Thank you for joining. I had some who have been very quick to join. That's pretty cool, but I would like Jake and Vinnie to get some traction, because, believe it or not, I try to offer solid information on tactics, investigation, communication, leadership and more in future episodes. I want readers to learn as well as to be entertained.
When I do an episode, I will read it several times to make sure that "spell check" didn't screw me.
I want it on my final read to evoke emotion in ME. The litmus test is when I have Kim read it. If I get the approving nod, then it's a wrap.
The neat thing about the characters is that they are still developing as persons and firefighters. It's fun to develop a persona, then go the other direction and look at their firefighting skills. You can get some real depth to the character of a firefighter.
I think Capote would agree.
Wait; he's dead.
Yes; I'm certain.
Allen? Put the wine glass down and back away...........slowly.......very slowly..............put the corkscrew down.......Yes, I know it's the holidays, but a little restraint please.............I said put the wine glass DOWN.............
Be watching here tonight for a little diddy that I wrote last year, I think.
Anyway, it's a tale as told through the eyes of Rascal, a little dog who wanted to be a fire dog.
And you will only see it here.
Screw the rest of them.
I mean; Merry Christmas.
Rascal was a ten-month old, mixed breed puppy. The story goes that he was part Yellow Labrador, Terrier and Dalmatian.
And it was the “part Dalmatian” that found Rascal wanting to be a fire dog. Unfortunately, the only spot he had on his tan-colored coat was around his right eye.
Not enough spots to get me a ride on a fire truck laments Rascal.
Rascal had his dream and his dream was about all he had. He was orphaned and homeless. That’s to say that his home was wherever he could find scraps of food and bed was often in a culvert or a box thrown in an alley.
Rascal had a tough time trusting anyone. After all, he was very young when a guy threw him into a ditch from a moving car. By the time Rascal came to a stop, his entire body was badly bruised and his right, front leg was broken. He lay there in pain, afraid to cry out, because he didn’t want some wild animal to find him. He had heard stories about monsters from the woods feeding on small, defenseless animals and Rascal didn’t want to find out if those stories were true or not.
Rascal never got to know his family. Just barely old enough to have his eyes open, he remembers being grabbed by the back of his neck and put into a bag; never to see his mom again. He believed with all of his heart that his mom never had a choice. And if he ever got to see her again, he would tell her that he didn’t blame her. He thought about her often. He even worried about her. After all, she was living with the man who threw him out of a moving car, like he was a cigarette butt. He worried that his mom was being mistreated or worse.
But he was on his own. He had to stay sharp. He had to avoid the pitfalls, the traps and the many dangers in his solitary world.
It was December 24th-Christmas Eve. It was just another day for Rascal. Christmas Eve held no significance to Rascal. He was cold and hungry…and looking for food.
Rascal always felt badly after he ate. Not because the food made him sick, but because he thought he was stealing. It’s true that what he was able to scrounge was thrown out by someone, but he felt it didn’t belong to him. He would grab it and run, if he saw someone coming. He felt guilty, but his tummy felt better!
Rascal had no concept of Christmas or the holiday season, although traffic seemed heavier than usual.
Rascal was walking along the highway when he noticed a restaurant on the other side. Ah; he would take up temporary residence there and enjoy several days’ worth of meals.
As he waited for the traffic to clear, he couldn’t stop thinking about the tasty morsels on the other side of the road.
Wait, wait, wait; just one more car and then I can eat.
Rascal slipped on a patch of ice as he started to cross the road. He thought he could still make it, so he continued. No problem with the first lane and then BOOM! Rascal doesn’t even remember it.
By the time Rascal came to, it was getting dark. And there was someone standing over him. He couldn’t move, so he growled. The guy jumped back, fearing that he would be bitten. He ran back to his car and left.
It was starting to snow.
Great; I’m going to be buried under snow and die and no one will know until spring.
The snow was deep in the ditch and Rascal was having trouble feeling his back legs. He had to get out of the cold or surely, he would die. Rascal started pulling himself with his front legs. He was cold, hurt, hungry, lonely, but mostly; he was determined to live!
It was dark now and the fire truck was returning to quarters with its crew; ELTee, Cap, Johnny and Walt. ELTee caught something out of the corner of his eye, as he piloted the big engine down the road.
“Did anyone else see that?” he asked.
“See what?” asks Cap.
“I thought I saw somethin’ laying in the ditch. Mind if we go back and take a look, Cap?” asks ELTee.
Naw; we got time. Go check it out”, says Cap.
ELTee pulls into the parking lot to turn around. They got back to the restaurant and parked the rig. ELTee and Cap walk over to the ditch and see an injured puppy almost completely covered with snow. ELTee and Cap thought he was dead, until Rascal let out a moan.
“Look at that, Cap. Little fella is still alive. Let’s take him back to the rig”, says ELTee.
“Careful, Tee. He doesn’t act very friendly”, says Cap.
“Ah; he’s just hurt and scared”, says ELTee.
Bullshit; I’m cold and hungry thought Rascal.
As they pick up Rascal, he lets out a cry, because of his pain. But he’s also glad that someone found him.
