Disclaimer: I don't own the cast, the crew, the show, the characters, the concept, or anything else related to Emergency! If I did, I'd put the series out on DVD ASAP!
By Lizabeth S. Tucker
"Mrs. Moynihan, it's going to be okay." Firefighter-Paramedic John Gage tucked the blanket around the woman on the gurney. "You just have a broken leg. We'll take you into Rampart Emergency and they'll put a cast on it."
"But what about my husband?" the elderly woman asked, her voice wavering in pain and shock.
Mr. Moynihan, smaller than his petite wife, leaned over the gurney and patted his wife's hand. "Don't you worry, sweetie. I'll be at the hospital as soon as I can get there."
"Roy is going in with you, Mrs. M, so you be good." Johnny wagged his finger at the woman. "No flirting. Roy's a married man."
The frightened woman smiled, relaxing at Johnny's teasing. "You know I could never leave Harold. He'd be lost without me."
"That's right, so behave yourself. Mr. M and I will see you at the hospital. Okay?"
The tiny woman nodded bravely. "You're such good boys, I don't know what we would've done if you hadn't come after Harold called the operator for help."
"Hey, we have to take care of our favorite deli owners. We'd starve if you weren't there on Chet's day to cook." Johnny helped load the gurney into the back of the ambulance and closed the door after his partner entered, slapping his palm on the door twice to signal 'all clear.' He turned to see Mr. Moynihan locking the house up. "Need any help, Mr. M?"
"No, John, thank you. You go ahead. I'll be fine."
"Okay." Johnny climbed into the squad, savoring the feeling of being behind the wheel of the vehicle. When he and Roy were in the squad together, Roy drove. Always. Well, almost always. Occasionally, Roy wouldn't feel like driving and would allow Johnny to drive, but it was a rare event. It was fun for the younger man to be the driver once in a while.
He maneuvered the large vehicle out of the driveway and followed along behind the ambulance, less than two blocks back. Since their patient only had a broken leg, the ambulance was using lights, no siren. The quiet neighborhood wouldn't be bothered by the shrill noise.
With the window open, Johnny enjoyed the cool breeze and rested his arm on the squad door. He kept his attention on all that surrounded him and the squad, constantly on alert for potential problems. He frowned as he thought he could hear sirens in the distance, coming closer. Slowing down, Johnny began listening for the source and direction. He caught a flash of red lights and realized that they were police. Johnny saw a speeding Montego coming down a side street, followed by three police cars, lights and siren in action. He looked ahead. The ambulance was clear of danger. He could either speed up or stop to avoid the high-speed chase. Then the scene ahead riveted his attention. A schoolyard filled with children getting ready to leave for the day was directly in front of the vehicle. There was no earthly way for the car's driver to negotiate a turn to avoid crashing into the midst of the children.
Thinking quickly, Johnny uttered a silent oath and slung the squad across the road, blocking the end of the street. If the driver didn't see the large red vehicle in time to stop, crashing into it would slow him down. The paramedic scrambled for the passenger side in an effort to leave the vehicle, but misjudged the speed of the approaching car. Before he could do more than slip out from under the steering wheel, Johnny heard the squeal of brakes and looked up, seeing the flash of blue as the car's driver tried too late to turn.
"What the hell is your partner doing, Roy?" The ambulance driver asked, seeing Johnny turn the squad sideways across the road.
Roy looked up and peered through the tiny window in the back of the ambulance. "I don't know…aw, hell. Johnny, look out!" Roy cringed as he saw the Montego twist sideways in an attempt to miss the squad. It was too late. The passenger side of the car impacted with the driver side of the rescue vehicle. "Jack, stop!"
Mrs. Moynihan tried to rise up, held in place by the gurney straps. "What is it? Roy, what happened to John?"
Roy looked down at his patient, then out the back window. He was torn between continuing to the hospital and helping his partner. "Johnny…he's had an accident." Roy grabbed the biophone. "Squad 51 to Rampart." When they didn't respond right away, he began whispering, "hurry up, hurry up."
"Rampart. Go ahead, 51," Dixie replied.
"The squad has been involved in a traffic accident with another vehicle. There may be possible injuries. I'll update you as soon as possible. This will delay transport of current patient."
There was silence before Dr. Brackett's voice came on the link. "Permission granted. We'll be waiting."
"You go to him. You hear me, Roy? I'm in no danger. You said that yourself. You go help John."
