Tree Houses are for the Birds
These good fellows don't belong to me but I promise when I'm done to pick um up, dust um off and return them safely home.
"Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do but it doesn't get you anywhere."
The alarm sounded in the station. "Squad 51, woman down, 418 214th Street, 4-1-8 214th Street. Cross street Main. Time out 1954."
"Oww!" Johnny yelled as he jumped straight up from the squad, banging his head on the running board.
"You ok?" Roy called out with a small chuckle under his breath. Closing the Squad's hood he moved over to Johnny's side to check on his ailing partner. It had been a very long day for the young paramedic. Johnny was rubbing the top of his head while mumbling under his breath. Roy bent down and asked him again, more slowly. "Are you ok?"
"Yea, I'm fine," he was already brushing Roy away, waving his hand in the air. Mother hen! "Said I'm fine."
"Ok then, quit playing around and let's go." Roy turned and headed back to the drivers side of the truck and jumped in, waiting for the slip of paper from his Captain.
Johnny sat for just a moment before jumping up and climbing into the passenger seat. Rubbing his poor head, which had taken a beating all day, he looked over to his senior partner, "Playing around? Who's playing around?" He took the note from Roy and mentally noted the address in his head. "I can't believe it. This is the 4th run out there today. What is their problem?"
418 was becoming a number to induce nightmares into even the strongest of paramedics. Call after call was the order for the day of this house. Roy looked at his partner and actually understood why his partner was so frustrated about heading to this house again. Rescuing this couple was becoming a regular occurrence and annoying even to him. "Hang in there Junior. We have to respond no matter how crazy we think they are." Roy pulled out of the station driving to their destination, the sirens blaring. Thoughts ran through his mind and he smiled.
"What's so funny?" Johnny asked looking over to see his partner grinning.
"Oh, just thinking about some of the wild calls we've been on."
Johnny gave a small smile at the thought too but he quickly returned to this couple they were going to see again. They were kinda like the 'fighting therapy' couple that about killed each other, now those were some crazy calls. But Johnny hadn't been able to figure this couple out yet and each trip out there made him more nervous.
Earlier that day, 8:15am
"Squad 51, Man down. 418……………………"
Roy jumped up from just sitting down at the table. Hot steaming coffee still in his cup now left behind. Johnny wasn't so lucky, he dropped his spoon then managed to stand up ramming his head into the corner of the opened cabinet door. He ran out to the bay rubbing his head.
"Well, so much for coffee this morning," Roy grumbled.
"Coffee's bad for ya Roy anyways. Maybe we should just swear off the stuff and try to be healthier." Johnny was saying.
"Since when do you feel the need to swear off coffee? You drink more than I do in a day."
Johnny sat sideways in the cab, "I know that but I read yesterday where Caffeine is bad for your heart. So, I'm thinking I need to cut back some. Thought you'd do it with me."
"Great, you read an article and I have to go through Caffeine withdrawal." Roy just sighed.
As they pulled into the subdivision they both noted that the roads were quiet and there was little to no traffic. Parking the squad in front of the rather large home they came around to the side and pulled boxes to carry in.
Approaching the house nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Johnny knocked on the door and it opened to show a man holding a cloth to his head, blood running down the side of his face. He didn't acknowledge their presence but simply moved back into the kitchen and sat down.
Roy was surprised to find the injured man even answering the door to begin with, "What happened Sir?" Instead of getting an answer Roy found himself following the man until he decided to stop. They were led to a kitchen table and both paramedics noticed the pile of bloodied tissues where he sat.
Johnny stood in front of him. He was obviously mobile with a steady gait. "What happened to your head?"
The man was monotone, "Got hurt." Johnny noticed the lack of expression in his face.
"Well I can see that. How did it happen?" Johnny continued to try and get some answers. Roy worked at the man's side getting vital signs.
"He got hit by a chair." The voice behind them startled both of them as they looked up to see a young woman in the kitchen doorway.
Roy looked up at the woman who was now standing behind Johnny. She seemed to be in her 20's, attractive but Roy noticed the same detached look in her expression as well. She leaned against the kitchen counter. "Exactly how did he get hit by a chair Mame?"
The man looked up, moving away from Johnny's hand as he tried to clean the wound, "She threw it at me."
Johnny turned around, "You threw a chair at him?" It seemed like a perfectly logical question to him.
