"Zipper Dance"
by Starlite 

Johnny Gage was late again as usual; he had hit the snooze button one too many times that morning and had less than 10 minutes to get into the station and get changed for duty. He ran across the bay and into the locker room pushing the door open, without a thought if anyone was possibly on the other side. He checked his watch and figured that he could just make it with minutes to spare. He glanced up only when he heard the sound of someone falling backwards and landing against the lockers with a resounding thud. 

Roy DeSoto barely knew what was happening; he was heading out the door when all of a sudden the door came flying back into his face. He jumped back to avoid being hit between the eyes and in doing so, hit the back of his legs against the bench in front of the lockers and fell backwards into them. 

Johnny, still intent on getting changed in time as he rushed to his locker and threw the door open, remarked to Roy, "What you doing down there?" 

"Inspecting my shoes", Roy grumbled, "Isn't this how everyone checks their shoes before roll call?" Roy was now wedged neatly between the lockers and the bench, with his back leaning against the lockers and his feet propped up on the bench before him. 

"Whatever," was John's reply, which was followed by a silent, "Grouch." He sincerely hoped that Roy wasn't going to be in a bad mood all day. 

Mike and Marco, watching the entire scene, just shook their heads silently and proceeded to aid Roy. Roy was grateful for the assist as he was definitely stuck. Mike was amazed at how oblivious and single-minded John could be at times. He didn't even seem concerned that Roy could have been hurt. Of course, Gage wasn't even aware that he was the cause of Roy's predicament. Then again, everyone knew they had better stay out of Gage's way when he was running late. 

Mike and Marco turned to head out of the locker room and into the apparatus bay, followed by Roy as he was brushing the dirt off the back of his trousers. Roy was just clearing the locker room door when he heard the unmistakable sound of 'Zip' followed by a reverberating, "OWWW". 

Turning around and heading back into the locker room, Roy found his partner doing a strange dance around the room. Johnny seemed to be grabbing at himself and hopping from one foot to the other. 

"OUCH! Can't,... Stuck,...OWWW,...Damn,... Hurts,..." muttered Johnny in obvious pain. 

Roy just stood there befuddled, when the others came running into the locker room. Marco was next into the locker room, and like Roy, stopped dead in his tracks with his mouth gaping. Mike followed suit, running into Marco who fell against Roy. Captain Stanley, who had heard the scream while studying the duty roster for the roll call lineup, proceeded into the locker room to see what all the commotion was and in doing so, slammed into Mike. Like a bizarre chain reaction, Mike was thrust into Marco, who again fell into Roy, much harder this time, which sent Roy down to his knees. Captain Stanley fell silent at the scene before him. All the while, no one had taken their eyes off of Gage who was emitting some very strange sounds and making weird, unusual noises as he performed some strange dance before them. 

Chet had been in the day room drinking a cup of coffee and reading the paper when he heard all the commotion. He charged off to the locker room to see what the excitement was all about. As he ran headlong into the room, he ran straight into his Captain, who now fell into Mike, who then proceeded to fall into Marco, who again slammed into Roy. Roy had just gotten off the floor from the last fall, when he again found himself sprawled on it. He decided he would just stay there this time – it appeared to be safer. 

All this time, Johnny was still before them ranting something about, "Ouch," "Stuck," "Owww," "Hurts," and "Zipper," and hopping from one foot to another. Chet couldn't believe what he was seeing; this was better than any prank the Phantom could pull. 

"What have you done to yourself?" was the Captain's question to Gage. 

"I'm stuck in my zipper," Gage mumbled back turning all shades of red. He was in such a hurry to get to roll call he really wasn't paying close attention to what he had been doing. 

"I've got to get a camera!" Chet exclaimed, as he proceeded towards his locker. 

"No, you don't," the Captain stated as he grabbed Chet by the shoulder and turned him towards the locker room door. "You, go and get the drug box and call the squad in as unavailable until we can get Gage..." the Captain fumbled for the right word finally deciding upon, "unstuck." 

"Aw, Cap," was Chet's reply. 

"Move!" the Captain barked. 

Chet knew that even without the photographic evidence, he was going to have plenty of fun razing Gage over this one. 