Roy nodded at the feisty woman, reminded of his mother at that moment. She was correct in regards to the lack of urgency with her transport to the hospital. He jerked his head up as he heard another crash. Looking back through the window, the sandy haired paramedic saw a police vehicle clip the front of the car, then the squad. There was still no sign of Johnny. Two other police cars managed to stop in time.
Police officers poured from the vehicles, guns drawn. They swarmed over the Montego, pulling the driver roughly from it and throwing him onto the ground. A police officer climbed from his wrecked patrol car and joined them. No one went to the fire vehicle.
Roy's decision was made. "Bart, stay with Mrs. M please." He climbed out the back of the ambulance, clambering over the bumper and rushing to where the squad was pushed against a telephone pole.
"Hey, buddy, stay back!" One of the officers ordered.
"That's my partner in there. I'm a paramedic. He might need my help."
Frowning, the cop waved him on. "I didn't realize anyone was in that thing. I figured the driver bailed."
Roy continued running for the squad, yelling back. "What about your suspect?"
"He's fine, although he won't be after the court gets done with him."
Roy took a deep breath before walking around to the passenger side of the squad. The door was still closed, held that way by the pole. He leaned up and over, looking inside. Johnny was sprawled on the floor of the squad, motionless.
"Johnny? Can you hear me?"
A moan answered him. Johnny started to move, stopped by the sharp sound of his partner's voice ordering him to stay still.
"How bad are you hurt?"
"Uh, head hurts. Neck."
"What else?" Roy asked, searching for a way into the squad. "Jack, get my gear, willya? And call it into Rampart. This is gonna take longer than I estimated. I'm calling for another ambulance and an engine. We're gonna need help getting Johnny out."
"You got it, Roy." The driver loped back to the ambulance.
"Nothing, Johnny, or you're not sure?" Aware he wouldn't be able to get inside on the driver's side either, Roy hoisted himself up and wiggled inside through the window, feet first. He wished for his partner's skinniness as he scraped the side of the doorframe and had to squeeze past the telephone pole.
"Uh, I…both?" Johnny reached carefully up and felt his face.
"Didn't I tell you not to move?"
"I hit my nose. It's bleeding," Johnny replied in a muffled voice. He became agitated as he remembered why he was there. "The kids? Did anyone get hurt?"
"No, just you. Stay still."
"Figures," Johnny muttered.
Roy knelt on the seat and felt along his partner's legs, arms, and sides. Finally he felt carefully around Johnny's head and neck. "Jack! Can you get to the collar?"
"Yeah, Roy. I figured you'd need it. Here you go." Jack handed the cervical collar through the window, along with the box containing the blood pressure cup, stethoscope, among other medical equipment.
"Rampart, this is Squad 51. Do you copy?" Roy got the biophone balanced on the seat behind him.
"Go ahead, 51. This is Rampart."
"Rampart, I have a 28 year old male who was involved in a collision…" Roy continued talking to Rampart while taking Johnny's blood pressure and pulse. He ignored his partner's grousing.
When Roy told Johnny he would need to be rolled onto the backboard, the complaints became louder.
"I can get up."
"Hush. You know the routine. No extra movement until Rampart clears you."
"Ro-ooy," Johnny whined.
"Johhh-nny," Roy replied, mimicking his partner. He felt encouraged. If Johnny was feeling well enough to complain, his injuries might actually be minor.
Engine 16 drove up and Roy climbed back out of the squad. "Hang on, Johnny. I'll be right back." He walked over to Captain Powers and explained the situation. "He's trapped inside. I'll need to put him on the backboard and there's no way it will be able to fit through the window. We either need to move that car or yank the squad away from the pole."
"Frank," Powers called to his engineer. "Get the winch hooked up to that car. Give us ten minutes, DeSoto, and we'll get your partner out of there."
"Roy, the next available ambulance is 40 minutes away." Jack had returned from contacting dispatch. "We could double up with your first patient."
Roy bit his lower lip. It would make things tight in the interior of the ambulance, but he didn't want to have Johnny waiting that long for transport. He also couldn't justify staying with his partner that long while Mrs. Moynihan was waiting.
"Roy?" The lady in question's voice came surprisingly strong out of the open ambulance, backed closer to the accident site by Jack. "Roy!"
Roy trotted to the ambulance.
"What's going on? How is that sweet boy?" Mrs. Moynihan asked.
