Disclaimer: They're not mine, but even Universal couldn't object to my borrowing them for this one.

200 Words: Missed Celebration

by Susan Proto

The squad pulled up to house and both paramedics jumped out as quickly as possible. "I don't believe it," she cried over and over again. "I don't understand how this could have happened," she lamented.

The partners followed the distraught woman into the backyard to find another woman holding a small child, no more than seven, in her arms. The first woman cried out, "He's my nephew. He found the holiday stash my boyfriend had bought. I don't know where he found the matches; none of us even smoke!" the young aunt said with disbelief.

"Ma'am?" Johnny practically whispered as he knelt down next to the woman holding her injured son. "May I examine your boy?" She loosened her grip in response and Gage pulled the child as gently as possible onto the grass.

"Roy? Roy, I can't find a pulse," Johnny said anxiously.

"I'll get Rampart on the horn," Roy said in a monotone, as both he and his partner realized the truth.

The two men went through the motions, but everyone present knew it was too late. The small child never stood a chance against rainbows of rockets and flying helicopters.

There would be one more missed celebration.


Have a safe Fourth of July.