Dimestore Dispatcher

by RhodesTer on March 16, 2009

krisskrosshblvdOn April 25th of 2002, I was working as a security dispatcher at the Hollywood & Highland complex. I know I worked the morning of that exact date, because yesterday coffeesister was going through a box of old papers and unearthed a document I’d saved but forgotten about.

We kept our dispatch log on a computer. I’d sit there in the surveillance room and talk to security officers on the radio while watching a large monitor in front of me that was fed by 82 cameras around the property. I had a switching console, so that I could call up any camera feed I wanted too, and a “camera officer” sat nearby at a similar monitor and switching console. His sole responsibility was to watch the video from all around the property – he didn’t have the radio or dispatch log duties to distract him. If he saw something suspicious, he’d just tell me what camera it was on and I’d bring it up on my monitor, then send security via radio if needed.

As I kept the dispatch log, I’d make entries like this..

0700- Ofc Bollozos reports code 4 north restrooms level 3.

0715 – McCarthy Construction commenced work on grand stairway – informed dispatch that portions of stairway to be inaccessible to public through remainder of the work day.

April 25th of 2002 was a slow day. It must have been, because I decided to keep myself entertained by typing the security log up a little differently. I called it..

“If a dime-store novelist worked part-time as a security dispatcher.”

The shift started at 0600. At 0615, I’d gotten out of briefing and settled into the dispatch chair. Thus our story begins..

0615 – Twenty one uniformed security officers and their pint-sized sargeant sat in hushed silence as Karl DeleGuerra strode into the room. The blue of their uniforms matched the blue mood that swept over them as Karl spoke swiftly yet eloquently of terrorist threats and the need for officers to be alert. Tossing out a final warning as nonchalantly as one tosses a quarter to a grateful panhandler, Karl left the room, his words lingering in the air like so much air freshener that’d been in the can too long.

0630 – Officer Graham reluctantly surrendered the dispatch console to Corporal Rhodes. A bit of idle chit-chat provided a thin veil for the deeply passionate feelings Graham harbored when it came to the throne of electronic endeavor and his longing to return to that throne once night should fall again. Officer Matt Desotell took his station at the surveillance monitor, a sense of urgency buzzing around him like a cloud of angry mosquitoes, needling him to do better – do BETTER – and not let Karl down. Not again. Not ever.

Karl’s words of exhortation during the morning briefing had made a deep impact on Desotell, who strove to be just like Karl someday and was even now reminicient of Karl in his youth, a daring young man full of promise and not lacking when it comes to matters of the heart and soul.

0632 – Who would think that an entire golf cart could turn up missing? Yet here was Officer Erazo, standing forlornly in the cavernous depths of the parking structure, calling on his radio in a hollow voice as he described to Rhodes how empty the space looks where once stood a a shiny, beautiful golf cart. Rhodes was no fool, and he could sense the layer of fear wedged into Erazo’s thick, Hispanic dialect – fear that the cart would never be found, and that he would be relegated to some far-flung boundary for the remainder of his watch to idly pass the time by counting passers-by and tossing inane greetings at them as one tosses baseballs at lead bottles with the hope of winning a stuffed panda at the county fair.

Corporal Rhodes acted swiftly, dispatching his full compliment of roving security officers in search of the wayward cart. Time dripped by like molasses for poor Erazo, who was elated when he heard the happy voice of Officer Walter Bollozos pierce the darkness and call out that the cart had been found in the valet area of the parking structure. To Erazo, Bollozos had become a hero in one fleeting moment. Never mind that Bollozos was a hero already, beloved by all who call upon his services to witness how quickly he brings each task to fruition with a relish. To Erazo, Bollozos was now his personal hero. And no one else’s.

0647 – Escalators are mere machines. Soulless contraptions that don’t care one little bit whether you go up or down. Escalator #25 is no exception, and it sits in a funk. A non-moving, gloomy little escalator funk.  Fortunately, Corporal Guerrero is the funk remover, and is on his way.

0652 – While on his way to cheer up Escalator #25, Corporal Cuerrero noticed that Elevator #8 appeared to be in a funk also. But upon closer inspection it was revealed that some miscreant had maliciously engaged the fire-switch on poor old Elevator #8, thus causing it to sit just where it is, pondering whether or not it would ever slide its smooth walls up and down that silky shaft once again. This would be a job for Jim from Fujitech, a man known not only for his ragged sense of humor and wonderful wit, but also for his fanciful little firekey.

0654 – Corporal Guerrero flashed fondly back on that day in fifth grade when he had handed the report in to Mrs. White and she smiled like a Cheshire cat, praising him for the hard work he’d obviously poured into such a fascinating piece. Who knew that the Louisiana purchase could ever be made to seem so alive, so vibrant? It was just a boring old piece of American historicity in most minds, but not after Danny Guerrero had tackled it with his pen.

Mrs. White was not one known to graciously dole out grades that matter, but she slapped a triumphant A PLUS on Danny’s paper that day, sealing in him a desire to perform above and beyond the call of the daily grind. As he inserted his key into the little slot at the base of Escalator #25 and it roared to life, he grinned like a very special breed of Cheshire cat, certain within himself that he’d earned yet another in a life-long string of A’s with the accomplishment of this task.

At this point the watch commander walked into dispatch and looked over my shoulder.

“Rhodes, what the fuck are you doing?”

“I’m composing the dispatch log as if I were a dime-store novelist working here part-time.”

“You won’t be working here at all if you don’t knock it off.”

I printed a copy of what I had so far, then went back and rewrote the entries in the usual format.

Work. They just don’t let you have any fun.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Joely Black March 16, 2009 at 8:03 am

I don’t know. I got a lot of books written whilst masquerading as a database designer.

Joely Black´s brilliant babbling..Awkward conversations inspire a talk on being an author

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2 RhodesTer March 16, 2009 at 9:00 am

I wonder if there are any successful authors who lament not having been able to do more database design or security dispatch work.

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3 Leann March 16, 2009 at 9:58 am

It sounds as if you could write up quite a ’story’ book with just a few of those posts. How funny.

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4 RhodesTer March 16, 2009 at 12:09 pm

Leann, you always have more faith in my ability than I do.

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5 Leann March 17, 2009 at 12:24 pm

That’s the way it is with most of us Dave. :-) I have complete faith that someday I’ll be able to pick up one of your books and it will make a great read.

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