The man's wife replied, "I wanted a new chair. Besides I didn't throw a chair at him. I just tossed it to him to get rid of it. Not my fault he didn't duck. See?"
Johnny, who was busy bandaging the man's head laceration, looked up just in time to see the broken chair leg heading directly at them. He saw it coming but not fast enough to get his arm up or realize how bad her aim was before it crashed into his own head. Roy was setting up the bio-com to Rampart and turned when he heard Johnny yell.
"HEY! Stop throwing things will ya."
Roy's first response was to check on Johnny but his hand was up at his head and Roy couldn't tell at first glance if he was hurt or not. Instead he saw the wife in his peripheral vision, ready to toss another chair part towards them. Quickly he jumped up and moved around the chair to grab her arm.
"Drop it now," he demanded. She looked at him without emotion. The wood part simply dropped to the floor. He let go of her arm and guided her to the couch to sit down thinking maybe she was in some form of shock because her demeanor was definitely not appropriate for the situation. She willingly followed his direction and sat on the couch. But to Roy's amazement she put her feet up, took the remote control and started watching TV. Roy furrowed his eyebrows not exactly sure what to make of what had just happened. He turned and went back into the kitchen to check on Johnny.
"You ok?" He could now see Johnny wiping the blood from his forehead. She actually hit him! Roy moved over to his partner to exam the injury, in full paramedic mode now.
Johnny had already finished bandaging up the husband's head.
"Johnny?" Roy asked again.
"Yea, I'm ok," he shook his head. "I can't believe she threw it. Caught me off guard I guess." Johnny shot him a crooked smile. Roy reached up and started to clean the cut on his head.
"Let me get a simple dressing on it for now. Looks like you're gonna need stitches. You feel ok?"
"Yea, said I was ok. It'll be fine, no big deal. Just let's get out of this place."
Roy agreed with his younger partner. This call had gone bad and it was time to retreat to safety. They called in the vitals on the husband and it was agreed that he didn't need to go in. He would just follow up with his own doctor.
They packed up boxes and supplies to head out. Johnny tossed it around in his head. Ok, she wanted a new chair, he said no so she simply threw this one at him trying to kill him. Sure it makes so much sense now. Geeze. As Roy and Johnny headed to the front door they looked back in to the nicely decorated home to find the happy couple watching TV together. He was nicely bandaged and she was completely unconcerned about his injury.
Johnny just looked at Roy, "Can you believe those two?"
Roy just rolled his eyes, "Come on partner, let's go get that cut taken care of."
"Aww Roy, do I have to go in? Brackett will never let me hear the end of this."
"Yes Junior, you need stitches. Now be a good partner and get into the squad." Roy patted him on the shoulder as Johnny headed into the squad like a whipped puppy knowing he would not win this argument with his friend.
Entering the emergency room they moved up the hall towards the desk where Johnny hoped he wouldn't have to face Dixie. But no such luck, she was on duty.
Dixie looked from her desk to see her two favorite paramedics coming down the hallway but was startled to see Johnny with blood on his head. "What happened to you?"
"Got a room open and a doc for us Dix?" Roy asked knowing that no explanation was really needed at this point. It was obvious who needed attention and why.
"Sure Roy, go into treatment 3. I'll get Kel," she answered as she smiled at Johnny. One look at his face and she knew it was not his idea to come in and he wasn't gonna spill the details easily. She'd had enough experience with Johnny to know how much he hated being treated in the ER.
Brackett came into the treatment room, just stood and looked at Johnny for a moment. "Is it just you or did you bring a patient with you?"
Johnny didn't volunteer any information right away so Roy decided to answer for him. "Just Johnny doc. He tried to go a round with a chair."
"Hmm," Kelly hummed as he looked into Johnny's eyes with a penlight. "Let me guess who won."
Johnny shot a glare over to the smiling Roy, "I did not try and fight a chair, just had one thrown at me."
Kelly was surprised. It wasn't often that the paramedics encountered a call where the one they were trying to help fought back or tried to hurt them. "Hurt anywhere else?"
"No doc, just the head."
Kelly held Johnny's head at the top to clean up the wound for stitches.
"Ouch doc, watch your hand there," Johnny said as he reached up to pull Kelly's hand off the top of his head.
"Thought you said you weren't hurt anywhere else Johnny?" Kelly sounded frustrated.
"I'm not. It's just a bruise on my head from this morning." As Johnny finished the sentence he saw the look on Kelly's face and knew he was in trouble now.
