Rampart. He told Hank he would explain when they all arrived.
Then he called Joanne. He needed her support, but he wanted her to
meet Clarissa and to be there for her. Telling her he would explain
when she arrived, Roy turned to find Dixie watching him from the doorway. “Hi,
“Hi, Roy. What’s going on?”
“What do you mean, Dixie? How long have you been standing there?” Roy
had a feeling Dixie had overheard his conversations.
“I came in just as you started talking with Hank. Who’s
here that you would bring the guys and Joanne down here?” Dixie
had a feeling there was something big going on.
Roy heaved a silent sigh as Dr. Brackett’s and Dr. Candleson
entered the room saving him from having to answer Dixie’s question.
“I think we should all sit down and have a cup of coffee.” Dr.
Brackett had heard Dixie’s question and knew they would need
her help when Johnny met the other guys. Just before they began, Joanne
walked in. So, while they waited for Hank, Chet, Mike, and Marco to
arrive Kel, David and Roy told Dixie and Joanne what they knew about
Trenton Anderson and how they determined Trenton was really Johnny
and about Clarissa.
Chet led the way into the Doctor’s lounge at Rampart. The four
men had been discussing Roy’s phone call the entire ride to the
hospital. They figured it had something to do with Roy having given
permission to exhume Johnny’s body and an autopsy being performed.
They all wanted to know what was going on and why after five years,
they would be reinvestigating Johnny’s accident.
The five people in the Doctor’s lounge jumped when Chet slammed
open the door. “What’s going on?” Chet didn’t
even let the others get into the room before he asked his question.
Joanne knew that this was a time that the guys would need to be alone,
so she and Dixie slipped out of the door while the others were coming
in and taking seats anywhere they could find them. She and Dixie headed
to Clarissa’s room to let her know what was going on.
“Well, Chet, first let me introduce you to Dr. David Candleson
from Las Vegas, New Mexico.”
“Hi, Doc, now what is going on?”
Laughingly, Kel then took the lead and started explaining the situation
to the four men.
Dixie knocked on Clarissa’s door and slowly opened the door. “Hi,
Clarissa, my name is Dixie McCall and this is Joanne DeSoto.”
Joanne walked to one side of the bed as Dixie walked to the other. “How
are you feeling?”
“I’m sore, but I feel better now than I did when they
brought us in. You must be Roy’s wife.” Clarissa took an
instant liking to the two women who had entered her room.
“Yes, I am.” Joanne pulled up a chair and sat down as
the nurse in Dixie took over and she checked Clarissa’s vitals.
Joanne and Clarissa were still talking when Dixie had to go back to
work. Clarissa made her promise she would return when she had a chance.
Dixie didn’t need any more urging. She liked the woman who had
won Johnny’s heart.
Johnny looked up as the door opened. He had woken up and knew that
he would soon be facing some men that may be a part of his past—a
part of his life he had not been able to remember. He wished he could
remember his dream. Something made him believe that whatever he had
dreamed was a part of his past. In his dream there was a fire station
with the number 51 on it. It seemed like somewhere he had seen before,
but he wasn’t sure if it was just a dream or a memory. He prayed
that seeing the men that Mr. DeSoto worked with would show him a part
of his past.
As six men entered the room, he saw the same nervousness he was feeling
displayed on each of their faces. The first few minutes were strained
as Roy introduced the four men he and Johnny had worked with and an
old friend of Johnny’s—Gil Robinson. Roy had run into Gil
in the hall and had told him about Johnny. He hoped that maybe seeing
Gil would jog something in Johnny’s memories.
The five men had all been thrilled when they discovered the friend
they had thought they would never see again was indeed alive. Even
if he never regained his memories, they were hoping he would be their
friend once again. Watching his face, they all could see a range of
Johnny looked from one face to the other. As he looked at Roy again,
a picture appeared in his mind of the two of them jumping into a squad.
Hank’s face brought a picture of a roll call beside a fire engine.
Marco’s face brought a picture of the six of them sitting around
a table eating chili. Mike’s face brought a picture of the two
of them sitting on a wall behind a fire station talking. Chet’s
face brought a picture of a wet Johnny standing in front of his locker
after a water bomb. Gil’s face brought a picture of the two of
them waiting to run their heat at a high school track meet.
But at the moment that was all that he could picture. He wasn’t
sure they were memories. Maybe they were dreams that were wishful thinking.
