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.
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.