The Brotherhood of Two FNG’s – Part Two- The Wrath of the Lieutenant

When you last left, a Metra Commuter train was barreling down on our ambulance trapped in a railroad crossing as we were transporting a patient to our local hospital.  2 FNG’s, me and Buzz, and a patient were on the way to the hospital when the crossing gates came down on top of the box near a multi-hundred dollar revolving light, seemingly calling attention from anyone nearby to waste just a moment of their time to claim witness to what was about to happen.

This is a good point to address the obvious question you all may have here.  Why not just throw it into reverse and break what needs to be broken- just to be safe? 

B e c a u s e  i f  s o m e t h i n g  e v e r  g e t s  b r o k e n, we endure the Wrath of the Lieutenant. 

OK.  I know you readers are all rolling your eyes- but hear me out- this was not something to ever be a part of. 

The Wrath of the Lieutenant was cataclysmic.  Each of the five human senses were so violated by the event that the End of Times would be pleasurable by comparison.  One need only hear about one of these things to never want to be nearby when it erupts.

The message was clear: Don’t break anything.  It’s only that simple.  Don’t friggin’ break a thing.

Even though it looked like there might be just enough space for the train to clear the front bumper, I thought about the emergency lighting in the front bumper as well.  If those got broken, well, the Wrath of the Lieutenant would be known! 

Something was going to get broken, it was just a question of how spectacular that breakage would be.

So this FNG did the bravest, most heroic deed ever seen in my department’s history.  Forget about saving babies from a raging inferno, this took balls. 

I put her in reverse and slowly backed up. 

The first sound was that of the wooden railroad gate contacting the lens of the revolving light on top of the ambulance box.  Clink.  Tears streaming down my face in anticipation of what would happen if anything broke, I continued inching backward. 

Buzz peeked his head through the cab window and asked what was the matter.  My tear-stained head spun around and I screamed “BEWARE THE WRATH OF THE LIEUTENANT”!

Buzz froze.  He knew. 

His eyes welled up as he quickly did the Sign of the Cross on himself. 

“Don’t break anything!  Just let the train smash us!” Buzz screamed. 

The ambulance continued inching slowly backward.

Others nearby probably only heard the blaring of the approaching train’s horn, but the two terrified FNG’s could only wait for the sound of “something breaking”.  The wooden gate creaked and groaned as it bent farther and farther back, the revolving light holding it’s ground.

After what seemed like hours, the train finally roared by.  Turns out we had plenty of room after all.  Buzz and I shared a look of intense relief and began to dry our pitifully snot-slobbered faces.  Nothing got broken!  We had avoided the Wrath of the Lieutenant!

As we high-fived and danced a merry jig of exultation, the railroad gate, which had been bowed back about 30 degrees began to ascend upward to allow traffic through.  In doing so, it popped the clear dome light lens catapulting it up and forward high in the air, the revolving light still spinning away.

The lens flew like a rocket, arcing high up into the air.  Oh no!  What if it gets broken?  AAAARRRRGGGGHHH!  We watched in amazement as it arced about forty feet into the air then began its descent toward the line of traffic stopped at the light. 

Things were not looking good again for the two FNG’s.

To be continued……

This story has been told and retold countless times

and may or may not be a wildly exaggerated account of utter fiction. 

As we used to say on black shift,

never let the facts get in the way of a good story. 



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John Mitchell

Firefighter/Paramedic and a Lieutenant in suburban Chicago

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