One Of Those Days . . . Weeks . . .
Can I Pull My Hair Out Now????
NOTE: This is a short humorous story in the FCPD/AU, which was created by Heidi, but who generously pulled me along for the ride. Thanks pard! It's a bit different for me, as it's mainly Casey with just a hint of Buck and Chris thrown in. It was written after an extremely rough couple of weeks at work (yes I'm a dispatcher). Sadly, the bad days are still going on. The stories are true, the names have been changed to protect the guilty. If I projected a bit of myself into Casey it's purely coincidental, I'm actually much worse! You don't want to be in a room with me when I vent on callers or police officers. <g>
One of Those Days
“9-1-1, state your emergency.” The automatic greeting for answering the police emergency line flowed from Casey’s lips in a calm, even tone.
"Do you have the number to Mabel’s Beauty Salon?” The high-pitched, female voice asked from the other end.
Casey almost issued an audible groan. “Ma’am, you dialed 9-1-1. You need to dial 4-1-1 for information. This line is for emergencies only.”
"Well, this is an emergency!” came the screech from the other side. “You should see my hair. I have a faculty dinner tonight, and I can’t find my address book.” The ear-splitting screech faded into a shrill whine.
“I’m sorry ma’am this is the police department, I can’t help you. You have to hang up and dial 4-1-1, or look in your local phone book.”
"Well!” The caller issued an indignant huff. “I thought the police department was suppose to help people.”
Casey sighed, leaning over her console and softly banging her head on the desk.
Ladonna chuckled from her position at the radio. Right now, Casey handled the incoming telephone calls, while Ladonna dealt with sending the officers by transmitting calls over the radio. “It’s going to be one of those nights.”
The young dispatcher gave her partner a disgusted look. “One of those nights! It’s been one of those weeks. I think everyone took a stupid pill and said, ‘Hey, let’s call the police and show how stupid we are.’”
Anything else Ladonna was going to say was interrupted by the ringing phone.
“Four Corners Police Department,” Casey answered the regular line.
“I think my friend may have taken too many pills.” The hesitant voice half mumbled, half whispered.
“What exactly is going on?” Casey asked.
“Well, I can’t wake her up.”
“Is she breathing?”
“I think so.”
“Can you check and make sure?”
“Um, yeah. Her, uh, chest’s moving up and down.”
“That’s good. It means she’s breathing. That’s good too. Do you know what she took?”
“How much did she take?”
“I don’t know.”
“Where are you at?”
“At her house.”
Casey smacked her head, just knowing she should have defined the question better. “What address are you at, sir?”
“I’m not sure; it’s her house. I think I can tell you how to get here.”
“I really need a physical address, sir.” Casey knew directions were a last resort, as callers tended to use landmarks familiar to them, rather than actual street names. It made it difficult for emergency crews to move quickly to an address, as well as increase the chances for crews to get lost or misdirected. “Are you calling from the phone in the house?”
“No, my cell phone.”
“Is there a phone in the house?”
From the slow speech of the caller, Casey wouldn’t be surprised if the speaker also had a little too much of what the victim took. At any rate, she knew it was going to be like pulling teeth to get any information from this caller. “Sir, if you can get the other phone and dial 9-1-1, I will be able to get your address on my screen.”
“It doesn’t work.”
“Did you dial 9-1-1?”
“No, the phone doesn’t work.”
“Sir, don’t worry. Even if phone service doesn’t exist or has been disconnected the phone will still be able to dial 9-1-1, it’s the law.”
“But it doesn’t work, see.”
Casey truly believed the guy was holding the phone up to his cell phone for her to actually see the problem. She shook her head with disgust. “Sir, is that a cordless phone?”
“It has a cord, and it plugs into the wall.”
Casey rolled her eyes, not even going to waste any more time, figuring the phone was cordless and the receiver was left off the hook. The battery was probably dead. Or they didn’t have power. “Okay, sir, is there any thing else around there with an address or something on it, some letters or bills?”
“I don’t know.”
“Can you look?” Casey heard the man speaking to someone else. “Sir, is your friend awake?”