Mike and Marco, no longer being able to endure the scene before them, silently made their way from the locker room. In empathy with Gage, each groaned inwardly and made very sure they walked away tenderly. 

Chet had returned with the drug box and handed it to the Captain. The Captain, in turn, handed it to Roy and said, "Here ya go, see if you can help your partner, ah, um, er, get unstuck." 

Roy looked at him with a withering, 'why me,' expression, and the Captain, seeing the unspoken question, responded with, "because you're a paramedic." There were days that Roy regretted not taking the Engineer's promotion; today seemed to be one of those days. 

Just then, Chet chimed in with, "Leave it to Gage to invent the 'Do It Yourself Vasectomy Kit'! You better get it patented quick before someone else beats ya to it! Maybe you can even be the spokesman for the TV ads and pass out free Kinsu knives with every purchase!" he chuckled. 

"Shut up, ya twit. What's the matter with you, can't you see Gage is in pain?" the Captain yelled as he shoved Chet through the door and into the apparatus bay. 

Roy shook his head and proceeded over to his partner to try and see just exactly what he had done to himself this time. "Stand still, Gage, so I can see what is the matter". 

"I already told you what the matter is!" Gage snapped. 

"Well, if you don't stand still – I won't be able to get this zipper off of you!" Roy barked back, still shaking his head and muttering to himself that, "even my 9 year old son knows to be more careful." 

"I heard that Roy!" Johnny exclaimed. "Just hurry up, will ya?" 

Roy examined the situation, and Johnny had really done himself a number. His boxer shorts were intertwined in the zipper as well as a small section of skin from a very delicate section of Johnny's anatomy. There was also a little bit of bleeding and it was evident that Johnny had cut himself on the zipper. 

Roy was unable to get the zipper to come back down because of the boxer shorts being intertwined in the teeth of the zipper, and going up any farther definitely wasn't the solution. He reached to his hip to grab his scissors so that he could cut away the boxer shorts and zipper to see if that would free his partner. 

Johnny jumped back upon seeing his partner reach for the instrument. "What are you intending to do will that?" he squeaked. 

"I'm going to try and get you unstuck. Would you mind standing still before I end up castrating you?" Roy was about at end of his patience with this whole situation. Sometimes, his partner could be such an annoyance. 

"Well, it hurts" Johnny whimpered. 

"Move over here and hold onto the sink, so I can get this over with!" Roy fumed. Roy helped Johnny to the sink with a slight shove. 

"Well, you don't have to be so testy – Grouch!" Johnny snapped back. 

Roy just rolled his eyes, was this ever going to end. He took the scissors and with a few snips was able to free Johnny from the deadly zipper's embrace. Upon his release, Johnny instinctively jerked his left leg sending his knee crashing into Roy's right eye. Roy fell back unto the floor with a yelp. 

"What did you do that for?" Roy exclaimed. 

"Hey, I'm sorry, I didn't mean too, it just happened," Johnny said as he proceeded to help his partner. 

"NO! Just stay away from me!" Roy yelled as he crawled out of Johnny's reach. "Here's the drug box, I think you might have a small laceration and your going to take care of it yourself!" Roy slid the box across the floor to Johnny. Roy then proceeded to get up from the floor and head towards the sink so that he could check out his eye. The eye and cheek were already beginning to swell and turn a nice shade of purple. 'Great, just great,' he thought. 

Gage had taken the drug box over to the bench in front of his locker, and discovered that Roy was right he did have a small cut about a half inch in length. 

"You better put some antiseptic on it before you bandage it," Roy announced, "that's one place you don't want an infection". 

"I KNOW!" Johnny blurted out. Then Johnny silently followed his partner's suggestion. "Hey Roy?" 

"Yeah?" Roy responded. 

"How's your eye? I'm sorry about kneeing you like that," Johnny apologized. 

"I'll live," Roy answered. "You better get dressed, Cap's going to lose his patience soon if we don't get out there and get to work." Roy grabbed some paper towels and proceeded to run some cold water over them to use as a cold compress until he could get an ice bag for his eye. 

