by Lizabeth S. Tucker
"Chet! Please, please, please leave me alone," John Gage begged, wiping green sparkles off his uniform.
The Phantom was in high gear due to it being St. Patrick's Day. Johnny had found green dye in the milk he so loved, green ping pong balls stuffed in his locker, and now a bucket of green sprinkles that shot at him from the top of the storage closet.
While normally Johnny would be upset at being the butt of the Phantom's tricks, today was worse than normal. The paramedic was nursing a sick headache. The last thing he needed was to be the focus of bad Irish humor.
"Gage, I'm not doing anything. I don't know what you're talking about."
"Kelly, lay off." Captain Stanley's voice ended the pending argument.
"But, Cap, it's the Phantom," Chet whined.
"Tell the Phantom that he'll be doing latrine duty until next St. Patrick's Day if he doesn't lay off."
Chet didn't answer, instead going to sit next to Henry, the station mascot, giving a good imitation of a pouting five year old.
Roy DeSoto, Johnny's paramedic partner, watched as the younger man pressed his fingers into his eye sockets. "Johnny? You okay?"
"Yeah. I've just gotta headache. My neighbors, the Murphys, had a party, a loud party that ran all night. Apparently they take St. Patrick's Day almost as seriously as Chet does."
"You have the strangest neighbors," Roy commented.
"Tell me about it." Johnny sighed. "They painted all the walkways and stairs green. They dropped green pellets in the swimming pool and the front fountain. All their clothes were green, Moira Murphy wore green lipstick and nail polish, and the Finnegan twins even had green hair."
"Like I said, strange."
"And if that wasn't enough, I stopped at O'Hara's Diner for breakfast, right? They served green eggs and ham."
"Like Dr. Seuss?" Marco asked as he set some clear water and two aspirins in front of the ailing man.
"Yeah. Thanks, Marco." Johnny swallowed the bitter white tablets, then chug-a-lugged the refreshing water.
"If I see one more green thing, I'm gonna scream."
"Squad 51, man down. Hampton Drive and Belmont. Time out: 0914."
Johnny and Roy hustled to the squad while Stanley acknowledged the call. Construction caused them to take a road that wasn't as familiar to them, one that had some blind turns.
When turning around the last one, Johnny cried out a warning. Dead stopped in front of them was a parade float covered with green paper and a large leprechaun. Roy had no where to go, slamming on the brakes and just about coming to a stop before hitting the long flatbed. Unfortunately, a truck that was following down the road behind them was going at a much faster rate and slammed into the back of the squad, pushing it in a sideways slide into the undercarriage of the float.
Johnny grabbed for the dashboard. "Hang on!" he shouted before sliding across the bunk style seat to the passenger door, his head cracked against the doorframe and knew no more.
"Gage? John Gage? Open your eyes, Johnny."
The voice kept demanding his attention. Someone kept poking and trying to open his eyelid. Unable to ignore the pushy person, Johnny slowly pried his eyes open. Green. He was surrounded by green. Without thinking, he pushed against the green in his face and screamed.
Dr. Mike Morton, wearing a green dyed lab coat, went flying to the floor, caught by surprise. "What the..."
"Johnny! Johnny, it's okay," Roy grabbed his partner's hands. "You're at Rampart. Johnny, it was just Morton."
"G-gr-green," he stammered. "No...no more...green."
"Okay, partner, okay. No more green, I promise." In an aside to the puzzled Morton, Roy asked a favor. "Could you take that off? Johnny's a little sensitive to the color green today."
"Sensitive to green?" Morton shook his head as he slipped out of the coat. "I don't want to know. Just let me finish checking you over, Gage, then we can get you a room."
"White. White sheets, 'kay? No green." Johnny closed his eyes as he relaxed.
"I promise, no green sheets, partner. I'll make certain of it," Roy soothed.
Once the examination was over, Johnny was pronounced as well as could be expected. The overnight stay was just a precaution.
Roy patted his partner on the shoulder. "Johnny, I'm heading back to the station."
Finally aware of what had happened, Johnny looked carefully at Roy. "You okay?"
"Yep. I fell against you and came out without an injury."
"Anyone else hurt?"
"Nope, there was no one on the float. It got stuck during the turn and they left it there while going for help. The trucker that hit us got a couple of scrapes and a ticket for speeding. You're the only one who was hurt."
"Good. I mean, good that nobody else was hurt." He rubbed at his forehead, grimacing.
"Still got that headache?"
"Yeah, only now it's worse."
"Well, soon enough you can try and sleep it off."
"Sure, with nurses checking every hour on the hour. I'll really be able to get some sleep."
Dixie McCall came into the treatment room just as Johnny spoke. "I don't think we'll need to check that often, Johnny. I think we'll do some checks, but we can make them every three hours until later this afternoon, then I think that will be all. Sound good?"
"Yeah. Thanks, Dix. You're the best." Johnny's charming smile was weaker than normal. "And thanks for not wearing green."
"Yes, I think that might be a good thing. I heard what you did to Mike," she chuckled.
Roy smiled. "I'll let the others know how you are. You want me to pick you up tomorrow, Junior?"
"Nah, if you could just get somebody to bring the Rover here and drop the keys and my clothes off, I'll drive home in the morning," Johnny replied.
"Okay, we'll do that." Roy left, then stuck his head back in the treatment room door. "And, Johnny?"
"Happy St. Patrick's Day!"
Roy disappeared before Johnny could find something to throw at his grinning partner.