"Two blows to your hard head today? You don't think that's important Johnny?"
"Doc, really, I just banged my head on a kitchen cabinet door. Its fine, not even a bump." He tried hard to sound very up beat and healthy.
Kelly didn't say anything else. It was exhausting to argue with the young man. He simply went back to suturing up his laceration.
"Six stitch's Johnny. Keep it clean ok? Do you have a headache?" Johnny just sighed. He'd answered the same neuro questions ten times now.
"No I'm not dizzy. No I'm not nauseated and no I don't have a headache." Well the last one was not the complete truth but who wouldn't have a headache when you've been smacked in the head twice in as many hours?
Kel released him back to work with a promise to come straight in if he developed any symptoms. He also knew that Roy would watch him like a hawk and drag him back in kicking and screaming if needed.
Now with that all over with Johnny knew that the worst part was yet to come. He looked up to see Dixie staring at him with her arms crossed. "So how did you wind up in the ER and not the victim?" She was trying hard to suppress a grin.
Johnny looked up and smiled, "Well she didn't like the chair so she was giving it back to him. Full force."
"Oh did she think you might want it instead?" She giggled at him.
"Cute Dix, very cute. Trust me; this couple is crazier than the 'fighting therapy' ones." He shook his head, "I have a bad feeling about that house." He hoped they would never see those people again.
Roy backed into the bay and started to get out of the squad but noticed that Johnny was just sitting. He looked inside the window, "You getting out?"
"Yea, I'm coming," Johnny's voice reflected the dread he felt at everyone finding out he had already been to the ER.
They walked into the dayroom together. Marco was at the refrigerator prowling for lunch ideas. Mike and Chet were sitting on the couch with Henry, reading the paper. Hank sat at the table and turned when he heard them come in.
"Hey fellows, what took so long?" Glancing at them he did a double take when he realized Johnny was hurt. "What happened to you?"
That brought up the looks of everyone else.
"Geeze Johnny, the shift just started and your already a patient in the ER?" Chet chided him.
"This wasn't my fault. Just a crazy couple that decided to put me in the middle of their fight."
Hank looked at Johnny and shook his head, "Stitch's?"
Johnny tried to look proud of his war wound, "Yep, six."
"Johnny, Johnny, Johnny. When are you gonna learn how to duck?" Chet egged him on.
"Oh, go play on the 401 Chet. " Johnny moved over to the coffee and opened the cabinet to grab a mug.
"Chet!" Johnny turned to show his soaking wet shirt and hair to the laughing crew.
Roy slapped him on the back and said, "Go change shirts and I will change your dressing."
For a moment Chet felt badly about getting his injury wet but the site of his pigeon surprised and wet was just too good.
Back at the table again dry with a clean dressing Johnny opened up the newspaper to the land for sale section.
"You looking to buy land Johnny?" Chet was reading over his shoulder.
"Thinking about it." He stood up, taking the paper over to Roy trying to get away from Chet. "Roy? You doing anything this weekend?"
"No, don't think so. Joanne is taking the kids to visit her brother in San Diego. Why?"
"Well, I'd really like to go check out this property. Wondering if you wanna go with me?"
Roy looked at the picture in the paper, "Looks nice, big. What's that?" He pointed to something in the picture.
"Well it says '20 acres, river on 2 sides, large stocked pond, 4 bedroom ranch, and tree house. Guess that's the tree house then." He looked back up at Roy.
"Well, Chris would tell you to get it just so he'd have the tree house," Roy chuckled.
"Tree house?" Chet chimed in again, "I thought Indian's stuck lower to the ground than that."
Johnny was determined that Chet wasn't going to make his headache any worse, "That's a very narrow minded view of my people there Chet. How many trees have you climbed recently?"
"Oh, this fellow has no need to climb tree's Johnny boy. I keep my feet planted on the ground when ever possible."
"Well I grew up camping with my grandfather and climbing trees was a part of the training. And trust me there was no tree house when I got up there. So a tree house doesn't bother me at all." He looked back to Roy, "Bet I could beat Chris to the top of it."
Before Roy could answer…..
"Squad 51, Woman down. 418 …………………….."
"Hey isn't that the same place from this morning?" Marco asked.
Johnny just nodded.
"Maybe we should send a body guard with him this time," Chet laughed.
Johnny almost wanted to take him up on it. He just had a bad feeling about this place.