Writing Resources from Fifteen Minutes of Fiction
Calling 9-1-1"Back already?" the cashier asked.
Horace glared at him. "I need to use your phone," he said.
"Phone ain't for customers to use," the boy said. His tone of voice and the crooked smile on his face were both smug.
"I need to call 9-1-1," Horace said.
Horace almost said "Someone stole my car," but then he pictured the squinty-eyed look of suspicion that he would receive, and he heard in his mind the boy's response: Looks to me like your van's sitting right out there by the pump.
With only a momentary pause, Horace answered, "Because I have an emergency. Why else do people call 9-1-1?"
"Maybe you should pay your bill first, 'fore you use the phone."
Horace's face began to redden with anger. "What part of 'emergency' don't you understand?" he demanded. "Do you have any idea what repercussions you'll face if you don't let me use the phone in an emergency?"
The boy shrugged, and pointed at a phone just around the edge of the counter.
Horace picked up the phone and dialed.
"9-1-1, please state your emergency."
Horace glanced at the boy, who was staring at him intently, and undoubtedly listening to hear the nature of his emergency.
Horace pressed the phone close his mouth and whispered, "Someone stole my car."
"I'm sorry sir, could you repeat that?"
Horace repeated himself, still in a hoarse whisper. Now the blood rushing to his head was from embarassment as well as anger.
"Sir, I can't hear you. Are you unable to speak freely? Are you under duress?"
Horace sighed, then said aloud, "Someone has stolen my car."
As Horace gave the emergency operator his location, the stare from the boy behind the counter doubled in both intensity and suspicion. When he hung up, the boy said, "You can get in lots of trouble for prank calling 9-1-1."
"You know that from personal experience, you smug little rodent?"
"I'm just sayin'," the boy replied.
"Well how about you don't say, and just shut up."
He stood by door, waiting for the police to arrive. The cashier never took his eyes off him. After five minutes of waiting and silent staring, the boy broke the silence: "You smashed all the chips in this bag."
Horace looked at the bag of chips he was holding, and decided to wait outside. Standing out in the sub-zero temperatures of mid-February couldn't possibly be worse than this.
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