Captain Smith's Christmas
4


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Epilogue

The children saw the squad and engine pull in, and they started cheering.  Dixie escorted 51's crew to Pediatrics' playroom, and tried to keep everything under control.  The parents or guardians who were present smiled with amusement.
 
"Most enthusiastic bunch I've seen in years," Dixie commented.  "Hard to believe they're sick."
 
"Where's Cap?" Johnny asked her.
 
"Upstairs.  Dr. Brackett wants his visitors to keep it short and wear masks."
 
Chet joined them.  "I think I actually saw the captain grin a little," he said to them.
 
A closed patient room door attracted Dixie's attention.  "Did we miss someone?" she pondered out loud.
 
A little boy patient with short brown hair and thick-rimmed classes padded up to the adults.  "That's Tommy's room.  He's really, really sick."  Then he looked up at Johnny and Chet, and said, "Thank you, Mr. Firemen, for the presents."
 
"You're most welcome!" they said, looking down at him.
 
Dixie nodded at the door.  "Let me check on this one before we go barging in," she said.  A few minutes later, she re-emerged, and said, "They're about to move him over to pediatric ICU."
 
"He's worse?" asked Johnny.
 
Dixie nodded.  "But he did say he wanted something to hold in his hand."
 
Chet looked in the bag he was holding.  A small car still in its package sat at the bottom of the bag.  "He's certainly welcome to this, poor kid," he said, handing it to her.
 
Johnny stook stock still.  "What's that?" he said, looking around.
 
Dixie thought a moment.  "Silence," she said, then looked at the playroom.  Every child was quiet, and stared down the hallway at them.

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