A(nother) Year in Seattle – Week 02 – Ghost Calls

A(nother) Year In Seattle

Sunday – July 6, 2059 – Chasing wild geese

We went over to council Island and Bri had a wonderful time chasing the geese– at least until the geese started chasing back. Case and I finally got some ‘adult time’ this afternoon when Bri finally decided to collapse from exhaustion

It’s interesting when you notice the changes in people you’re around all the time. Case’s eyes seem to twinkle a little bit more– even if there are more wrinkles around them these days.

I could tell by the way he looked at me that he was trying to figure out how to tell me that he was going to be busy most of the week and we were going to need to make arrangements for Bri.

We didn’t even have far to go to ask– Mrs. Walker heard us and took it as an opportunity for her to spend more time with her Granddaughter. Like I said– things tend to have a way of working out.

Just sometimes it scares me.

Monday – July 7, 2059 – Analysis

Another afternoon of tabulating calls and incidents — Two bike accidents, my little ‘incident’ with the paranoid lady and the totaling of Dwight’s bike. At least no one was hurt.

Friday – Saturday was the most active night, like I said, big surprise there.

Saturday-Sunday we still had more calls than other nights, but I’m fairly certain that the really crazy ones had taken themselves out of the action the night before.

Friday- Saturday and believe it or not Wed-Thursday continued to hold their record for the most ‘interesting’ calls.

The calls I used to wonder about and now just scream ‘somebody doing something they really shouldn’t because someone was willing to pay them to do it.’

That nicely covers stupid bets and shadow running. Sometimes I think the two are one and the same. I mean– when someone hires you to double cross his most trusted friend: what makes you think he’s not going to do a lot worse to you?

The wise ones seem to avoid these cases, but the fledglings really need a guardian: kind of a ‘Big Brother/Big Sister or Mentor program… get them off on the right foot– keep them from getting killed long enough to learn the ropes. I see too many of them that just didn’t think past the money.

Actually, I’ve seen that on bets too things like” ‘how much fugu can you eat when the chef has a hit of saki after each piece?’ I think I’ll leave my thrills to getting to the job in one piece and leave lunch out of it, thank you very much!

Speaking of which- I made the mistake of asking Dwight about what I ordered the other night. I was a lot better off not knowing.

Tuesday – July 8, 2059 – Losing control

I spent the morning with Bri before dropping her off with Mrs. Walker. I was planning on going back to the house and catching some shut-eye there, but of course, ‘Mom’ wouldn’t hear of it.

“Jessica,” she scolded good-naturedly. “You are working far too much!”

I smiled at her and shrugged. It was true, but it’s not like there was that much I can do about it. Sure, I could let someone else run the program, but they’d turn it into a paperwork/bureaucratic nightmare in no time flat.

I saw that last year.

Last year the man who took over the job I’d been doing unofficially– so that it could be better managed, mind you– he ended up tying medics up in enough paperwork that our efficiency was practically cut in half.

One of the first things he instituted was a new reporting system where each responder would have to describe every minutia of the call. Everything was to be documented, from receiving the call to handing the patient off to either the ambulance medics or the hospital.

He tried to say that there was no need for the motormedic to go to the hospital with any patient– that the medics on the bus could handle any eventuality.

Sure– simple cases, no problem. But any complications and they have to waste time telling the medics all the details of the case. Warning them that their patient is on ‘enough meds to light up a Christmas tree, oh and he has epilepsy too’… yeah by the time the briefing is over, you’ve wasted the time it would have taken for them to get the patient to the hospital– where the relief medic would then have to repeat the process while handing off the patient to the Emergency staff. I don’t think so.

When I objected it was because I wasn’t being cooperative: which was what they were waiting for. I got administrative leave without pay and they all but flushed the program before it really got off the ground.

If I learned one thing, it’s this: nobody is going to run my program who hasn’t come up through the ranks and knows what’s involved.

The job is a lot more than just stats and numbers. I want somebody who’s been there, knows that it does make a difference which bikes we use-details that you can’t get from a book…

You know over a year later I still get hot about it.

Mrs. Walker just clucked at me and led me off to one of the back rooms. “Sleep child!” she ordered teasingly. “You are hopeless.”

Its true– but I like to keep some illusion of sanity going.

I have to admit, I felt a lot better after napping at the Walkers’ place– I always do.

I really needed it too. It was hectic for a Tuesday night.

