Audrey Burges


Or, My Relatively Constant Internal Dialogue

Caller: Hello? Hello? I think I’m witnessing a kidnapping.

Dispatcher: Can you tell me where you are? What’s happening?

Caller: I’m at the grocery store — a woman is strapping a small child into a shopping cart shaped like a tractor. He’s hitting her repeatedly —

Dispatcher: Is he saying anything?

Caller: He’s shouting, “You not my Mommy! You evil monster! You Queen Monster!”

Dispatcher: What is the Evil Monster Queen doing?

Caller: Ignoring him, just like a monster would do. Oh, wait — now she’s handing the child something. She’s giving him a snack — oh my God, she’s giving him Goldfish.

Dispatcher: Fish?

Caller: No, Goldfish crackers.

Dispatcher: Are you sure? Could they possibly be Annie’s Organic Cheddar Bunnies?

Caller: No. No. She’s giving that child a non-organic snack.

Dispatcher: My God. I have authorities on the way to deal with Queen Monster.

— –

Dispatcher: This is 911. What is your emergency?

Caller: Yes, I’m calling about a trapped marmot, possibly rabid.

Dispatcher: Oh, my. A varmint?

Caller: A marmot. M-a-r-m-o-t. It’s a mammal in the squirrel family.

Dispatcher: And it’s trapped in something?

Caller: It must be, yes. Possibly a vat, or some other large vessel, filled with an orange-scented substance from which it cannot escape. The screaming is terrible.

Dispatcher: Okay, just let me get this down for first responders…possibly rabid…orange-scented…

Caller: Yes, I’m guessing it’s marmalade. I was taking my evening walk through the neighborhood, and at first, I was sure I smelled Sweet Orange Vanilla body wash. You know, from the Honest Company? I thought it might be someone’s bath time.

Dispatcher: Then what happened?

Caller: Then I heard the screaming. Warm water and a soothing body wash could never cause such an inhuman noise.

Dispatcher: Of course not. A child being lovingly bathed in a scented bubble bath could only be cooing with delight. I’ll send someone right over to help that poor marmot.

— –

Dispatcher: This is 911 —

Caller: Can you hear that?

Dispatcher: Can I hear what?

Caller: Exactly. Silence. Dead silence. It’s 8:00 p.m. and I’m not hearing an unholy ruckus from my neighbor’s house. Something is wrong.

Dispatcher: Is there usually an unholy ruckus next door?

Caller: Oh, goodness yes. The children’s bedtime is 8:00 but they never go to bed, ever.

Dispatcher: Is it possible they’re just asleep?

Caller: Absolutely not.

Dispatcher: Maybe they’ve gone out?

Caller: In the evening? With children? Like people with actual lives outside the house?

Dispatcher: You’re right, that’s impossible. I have police en route.

— –

Caller: Yes, 911? Can you hear me? I need to report an emergency.

Dispatcher: Yes, ma’am, I can hear you. What’s happening?

Caller: My grandson’s mother is forcing him to eat vegetables.

Dispatcher: What kind of vegetables?

Caller: Broccoli. Plain broccoli. No ranch dressing or anything.

Dispatcher: But ranch dressing helps everything! Will she at least let him dip it in ketchup?

Caller: Not since he painted the dining room wall with it. He’s so creative!

Dispatcher: She’s squelching his artistic expression?

Caller: Yes! But it’s even worse than that. She’s lying to him. She says he should eat the broccoli because it’s just tiny trees.

Dispatcher: She’s forcing him to eat trees? What madness is this?

Caller: I don’t know. I think he should be brought to my house immediately so that I may soothe him with candy and ice cream. And then send him back home, of course.

Dispatcher: Well, naturally. You already did your part!

Caller: Finally, someone who understands.



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