Click here for updated Character List ("<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Jared<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li>Age: 29<\/li>\r\n<li>Description: 6'3\", 230 lbs of solid muscle, trimmed dark black hair and deep chocolate brown eyes<\/li>\r\n<li>Job: Paramedic (Partner: Liam) \/ Shift Supervisor<\/li>\r\n<li>Boyfriend: Liam<\/li>\r\n<li>Spirit Guide: Bear<\/li>\r\n<li>Nicknames: Masqua, Standing Bear<\/li>\r\n<li>Titles: Sacred Medicine Man of the People<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\"> <\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Liam<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li>Age: 22<\/li>\r\n<li>Description: 6'0\", blue eyes, curly blond hair, nicely toned and tanned<\/li>\r\n<li>Job: Paramedic (Partner: Jared)<\/li>\r\n<li>Boyfriend: Jared<\/li>\r\n<li>Spirit Guide: Eagle<\/li>\r\n<li>Nicknames: Mikisow, Soaring Eagle<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\"> <\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Troy<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li>Age: 25<\/li>\r\n<li>Description: 5'11\", brown eyes, blonde hair, solid but not overly muscular.<\/li>\r\n<li>Job: Paramedic<\/li>\r\n<li>Boyfriend: Tyler<\/li>\r\n<li>Spirit Guide: Wolf<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\"> <\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Tyler<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li>Age: 25<\/li>\r\n<li>Description: 5'11\", brown eyes, dark brown hair, slim<\/li>\r\n<li>Job: Police Officer (Partner: Josh)<\/li>\r\n<li>Boyfriend: Troy<\/li>\r\n<li>Spirit Guide: Wolf<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\"> <\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Josh<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li>Age: 25<\/li>\r\n<li>Description: 5'8\", blue eyes, light brown hair, solid. He and Darrin could pass for cousins or even brothers,<\/li>\r\n<li>Job: Police Officer (Partner: Tyler)<\/li>\r\n<li>Boyfriend: Darren<\/li>\r\n<li>Spirit Guide: Wolf<\/li>\r\n<li>Nickname: Ditch Pig<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\"> <\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Darren<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li>Age: 26<\/li>\r\n<li>Description: 6'0\", green eyes, light brown hair, solid. He and Josh could pass for cousins or even brothers.<\/li>\r\n<li>Job: Fire Fighter<\/li>\r\n<li>Boyfriend: Josh<\/li>\r\n<li>Spirit Guide: Wolf<\/li>\r\n<li>Nickname: Hose Puller<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\"> <\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\"><span style=\"text-decoration: underline; color: #999999;\">Minor \/ Recurring Characters<\/span><\/h4>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Rob<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li>Job: Ambulance Base Manager")
The group had left the cabin yesterday to return to work today. The morning had been filled with waterskiing after breakfast, followed by volleyball and sun tanning after lunch until they packed up and left for the city about mid-afternoon. Everyone had hugged before leaving and they would be texting each other to find the next window of opportunity for everyone to come back. Liam had followed Jared back to the apartment in his vehicle and spent the night.
Work had been fast-paced today so the time went quickly and their shift ended before they knew it. Liam had gone to his apartment to go through his mail and catch up on various day-to-day things he had been ignoring for the past week. He would be back at Jared's apartment about 9 pm and bring a few more clothes and personal items with him. Jared and Liam had been discussing his moving into the apartment and he would do it after giving notice to his landlord.
Jared was at his apartment alone and had just finished smudging. He was sitting on the couch, drinking a cup of herbal tea, watching Peter Griffin and his antics on television. Everyone had weaknesses of varying degrees and one of Jared's was watching this show.
Liam came into the apartment around 9:30 pm and found Jared sleeping on the couch. He gently stroked Jared's face for a moment, helped him up and led him to the bedroom. Liam thought to himself, "Jared is really tired tonight," and helped him get ready for bed. When Liam crawled into bed, Jared snuggled up to him and placed his head on Liam's chest, arm across his abdomen and fell asleep.
They awoke at 5:00 am when the alarm went off. Both had slept well through the night. After a quick run, shared shower, and an even faster breakfast, they headed off to work.
As soon as they got to the base, both could sense something was up. They headed into the shift room for the briefing. Rob was sitting there and had a worried look on his face.
"What's up, Rob?" asked Liam.
"What problems?" Jared asked with interest.
"Tim left a message for me this morning; he won't be in for the next two day shifts. There were three other calls saying the same thing. They all have some sort of gastrointestinal problem."
