Monday, October 21, 2013

Emergency Services

“911, what is the nature of your emergency?”

“My brother just turned into a horse!”

Charlotte sighed. Not even five minutes into her shift and already the crazy was starting. “Yes, sir. We’re aware of the situation. Please give me your name and location and we’ll send somebody out there just as soon as—”

“My brother’s a horse!”

“Yes, sir. There’s a lot of that going around.”

“There is?”

“Yes, sir. A bit of magic went awry and—well, it’s harmless and temporary. We have teams on the streets right now. What is your location?”

“Can I eat him?”

“No, sir. We recommend against that.”

“But he’s a herbie now.”

“Only in shape. What species is he normally?”

“Bobcat.” Charlotte heard scraping and a frustrated neigh. “He keeps trying to scratch me, but he’s got hooves now. It’s a hoot.”

“Listen, sir. Only his appearance has changed. Inside he’s still a bobcat. He still eats meat. What form are you in right now?”

“Me? I, uh—we’re at 2715 Forest Road. How soon can somebody get here?”

“We’ll send a team out right away. In the meantime, see if you can get him to shift into his human form. He should be able to do that.”

“Yeah, okay. OW!” From the shrillness of the caller’s yelp, Charlotte guessed Brother Bobcat had remembered equines have big teeth. She radio’d the address to the nearest cleanup team and hung up.

The line lit up again almost immediately. “911, what is the nature of—”

“My boyfriend’s a jackass!”

“You sure he’s not a horse?”

“Usually he’s a horse, but now he’s a jackass. A real jackass. He looks like Donkey from Shrek. He’s so squat and ugly now. Ayyyeeeeee!”

“Ma’am? Ma’am, are you there? Are you all right?”

“Omigod, now I’m a jackass! My mane! My beautiful mane!”

The line picked up a nasty bray in the background. “Serves you right, you shallow Shetland.”

Patience, Charlotte counseled herself. “Can you give me your location, ma’am?”

Once she’d assured the two new burros help was on the way, Charlotte cut the connection. Across the room, Foley was also wrapping up a call. “Well. You don’t get that every day.”

“People turning into horses?”

“Alpha wolves turning into horses and being chased by their pack. Lot of pissed-off lower rankers out there.”

“The EMTs are on standby. Think they need to be armed?”

“No, they all know Bo. Nobody wants to tackle him in any form. Excuse me.” Foley took a call. “911. What is the nature—oh, okay.” He winked at Charlotte and tossed his hair like a mane.

Charlotte leaned back in her chair. After a month on the job she’d finally understood why the Mayor insisted all dispatchers be human. In the past thirty days she’d seen co-workers get flustered and change shape, mark their chairs like territory, and refuse to send help to callers of different species or dietary needs. One by one the Mayor had eased out the shifter 911 dispatchers and replaced them with humans. Humans might be looked down on by a lot of shifters, but they responded way better under pressure. They didn’t turn into shrieking blue jays and poop all over their equipment, for instance.

Still, shifters did have their good points. Like Bo Ewing. There was one man, or sheep, who could keep his head in a crisis. And was he ever built. Charlotte wondered if he had a girlfriend.

The line lit up. Charlotte got back to work. “911, what is the nature of your emergency?”

“My husband turned into a horse!”

“It’s all right, ma’am, it’s temporary. What species is he normally?”

“What’s that supposed to mean? He’s a human being. Or at least he’s supposed to be. Somebody needs to do something!”

“We are, ma’am. We already have teams out. Could I have your location, please?”

“714 Jasper Lane. Ah … do you think you could hold off for a bit? He’s giving all the kids rides.”


Rebecca Gillan said...

That was great! A day in the life of a 911 operator in the Peak is never dull!

Savanna Kougar said...

Oh, I just adored that character! One ringy dingy... two ringie dingies... oh, the heady power of being a phone operator.

Yep, instead of the dogs, the Talbot's Peak world has gone to the horses and jackasses... hehe...

Pat, thanks for the memories... and what a wonderful fun flash.

Serena Shay said...

LMAO...oh Pat, that was awesome! I love the little Shetland that turned into a donkey. Karma baby!

Pat C. said...

Showing my age with that pic. Yeah well.