Wednesday, July 9th – 2059 – Semi

Today’s shift lived up to its projected statistics, although I’m really getting tired of our mysterious “Ghost calls” .

One of tonight’s put me in front of the headlights of an oncoming semi.

Thinking about it I can still feel the adrenalin rush as the rig bore down on me, its air brakes firing and it not slowing anywhere near quickly enough. I dropped my bike and ran, barely getting out of the way. I even felt the air rush as it passed me by, but I never heard it hit the bike. It was there one minute and then– gone.

I’m not kidding, there was nothing there. No accident victim, no wrecked cars, and thankfully no wrecked bike. There was also no sign of the semi ever being there, and believe me– there should have been some serious skid marks.

I have no idea what is going on, but I mean to get to the bottom of it.

Thursday, July 10th – 2059 – Administrative leave

I have to write a report to myself explaining how I broke the brake lever on my bike– I’m also grounded until I do, my rules. Thing is– if I write up what happened, then I’m going to have to put myself on administrative leave, cause I’m obviously losing my mind.

But I saw it, felt it. It was there…

I’m ashamed to say that it took me an hour to even think about the video on the bike. I don’t know what I was expecting: confirmation of my insanity?

What I found only seemed to make things worse.

I pulled the tapes and I’m going to need someone downtown to go over them. Either someone with the police electronic forensics department or one of PushCiti’s friends is going to need to go over it– There’s very little on the tape. An empty field where a wrecked car should have been, a sound that could have been an air horn.

Then everything went sideways and I had a good view of me running like an idiot. The only thing was– at the end, right before I turned. there was a rush of windblown debris that washed in front of the camera.

I have no idea what’s going on– but its starting to make me nervous.

Friday – July 11 – 2059 – Run through

I was on duty again tonight, although I noticed that both dispatch and Ray were keeping tabs on me. Not that I blame them– if I hadn’t been there, I wouldn’t believe me.

To be honest I was there and I still don’t believe myself– or at least I didn’t until Ray had a similar experience down by the park.

It was almost 0400 when the call came in. I arrived about ten minutes after Ray did. He was staring out at nothing, but I could tell by his breathing he’d seen it too.

“I am way too old for this freaky shit,” he grumbled at me finally.

“You saw it?” I asked, trying to keep my tone even.

Ray shook his head. “I didn’t see it hon,” he told me. When his eyes met mine I could see the fear that had been terror only minutes earlier. “It went through me!”

I could feel the tension in his voice. Seeing it and almost being hit by it had been bad enough– But According to Ray– it hit him. We were both pretty shaken up when we called it a day.

At least he didn’t damage his bike.

Saturday – July 12, 2059 – Captured in video

Case still hasn’t been back- he warned me it might be a while. I’d just hoped he’d have been able to call by now.

Since he was still working on something that meant it was just me and Bri- and a date with PushCiti.

When I got down to the arcade, Ray was already there talking to PC. Looks like he had the same idea I had. PC took my tapes without missing a beat and told me that he’d have them cleaned and enhanced in no time.

It was a pleasant visit, except for the squirming kid who was getting bored just sitting around. PC had just the thing for her- a mechanical cat to terrorize. Once he showed it to her and programmed it to follow her image- she was entranced.

I was trying to keep an eye on her when PC pointed to one of the monitors. I had a cat’s eye view of the terror as she pulled the synthetic fur off its tail. It was a neat idea, but it can’t replace real supervision. I feel strange leaving my child in the care of a machine- even one PC configured.

By the time PC had finished cleaning up our videos, Bri was curled back in my lap sound asleep and the electronic cat was just sitting there watching her.

The tapes didn’t yield much- except perhaps for goosebumps. Mine was pretty much what I’d seen, except for a slight change in lighting as I ran from the bike… and the background sound that might have been an air horn was gone.

Ray’s on the other hand… seemed normal enough. Again there was a slight change in lighting and then a blast of static as the truck ‘hit’ Ray and the bike. At least it was enough to get PC interested. And when we told him about the ghost calls, he was hooked.

He told us that he’d get some of his scanner junkie buddies to record the calls they got and then he’d try and put them all together.

I don’t know if it will lead us anywhere, but at least I feel like I’m doing something about it.

PC offered me the cat, but like I said- I don’t feel right having a machine watching over a child-

Copyright 2000 M.T. Decker

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