"We can switch and stay on days if that helps," offered Liam.
"Actually, it does and I appreciate your offering. I was going to ask, but it was too short a notice under the Labour Act for me to change your schedule."
"Rob, it's never a problem for us to help out. We've told you that before," said Jared.
"I think this illness of Tim and his gang has something to do with his wanting to form that association and I have to walk carefully around here. I've always followed the rules and our employer has always been really good to everyone. I still don't understand why he trying to do this."
"Rob, Tim is a borderline medic with his skills. He also has terrible self-confidence and image problems, combined with arrogance, poor people skills, and poor personal hygiene. He is trying to get himself a position of power. Who do you think would be running the association?" said Jared.
"You are probably right, Jared. But, don't hold back anything and tell me what you really think of Timmy," Rob said barely containing his laughter.
Liam gave Rob a smirk and said, "That was sugar coated; you don't want to hear what he really thinks, Rob."
All three of the men chuckled together. "The only problem with you guys working days will be that I need to split you up and put part-time medics with you. That gives me two strong units as opposed to one strong and one weak unit. I know you guys work together well, and you are my best team, but… I hate to split you up."
"Rob, if that is what you need, we'll help you out and babysit the part-timers," said Liam.
"So Rob, how are you going to deal with Timmy and crew? I would suspect they are all in this together for the association. Honestly, the vast majority of the medics I have spoken with either aren't interested or don't care," said Jared. "Come to think of it, that's the way medics deal with everything. They either don't care or aren't interested in change."
"You're right Jared. But, I need to ask you something, in confidence," said Rob.
"Anytime Robbie, you know that. Anything you say to me can be said in front of Liam as well. Both of us understand confidentiality."
"I agree with Jared."
"I'm out of my element in dealing with Tim and his crew. Jared, I'm a Critical Care Paramedic, instructor, and operational administrator. I'm not trained in Human Resources. Although I have been learning slowly, I don't know what to do. You two have never been a problem and have always been the big teamwork motivators, helping me into my role more than anyone else. I thank you for everything you have done, but I am out of my element here and I need help."
Rob continued, "The thefts, the damages, the Health Department, staffing problems and shortages, Timmy, and now the association are all taking a toll on me. My wife is worried sick about me because of my long hours, and I'm not sleeping very well either. I haven't been spending any time with the kids and they are sensing problems with me. My wife and I have even been talking about me finding another job, back in the field somewhere."
Rob had dropped his look of the supervisor, and now looked pretty beaten up. He had a blank look on his face best summarized as 'burnt out.' He had been acting the role of the boss when Jared and Liam came in, but now he had dropped the façade and was being honest to the two paramedics.
Jared was very concerned with what he saw in Rob. He reached out and placed his hand on Rob's hand while at the same time grabbing Liam's hand under the table. Jared concentrated and suddenly both he and Liam were flooded with Rob's thoughts, emotions, and inner conflicts all focused from the point when he left the field to become an administrator til that moment. Jared removed his hand and let go of Liam. He glanced at Liam and asked, "We have to help Rob any way we can now that we know everything, right partner?"
Liam nodded his head and said, "What we need to do is perfectly clear to me, Jared."
Jared turned to Rob and asked, "How is staffing today?"
"It's good. You guys are the floaters today for backup and messy situations," replied Rob.
"Liam, grab us a couple of radios so we can monitor the teams while we are talking to Rob."
As Liam was leaving the room, Jared asked, "You told me the guy you report to is named John. Have you talked to him about this?"
"I've played telephone tag with him a few times over the last couple of days but we just haven't spoken," he replied.
"Let's get him on the speaker phone right now and bring him up to speed. We can all put our heads together to deal with this," suggested Jared.
Liam returned to the room with the radios, closed the door and sat down again.
"Ok, I'll try Jared," Rob exhaled loudly showing his frustration as pulled the phone to him. He picked a line, hit speaker, and dialed the number. It rang and was answered after the third ring.
"Bear Investment Group, how may I direct your call?" asked a young voice.
"I need to speak with John please," said Rob.
"I am sorry, he's in a meeting right now and for most of the day, may I give you his voicemail?" she asked.
"This is Rob, I'm the administrator with one of Bear Investment's ambulance services. I really need to speak with him."
"I am sorry Rob, he's in a meeting right now and for most of the day, may I give you his voicemail? I know he checks it during his breaks from the meeting," she asked with concern.
Jared spoke up, "May we speak with Melanie instead, please?"
