Captain Smith's Christmas
7


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Epilogue

Meanwhile, back at the station, the homeless who were still eating were mesmerized by and chuckling at a couple of off-duty firefighters who were relating some of their more humorous runs.  Paramedic Bellingham stood in the doorway between the Dayroom and the apparatus floor.
 
"What's going on?" asked Johnny.
 
"County Fire's Comedy Central," said Bellingham.
 
"We had been called to a car wreck," said the firefighter in the center of the floor.  "When we got there, we couldn't find it.  Then the caller said, 'Look up!' and pointed.  The car was in the tree!"
 
Johnny and Roy walked in.
 
"We pulled a little boy out of a wall this morning," said Johnny, taking center stage.  "His brother had done something to trip him, and he dove head-first into the wall.  We just met up with the family over at Rampart.  The brother bloodied the other brother's nose for sending him into the wall.  The nurse just told me that the boys are named "Cain" and "Abel."
 
"That mother's just askin' for trouble there," said one of the homeless women.  The group laughed.
 
"And what about the time you had to cut the girdle off the lady?" Roy said to Johnny.
 
"Oh, no, no, no," Johnny protested as he blushed and walked toward the door.
 
"The thing smacked 'ol Johnny here in the face!" Roy said, patting Johnny on the back.
 
The homeless roared with laughter.
 
A family of three, who had a toddler, came in the door to receive their meals.  The toddler kept coughing, and didn't want mommy to put her down.
 
"What's with our little princess here?" asked Captain Smith, offering to hold her.
 
"She's been coughing for days.  We can't afford a doctor or the hospital," said the mother as she handed the child to the captain.  She then picked up her paper plate and began to fill it.
 
"I've got six paramedics under my roof right now.  Lopez, where's Gage and DeSoto?  Where are the other four?"
 
"I'll find them, Cap," said Marco.
 
"Tell them to meet me at my bunk," said the captain.  "You can bring your plates into the dorm," he said to the parents.  "We need to separate her from the rest of the population here."

Marco found not only his own crew, but the other four paramedics as well, in the locker room, discussing Captain Stanley.  "Gage, DeSoto, Cap wants you to meet him in the dorm.  He wants all the paramedics in there on the double."
 
"What the. . .?" asked Craig Brice.  "Did he give a reason?"
 
"Very sick homeless child.  He's even carrying her."
 
"Oh, my God," said Bellingham.
 
"Johnny, get the Biophone," said Roy.
 
The child's parents were sitting and standing at the captain's dorm desk, eating.  The captain sat on his bunk, holding the child.  "She seems to be running a fever," he said when Roy came to them.

Roy had to refocus when he thought he saw the captain's eyes misty with tears.  He felt the child's arm.  "She is running a fever," he said.  "I can't do anything until Rampart tells me to, though.  What I can do is start getting her clothes off."  He turned to the parents.  "With your permission," he said.
 
"Absolutely," they said.
 
The paramedics were scrambling into the dorm with their equipment.  Roy got on the horn to Rampart.
 
"Stoker, call in a still alarm," said the captain.  The engineer departed for the apparatus floor radio.

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