Call for Help by Zack Miller
At the top of the stairs, the first thing Jenny saw was the break room off to the right, with its coffee machine that never worked, microwave congealed with gunk, and mini fridge full of moldy forgotten lunches. To the left stood a wall of tinted black glass concealing the management offices. The call center floor consisted of eighty white cubicles made of foam board and plastic in varying states of disrepair. Each workstation was comprised of a Voice Over IP phone, a swivel office chair, and an obsolete PC. Employees brought their own headsets. Above each cubicle hung a noose.
It was the Suicide Assistance Line’s job to walk callers through successfully committing suicide. That was where Jenny worked, the Assistance department. There were also Customer Service and Dispatch departments that handled sales and delivery. Jenny had once considered transferring to Dispatch, as the suicide rate was much lower there. But, they had a higher call volume and stricter quotas.
On her way to her supervisor’s section, she passed The Creeper.
Bill, known as The Creeper for his habit of harassing the young women who passed by his cubicle, worked standing up with the noose around his neck. Despite his lack of hygiene and poor body composition, he had a way of smiling so intensely and weirdly that it showed through his beard, which made him seem somehow endearing. Like always, he complimented Jenny’s appearance as she came in, and she said, “Thank you, Creeper.” Funny how a compliment, even an unwanted one from a creep, made her smile.
Jenny didn’t form any friendships with her other co-workers. With such high turnover, what was the point? She found an open desk, not hard these days, logged into the PC and phone, and started taking calls.
It was a couple of hours into her shift. In the middle of a call, Spencer, Jenny’s supervisor, approached her desk. Spencer had a neatly trimmed beard and wore an argyle sweater over a shirt and tie. He was only twenty-five but had a strong customer service background and had been hired in as a supervisor.
“Why don’t you just kill yourself, you fucking idiot?” She clicked the “end call” button. “I swear to God, some of these losers make me want to quit,” she said, turning to Spencer. “What do you want?”
“I just came by to congratulate you on your numbers this month. You’re our top Assistance Representative, and I have a $25 gift certificate to Applebee’s for you. It’s a pleasure to have you on the team,” Spencer said.
Great, Jenny thought. Now he’d want the same numbers every month, and if she didn’t meet expectations, she’d get a talk from Spencer, possibly a written warning she’d have to sign.
“Well, if that’s all, I’ve got a lot of suicidal creeps to help,” she said. She turned her gaze back to the screen.
Spencer patted her on the shoulder and said, “Go get ‘em.”
Spencer’s cologne smelled vaguely like whisky.
“Hello, Suicide Assistance Line. This is Jenny. How can I help?”
The guy on the other end cried before he even started talking. What a whiny bitch. “I-I t-think I should kill myself. My girlfriend left me, but maybe she’ll take me back if I try hard enough. Do you think I could get her back?”
God, why couldn’t people just call for help? So much drama, always asking for advice, personal lives and shit. The only way Jenny could cope was by desensitizing herself.
“No, not a chance. You’re a loser. You’re calling a suicide line. Normal, functional, people don’t do that,” Jenny said. She looked over the notes on his account. He’d called three times. How could anyone fail to assist this guy? He probably had “suicide” tattooed across his forehead. Sometimes Jenny thought her co-workers were all incompetent.
‘Til Death Do Us Party
Call for Help
What Pavel Found
The Girl in the Glass Case
The Teacher’s Connection
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