excerpt from Call for Help

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When you push the buttons it’s like electric, three digits, then send.  You cross into the air, your voice frying like bacon.

You don’t really expect the cops to show up, but you wait by the trash can between the bathrooms anyway, just to see.  Boyfriends toss half eaten silos of corn off the rim of the can with one hand and try to cup a tit with the other.  When the cop car pulls up you see them turn off the lights and one clumsy bag drops a thousand flowerets of corn and old maids at your feet.  You step from the mess hoping your best friend’s beside you, but it’s so hard to see what shoes belong to which jeans as they all shuffle past.  The flowerets crack and grind into the red carpet and you secretly wish for the old maids to roll like marbles under one passerby and send him sprawling when he cranes his neck to stare at you.  Maybe he’ll hit his head and forget he saw you.

Your heart really beats when the first officer talks into his lapel.

“You called?” he asks.

You nod first, but it’s the woman cop gets you to talk.  “You called in the assault?” she repeats and you nod loose a tear that freezes on your hot cheek.

“In there.”  You point and slouch past the ushers who hold the theater empty just for you.  You hug your jacket and the black usher slacks part as you wander back to the second row.

“You say he bit you?” she asks.  You nod some more, but it’s not good enough for her.  It is so much easier to say it on the phone.  The call center listens and makes you spell your name.  They calm you down, you know, make it seem like they care a lot.  They say help is on the way and now she’s not really helping.

Help yourself to a copy of my short story collection Waiting for Bells at <http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/BrettRamseyer>.

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