Just then Johnny realized that the zipper in his pants was ruined. "Hey, Roy, did you have to destroy the zipper in my pants?" he exclaimed. 

Roy slowly counted to ten, he wanted to just reach out and smack Johnny upside the head. Instead, he retorted with, "No, I could have left you doing the zipper dance." Roy grabbed the drug box and headed for the door. 

Johnny threw his damaged pants into his locker and quickly donned another, making sure to zip more carefully this time and followed Roy out of the locker room. 

Mike, Marco and Chet were all standing in a line in front of their Captain who seemed to be intently studying his clipboard like he was seeing it for the first time. Mike was looking down at his shoes studying the dust specs he found there. Marco was staring at some far away spot on the wall, making sure his eyes didn't move at all. Chet took it all in. Roy was already at the squad putting away the drug box and Johnny was limping behind him. 

"So Johnny," Chet exclaimed, "Did Roy kiss your boo boo and make it all better?" 

With that announcement, there was a collective groan and out of nowhere a mass of wet paper towels landed square between Chet's eyes with a "Splat". Chet let out a yelp as the wet wad hit him. 'Where the hell did that come from?' he wondered. 

With that, the Captain, Mike and Marco could no longer hold in their laughter and it came out in gales followed by tears. Even Johnny had to chuckle, as Roy had really nailed Chet. 

Wiping away the mess, Chet looked up to a very pissed off Roy with a very purple and black eye who was now slamming the bay door on the squad. ‘What happened to his eye?’ Chet wondered, he was definitely going to have to find out. Boy, this situation was getting better by the moment. 

"Roy, everything all right?" the Captain asked. 

"Just fine," Roy replied. 

"Good, call the squad in as available and let's get on with today's work assignments," the Captain announced. 

Roy did as he was instructed and then came over to stand next to his partner for roll call. Johnny took a quick glance at his partner as he stood next to him and winced, Roy had a nice shiner starting and his eye was almost completely swollen shut. 

"Well gentlemen," the Captain began, "Now that we have all of this morning's tragic events over with, we can get down to business. Marco, you've got kitchen duty today. Mike you and Gage have some hose to hang. Roy you've got the dorm, and last but not least – " 

"Yeah, yeah, I know latrine duty," Chet muttered. 

"That's right, Chester B Kelly! I never thought you were so perceptive," the Captain sarcastically responded, "But that's not all, you lucky devil, you're also going to get the prize behind door number 2!" 

With mouths hanging open, everyone just stared at the Captain as he though he was a French fry shy of a happy meal. 

While ignoring the strange looks on his men's faces, the Captain continued with his announcement. "As Gage, and now it appears DeSoto are a little worse for wear today. You are going to be a nice helpful firefighter and wash and wax the squad for them. Roy, you make sure he does a good job, got it?" 

"Aye, Cap," was Roy's response. Grinning as much as his sore face would allow, there might be a silver lining to this cloud after all. 

"But!" Chet started to complain then thought better of it before he ended up washing and waxing their cars as well. "Aye, Cap," he responded silently. 'Hell, it wouldn't be too bad, with that shiner Roy had, he'd only be able to see out of one eye anyway,' he thought. 

"Roy, when you go over to Rampart to pick up supplies, I want you and Gage to get your injuries checked out," the Captain continued "I can't afford to have any injuries that might impair your performance out in the field today."

‘It is bad enough that you'll be the walking wounded and from the looks of things, totally out of sorts with each other,' he thought. He seriously hoped that there was nothing medically wrong that would require having to call a replacement for either one of them. He would definitely not want to have to file a report detailing this morning's events because Station 51's A-shift would become the laughing stock of the department and he'd probably never hear the end of it. 

Gage had started to voice a complaint, but was stifled by his Captain's stony glare. Maybe he could just get Roy to let him off the hook. 

After everyone was dismissed, Roy and Johnny proceeded to check the drug box and head to Rampart as instructed. On the way to the hospital, Johnny tried in vain to get Roy to not make him get checked out and all he got in response was an evil stare from his partner who now looked like a Cyclops as he could only get his left eye open to see with. 

