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"
"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."