“No, we still can’t get her up.”
“Is someone else there with you?”
“Yeah, her friend, Laura.”
“Does Laura know what address you’re at?”
She heard him asking the question off-line.
“Not really, she hasn’t known her for that long. She thinks it might be 910 Desert Plains, but she’s not sure.”
“Okay keep looking for some letters to see if we can verify that address,” Casey instructed as she typed the address in the computer, sending what meager information she had to Ladonna for police dispatch, and also to EMS for medical. She realized they were going to have to do this one the hard way. She would get a general address and directions for the officers and ambulance to get started. Then she would get the names of the parties involved to see if they had been handled by the department before. They might be able to get the possible address that way. But it was another risk for a dead end, given how often some people moved.
“Sir, what’s your name?”
Casey bit her lip to keep from asking if he was sure. “What’s your last name John?”
“What’s your phone number, John?”
“Uh. . .”
“John, what’s your phone number?”
“I don’t know. . . just a minute.” Casey heard him turn to say something to the other person in the room and fought to keep from grinding her teeth. “I don’t know my cell phone, but Laura’s got the number to the house here…oh, but it doesn’t work.”
Casey heaved a huge sigh of relief. “No, John, that’s fine, let me have the number to the house.” He gave it to her slowly, and only two um’s. She quickly pushed the numbers into her 9-1-1 system to do a reverse look up of the listing. The screen showed the address was surprisingly 910 Desert Plains, gave the homeowner’s name, and the phone number she just entered.
“John is your friend’s name Lindsey Markhum?”
“Yeah. That’s her.”
“Okay, John, I was able to get the address from the phone number, and I have an ambulance on the way.”
“Is Lindsey still unconscious?”
“She still won’t wake up.”
“Is she still breathing?”
“I think so.” Casey rolled her eyes. She didn’t know if she could trust a diagnosis by this guy.
“Okay John here’s what’s happening. I’m going to transfer you over to the EMS operator, so they can tell you what do. You’ll hear some clicks, but don’t hang up the phone, okay.”
“Uh. . .okay.”
Casey clicked the line and dialed the number for EMS. It would have been easier if the caller was on 9-1-1, and she silently prayed they didn’t lose the connection. The EMS operator picked up. “This is PD with a transfer for the call at 910 Desert Plains.” She finally disconnected, hoping they could get more information out of John than she did.
She looked up and glared at her partner who was chuckling across the room. “Thanks.”
Ladonna finished broadcasting the updates to the unit she dispatched to the call as soon as Casey entered the address into the computer. “I’m just glad it was you, and not me,” she admitted. “I would have been banging that phone on the desk going, ‘Hello? Is anybody in there?’”
Casey smiled, knowing she’d seen her partner do just that from time to time, after putting the caller on hold, of course. She wanted and waited to see what would happen if Ladonna ever forgot to hit the hold button first.
“This whole week has been like that.” Casey rubbed a hand across her forehead to try to erase the tension headache she could feel forming. “No one knows their address, their phone number . . . it’s crazy.”
“The guys haven’t been that helpful either,” Ladonna sighed.
“That’s for sure,” Casey agreed. “When are they ever, actually? They never listen, asking us to repeat the same thing over and over again. Or asking the dumbest questions.”
Ladonna laughed, “I remember giving Rafe a call to check for a purple car with blue street effect lighting going down the road on three wheels, throwing sparks from the bare rim. So he asked me if I had any further description, or a license plate.”
Casey rolled her eyes. “That’s a rookie for you.”
“Well, duh. I know the license plate would give them the owner,” Ladonna reasoned, “but geez, further description. I think a purple car with blue street effect lighting would draw my attention anyway, not counting three wheels and sparks.”
Shaking her head Casey turned to answer another ringing phone. “Four Corners Police Department, how may I help you?”
“I want to make a complaint.”
“Okay, sir, what type of complaint?” Casey asked prepared to put another call into the computer.
“What do you mean what type of complaint?” The caller’s voice raised an octave. “A complaint!”
