Serpent's Snare

(A Letter from Marco regarding "Snake Bite")

by Lizabeth S. Tucker


Dear Aunt Constancia,

I know you weren't expecting a letter from me so soon, but I need to talk to someone and I can't call Momma. She's with Rosita waiting for the birth of my niece or nephew.

I'm writing this in the waiting room of Rampart. Yes, the hospital. I'm not hurt and neither is Chet. It's Johnny Gage. Aunt Connie, it's bad.

We were on this call for a car full of kids who crashed off the side of the road into the brush. Everything went fine once the bulldozer made a path down the hill. The brush was so high that we couldn't see the car from the road. We had to get the helicopter to locate them. We got the kids out and Roy went with them on the helicopter. We were getting ready to leave when Johnny remembered that, as usual, he left the HT, the handi-talkie, at the site. Roy is usually in charge of the HT so Johnny always puts it down and forgets about it.

Well, anyway, when we were cleaning up and getting ready to leave, we realized Johnny wasn't there. Cap told us he went back down the hill and searched around the car we were all working around. I guess we disturbed this rattlesnake earlier and, then, just when the snake thought it was safe, here comes Johnny clomping around. The snake bit him.

I think we all stopped breathing when Johnny radioed Cap to let him know. Chet and I were already on our way down the hill before Cap finished ordering us to go.

The poison really hit Johnny quickly. We rode back up on the bulldozer and he was already feeling woozy. Mike and Cap helped Chet and I lift Johnny up on the back of the engine. He had to contact Rampart and set his own IV up. Those classes I took came in handy as I had to get the IV ready for Johnny to use. Scared me to, well, you know.

I drove the squad back to the hospital while Chet stayed up top of the engine with Johnny. I didn't know the engine could go that fast, Aunt Connie! We usually aren't supposed to go over 40 miles per hour, 45 at the most, because it isn't too steady at high speeds and is very hard to stop. But if the squad's speedometer is correct, we hit 50 during some of the rush to the hospital.

Chet went in with Johnny while Mike, Cap and I waited in the hallway. Johnny looked so bad, Aunt Connie. I'm afraid he might not make it. Dixie, the head nurse, sent us off to drink coffee and wait. Roy told us that Johnny had to be tested before they could give him the antivenom. Seems strange to me. You rush to the hospital only to be told you have to wait.

We're waiting for news now, probably from Chet. Even Roy was shooed out of the treatment room. I don't know how Chet managed to stay, but he's very determined where Johnny is concerned. Roy said it was almost time for the results of the test so he's heading back to Johnny. Said he didn't care what Dixie and Brackett, the doctor, said. He was going to be with his partner when they got the word.

I'm sitting here saying the rosary under my breath. We can't lose Johnny, we simply can't. I don't know what we'd do without his antics about the station.

Thank the Blessed Virgin, he's alive! We just got word from Chet. Johnny is not allergic to the antivenom and, according to Chet, Dr. Brackett says that Johnny will recover nicely. Say a prayer of thanks and light a candle for our wayward paramedic. Chet calls him a disaster magnet!

Your loving and much relieved nephew,

Marco