Wanting to put all the men at ease, he turned to Roy. “So you
all worked together?”
“Yeah, Hank was our Captain and is now our Chief. Mike was our
engineer and Chet and Marco rounded out the crew on the engine. My
partner and I were the paramedics. We had a close knit crew. Gil didn’t
work with us—he went to high school with my best friend. He was
a paramedic out of another station.”
“And it was the death of your partner that made you all move
“Yeah, when we received word of his death, it took the life
out of the station and it just wasn’t the same.”
“Are you all still friends?”
“We’re all still as close as we were when we worked together.
We still do things together off duty.”
Johnny wished he could remember these men. They all seemed really
nice. Then he took a plunge. “Can you tell me about stories from
when you all worked together and about your friend?” He was trying
every way he could think of to see if he could remember any of his
Hoping something would click with Johnny as they talked, all six men
started telling stories. Gil told stories of his high school days with
Johnny as the others told some of the funnier as well as some of the
more dangerous stories of the Station 51 original A-shift. Roy watched
Johnny’s face as he joined in the laughter and the tears. Sometimes
there was a look of puzzlement, but nothing that was the proverbial
The pain medicine that the nurse brought into Johnny put him to sleep
effectively ending the visit after two hours of sharing stories. Reliving
some of their rescues and times at the station had all the men praying
that Johnny would remember at least who they were if not the times
they shared together. With a final look at their friend that they had
thought they would never see again, the six men filed out the door.
Clarissa smiled at Dixie as they stopped just outside of Johnny’s
room. Dixie and Joanne had decided to visit Johnny with Clarissa and
see for themselves that Johnny was indeed alive. Jenny and Chris were
with them. They had been thrilled to learn that their “Uncle
Johnny” was alive and had insisted on seeing him. Joanne had
warned them that he did not know who they were and they would have
to treat him as if they were meeting him for the first time. They also
would have to call him Trenton—at least for the time being. Both
teenagers said they didn’t care. Joanne pushed the door open
slowly and held it as Dixie pushed Clarissa’s wheelchair through
the door. Jenny and Chris followed quietly.
Clarissa was startled. Johnny was having a dream. She wasn’t
sure that it wasn’t a nightmare but she was praying that it was
an active dream. Rolling over to his bed, she laid her had on his arm.
He quieted down but didn’t wake. However, he did start talking
in his sleep. “Watch out Roy. Chet, I need help in here. A stack
of boxes fell on Roy and I need help getting him out. Hang on Pally,
Joanne knew Johnny was dreaming about one of the last rescues Roy
and Johnny had done before he had gone on that fateful vacation. She
quickly told Clarissa about the rescue.
Slowly Johnny woke up to find Clarissa, Dixie, Joanne, Chris and Jenny
surrounding his bed. “Uh—hi.
“Hi, honey. How are you feeling?” Clarissa picked up Johnny’s
hand in hers.
“Better—who do we have here?” Johnny looked at the
others in the room.
“I’m a nurse here at Rampart and my name is Dixie McCall.
This is Roy’s wife, Joanne, and his children, Jenny and Chris.” Dixie
took Johnny’s other hand in hers.
Johnny wondered if he knew these people from his past. It was frustrating
to think that they might know more about him than he knew about himself.
But he felt Clarissa squeeze his hand to let him know it was ok.
The group was enjoying a story that Chris had been sharing when Hank,
Chet and Roy walked into the room. The three men were pleased to hear
a sound they had thought lost forever—Johnny’s laugh.
Chris was finishing his story and without thinking used the name he
had called Johnny the whole time he was growing up and mentioned Chet’s
alter ego, the Phantom. “You should have seen it Uncle Johnny.
The Phantom was on the receiving end this time.”
Everyone caught their breath as a strange look crossed Johnny’s
face. No one had told him yet that he was really John Gage. They were
hoping that his memories would come back on this own. His gaze turned
from Chris’s face to that of Dr. Candleson who had just entered
with Kel Brackett. “Doc, my name is really John Gage, isn’t
Hopes rose as Dr. Candleson walked over to Johnny’s bed. “Yes,
it is. You were a firefighter/paramedic here in L.A. You were the partner
Roy was talking about that worked with these men out of station 51.”
The room was quiet as Johnny was lost in thought. Bits and pieces
of dreams he had had over the last five years made a little more sense.