“Sir, what sort of problem do you have? Did someone break into your house? Are you involved in a domestic dispute? Was something vandalized? I need to know what sort of problem you are having, so I may direct your call properly.” The young woman tried to get the caller to give her more information other than just having a complaint.
“An officer wrote me a warning, and I want to speak to someone about it,” the caller grudgingly reported.
Casey sat dazed for a moment before clarifying with the caller. “So you want to complain because you got a warning instead of a ticket?”
“Hell, yeah,” the caller yelled. “If all I got was a warning this guy didn’t have any reason to stop me right?”
As much as she wanted to, she was not going to argue with him. Besides, policy dictated certain procedures to follow. “Okay sir, we have forms you can pick up her at the police department to fill out to turn into Administration...”
“Isn’t there anyone there I can talk to now?” the caller interrupted. “I mean, I really think they need to do something with this guy.”
Casey took a deep breath and counted to three. “I can check and see if a supervisor is in the office. If not, and you feel it’s an emergency, I can take your name and number and have one call you.”
“Oh yeah it’s an emergency!” the caller agreed.
“I’ll check for you sir,” Casey said politely, putting him on hold, and then turning to Ladonna. “Is Sgt. Larabee in the office?”
Ladonna nodded, smiling at the evil glint in her partner’s eye. “He’s playing Shift Commander until Lt. Halter gets back from picking up dinner.”
“Even better.” Casey smiled as she picked the phone back up and reconnected with the caller. “Sir, Sgt. Larabee is in the office. Just one moment while I connect you.”
Casey almost wished she could be a fly on Larabee’s wall when he took this call. “Sergeant Larabee.”
“What is it this time?” Chris asked suspiciously, hearing the hint of glee in the dispatcher’s voice.
“This gentleman has a complaint against one of your officers.”
“Am I going to want to claim him?”
“I think you’ll find this interesting.” Casey smiled. “Stay on the line and he’ll be there when I hang up.”
“I think you’re enjoying this too much.” Larabee stated in dry tone.
“Oh no; you enjoy.” Casey laughed and disconnected.
“You are an evil child,” Ladonna admonished, but chuckled just the same.
“I wish I could send all the callers to him,” Casey committed as she reached for the ringing phone again.
“Four Corner’s Police Department, may I help you?”
“May I speak to Officer Sanchez?” the shaky, elderly voice on the other line asked.
“He’s not in the office, ma’am; he’s on patrol, but I can take a message,” Casey politely explained.
“Yes, I’d like to talk to him.”
“Yes, ma’am, and what is your name, please?”
“And what is your phone number Ms. Johnson?”
“Do you need my phone number too?”
Deep breaths . . . slow count to ten.
“Do you want him to call you Ms. Johnson?”
“Yes, that’s why I called. I need to speak with him.”
“Ok ma’am he’ll need your phone number to call you.”
“Oh.” The light slowly dawned. “Yes he will, won’t he? It’s 281-6242”
“All right, Ms. Johnson, I’ll give him the message.”
“Thank you, dear,” the caller stated as she disconnected.
Casey rolled her head over from where it landed on the desktop to glare at her laughing shift partner. “Just wait - you’ll get your turn.”
The door to the dispatch center opened and a stern looking Sgt. Larabee strode in. Placing some papers in an in-box on one of the desks, he turned to the two ladies in the room.
“Ladies I’m going out on patrol for awhile.” Before he went back out the door, he turned to the brunette. “Casey.”
“Yes, Sergeant?” she asked innocently.
He pointed his index finger at her and tried to look forbidding. “Don’t give me anymore guys like that last one.”
She laughed, and so did Ladonna.
Larabee couldn’t keep his stern continence for long, and allowed a small smile.
“Who was the complaint on?” Ladonna asked.
Chris stared heavenward. “Nathan.”
The two dispatchers shook their heads and continued laughing.
Casey said, “Oh, that’s rich, Mr. Politeness himself.”
“Yes, the officer was very polite,” Chris explained. “But he just shouldn’t have stopped him if he didn’t plan on writing him a ticket.”
