Challenge from Audrey. Write a story about Hank's first day at Station 51.

Captains Three

By Lizabeth S. Tucker

The youngest member of Station 51, Paramedic John Gage, was upset. As usual, when Johnny was upset, everyone was soon made aware of it. "I don't get it. I mean, I know that firefighters move around from station to station during their career, no matter what their rank, but this will be our third captain in less than a year! What's wrong with us?"

"Other than the obvious?" Chet Kelly asked.

"Shut up, Chet."

"Johnny, just because we're getting a new captain doesn't mean there's anything wrong with us." Roy DeSoto tried to reason with his partner.

"Yeah, right." Johnny wound his hand in his hair, frustrated that no one else saw the truth. He stalked off to the refrigerator, preparing to drown his annoyance in ice cold milk.

"Roy, when does the new captain start?" Marco Lopez asked.

"He officially starts next shift, but he'll be here later today to go over things with Captain Smith."

"I heard it's his first station," Engineer Mike Stoker commented softly.

"Oh, great. Not only are we getting our third captain in a year, we're getting a newbie. Man, this is gonna be so bad. We're so awful a crew that they're using us as training for first time captains."

"I hope not," came a new voice from the doorway.

All the men of Station 51 looked up in unison to see a tall, lanky man in crisply pressed uniform. Roy knew immediately who it was and got to his feet, approaching the newcomer with his hand outstretched. "Hello, welcome to 51. I'm Roy DeSoto."

"Hank Stanley, your newbie," he said with an eyebrow cocked at a flustered Johnny. "You're one of the new paramedics?"

"Yes, sir. The red-faced man trying to disappear into the floor is my partner, John Gage." Roy pointed to the other men, one by one. "Your engineer, Mike Stoker. That's Marco Lopez and Chet Kelly."

Stanley shook hands with all his men. His men, the thought was exhilarating and frightening, but one he hoped he could handle.

"Welcome to Station 51, Cap."

March 2006