The familiar sounds of the wake-up tones reverberated throughout Station 51. Throwing back blankets, the men of A-shift got out of bed, stepping into bunker pants and boots.
"Mike, your turn to make coffee." stated Captain Hank Stanley. "Roy, what's for breakfast?"
"JoAnne made us a breakfast casserole with sausage, ham, eggs, bread, and cheese. Just gotta heat it and make toast and we'll be ready." Roy DeSoto, paramedic/firefighter said.
Soon, all six men were gathered at the table, eating and discussing their upcoming four days off. The main topic of discussion was their planned camping trip.
"Man, this is going to be so cool, just us guys!" Paramedic/firefighter John Gage stated, mouth full as usual. One stern look from Cap, however, took care of that.
"Um, about that, sorry, guys, I have to beg off. Seems my in-laws have invited themselves over this weekend. Maybe next time." Cap apologized.
"Yeah, me too. JoAnne was pretty upset over this, and told me to pick between her & the kids, or the trip. So, I'm spending these days with the family." Roy said, looking down at his plate.
"Well, that's unavoidable, I guess. Everyone else going?" John asked.
"You bet. And Marco says he's still coming, too." Was heard from firefighter Chet Kelly. Marco's sub, firefighter Todd Halley, snorted and said, "Before you ask, no way. New wife, all the relatives gone. Gonna take the phone off the hook and not get out of bed unless it's to eat or use the bathroom. Have fun, I know I will!" The guys all laughed. All but one.
"How about you Mike?" John asked. "Mike? Mike?"
Heads swiveled to look at firefighter/specialist/engineer Mike Stoker, who was staring at his half-eaten breakfast, pretty much pushing the rest of the food around the plate. "Huh?" His head shot up, a flush creeping over his face when he realized he was the center of attention. "Oh, sorry, wasn't paying attention. Guess I need more coffee."
" I asked if you were still going camping" John repeated.
"Oh, yeah, sure." Mike replied, "Can't wait."
As dishes were being cleared, Cap came over to Mike and said, " Mike, can I see you in the office for a few minutes?" "Sure, Cap." he answered.
Mike followed Cap to the office, walked in, and Cap shut the door. The two men sat down and Cap leaned forward and quietly asked, "Are you going to be okay after last night's run?"
Mike sighed deeply, and said quietly, "I think so, Cap. Maybe this trip is what I need to get away from the newspapers and TV news reports. I'm sure I'll be okay."
"Did you need me to talk to Kel?"
"No, if I need him, I have his number."
"Okay," Cap said, "But any problems, call me or him, okay?"
Mike sat looking at the floor, hands clasped tightly in his lap. "Okay, Cap, and thanks." Both men were quiet, reviewing the run from the night before that had Hank so concerned.