As they strode up to the nurse's station, Dixie looked up to see Roy and Johnny as they approached. She took in Roy's black eye, and Johnny seemed to be limping slightly. Funny, she didn't recall them being out on any runs yet this morning. 

"Hi guys, what happened to you two?" she inquired. 

Johnny wanted to just crawl away and die, man he hoped Roy wouldn't give him up. But he knew that Roy was just dying to get back at him for his black eye. 

Roy just flipped his thumb back and pointed towards Johnny and exclaimed, "Him, and a losing battle with a zipper!" 

Johnny let out a low groan and turned about 5 shades of red. Roy loved the payback he was dishing out. 

"I'm not sure I understand what you're getting at, Roy. But I think this is going to be a very interesting story – so please do tell," Dixie inquired. 

Roy proceeded to give her the highlights and Johnny found himself shrinking and wishing he could just disappear. Just wait until this one got around the hospital, he'd probably never get another date with any of the nurses. Somewhere, Johnny could hear Dixie laughing at Roy's story and retreated even further into his mental cave. 

Johnny was shook out of his funk when he heard Roy ask, "So, we need to get checked out. Are any doctors available?" 

"Right this way," Dixie intoned still chuckling, "I do believe Dr. Morton is available and can see the two of you in treatment room 3." She then turned and headed down the hall to find Dr. Morton. She knew Johnny wasn't very fond of Dr. Morton's bedside manner, and besides why should Roy have all the fun tormenting Johnny. She shook her head, 'sometimes I definitely do have a cruel streak,' she thought. 

"Come on Junior, you heard the lady, room 3, move it," Roy announced, "I want to get this over with because Chet has a date with the squad." 

Shaking his head, Johnny followed Roy to the exam room. Well, things would definitely be looking up when they returned to the Station, he thought; because Roy would then focus his attention to tormenting Chet for the rest of the day. 

Upon entering the exam room, Roy stated, "After you, Junior," and made a sweeping motion for Johnny to get up on the exam table. He then proceeded to go sit on the small stool next to the wall. He had never realized before how cool and good the tile felt against the side of his face. Boy, that eye really hurt. 

Dr. Morton entered the room and taking in both of the paramedics, inquired, "So what seems to be the problem?" 

'Great, just great,' Johnny thought, Dixie hadn't told him. Leaving him to tell his sad tale of woe. Johnny looked with pleading eyes towards Roy who was still resting his head against the wall. 

"The floor's all yours," Roy stated towards Johnny and chuckled to himself. 

"Well, would someone please fill me in sometime today?" Morton complained, "I can see what his problem is," indicating Roy at the back of the room. "But what exactly is your complaint?" 

"I got myself caught in my zipper," Johnny whispered. 

"What?" Morton inquired. 

"I got myself caught in my zipper," Johnny again whispered. 

"What? What did you say, I can't hear you," Morton replied beginning to get angry. 

"I got myself caught in my zipper," Johnny said, just a little louder but still at a whisper. 

"I still couldn't hear what you said. Would you please just spit it out, so I can get a look at Roy? You do realize I have better things to do today than play whispering games with you Gage!" Morton barked. 

'Oh wonderful,’ Johnny thought. 'Morton is in one of his better moods. Too bad I couldn't just die right here and now and get it over with,' So trying again he angrily shouted, "I got myself caught in my zipper, and Roy had to get me unstuck! There, could you hear that!" 

Johnny had shouted so loudly that Dr Early and Dr Brackett, who were standing outside in the hall could hear him. They glanced at each other and then proceeded into treatment room 3, they just had to see with their own eyes what they thought they had heard with their ears. Once inside, they found Dr Morton doubled over in laughter, and Roy chuckling and shaking his head. Johnny on the other hand, was sitting on the exam table embarrassed beyond belief. 

"Doctor, it is very bad form to laugh at a patient," Dr Early scolded Dr Morton. 

"Oh, I know, *chuckle, chortle*, but you wouldn't, gasp, what he, *ha, ha*, did to, *chuckle*, himself," Morton tried to get out. 

"Well, would someone like to enlightened the rest of us", Dr Brackett calmly and seriously inquired. "Just what did he do that you find so amusing?" 