"Of course you may sir, I'll put you right through," she replied. The transfer was made and everyone heard the phone ring.
The phone was answered, "Melanie Bear, how may I help you?"
Rob had a puzzled look on his face and was mouthing words to Jared, "Who is Melanie Bear?"
Jared held his finger up in the universal gesture of just-give-me-a-minute.
"Melanie, your voice is as melodic and beautiful as ever," said Jared.
Laughter over the speaker was heard. "Jared! It has been so long and usually when you start a conversation with that old line the shit is about to hit the fan," she said with laughter in her voice. "What's up, cuz."
"I'm here with Liam and Rob at the Ambulance Base. We need help from John and you so we need to speak with him."
"He's in a meeting Jared, not that I can't pull him out, but what's up?" she asked.
Jared looked at the phone for a moment, and then over at Rob. He could see Rob definitely needed help. When he looked back at the phone, he spoke with a very firm and flat voice, "Please pull him. I want both of you to be involved and hear this so put it on speaker when he gets there. It might also be a good idea to grab a cup of coffee, this may take a while. We'll get ready on this end so we'll need a couple of minutes."
"Sure thing, Boss," she said and put him on hold.
Rob's jaw hit the table and he asked, "Cuz and Boss? What is this all that about?"
Liam cut in, "Is this one of those investments?"
"Yup. It sure is Liam."
"Before we get back on the phone with John, I am actually the President and CEO of the Bear Investment Group who owns a number of ambulance services as a small business group within the entire corporate structure. We are a diversified group and have control of businesses in many fields. Melanie is my real cousin and she is John's executive assistant as well as third in command of the Corporation," explained Jared.
Rob was stunned and didn't know what to say. Jared looked at him and said, "Rob, you are drooling onto the table, close your mouth."
Rob shook his head and said, "We need to talk more after this call is finished, Jared. I guess I had better re-phrase that... Jared, may I have a few minutes of your time for a discussion after we have finished with the phone call?"
"Rob, I'm still just Jared, and I'm still just a paramedic who works for this company and for all intents and purposes, you are my boss. I have taken this action because…" He was cut off by the phone line opening.
"Jared, what's up? This must be serious for you to tell us to get coffee," said John.
"John, I am here with Rob at the ambulance service and we need your and Melanie's help. I have dropped my persona and Rob is aware of who I am after Melanie called me Boss."
"Oh shit! I'm sorry Jared," she said.
"Melanie, I am going to charter a helicopter with a cargo net and dump a load of horse shit on your front lawn for giving me up to Rob," said Jared with a straight face.
"Oh not again Jared," she replied.
They could hear John say, "Melanie, last time it was cow shit, not horse shit."
Rob was sitting there looking at the phone and Jared in total shock.
"John, now we get serious. Rob is crashing and burning here. He's been trying to get you on the phone with no success. Why?" asked Jared.
"My apologies Rob; we've been having problems with the voicemail but you should've been put right through to me no matter where I was," said John.
"He wasn't John," stated Jared. "I see a couple of problems and I need Melanie to fix this for me. One, there's a new voice at the front desk who obviously doesn't know who Rob is and the priority his calls get. She was very polite and followed procedure but it appears to me something was overlooked in her training and orientation. Melanie, can you deal with that, please?"
Melanie answered quickly, "I'll deal with it after this call, Jared."
"Thanks, cuz. Second, Rob is burning out because of the size of the staff we have here with him being the operations manager. I want a Human Resources person hired and in place here ASAP and this person will report to Rob. Melanie, once they're in place I'd like you to come down here and spend some time with them because you are the best I know in that field."
Melanie answered quickly again, "I will start looking for someone today, Jared. I won't be able to drive down there though. My car will be buried in the laneway with horse shit."
"Cancel the airdrop," laughed Jared. "I need you here more cuz."
"Will I get to meet Liam? Grandfather called and told us about seeing you two," she laughed.
John spoke up as well, "Yes, when do we get to meet him, Jared? Grandfather told us your whole tribe was in the sweat lodge when he visited you for a chat. He said you guys were cute together and made a good couple."
"I want to know if he is really hung and if I could turn him to the light side," Melanie said.
"Melanie, you may get two loads of shit now, as well as John too. You just outed us both to Rob. At this very moment, Rob is sitting across from me holding his head in his hands and staring at the desk," said Jared laughing.
Jared looked at Rob across the desk from him just sitting and staring at him. He turned to look at Liam and he was blushing, starring at the ceiling and pretending to whistle as if he didn't hear a thing.
