With Dispatch

The following is a transcript of a 911 call that could have been made today, March 8, 2010 to the NYPD at 9:57 p.m.:
911 Dispatch: 911 -- where’s your emergency?
Caller: (sobbing) I’m on (deleted).  At an Italian restaurant called (deleted).
911 Dispatch: What’s your emergency, sir?
Caller:  It's bad… so bad.
Dispatch:  Just tell me what’s going on.
Caller: My girlfriend just dumped me.  My God, saying it out loud stings…
Dispatch: Is anyone hurt?
Caller: Yes, Ma’am. 
Dispatch: Do they need an ambulance? 
Caller: (sobbing ) Yeah.  Send a heart surgeon.  ‘Cuz mine’s broken…
Dispatch: (no answer)
Caller: Hello? I can hear you breathing, Ma’am…
Dispatch: I can’t send anyone for what you’re describing, sir.  I’m sorry but I need to free the line.  I’m hanging --
Caller: What if she was stabbed?
Dispatch: Did… Did you stab your girlfriend, sir?
Caller:  No.  Uhhh… hoodlums did.  Hoodlums ran in here and shot her right after she dumped me.
Dispatch: You said she had been stabbed.
Caller: Uhhh…yeah. They shot her with a knife.
Dispatch: I can give you a number for psychiatric assistance, sir, but I really must free this --
Caller: I’m sorry. But I’m not crazy.  I’m just… sad. 
Dispatch: Maybe you should just go home then.
Caller: Just send someone please.   Man, she’s been in that bathroom a long time…What’s your name, anyway?
Dispatch: I can’t tell you that.
Caller: Why not? 
Dispatch: I can’t tell you my name.  
Caller: Can you at least tell me where you live then?  It’s just…You sound really nice and if you lived around me    maybe we could go grab a Mai Tai and talk about Obamacare--
Dispatch: I really need to free this line.

Caller: Oh, I see! It's like that.  You think when people come in to my job, I say, “I’m sorry.  I know you want me to give you a haircut here at Supercuts but I don’t feel like it today!”?

Dispatch: Sir--
Caller: That’s it.  I want to talk to your supervisor.  I pay taxes.  Put him on.  Or her.  I’m not sexist.      
Dispatch: Hold please.
Dispatch: (muffled) Hello?  This is the supervisor here.  How can I help you?
Caller: Jesus Christ...
Dispatch: What seems to be the problem, sir? 
Caller: I know it's still you.  You're disguising your voice.
Dispatch: This is Supervisor Number 67.  Go ahead. 
Caller: It’s you.  It’s so obvious.  You should be ashamed of yourself.
(Long pause.)
Dispatch:  I’m sorry.  I shouldn’t have done that.  The truth is, I don’t  really have a supervisor.
Caller: Of course you do.  Everyone has a supervisor.  Mine’s name is Bobby.  He’s twenty, he's super nice and I hate him.
Dispatch: Well, that’s not how things work here.  No one has time to have long meetings about the calls we get. 
Caller: Well, then… Who do you answer to?
Dispatch: I guess we all answer to God, ultimately, don't we?

Caller: Yeah?  Well, I used to believe in God.  That is, until he made the bottom fall out of the haircut market and gave me this fish-face that women find so unpleasant. 

Dispatch: Look...I’m sorry your girlfriend dumped you. Things will get better. 
Caller: You really think so? 
Dispatch: I do.  But I need to clear this line.
Caller: Wow.  Thanks a lot, uhhh...female dispatch person. 
Dispatch: My name is...Kathie Lee.
Caller: That’s so weird. My primary care physician’s name is Regis. 
Dispatch: Huh.
Caller: You’re right, Kathie Lee.  Things will get better.  I just need to move on.  If someone wants to be back with her ex, Bobby, just because he’s making that sweet Supercuts supervisory dough, so be it.  You know, I've really enjoyed talking to you, Kathie Lee. Hey, if you do live anywhere near me, maybe you and I--
Dispatch: I don’t spend time with callers.  Not after what happened last time.
Caller: Wait.  What happened last--
Dispatch: Let's just say I could have used a heart surgeon too.
Caller: What does that mean?
Dispatch: (sobbing) Because mine was broken... 
Caller: That's great!  I mean...that's terrible but...you know...this is a positive--
Dispatch: Sir? 
Caller: Yes, Kathie Lee? 
Dispatch: The answer is no. 
Caller:  Okay, fine.  (sobbing) She’s coming back from the bathroom now anyway.


Scott Rothman is a screenwriter living in New York City.


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