DISPATCH / WHEN THE CALL CAME Jeff had been in the last hours of his shift, damning the thick, recycled air in the control booth. He wiped his face with a napkin that smeUed faintly of pickle and popped a breath mint into his mouth. The senior dispatcher, Marko, rested with his feet on the console, his face buried in the sports pages. At his side a small black radio, in violation of station rules, whispered country and western songs. The sweetness in the music seemed to add to the density in the air. When Marko had trained Jeff he said that the booth air was something you got used to, Uke the lack of sunUght--"and after a whUe, fresh air will taste funny to you." Jeff, who was twenty-three, hoped he would be in the poUce academy before he reached that point. He offered Marko a mint. "None for me, thanks," Marko said. There was pickle on his breath. Jeff turned to the clock. He had another hour and a half to go. A red Ught flashed on the board, signaüng an incoming caU. PoUce Department. Dispatcher Jeff Corbin speaking. This caU is being recorded." "I'm bleeding,"
The Missouri Review – University of Missouri
Published: Oct 5, 1994