Flame Jockeys

Episode 3: Hey, Captain Bob

NOTE: Gordon is a Deputy Chief, not the over all fire chief.

FADE IN FROM BLACK:

A man is standing at a stove stirring a pan of spaghetti sauce. There is a young boy, about 7 sitting at the kitchen table behind the man. A little girl of about 5 skips into the kitchen and tugs on her daddy's shirt.

Little Girl

Daddy, when is supper going to be ready?

Dad

(Smiling). Any minute sweet heart.

The father goes back to stirring the sauce, and the daughter skips away.

CUT TO:

The daughter is sitting in the living room floor dancing a baby doll around. There is a knock at the front door. The little girl looks up from her doll.

Little Girl

Daddy, there's some one at the door.

The father doesn't come after a few moments, so the daughter gets up and opens the door. Two men are standing on the other side. They are shot from the chest down, so as not to reveal their face. One of the men puts a hand on the little girl's shoulder:

Man

(His voice sounds grave). Is your daddy home?

The little girl nods and runs into the kitchen.

CUT TO:

Kitchen

The little girl runs up to her father and points toward the kitchen door.

Little girl

Daddy, two men are here, and they want to talk to you.

The man furrows his eyebrows for a moment. The man wipes his hands on a towel then walks through the kitchen door.

CUT TO:

Living Room

As the man walks around the corner of the hallway we see Captain Mack Conners and a Catholic priest standing in the living room near the door. The father's pace slows; he stops at the end of the couch opposite the two men.

Dad

(Worried tone). Mack, what are you doing here?

Mack

(Gestures toward the priest while looking at the floor). Mike, this is Father Richards.

Dad

(Starts backing up. His voice is shaking). Mack…

Mack

Mike, there was an accident…

CUT TO:

Shot of the living room through the front window from outside, we cannot hear what is being said. We see the dad back into the far wall of the living room, and then slide down it. The dad puts his face in his hands and begins to weep. Father Richards move to the dad's side, and place a consoling hand on the dad's shoulder. The little girl stands a few feet from her dad, clutching the baby doll to her chest. Her brother stands a few feet behind her.

FADE TO BLACK:

As we fade to black, we hear softly in the background:

Little girl

(Her voice shaky and weak). Daddy, when is mommy coming home?

CUT TO THEME SONG:

FADE TO COMMERCIAL.

FADE IN FROM BLACK.

Mack walks through the door at the top of the spiral staircase. His head is down and his face is slightly wet, giving the impression that he might have been crying. Mack stops at the end of the couch. Merrill, Dennis, Brad, and Shawn are sitting on the couch. Merrill slightly glances up from the floor in Mack's direction, but does not make eye contact. A tear rolls down Shawn's cheek, but he brushes it away.

Amy is sitting in the armchair surrounded by Hilary, Scott, and Tom. Amy is crying softly while covering her face with her hands. Hilary is sitting on the left arm of the chair with her arm around Amy. Tom is kneeling in front of Amy gently rubbing her knee, while Scott is sitting opposite of Hilary. Tom looks up from Amy long enough to glare at Mack, then returns his gaze to Amy.

Bob and Danny are sitting in the kitchen quietly drinking cups of coffee. We hear Danny softly inquire what happened to Steph, but cannot hear the response of Bob; the camera has returned to Mack.

Mack

(Sighs quietly). I'll be in my office if anyone needs me…

Merrill scoffs. Mack stops and turns around.

Mack

(Drops his eyebrows, and points at Merrill). Do you have a problem, Lieutenant?

Merrill says nothing.

Chief Gordon

(From behind Mack. We cannot see the Chief). No, But I do…

Mack's shoulders drop as if in defeat. A look of sheer terror crosses his face momentarily, which soon fades into regular shock. The camera has shifted so that we can see the Chief. He holds the door open to Mack's office.

Chief Gordon

(Clears his throat). Mack, could I see you in the Captain's office?

CUT TO:

Captain's Office

Gordon shuts the door immediately after Mack enters the room. He then walks around Mack's desk and takes a seat behind it, leaving Mack standing. Gordon crosses his arms across his chest and stares complacently at Mack. Mack fidgets with his untucked uniform shirt.

Chief Gordon

(Showing impatience). I am waiting Captain…

Mack

(Not looking up from the floor)… Waiting for what, sir?

Gordon slams his hands down on the desk as he stands up abruptly, sending the chair he was sitting in flying backward.

Chief Gordon

(Yelling). I AM WAITING FOR AN EXPLANATION CAPTAIN! AN EXPLANATION AS TO WHY YOU SO BLAITENTLY IGNORED FIRE DEPARTMENT PROTACALS! WHY YOU THREATENED TO WRITE UP THREE OF YOUR MEN FOR DOING THEIR JOBS, AND TRYING TO PROTECT A FRIEND. I WANT AN EXPLANATION AS TO WHY THERE IS A FIREFIGHTER DEAD TONIGHT!