But that was all they were—bits and pieces. “But if I was
found in New Mexico, why was I reported dead?”
“I think I can answer that question.” Hank had done some
investigating after they had discovered Johnny was alive. “The
person who was killed in the accident was a wanted killer. He and two
other men had escaped from the Albuquerque prison. The other two were
also in the accident and eventually they were found in another state
in the hospital. They said they had been in an accident, but neither
of them said that the car they were in had been stolen. When we discovered
that you were actually alive, the police talked to them again and they
said that they had car jacked you in a camp ground in New Mexico. They
had beaten you over the head with a tire iron and left you for dead.”
Johnny seemed lost in thought again. Roy walked over to the side of
his bed and patted him on the arm like he had done so many times before. “Don’t
worry, Junior. It will be alright.”
Mike, Marco, Dr. Morton and Dr. Early had joined the group by this
“Hey, isn’t there a rule against this many people in one
room?” Johnny looked at the faces that only showed friendship
“Yeah, but we always make exceptions for our star patient.” Dr.
Brackett watched the variety of looks that crossed Johnny’s face.
“Do I have a room with my name on it yet? You always said you
should assign me my own room.” Johnny wasn’t sure where
that came from.
“Of course you do. You were a disaster magnet and probably still
are.” Chet couldn’t keep from getting dig in at his favorite
“But he always had nine lives.” Gil Robinson had joined
“You guys always said that. But it really bothered me because
I never knew when I was going to use up the last of those nine lives.
After all, I was bitten by a rattlesnake, got that crazy monkey virus
and was hit by that drunk driver—not to mention all the other
injuries I got.” Johnny stopped talking and his eyes opened wide
in amazement. Looking at Roy, his famous grin spread across his face. “Pally,
I think I’m home.”
Everyone had been listening as Johnny talked knowing that he was beginning
to remember things. The room erupted in a chorus of voices as everyone
started talking at once. It was Hank who finally got the room quieted
Dr. Candleson made his way over to Johnny. “Well, Johnny, it
looks like you have your life back.”
Clarissa had been quiet during the whole thing. She knew Johnny now
had some decisions to make. He had built a life in New Mexico for five
years. But his past was in L.A. Would he stay in New Mexico or want
to return to his life before the attack? Whatever his decision was
she knew she would be a part of his life and would support him. She
knew that he was aware of her slight hesitation when she felt his hand
squeeze hers. Her smile let him know everything was ok.
“You know, Johnny, you haven’t introduced us to this lovely
lady yet.” Chet wondered who the woman in the wheelchair was.
“Well, this special lady in Clarissa Williams—soon to
be….” Johnny stopped as he realized that now he could actually
give Clarissa what he had wanted—what he had missed—his
complete life—not just the last five years. “….Mrs.
John Roderick Gage.”
Again the room erupted in noise as everyone tried to congratulate
the couple at once. But it was Dixie and Joanne who noticed that both
Johnny and Clarissa were getting tired. “I think we all need
to get out of here and let these two get some rest. Both of them will
still be here tomorrow.” Dixie started shooing everyone except
the DeSoto family, Dr. Candleson and Dr. Brackett out of the door.
“We’ll be back and See you soon,” was heard as the
room emptied rather quickly. Roy had noticed that the couple was getting
weary too. “Dr. Brackett, how long will Clarissa and Johnny be
in the hospital?” He had just found his “brother” and
didn’t want to take a chance on losing him again.
“Well, they both will be here about a week. Then it will be
another two weeks before they can return to New Mexico.” Kel
knew that he would get an offer to let them stay at the DeSoto home.
It was the only reason he would consider letting them out of the hospital
in a week.
“When they are released, they are welcome to stay at our place.” Joanne
beat Roy to the punch.
“Just like old times. Right Pally?” Johnny joined the
laughter. “We’d be happy to stay with you.”
Each person had the same thoughts running through their mind. It would
give Johnny the time to decide what he was going to do. And although
none of them knew it, the people gathered around Johnny’s bed
all had the same idea—they all hoped he would return to his life
Johnny sat on the deck in Roy’s back yard watching as the rest
of the original Station 51 A-Shift and their offspring played volleyball.