Johnny decided he wasn't going to answer that question this time. 'No way,' he thought and folded his arms across his chest and closed his eyes, he would just keep his mouth shut and that way he would attempt to keep what little shred of dignity he still had. But he forgot all about his partner still sitting in the back of the room until he heard the now infamous response. 

"Johnny got himself caught in his zipper," Roy chimed in. 

With that, Morton's laughter increased, and Dr.s Early and Brackett joined in. Roy merely chuckled, 'this is getting to be a better day than I originally thought, black eye and all.' 

The laughter continued for a couple of minutes, before the doctors could finally get their wits about them. "Okay, okay that's enough," Dr Brackett announced wiping tears from his eyes. "We have patients that need tending to, and these two need to get back to work. Joe, why don't you take Roy to another room and have a look at that eye, and I'll stay and help Dr Giggles here with the Zipper Klutz." 

Dr Early nodded and Roy followed him out of the room. Johnny decided it was better if he just took a mental vacation until his ordeal was over. He wasn't even aware it was time to leave until Dr Brackett showed him the door. In the hallway, Dr Brackett handed him a tube of ointment and told him to keep his "injury" bandaged for a couple of days until it was healed. He also informed him that he would be a little sore, like Johnny didn't already know that, but it would subside and everything would be normal in a couple of days. Dixie appeared from no where and handed him their supplies. 'Roy must have given her the list,' he thought. 

It was a couple of minutes later that Roy finally appeared from the treatment room across the hall. He was wearing a bandage over his right eye and Dr Early was instructing him to keep the bandage on and to rest the eye as much as possible. He was also to put ice on it when he got back to the station to try and get some of the swelling down. Roy had a contusion on the eye itself, and with rest, it should heal with no problems. 

As they headed down the corridor, Dr Early called out, "Hey Roy, you better let Johnny drive the squad!" 

Roy groaned as he handed the squad keys to Johnny. Johnny looked like a little kid who had just gotten a free pass to get out of school as he eagerly headed out to parking lot. 'There is a God,' thought Johnny, while Roy thought just the opposite. 

Johnny started up the squad as Roy called them in as available. Roy was amazed at how much Johnny was acting like one of his kids. Roy silently chuckled to himself, no wonder what happened this morning had happened to his partner; after all, Johnny was really a little boy in a grown-up's body. 

Throwing the squad in gear, Johnny pulled away from the Emergency bay lot, he was so excited about driving the squad that he never noticed a car coming into the bay. The other driver was lost in the fact that he was about to become a father and didn't even see the big red vehicle until he plowed right into it. Roy had barely seen what was happening and didn't have a chance to yell out a warning until after the collision. 

Roy was coming around to the sound of someone moaning, "Why me?" Roy had another new pain in his head and another coming from his right arm to add to today's collection. Looking at his arm and the extra bend he had below the elbow, he knew it was broken. Looking over at his partner, he saw a nice gash over his eyebrows almost running the length of his forehead. Head wounds always seemed to bleed more, and with Johnny, they gushed. 

"You hurt anywhere besides your head?" asked Roy. 

"Nah, just the head – you?" Johnny replied. 

"Broke my arm and gave myself a new headache. Maybe we should go over and check on the other drive,r" Roy answered. 

Just then, Dr Early and Dixie appeared beside the squad. "Maybe you should just let us get the two of you inside and checked out," announced Dr Early. 

Neither John nor Roy protested and allowed themselves to be taken back into the ER to be checked out. Roy was right, his arm was broken but luckily no compound fracture. His new headache was a mild concussion. Johnny had gotten off too with just a mild concussion, but would be sporting 12 new stitches across his forehead making him look like the Frankenstein monster. Both were taken up to the same room to spend the rest of the day and night for observation. 

Dr Brackett called the station to let them know what had happened to the squad and that the two paramedics would be okay. Captain Stanley was initially shocked to hear that the squad was involved in an accident, but was relieved to hear the good news about his men's condition. 

Chet Kelly was the most relieved of all, with the squad in an accident, it now didn't need to be washed or waxed 


Editor's Note:
This story was originally submitted in the "Make Him Bleed" contest.