Mack

(Takes a breath). Merrill was…

Chief Gordon

(Points at Mack, cutting him off). I don't care about Merrill… (Gordon picks up a manila envelope off the desk)… You're done Conners.

Mack

(His face darkens)… Chief…no.

Chief Gordon

I'm sorry, Mr. Conners, but you are suspended from all Departmental duties pending further investigation into the fire at Burlington Apartments, and the death of Stephanie Robison… Personally, I wouldn't expect to get my job back, Captain.

Gordon tucks the envelope under his arm, and walks out of the office door, leaving Mack standing awkwardly in the darkened room.

CUT TO:

Rec. Room

The firemen sitting in the rec. room are talking quietly. What they are saying is indistinct. When they see Chief Gordon stride out of the captain's office, the room grows distinctly quiet. Gordon stops in the middle of the room, and holds the manila envelope up.

Chief Gordon

(Holding up the envelope). Anyone know where Lt. Parker is?

Merrill

(Slightly hesitant. He is upset, and his voice is wavering. Merrill motions with his hand)… Bob's in the kitchen with Danny.

Chief Gordon

Thank you, Merrill. (As Gordon passes by, he places a reassuring hand on Merrill's shoulder.)

CUT TO:

Kitchen

Gordon strides into the kitchen, his footsteps are heavy. Bob looks up from his coffee, which he is stirring continuously with a plastic spoon. Danny is standing at the counter pouring milk into a coffee mug. Danny turns around, and returns to his place at the table across from Bob.

Chief Gordon

(Stops at the end of the table, and reads from the cover of the envelope). Lieutenant Robert Parker, Fire House 53, Truck 33.

Bob straightens up in his chair. Gordon turns the manila envelope over to Bob, who opens it cautiously. Bob slides a single sheet of paper out, and scans it carefully. After a few moments of reading, Bob's eyebrows rise.

Bob

(Seems genuinely surprised). Are you serious?

Chief Gordon

(Nods, and points to the paper in Bob's hands). Those orders came straight from the Fire Chief's office.

Bob sighs heavily, and slides down in his chair slightly. He stares at the paper for a moment, then stands up.

Bob

When does this become effective, sir?

Chief Gordon

Order's effective as of the beginning of your next shift, and will remain effective until further notice… Now these firemen's shifts were over twenty minutes ago. Why don't you go tell them that they can all go home?

Bob nods and exits into the rec. room.

FADE TO COMMERCIAL.

FADE IN FROM BLACK:

Rec. Room. Beginning of next shift.

Bob is standing alone in the middle of the rec. room looking around. The last fire fighter from the shift previous to his is exiting. Bob's shift is just coming on.

We hear a dull pounding/clanking coming from the spiral staircase. The camera pans slightly to the right so that we see Merrill, Brad, and Dennis walking through the door at the top of the spiral staircase. Merrill drops his bag next to the door, and gives Bob a questioning look.

Merrill

What are you doing here so early?

The other two firefighters nod in agreement with Merrill. At this moment, Shawn pushes through the three standing in the door. He drops his bag in the middle of the floor, saunters over to Bob, and throws an arm around Bob's neck.

Shawn

Hey, Captain Bob!!!

Merrill's eyebrows drop a bit.

Merrill

What… You're our new Captain?

Bob

(Nods). Yes, I am. Which officially makes you the senior Lieutenant for the truck.

Merrill smiles, and nods his head approvingly, as he moves forward and shakes Bob's hand.

Brad

(Takes a few steps forward, shaking his head and his right hand at Bob). Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute… If the Chief's office replaced Mack with you, and Merrill moved up to your place, then whose gonna replace Merrill?

Before Bob can answer, Dennis interrupts.

Dennis

(Groans and rolls his eyes). Crap… We're getting' a rookie.

Bob shakes his head, and holds up two fingers.

Dennis

Oh, no way…

FADE TO COMMERCIAL.

FADE IN FROM BLACK:

Merrill is sitting in the armchair with his feet crossed and propped up on the coffee table in front of him. He is reading a book. Enter stage right, we see a younger blonde man wonder in wearing a slightly sloppy Fire Department uniform. The young man stops at the end of the coffee table opposite Merrill. The man says nothing; he just stands quietly staring at Merrill. He seems to be inspecting him. Merrill finally looks up from his book.

Merrill

(Sounds slightly incredulous). Can I help you?

Ford

(Sounding distracted). Probationary Officer Jesse Jay Ford, but you can call me J. J.

Merrill gets up, and reaches out to shake J. J.'s hand.

Merrill

I'm Lt. Merrill O'Malley, truck 33.

Dennis enters stage left, stopping slightly behind and to the left of Merrill to look at the rookie.

Ford

(Shaking Merrill's hand, still seeming to inspect Merrill). Sir, has anyone ever told you, that you have really bushy eyebrows? They kinda look like caterpillars.

Merrill's eyebrows drop, and his face darkens. Dennis cracks up laughing.