“And what did you tell him?” Casey was curious.
“Simple,” Larabee said as he moved toward the door. “I told him if he felt there was a mistake, I’d reprimand the officer, make sure he corrected his action, and write him a ticket instead. I informed him the officer could be there in a few minutes with the citation for him to sign.”
The dispatchers looked at the sergeant in stunned silence for a moment.
“Oh, you didn’t!” Ladonna stated in disbelief.
Larabee just smiled and bobbed his eyebrows up and down. “Later, ladies.”
“Yep, I need to give more calls to him,” Casey said, reaching for the ringing emergency phone again. “9-1-1, state your emergency.”
“I don’t know; you tell me.”
“Excuse me, ma’am?” Casey was bewildered.
“You keep calling me with this number, so tell me what your problem is?” the caller belligerently explained.
“Ma’am we don’t call people on 9-1-1, this line is designated for emergencies, and we only answer it. What do you mean we called you with this number?”
“This number is on my cell phone.”
“You mean you dialed the pre-programmed number on your phone for 9-1-1, or you hit redial?”
“No, you keep sending me this message that says urgent, 9-1-1.”
Casey rolled her eyes and dropped her head into her hands, not believing this day, and felt grateful for the headset that kept her hands free to massage her temples. “Ma’am, we don’t send messages to cell phones like that. Someone is sending YOU a message and putting 9-1-1 in to tell you it’s an emergency. Is there another number with it?”
“It says, urgent, 9-1-1 . . . oh wait, it does have a number.” The caller’s voice grew excited. “It’s my boyfriend’s number . . .I better see what he wants.”
Ladonna thought her partner’s forehead was going to be sporting a spectacular bruise if she kept hitting the desk like that.
Casey reached for the ringing phone again. “Four Corner’s Police Department, may I help you?”
The young dispatcher’s face lit up with a smile at the familiar voice. And one she knew would be halfway sane. “Buck, how are you?”
“I’d be better, darlin’, if you would avoid taking calls like that last one.”
“Which one would that be?” Casey asked, thinking all the calls she answered today were strange.
“The high flying space cadets.”
“Oh, did you get the overdose? I’m so sorry,” Casey’s voice did not indicate she was contrite at all.
Buck laughed. “Oh, I know you’re not, darlin’. Trying to get that story made my head hurt.”
“Yours!” Casey exclaimed, absently rubbing her own sore forehead. “You should be in here.”
“Oh no!” Buck declared, “I couldn’t do your job, wouldn’t want to.”
“But you all sure like to add to our grief.”
“Now how’s that? Not this shift; we’re the best.”
“Do you have your boots on?” Casey laughed. “You’ve all been bad this week. You don’t listen, asking us to repeat stuff over and over, and asking stupid questions . . .”
“Darlin’ I’m wounded, you know that’s just not so.” Buck complained.
“Ladonna told me about the call with Rafe. . .”
“Well, that explains that.” Buck interrupted. “You know rookies don’t have any sense. Makes me glad I’m not a trainer. Hope you know, darlin’, I’m sorry you’re having a bad day.”
“The worst, and it’s been like this all week.” Casey sighed.
“Well, take it easy,” Buck advised, “and try not to give me anymore of those calls. But if you do, send Chris. He needs a good dose of the public every once in a while.”
“You’re all heart, darlin’.” Buck chuckled, and the call ended.
Casey disconnected with the jovial officer and punched the button for the next ringing line. “Four Corner’s Police Department, may I help you?”
“I hope so,” said a soft timid voice.
“What’s the problem?”
“My ex-boyfriend, he, um, keeps calling me and coming by, even though I’ve asked him to stop.”
“I can send an officer to talk with you about filing harassment charges on him.”
“Yeah, if it will get him to stop. I’m really getting scared.”
“Okay, what is your name?”
Finally, Casey thought. Someone she wouldn’t have to pull every little piece of information out of. “And what is your address?”
“I can give you directions.”
Casey stopped herself from thumping her head against the desk again. “I need the physical address for my computer entry.” Casey explained.
“I think this is Avenue E, butI’m not sure of the numbers though.”