Rob spoke up, "Jared, I'm going to have to keep a list of things we need to speak of after the call."
They all heard the word 'SHIT' come out of the phone from the other end a few times. Jared then asked, "Is there anything else you two want to let Rob know about?"
John and Melanie were laughing. John replied, "No sir, we can leave the goats for another day."
Rob exclaimed, "Goats? God help me, what've you two sent me as a paramedic?" starting to loosen up.
Liam jumped in, "Goats? Are you a Daaaaaaddddddy, Jaaaaaaaaarrrrred?" The other end of the phone was lost in laughter and even Rob started as well.
Jared spoke, "I'm keeping my own list here, four loads of shit to be delivered, and a spanking for Liam. Rob if you don't stop helping them gang up on me I'll add loads of shit for your house too."
Rob was obviously beginning to relax somewhat and asked, "My wife has been wanting me to get some for the garden. Could you dump it in the backyard?"
Jared looked at him and gave him the finger. "Screw you all, let's get back on topic here. Next is… Third, I want some of the plainclothes guys from The Bear Security Group with cameras on the move this morning. Rob will give you the addresses, four of them, and I want those people followed and videotaped. They're possibly trying to form an association here at the base. I don't have a problem with unions or associations and you know we have some at a few of the other ambulance bases. My problem is who they are and how they're doing it. If the staff had been serious, I could've even suggested a couple of contacts at the other bases to help them organize. The main people have called in sick for the next two shifts with a GI problem. I want a written report summarizing their activities emailed to me and Rob at the end of each surveillance shift; 24-hour coverage for this job, John."
"Understood Jared," replied John.
"Fourth, now that Liam is known to you guys... John, he needs help with investments. Can you come down and talk to him in the next couple of days. You can also scope out what is going on here," said Jared.
"I can be there in two days. There are a couple of things I need to deal with tomorrow and unfortunately, they can't be delayed. As soon as I'm finished, I'll drive down. Is the spare bedroom still open?" asked John.
"You're more than welcome to stay with us, John. You don't even need to ask," replied Jared.
"Will you wear some fucking clothes when I'm there or have you already got Liam doing the nudist thing already," asked John with a hint of humor in his voice.
Rob looked at him and opened his mouth to speak.
"Rob, you say one more word and there will be three loads dumped at your house," said Jared with a big smile on his face.
"John, he's corrupted me already. He won't let me wear clothing and I have to call him Master," said Liam with a fake pout on his face. The two on the phone were laughing again.
Melanie spoke up, "I think I'm going to like you, Liam."
Jared looked at Liam, "One more word from you and you get the spanking here!"
"Item five, we are having thefts of drugs and willful damage done in our units. I want cameras recording everything in the back of every unit as well as upgrading the cameras around the base. There are some blind spots inside and outside I want covered. Preferably this should be done in the next two days while the troublemakers are off sick because I'm thinking they are involved in these problems," directed Jared.
"Yes sir," John said in a voice which indicated deep thought.
"Item six... Rob, I want you to direct each of the people who call in sick to get certificates from a doctor to confirm it. We are not required to pay for sick day absenteeism so while they are off, no pay. They are not allowed to return to work until the note is in our possession and our Doctor has confirmed the note with their doctor."
"Yes sir," Rob said.
"Item seven, Rob needs a pay raise. Melanie, increase it by 40% and add a paid five-day cruise into his contract yearly, effective today." Jared looked at Rob and said, "I need you to stay in your position here, Rob. Understood?"
Both Melanie and Rob said, "Yes sir."
"Item eight… Liam is to be terminated." Jared then changed his voice to a high pitched tone with a terrible lisp, "He has been such a bitch and I won't stand for it anymore!"
They could hear John and Melanie lose it on the other end of the phone. Rob was laughing so hard he couldn't catch his breath. Liam was standing there with his hands on his hips.
Liam, using the same type of voice Jared had used, "You bitch! If you think you are going anywhere near me, my body, or the bed tonight, you're wrong! It's the couch for you mister until you change your tune. He wanted me to wear a French maid outfit to clean the house, imagine all of this in that costume! It would be big in the wrong places!"
John and Melanie now could not speak because they were laughing so hard. Rob was on the floor having fallen out his chair. Finally, Liam and Jared lost it too.
Finally, Melanie was heard on the phone, "Liam, I think we're going to get along fine!"
Jared spoke up, "You're both just bitches!" Everything finally settled down where people could talk again.
"Melanie, I have been thinking…" started Jared.
