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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
First day on the job.

Submitted: May 08, 2013

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Submitted: May 08, 2013



I can still remember that day, the first day on this job. The only reason I can remember it was because it was the worst day of my life. I was having a hard time finding a job since I was laid off at my company. I finally found an opening for a good cause and job. It was a suicide hotline job. We answered calls from people that were thinking about killing themselves and needed someone to talk to. I was pretty nervous there on the first day like anyone would be on the first day at a new job. Everyone was telling me that I would do great because I had a great personality and that people call disgruntled and angry and I just have to listen and then talk them through everything slowly and calmly. They said nothing would go wrong and that I may not even get a call on my first day.


I felt a bit better after I talked to a few people and was getting settled in and getting to know everyone. The day was going slowly and every now and again someone else in the office would get a call and be gone for about thirty minutes. Every time someone called I would jump, praying that it wasn’t my phone ringing. Whenever they would finish with their call they would turn around and say they talked them through it and we all cheered and congratulated them. It’s a great feeling knowing that someone that had given up on life was given a second chance just because someone on a phone would listen to them and their problems and offer advice. It was a great feeling knowing that I would be saving lives at some point just like the others in the office.


I spent most of the morning and some of the evening doing nothing really. I was relaxing, messing around with some things on my desk, and getting to know everyone there. There aren’t many of us. There are about ten people in my particular building at any given time. I work the same shift over and and over every day with the same people and we have become kind of like a small family.


Not everyone had gotten calls that day, only about four or five of us had that day. Each call was successful and lasted no more than about thirty to forty-five minutes each. Every time someone got a call, I would listen in and see what they said and try to make out what the person on the other end was saying. Sometimes they yelled at the beginning and you could hear their stories in pieces. I relaxed a little knowing what others were saying and figured that was about what I was going to say after listening to the people and waiting for them to finish.


At about 4:30 PM, thirty minutes before the end of my shift, I got my call. I almost fell out of my seat that I was leaning back in. I just stared at the phone for a bit and those around me were telling me that I would be fine and that I needed to relax and everything would turn out ok. Even though I had relaxed a bit earlier, knowing that someone’s life was on the line if I couldn’t talk them out of it was giving me the chills. It was a surreal experience knowing that in less than an hour’s time, someone could be dead or alive and it all depended on whether or not I could talk them out of it.


I leaned forward and hesitantly picked up the phone.

“Hello, this is the suicide hotline.” I said with a quavering voice.

The voice on other end of the line didn’t yell. They didn’t say anything. I could hear them breathing heavily though. I could imagine that their eyes were red and they and just finished crying before calling me.

“Hello?” I said again, once again with a slight panic in my voice.

“Yes.” It was a boy.

“I’m here.” Pause.

“I’m going to kill myself today.”

“Why would you do that?” I responded with wide eyes, knowing that this boy was already determined before calling of his premature demise.

“I can’t stand life. I hate everyone ad everything and nothing is going for me. I have nothing to live for.”

The boy couldn’t have been older than nineteen or twenty.

“Talk to me.” I responded. “Let me help you. Why does life seem so bleak for you?”

“My parents are dead. I’m broke. I’m homeless. I’m calling you from a payphone.”

“Let me help you.”

“No one can help me.”

“You obviously don’t believe that. You wouldn’t be calling here if you didn’t think someone could help you.”

“You can’t help me!” He yelled. “No one can! I just wanted to tell someone my story. I want someone to know that I existed before I leave this life behind forever.”

“I’m here to listen to whatever you want me to. Tell me everything from the beginning.”

“Are you sure you want to hear all of this?” He asked.

My voice becoming more confident, I replied, “Of course I do. I want to help.”

“I already told you. No one can help me. I’m doomed to this .45.”


My heart sank. He was already prepared. He had a gun on him. He was probably pointing it at his head as we spoke together. Nothing anyone said prepared me for this. No one said that some of the people are already ready to go and could potentially do it on the phone.


“Put the gun away. Tell me your story first. Sit down and talk to me.”


I could hear the clank of metal on metal as he sat the gun down on top of the payphone and could hear the fabric of his clothes as he slid down the side of the payphone and then the dull thump as he sat down heavily on the ground.


“Are you ready for my story?” He asked.


“It all started when my father died. I was twelve when he decided that the best way to see the world out was to slit his throat in front of my mother. He though I was in bed. I was outside of the living room door peaking in. He was watching TV beside my mother. I watched as he reached over to where the remote lay and instead of picking up the remote, he picked up a silver razor blade. He stood up, walked in front of my mother, and said, ‘This is the end of line for me. I’m done with everything and this is the last you will see of me. I never loved you.’ Then he slit his throat. Blood went pouring down his shirt and some spurted out onto his shirt. My mother started creaming wildly and then I ran back to my room and hid under the covers for the rest of the night. My mom woke me up in the morning and said that my dad had run away in the middle of the night and that it was just us from now on. She didn’t think I could handle the true story at my age.”


He sighed heavily. He sounded like he was about to cry again but choked it back and continued.