Clarissa was sitting beside him. They had spent hours over the last
few days talking about the options opened to Johnny. After a lot of
debating back forth he had come to a decision—one that both he
and Clarissa were very happy with. He was just a little nervous about
telling the others, though.
Chet and Marco had both gotten married during the five year period
Johnny was away from L.A. Chet was the proud father of a set of twin
girls and Marco had a set of triplet boys. Mike and Beth had added
another girl to their family and Cap’s daughters had both gone
off to college. Johnny was still reeling from al the changes that had
occurred in his absence. Roy had apologized several times for the way
he had treated Johnny the last three shifts they had worked together.
Although he remembered the shifts and the argument they had, Johnny
believed that their friendship was more important and told Roy there
was nothing to apologize for. Now Johnny was watching as Roy’s
team won the volleyball game. His trademark grin was planted on his
face as the group headed towards the tables to enjoy their picnic.
Chet had been getting anxious. It had been two weeks since Clarissa
and Johnny had been released from the hospital and he knew that they
would soon be released by Brackett to do whatever they decided to do.
Chet was afraid that although they would keep their friendships in
tact, Johnny and Clarissa would return to Las Vegas, New Mexico. “Hey,
Johnny, umm… have you umm…. have you…..” Chet
wasn’t sure he wanted to hear the answer to the question he was
trying to ask.
“Chet, are you trying to ask me something?” Johnny’s
eyes twinkled. He was pretty sure he knew what Chet was going to ask.
“Uh… yeah.. have you…” Chet couldn’t
bring himself to ask the question for fear that he wouldn’t like
“Chet if you are asking me if I have made a decision as to what
I am going to do, the answer is yes I have.” Johnny chuckled
to himself as all conversation and noise stopped. He thought it was
so quiet that he could have heard a pin drop—even in the grass.
“Uh.. you have? Uh..so what did you decide?” Roy was the
one who wasn’t sure this time that he really wanted the answer
to his question.
“Well, Clarissa and I will be returning to New Mexico when Brackett
finally releases us.” He could see the looks of disappointment
on the faces of everyone. “I have a ranch there and both of us
have jobs we need to return to.” The looks of disappointment
grew. “We need to turn in our resignations and put my ranch up
for sale. In a month I will be taking refresher courses to get recertified
as a paramedic and returning to the Fire Department. I hope to be able
to follow the rest of you and take the captain’s exam. Clarissa
is going to be working out of Rampart’s emergency department.
We have already put a down payment on a small ranch not far from here.”
It took a few minutes for the idea that Johnny and Clarissa were moving
to L.A. to sink in. Even Dr. Candleson had to laugh as the words sank
in one by one. When everyone realized what Johnny had actually said,
shouts of joy were heard for miles. It was a happy group that finally
grabbed their food and started eating.
Johnny and Clarissa had been in L.A. for two months. As soon as they
had heard that the couple would be moving to L.A., Dixie, Joanne, Beth
Stoker, Emily Stanley, Yvette Kelly and Kimberlee Lopez had started
making plans for their wedding. They had been in contact with Clarissa
and had helped with the arrangements. Now, today the couple was getting
married in the rose garden of the Carson City Park. News had spread
that Johnny was alive throughout the Fire Department. The park was
a sea of firefighters and even some police in their uniforms. Friends
of Johnny’s and Clarissa’s from New Mexico were in the
crowd. The sun had made the day perfect.
As she walked down the “aisle” towards
Johnny, Clarissa thought about how Johnny had slipped right back into
his life. She
chuckled as she remembered all the red tape they had gone through to
reverse Johnny’s “death” and get all of his records
straightened out. It had been time consuming and a little frustrating,
but today, everything was perfect.
The wedding was beautiful and a happy group enjoyed spending time
with an old friend they had thought they had lost forever and with
a new friend they loved from the moment they met her.
Johnny had passed his recertification with flying colors. It took
him only six months before he took the Captain’s exam. Hank had
pulled a few strings and had been able to get Johnny reinstated in
the Fire Department with all the seniority he had when he had left.
Johnny passed with flying colors.
Johnny and Clarissa surprised the group once again when their first
pregnancy resulted in quintuplets. When the quints were presented to
the group, Chet looked at Johnny and said “If every time Clarissa
gets pregnant you have more than one, you are going to populate all
of Carson all by yourself.”
Johnny joined the laughter of the whole group. Looking around at his “family” and
friends, he knew he was home at last.
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