"Oh shit, I hate it when he starts a sentence that way," blurted out Melanie.
"As I was saying before being interrupted by my lovely cousin who is almost unemployed, I want you down here tomorrow to help Rob sort out the personnel problems here until you hire an HR person. You can stay at a hotel and troll the city for potential husbands at night. Although... there aren't many rich, desperate, intellectually challenged, visually damaged or blind…"
Melanie cut him off, "Asshole." Jared started laughing again as did John.
"Ok people, do we have questions? Everyone is clear on what must be done and in what timeframe?" asked Jared.
Melanie chirped up on the other end of the phone, "So what are you doing to help us, Masqua?"
Jared smiled and looked at Rob, "Who me? I'm just an ambulance driver. I don't know anything; just ask Liam, he'll back me up. By the way, John and Melanie, did Grandfather tell you Liam is now Mikisow."
"No, he didn't. Way cool. No wonder you two do so well together. I can hardly wait to meet him," said Melanie.
Liam spoke up, "You know Jared; she sounds a lot smarter, on the ball, and nowhere near as old or even as evil or bitchy as you describe her all the time."
Just as Melanie shrieked from the other end of the phone, Liam shrieked at this end due to Jared grabbing his nipple and twisting it hard.
"Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for the meeting. Melanie, send me a copy of the minutes asap, please. Let's get to it people. I have an ambulance to drive," said Jared.
Everyone said goodbye and Rob hung up the phone. Rob stood and stuck out his hand for Jared to shake. When they grasped each other, Jared reached into his mind and saw he was actually happy to see things being fixed and action taken. Rob was thinking to himself his wife was going to be very happy about the cruise. A sudden fear came into Rob's mind about the kids and babysitters.
Rob shook his head and they both sat down. "So where does this leave us, Jared? You are my boss," asked Rob.
"By the way, I just had a thought; I am going to change the cruise to a family vacation with all expenses covered. There will be no need for babysitters."
Rob looked at him in deep thought. "I was just thinking that. Thank you, Jared."
"I was the one who promoted you if truth be known, Rob. I have been the boss or owner of this place since I was young. No one here except the three of us knows it. Do you have a problem with continuing as we were? After all Rob, I kept it from you for years. This is your show. I'll step in if I must to protect my employees, the service users, or my investment if I must, but it's your show. I will not interfere with your job and it will be the same as before. You are to keep talking with John and now Melanie as if I don't exist except as your employee. But if you need something, let me know," said Jared.
"I can do that Jared, and thank you for your help. I thought of you as one of the best medics I have ever seen. Now, I know you are a damn good boss too. Thank you for the raise and benefits. I'll call my wife and let her know what is going on," said Rob.
"Make sure your door is closed please Rob, and do not use my name, just the boss. I know how women and even worse… paramedics gossip," said Jared.
"No problem," replied Rob.
"Something I need you to know Rob… I am not interested in running a business. I know how to do it and enjoy the role I play in the big picture but I truly love my work as a paramedic and healer. That work is my path through life. I have people running the various businesses for me, people like you, Rob. How many people do you know who are the owners of multimillion-dollar businesses, who change disposables for patients who have soiled themselves? You have no clue how much I give to various organizations to help them provide services to the people that they need to live. My life is being a paramedic, working shifts like everyone, and trying to heal those who need help," said Jared.
"When you put it that way Jared, it makes sense. I have to admit I really don't understand why you would still be working on-car and shift work, but if you enjoy it, go for it," said Rob.
"Rob, it's more than me doing it because I like it. It's my calling and purpose on this planet from the Creator," said Jared.
Liam spoke up, "Rob, it's complicated but I know Jared and I would like for you to come up to the cabin for a sweat ceremony. It would help you to understand what Jared means by his path through life. I follow the same path. We were predestined before we were born to help others."
"I have no clue what you guys are talking about but I would love to try it," said Rob.
"Last request of you, Rob. Do you have a problem with Liam and I being gay, and a couple?" asked Jared.
"No. I have good friends who are gay. I had no clue about either of you, not that it mattered. I don't have straight written across my forehead either so all I knew was you guys were good paramedics and good people," replied Rob.
"Neither of us have a problem with you knowing we are gay. We don't deny it but you know how medics talk and gossip. Some of them may try to cause problems if they knew. If it comes up, I'll deal with it then," said Jared.
"Like I said Boss, I have no problem with it. I'll tell no one because it is none of their fucking business!" said Rob.
The alarm on their radios warbled so Jared and Liam ran for their unit.