Dennis

(Pointing at Merrill). I told you…

Merrill

(Angry). Damn it, Dennis, this is not the time to be making jokes!

Dennis stops smiling, and looks sheepishly at the floor.

Merrill

(Pushing his words home by waving his hands about). Dennis, we just lost a fellow firefighter two nights ago! Nothing like this has happened in this house before!

Dennis

(Still looking at the floor). I know that Merrill, but I just don't think we need to let it get us down. We still have a job to do. (He looks Merrill in the eyes). We'll do it just the same as every other firehouse in Baltimore. We'll get back on the truck and do it again, do our jobs, and that's how we'll honor Steph. Sitting around here, weeping and depressed isn't going to make anything any better.

J. J. takes a step back, not wanting to be in the cross fire. The glares that Dennis and Merrill are giving each other could cut glass. Bob intervenes before the situation can escalate. Bob steps in between Merrill and Dennis.

Bob

(Holding his arms out to quiet the two firemen). Merrill, that is enough. Dennis is right, what happened was horrible and we are all hurting just the same as you. But we need to move on so we can do our jobs. Now, Dennis. Please stop antagonizing Merrill. (Drops his arms, and turns to the rookie). And you, (points at Ford), you were supposed to be here twenty minutes ago.

Ford takes a breath as if he was about to say something, but Bob holds a finger up to quiet him. A terrified look spreads across Ford's face.

Bob

(Gives Ford a stern look). Don't give me any excuses… Just, just don't be late again.

At that, Bob turns on his heal and stalks into the kitchen, leaving Merrill, Dennis, and the rookie staring wide eyed at each other.

CUT TO:

Kitchen.

Bob enters the kitchen, and shuffles over to the table. He stands next to a chair for a moment, then pulls it out and collapses into it. Shawn, who is sitting across from him looks up from a plate of scrambled eggs at Bob, with a worried expression; stopping in mid chew.

Bob

(Leans forward, groans loudly, and begins rubbing his face)… What in the hell did I get myself into?

CUT TO COMMERCIAL.

FADE IN FROM BLACK:

All of the firefighters are sitting in the rec. room watching TV, except Tom and Scott, who are playing pool, and J.J. who is mopping. Bob is in his new office sleeping. A young lady, of about twenty-two enters stage right.

Scott

(Looks up from his pool game.) Ahh, rookie number two.

The other firemen in the room turn their attention to the young rookie, who shifts from foot to foot uncomfortably.

Rookie 2

(Waves to the others). I'm sorry I'm so late, but traffic was awful this morning.

Shawn

(Gets up and extends a hand to the rookie). I'm Lt. Shawn Kunde, Engine 53, and you are?

Rookie 2

(Shakes Shawn's hand). Probationary Officer Teri Beck.

Shawn turns around so he is facing the rest of the firemen. He points to person as he names them.

Shawn

(Points to himself). I am the senior Lieutenant of the Engine Company, and this is my cohort, Lt. Scott Long. (Scott raises a hand in acknowledgement). That other guy over there playing pool with Scott is Tom Casey. This is Danny Logan sitting in the armchair, and those two beautiful ladies over there are Hilary Kaufmann and Amy Darnell. Dennis why don't you tell this nice young lady about the ladder company?

Dennis

(Smiles, talking in the exaggerated tone of a TV announcer). Teri Beck, come on down!!! You are the winner of an elite spot on the Truck 33 Ladder Company. (Dennis applauds loudly).

Merrill rolls his eyes, as Dennis waves Teri over to where they are sitting. Dennis stands up, removes a cigarette from his front shirt pocket and lights it.

Dennis

(Keeping the cigarette in his mouth). Okay, I am the ever so sexy Dennis Burroughs (laying a hand flatteringly across his chest), and this strapping young lad here is Lt. Brad Wente. (Brad waves politely). That pitiful looking creature over there with the mop, that's the other rookie, J.J. Ford. (J.J. looks at Teri pitifully, and then returns to mopping). Capt. Parker is in his office, taking a nap, so we'll have to introduce you to Bob when he wakes up. (Dennis turns to Merrill). And this, this is…

Before Dennis can tell Teri, Merrill's name, J.J. cuts him off.

Ford

(Points to Merrill). Oh, that's Bitchpants McCrabby.

Merrill

(Looks viciously over the back of the couch). Oh, that is it, Rookie!!!

Merrill jumps up, and stalks around the couch. J.J. screams like a girl, drops the mop, and runs in the opposite direction of Merrill. Merrill begins to run after him. Bob pushes open his office door rubbing his eyes wearily. He watches Merrill and the rookie for a moment, then returns to his office and shuts the door. Teri looks from the door to Merrill and J.J., then back to the captain's door.

Teri

(Looks up at Dennis). Is it always this crazy?

Dennis

(Shrugs). Yeah, pretty much.

Shawn

(Gives a short, sarcastic laugh). Welcome to House 53, rook.

FADE TO BLACK.

END EPISODE 3.