The next day, Mike was in a quandry. He and his crewmates from Station 51 had manged to get the electrical
outlets for the laundry moved to the kitchen area, and the doors removed from the hall laundry closet, but when he moved to
start modifying the walls, he felt ill.
He reasoned to himself that he was doing something wrong, and sat on the stairs. He could feel eyes on him, and
saw with the mind's eye the Tanners off to his right, looking at him with concern as if to say, "Why'd you stop?"
He walked out onto the balcony which overlooked the ocean. The seabreeze made him feel somewhat better, but "something"
was still "off." He didn't have to do anything right this moment. Perhaps the events of the past year had all
decided to crash in upon him.
The next day at work was the same way. He sought more solitude than usual--he just didn't want to be around
people. Cap found him on the bench behind the station, and asked if there was a problem.
Mike shrugged. "Probably everything that's happened caught up with me," he suggested. "I really don't know.
I tried to start building in the Alcove yesterday, and I couldn't."
Cap looked sympathetic. "I think I do understand."
As Cap was about to reenter the Day Room, his crew met him at the door.
"What's with Mike?" Chet asked.
"Just give him some space. He's been through a lot this past year."
"Oh," said Roy, thoughtfully. "One of those days."
The alarm went off--dumpster fire. As Mike came in from outside, Marco crossed his path. The engineer shivered
as his attention was drawn to his colleague and his gut seemed to turn to lead. Focus! Mike told himself.
Turnout coat on; into the seat; adjust coat; turn the Cole-Hersey switch; ignition. . .
Where were they going?
Mike was displeased with himself for having missed the call--he had been paying too much attention to Marco. Cap
"Where are we going?" he asked. Cap repeated the address.
Once the engine was back, Johnny cornered Mike on the Apparatus Floor.
"What's going on with you?" the paramedic demanded.
"Nothing!" Mike shrugged.
Roy walked up. "There's something going on, Mike. We haven't been working with you all these years just to
ignore it when something is "off,'" he said.
"I don't know what's 'off',' Mike protested. "I'm in a quandry as to whether or not to build in the Alcove.
That's all. . .I think."
Before he knew it, the words, "Something's going to happen with Marco," were out of his mouth.
Both paramedics looked taken aback, then leaned forward. "What?" they both asked.
"I don't know. But I keep getting this bad gut feeling whenever I see him."
"At work?" Roy asked, twirling his hand in a "come on" gesture.
"I wish I knew," Mike said apologetically.
At lunch, the paramedics kept looking at Marco unconsciously. Mike had to kick Johnny under the table to break
his concentration. Johnny in turn nudged Roy, who asked Mike about the Alcove with a big smile.
"I think I could use some help," Mike conceded sheepishly.
Everybody spoke their interest in helping simultaneously.
"What time you want us out there?" asked Cap.
The scene looked more like the Shrine, part two. Mike sat on the stairs as the others did the work. Then,
as if someone had poured cold water on him, he realized what was wrong.
"I don't have any building permits for this!" he exclaimed.
"It's inside. It shouldn't matter," said Chet.
"Are you sure?"
"Reasonably," he said.
The bad feeling was still there. Then he realized that the guys had put up the walls, and the Alcove was forming.
He was beginning to feel like he'd finally come home. He'd lost most of the living room space, but since he wasn't into
entertaining--or if he did, it'd be in the den--such was not that drastic a loss.
In your dreams. . .