“What about your mail? Do you have a bill or something you can get the address off of?”
“Yeah, it’s a P.O. box. Will that help?”
“No,” Casey sighed. “What’s your phone number? Maybe I can find the address with that.”
“I have my cell phone.” The voice on the other end started crying.
“No, I need the phone there at your house.”
"All I have is my cell phone.”
“Did you just move there? Is there a lease or some other papers there that might have your address on them?”
“I’ve lived her two years and I don’t think I have any papers like that.” The voice grew shakier.
“You’ve lived there two years and you don’t know your address?” Casey astonishment slipped out in her frustration.
“I’m sor-ry!” The girl was really crying now.
“That’s okay.” Casey tried to sooth the girl or she knew she’d never get any answers out of her. Not that she was getting answers now. “You just really need to know your address, in case you ever have a life and death emergency, so we can find you quickly.”
“I know.” The girl was crying in earnest.
Taking a deep breath, Casey tried to temper her own rising stress level. “Okay, let’s try this again. Give me the directions to your house.”
Casey listened to the instructions and entered them in to the computer entry with an unknown address on Avenue E. She added a description of the residence, along with what vehicles were parked in front, to help identify the right house. It was highly doubtful the house had a number anywhere on it, especially if the resident did not have a clue about even the street name. She also included the girl’s cell phone number incase they needed to contact her again for further instructions, or the officer could call her directly and get the directions.
Disconnecting the call, the head stopped just before hitting the desk. That wasn’t helping. The stress of this week though was really telling. . . and it just seemed to be getting worse. If it wasn’t hard to get things out of callers, then they wanted to argue, even if she did everything within her power to help them. Then to top it off were the ones who just wanted to yell at someone and took their ire out on the most convenient person at the time. . .the call taker or dispatcher lucky enough to answer the phone first. Officers and dispatchers always had this discussion about how rude and mean complainants were. Most of the time the officers said the dispatchers were imagining things. It was just the callers worked their anger out on the dispatchers before the officers arrived to help them. Plus the fact that the officer was a tangible body there to help them, the dispatcher was just a disembodied voice on a cold phone line. There were always these types of calls, but these past few days there seemed to be more of the worse case ones all at once.
Ladonna looked over at her young partner and took pity on her. It really was a bad workweek. “Look why don’t we go ahead and switch places,” she offered.
Casey’s head snapped up. “Really?”
Ladonna almost laughed at the hopeful look on her young friend’s face, but held it back. “No problem, I know it’s been rough. You need a break.”
“Oh, thank you!” Casey jumped up and prepared to switch quickly with Ladonna before anything else went wrong. Or the phone rang again. Or more importantly, Ladonna changed her mind.
She settled behind the radio console and checked the screen for the calls in progress, officers’ status and who she had available for future calls. Then she sat back and took a deep relieved breath. Now maybe she could get through the night; there were times when the officers were much easier to deal with. She heard the phone ring, and waited for the call Ladonna was taking to appear on her screen.
Getting the call she keyed up the radio to dispatch it to her favorite officer. She laughed, thinking it was going to be another interesting call for him. “FC, 11-02, copy suspicious.”
“Suspicious person. 1223 Cactus Way. 1-2-2-3 Cactus Way. Cross streets Prickly Pear and Quill Way. See Tiffany Ibarra in reference to a white male on a ladder, caught looking into her second story bathroom window. Last seen running next door carrying ladder.”
“10-4,” Wilmington acknowledged the call. “You advised running with a ladder?”
“10-4.” His tone held laughter.
Casey had no doubt the devilish rogue would have a story to tell at the end of this call. She smiled in anticipation.
Thinking he was going to advise that he arrived at the scene, Casey thought he must have been close to have such a quick response. “11-02.”
“FC, repeat that last address.”
No, Buck, don’t do this. “1-2-2-3 Cactus Way, cross streets of Prickly Pear and Quill Way.”
“10-4.” Three minutes later, Buck called again. “11-02, FC.”
“Give me the numbers again on Prickly Pear.”
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