“So I held my secret in for years and years. Never telling my mom I knew what actually happened to my dad that night. Years passed and every year my mom grew worse. She drank more. She smoked more. She had more strange men over at the house. I hated them all. I wished they would all die off like my dear old dad, but every Saturday night, some new Joe would walk into my mom’s life and disappear the next day forever gone. It was kind of ironic that all these men would leave my mom and I forever. Almost exactly like my dad. Leaving us forever alone . . . She never told me what really happened. Not even when I thought I was old enough to hear it. So . . . about four years ago, she gets up. Walks into my room right before I was about to go to bed. Tells me goodnight and that she loves me. She had never told me any of that since my father had killed himself that night. I woke up the next morning. She should have been in the kitchen drinking and on her fifth cigarette by the time I walked in, but she wasn’t. I called for her, but she never answered. I went and checked the living room. Empty. Dining room. Empty. Porch. Vacant. Bathroom. Nothing. Bedroom . . . there she was. Gray, cold, and dead. A bottle of pills lay next to her. She had overdosed after going to bed. I didn’t want to end up with another family. With strangers that were destined to leave me just like my parents and the Joe’s every Saturday night. I ran. I packed my shit and ran out of the door as fast as I could. I bummed my way from home, in Louisiana to here, in L.A. Are you still there or did you leave me too?”


“I’m still here.” I said, choking back tears of my own.


“Good.” He said with a sigh of relief. “I had nowhere to go. I got into drugs. I didn’t have any money so I did favors for anyone that would get me my high. I needed the high to get through the day. I couldn’t stand life sober. I had one friend. She was beautiful. Her name was Marla. She listened to my story just like you are. She understood me and wanted to help me. We both were into the drug scene and decided that neither of us needed it if we had each other. We decided to clean up. We left everything from our drug lives behind and we holed up under a bridge. We stayed there by ourselves so that we could break ourselves of the drugs. It was the worst two weeks of my life. I had panic attacks, night terrors, and a constant fever. I was angry at everything for just being there. Marla was just a as bad as me. We were never angry at each other though because we were both going through it at the same time. We understood what each of us felt and knew that after we broke it we would be free and together. Couple weeks passed and we still had the cravings but our bodies didn’t depend on the drugs anymore. We could live to the best of our abilities. We were still homeless, but we had each other and the rest of our lives. This was a month ago. Then, one day my life turned upside down again. we were walking down the street in the middle of the day and we heard sirens and tires screeching. A battered up town car came sliding around the corner with cops behind it. The cop car managed to bump its back end and it fish tailed and lost control. The car slid and flipped . . . it was coming right at us. I grabbed Marla by the arm and hit the ground, but she stood frozen. The car slammed into her right above me, and her blood was everywhere. That was the second time I had seen that much blood in one place. That was the third person that cared for me in my life that was gone. The next day I did a favor and was able to get ahold of this .45 and one bullet. You tell me why I shouldn’t just end it now.”


I couldn’t speak for a few seconds. He was telling me his story and then just popped that question on me. He began to cry again and got angry.




Nothing would come out of my mouth.




“Listen to me.” I finally choked out. “Life is about more than people. You can change your life and turn it around for the better. I’m sorry you lost those closest to you, but you can make everything better. Give yourself a chance.”


“No. No I can’t.”

“Yes you can! I can meet you personally and we can talk things through.” I responded. They told me never to offer to meet them personally, but I felt a connection to this boy and I needed to meet him to save his life. I could feel it. “I can help you.”


“No one can help me. I called you for one reason. Do you remember what that reason was?”


“Yes. So someone will know that you existed.”


“Exactly. You will only remember this story if it has a memorable ending. Happy endings aren’t memorable . . . thanks for listening.”




The sound rattled around in my phone for what seemed like hours. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t do anything.


“Hello.” I said. “Hello?” Hello?! HELLO!? ANSWER ME!”


He was gone.


I could imagine what the scene looked like. A teenage boy slumped inside of a payphone with blood everywhere. I can still imagine it perfectly clear the way I imagined it that first day. It is a horrible image and accompanies a horrible sound. That sound still rings in my ears when I wake up every morning.


After what seemed like hours I finally stood up and walked to the bathroom. I couldn’t hold it any longer and I started to sob uncontrollably. My entire body was shaking. I ran into a stall and began to throw up everything I had had to eat for the past two days. Someone who depended on me had just killed themselves because I couldn’t talk them through it.


The others in the office ran to the bathroom and into the stall. They pulled me out and cleaned me up and talked to me for the rest of the night. We took the break room from the people on the next shift and talked through the night. I couldn’t believe that the first call I had was someone that had already prepared everything to end it all and had gone through with it while I was on the phone still. All I wanted to do was go home and forget what had happened. I never again had someone do that on the phone. In fact, ever since that call I have been able to save everyone that has called me.


There were others in the office that couldn’t save people and we had to console them. I helped them as much as I could and told them it was ok and that if I could make it through it, they could too. I don’t tell them the only was I can still make it is with heavy medication and never going out. Every day after my shift I lie in my living room by myself watching TV until I pass out from exhaustion and the start the next day anew with more medication.


I’m calling you today because I’m tired of the medication and the loneliness. I’m tired of hearing him scream, “ANSWER ME!” every night and I’m tired of having the same dream every night of a teenage boy shooting himself in the head because everyone he ever loved had died. I’m tired of getting up every morning and instead of hearing my alarm, I hear a gun shot. I can’t take it anymore.


I’m calling you today because, more than anything. I want someone to know that I existed.










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