Friday, September 13, 2013



A Bachelor Firemen Short Story

“As you all know, a fashion magazine camera crew is coming to the firehouse today.” Captain Brody looked about as happy as a cavity-ridden kid at the dentist’s office, but the firefighters of San Gabriel Station 1—all three shifts--broke out in a cheer. It took no more than a brief scowl to make the applause stop. “Ground rules. No talking to the models. No flirting with the models. No handing over phone numbers to the models. You stand where the photographer tells you, we get this thing done, and life goes back to normal.”
Matt McBride couldn’t help himself. His mother had always said – yelled, really – that he was born to make mischief, and nothing in his life so far had proved her wrong. He raised his hand. “Excuse me, Cap, but exactly how rude do you want us to be? Just so we can be properly prepared for all scenarios.”
“Excuse me?”
“Like, for instance, what if a model tries to talk to us. Let’s say I’m the model, and Vader’s Vader.” He turned to the big muscleman firefighter next to him and spoke in a falsetto. “Oooh, Vader, you’re so hunky and fine. Want to hang out tonight? I’m afraid my hot tub’s going to catch fire and I’d looooove to have a man with a big hose nearby.”
Vader looked disgusted. “Like I haven’t heard that line before.”
“You say, ask the Captain,” said the Captain sternly, his charcoal eyes glinting dangerously. No one messed with Captain Brody in that mood. “Anyone talks to you, refer them to me. I’m serious. I fought against this shoot, but a donation to Widows and Orphans goes a long way. I want no disruptions. McBride, that especially applies to the B-Shift, since you’re on duty. You’re extras in this gig, but you’re firefighters first. A call comes in, shoot’s off. You talk to a model, you’re off the shoot. Those are my ground rules. Understood? Now go suit up.”
As the firefighters dispersed, Matt spoke out of the side of his mouth to Patrick Callahan, AKA “Psycho,” the blue-eyed wild man of Station 1 and his closest friend on the A-shift. The two of them had cut quite a swath through the female population of San Gabriel. “Bet you a soda they’re going to want us shirtless.” 
“Anything for the cause,” said Psycho piously. “Anything for the cause.”
Fred, known ironically as “Stud,” caught up to them just before they reached the apparatus bay. “I told my little sister Lizzie we’re going to be in Cosmo, and she just about died. She threatened to rip her braces off if I don’t get Bianca’s autograph.” 
“Who’s Bianca?” asked Matt.
“She’s … she’s world-famous and … and enchanting and she’s the star model who’s coming. Don’t you guys know anything?”
Matt clapped him on the shoulder. “That’s why we have you, Stud. Keep us up to date on all the important and enchanting stuff.”
Fred refused to laugh. Worry creased his endearingly boyish face. “How’m I supposed to get her autograph when the Captain said no talking?”
“You hand her a pen and paper and let her figure it out. Pretend you’re a deaf-mute.” Matt winked at Psycho, who chuckled and shook his head.
“Really?” Fred frowned. “That sounds a little dishonest.”
Vader strode past them on his way to his locker. “Show up at her hotel and buy her a drink. That’s what I’d do. Her and a couple of her friends. Models travel in packs. And they never say no to champagne.”
Seeing the stark terror on Fred’s face, Matt came to his rescue.
 “As if she’d be staying in San Gabriel,” he said. “Celebrities like that, they don’t stay in normal places. They have, you know, supersonic jets and floating hotels that whisk them from one town to another, and assistants whose entire job is to keep specks of dirt off their clothes …” As usual, his imagination ran away with him. He’d always loved to spin a good story.
Vader shrugged one huge shoulder. “Whatever you say, Nessie.”
Matt grimaced. The guys called him Nessie for two reasons. One, he was born in Scotland, and two, he’d once pretended for a solid month that he’d been raised by the Loch Ness monster. Big mistake, that one.
Vader continued. “Besides, I happen to know the entire crew, including the models, are staying at the White Flower Inn. I know a chick who works there. They booked the whole place. Stacy says they practically strip-searched her when she went in to work.” He looked thoughtful. “We did a re-enactment. Didn’t seem so bad to me.”
“There you go, Stud.” Matt squeezed Fred’s shoulder. “All it takes is a strip search and a massive dose of rejection from a pack of models, and that autograph is yours.”
Fred looked a little ill, but at that moment all teasing stopped as a long tone echoed through the station. The dispatcher’s voice followed.
Reported structure fire for Engine 1, Truck 1, Battalion 4, Paramedic Squad 3. 1White Flower Lane, Incident 51, time of alarm 9:22.”
In shock, the firefighters all looked at each other. “That’s the freaking Inn!” Vader yelled. “I gotta call Stacy.”
The sound of the other B-shift firefighters running into the apparatus bay snapped Matt from his paralysis. He was on shift. Right. He grabbed his helmet and face piece from his locker.
“We’ll hold down the fort here.” Psycho tossed him his jacket. “Go save some models."

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