Roy, a little lightheaded from finding Johnny alive and relatively well, resisted the snicker that threatened at the description of his partner as a sweet boy. "I think he's okay, but I need to get him to the hospital. We've got him bundled up tighter than you are, which isn't sitting too well as you can probably imagine."
"Can't he come with us?"
Roy shrugged, looking around the ambulance, one of the newer box styles. "It would be pretty tight, ma'am."
"Nonsense. I'm just a bit of a thing and your partner is as skinny as a rail. We'll manage. Bert here," she waved at the second ambulance attendant, "he can ride up front."
No general could do a better job of ordering his troops to their jobs than Mrs. Moynihan did arranging things in the rear of the ambulance. As Johnny was carried into the vehicle and his backboard slid partly under the occupied gurney, he flashed a pain filled smile at the woman. "Hey, Mrs. M, I just couldn't stay away from ya."
She tched, then smiled back, reaching down with her hand to caress the paramedic's ruffled hair. "Are you hurt badly, John?"
"No, ma'am. Just a little banged up. Roy is overreacting."
Roy lifted an eyebrow at that, but refrained from responding. "Rampart, we're doubled up with both patients due to unavailability of a second ambulance."
"Understood, 51," came Brackett's voice over the biophone.
"Your partner is extraordinarily lucky. With the force of his head's impact with the passenger door, it's amazing that he doesn't have more than a concussion, a black eye and some stiffness, along with a wrenched arm from trying to catch himself." Dr. Mike Morton wiped his face with a wet towel. "I didn't get a straight answer out of him. Do you know what happened?"
"I'd like to hear that story as well," commented Dr. Kelly Brackett.
"From what I could understand, he spotted the high speed chase and realized that the driver would never make the sharp turn in front of Lake Gardens Elementary. School had just let out and the grounds were filled with kids. He thought that the driver might see the red squad early enough to slow down for the turn or, if worst came to worst, he could block the car from plowing through crowds of kids."
"Hell of a brave thing to do," Brackett said.
"Stupid, if you ask me," Morton chimed in.
"Johnny wasn't planning on staying in the squad, but the car hit before he could bail." Roy defended his partner's actions.
"Now that would've been the smart thing to do. Of course, since it was Gage, he screwed it up." A new voice entered the discussion.
Roy looked behind him to see firefighter Chet Kelly. "What are you doing here?"
"Cap sent me to pick you up in the replacement squad. Charley had an emergency in another part of the county, so he wasn't able to drive it over here so he dropped it at the Station and Cap told me to come get you." Kelly looked at the doctors, at Roy, at the floor, at the hallway before speaking again. "Uh, so Gage is okay, right?"
Brackett hid a smile. "Yes, he'll be fine. We're keeping him overnight, Roy, for observation. He'll miss his next shift, but if nothing else happens, he'll be back to work at the one after that. You weren't worried, were you, Chet?" Brackett was well aware of the complex and confusing relationship between John Gage and Chet Kelly.
"Me? Nah. Although when Charley gets his hands on him, you might be needed again." Charley, their mechanic, rarely appreciated damage inflicted on his vehicles, no matter what the cause.
"Steamed, was he?" Roy asked.
"I learned a few new words."
Morton peered at the firefighter. "Would you like to say hello to John?"
"No way! C'mon, Roy, we've got to get back. Cap called in Dwyer to work the rest of the shift. He should be waiting by time we get there."
"Fine. Let me say goodbye to Johnny and I'll meet you outside."
Roy went back to the treatment room and stuck his head inside. Johnny was sprawled on his back, his arm flung over his eyes. "You awake?"
Johnny snorted. "With this headache, I won't be anything else."
"My ride's here so I've gotta leave. Brackett says you'll be out tomorrow. Give me a call and I'll pick you up." Roy gazed at his bleary-eyed partner. "Do you need anything?"
"Nah, I'm good."
"Oh. Well, okay then. I'll see you tomorrow."
Walking down the hallway, Roy felt the tension drop from his shoulders. He had seen the state of the squad on the driver's side as the ambulance pulled away. How his partner had survived, Roy would never understand nor would he question it. He would simply be happy with the miracle. Chet was leaning against the replacement squad, chatting with two giggling student nurses. Roy shook his head in amused recognition. Deny it all they wanted, Chet and Johnny were two of a kind. "C'mon, Romeo, let's go home."
As usual, thanks to Audrey for beta-ing this story (is that a word?). Any mistakes are mine.