They get him back to the truck and Johnny and Walt wrap him in a fire coat. Rascal was still shivering, but the coat was warm and it felt so good. Johnny had a bottle of water and poured some into his cupped hand and held it to Rascal’s mouth.
Hey; this water tastes good. Not like the stuff I get from the potholes thought Rascal.
The firefighters are showing Rascal a lot of attention. Rascal doesn’t quite know what to make of it, but he doesn’t want to get his hopes up. He hasn’t trusted anyone since the day he was tossed out the car. He figures they’ll drop him off at the animal shelter, because they won’t have time for him.
But it was soooo cool. I’m finally riding in a fire truck! thought Rascal.
Back at the station, ELTee got on the phone. His sister was a small animal veterinarian in town and ELTee knew his sister was over at his house, celebrating Christmas Eve with his wife and kids.
“Lisa? It’s Paul. Can you come down to the station and look at a pup that got hit by a car?” asks ELTee.
“How bad is he, Paul?” asks Lisa.
“He isn’t moving much, but he’s conscious and somewhat alert. He’s not bleeding from his nose or mouth. That’s a good sign, isn’t it?” asks ELTee.
“I won’t know for sure till I get there. I have to swing by the office and grab some things. I should be there in about 20 minutes”, says Lisa.
“What should we do in the meantime?” asks ELTee.
“Just keep him quiet and warm, Paul”, says Lisa.
Johnny and Walt were in the storage room, getting a wooden crate. They found an old pillow and put that in the crate, along with a blanket. ELTee carefully placed Rascal in the “bed”.
Man, this is one, sweet crib Rascal thought to himself.
Why are these people being so nice to me? If I could have, I probably would have bitten them, but I didn’t know them or what they were doing. They act like they care about me. These creatures are definitely strange thought Rascal.
Rascal wanted to close his eyes and sleep, but he was afraid that he wouldn’t wake up again. He HAD to stay awake until the vet got there. He didn’t want to die. He liked the guys who found him and he wanted to show them his gratitude. Rascal also noticed that there wasn’t another dog around; strange, considering that he had always heard that ALL fire stations had a fire dog.
Lisa finally got there and immediately started assessing Rascal’s injuries. Rascal’s pelvis was broken and his organs were pretty bruised, but other than that, he was a little malnourished.
Lisa wanted to take Rascal to her clinic, but Rascal didn’t want to go. When ELTee reached into the crate to pick him up, he clung to Tee like Velcro and he was crying. ELTee asked Lisa if he could keep the pup there at the station. Lisa gave ELTee some medication for Rascal and instructions for treating his fractured pelvis and gave Rascal a pat on the head for re-assurance. Rascal was grateful and licked her hand.
“You’re probably hungry, aren’t you, little fella?” asks ELTee.
ELTee goes into the kitchen. Cap is standing there drinking coffee and asks ELTee how the pup was doing.
“He’s going to be OK. I thought I’d grab him a little something to eat”, says Tee.
“Why don’t you give him some of that leftover roast beef?” asks Cap.
“Good idea; I don’t think anyone will mind”, says ELTee.
Tee takes a plate full of the beef over to Rascal’s bed and hands him a piece.
You got to be kiddin’. Roast beef? For me? I think I’m going to cry thinks Rascal.
Rascal was inhaling the meat. He thought he was going to burst.
“You sure are hungry, aren’t you?” says ELTee.
“I wonder if you have a name. I can’t keep calling you ‘fella’ or ‘pup’. You sure are a cute, little rascal”, says ELTee.
“That’s it; I’ll call you ‘Rascal’,” says Tee.
How did he know my NAME? wonders Rascal.
I always knew that firefighters had superpowers for putting out fires, but reading minds? ponders Rascal.
It was about 11:30 pm on Christmas Eve and ELTee was getting ready for bunk time. Rascal was getting anxious. He didn’t want to be left alone. He didn’t want to be alone ever again. This felt too good. It felt like a dream. He couldn’t believe that people could be this good hearted.
ELTee finished up in the kitchen and Rascal could see him coming. Tee stopped and grabbed the crate.
“Come on, Rascal. You’re going to bunk with me. I hope you don’t mind, but I snore”, ELTee says with a grin.
Hey; no problem, ELTee. I fart in my sleep. You can blame it on the dog thinks Rascal.
“Well, in a few more minutes, it will be Christmas Day, little fella. You’re our little Christmas ‘miracle’ and the other guys are going to be so excited to see you later today. Our station house dog died a month ago. You’re the perfect replacement. You’re one tough, little sumbitch and will make a great fire dog for our station”, says ELTee.
Is my tail wagging? I can’t feel it. I’m wetting myself, ain’t I? I’m so excited. I’m going to be a FIRE DOG; an honest-to-God, smoke sniffing canine. I don’t mean to cry. I don’t know what to say, except that I won’t let you down.
“It’s midnight, Rascal. Merry Christmas. See you in the morning”, says ELTee, as he rubs Rascal’s head.
If this feeling that I have right now is the spirit of Christmas, then I want to feel like this EVERY DAY and I want everyone else to feel this way, too! Rascal thinks.