They swarmed through the phone system, hell-bent on causing chaos and mayhem with the emergency services. The phone operators were tired, but dedicated, and so processed the gibbering idiot’s requests for medical attention with a sterile, sensible, emotionless efficiency. Derrick, sipping on a vending machine coffee, half-listened to the gleeful voice whispering in his ear. “I’ve taken a load of pills,” it said with a slurp, “I’ll be, I’ll be cold by the time the police get here!”
He won’t be. They never were. The problem was that if they really wanted to kill themselves – REALLY do themselves in – then why call 999? Why not take the pills and lie down on the floor, quietly, and just wait for the chemicals to do their job? The answer was simple – they didn’t want to kill themselves at all. They wanted fleets of police and ambulances to come to their aid, armies of doctors and psychiatrists to fawn over them, to comfort them, maybe even fill the void that was gaping wide in their lives. It was an egotistic nature gone completely nuts. Any attention will do, the more extreme the better, and so a handful of pills, a mouthful of vodka, and a call to 999. What a waste of time. Welcome to modern society.
Derrick slowly prodded the keys to send a police unit to the old lunatics house – for the fifth time in a fortnight, he noticed – and said, “what have you taken sir?”
“I’ve always hated the police,” replied the voice, “always.”
“Well they are coming to save your life, sir.” He wanted to cancel the squad car and ambulance racing to the man’s aid. That’ll teach him.
“I don’t want them to save my life. I want to die, I do.” There was a pause. “I fucking hate you too, you fucking bastard. And that bitch. This’ll teach her a lesson, when I’m dead!”
“Of course,” replied Derrick, sticking to the training. “Can you tell me what you’ve taken?”
“Pills. Lots and lots of pills.” His voice trailed off, almost ethereal and detached. “I’m going to kill myself.”
“What pills have you taken?”
“They’ll find me dead they will. Dead… you fucking bastard.”
“Stay with me, sir. What pills have you taken?” What was the point? If he wanted to die, let him die. Derrick clicked a card on the computer screen, trying to keep emotionally numb from the constant abuse. He shouldn’t have to put up with it – no-one in their darkened control room should, and yet they did, night in and night out without complaint. “Sir?”
“I dunno. White pills…” he faded away. “…with a cross. You cunt.”
Derrick noticed that the police were not too far away. “Stay with me, sir.” Five times in a fortnight. He needed help but had refused all medication according to the notes. He’d also had a few calls about smacking his wife. Now she’d left and so he was hitting the bottle “to teach that bitch a lesson.” Drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. What was the deterrent here though? He’d continue this destructive path because the services would come save him, every time. It was their duty – the man knew that, and he would continue screaming for attention, wasting other people’s time and creating a strain on the already-stretched public services.
“I fucking hate all of you! You’re a cunting cunt, you cunt!” he cried.
Something in Derrick flipped. He saw red, his legs ached and his vision became ultra crisp. “Really,” he muttered.
“I want to die!”
“Really.” Fuck this guy. He didn’t deserve to live. “Why don’t you slit your wrists then?”
There was a pause. “You… what? What?”
“Cut your wrists. Go on, if you’re serious about it. Fucking cut your wrists.” A couple of controllers looked at him in shock.
“I… I want to die?” He sounded unsure. “Is this the police?”
“You’re a time waster. Go slit your wrists and do us all a favour you complete prick.” More people looked at Derrick but he didn’t care.
“Look, just get the police here,” he slurred. “I need help.”
“I’ll get you all the help you deserve,” replied Derrick with a cruel sneer. “Goodbye.” He hung up the line and patched through to the police officers. “Officers, control. Subject has left his premises and is driving down Oxford Road at excess speed. Red Astra, bearing north.”
There was a pause. “Copy control,” said the policeman, “bearing towards Oxford Road. Advising ambulance to meet us there, over.”
“Copy,” replied Derrick, satisfied that no-one will be going to help the suicidal man. Under the concerned watch of the other controllers, he signed out of his phone and left the building a happy man.