Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: COFFEE BREAK / TEA BREAK (03/01/18)
- TITLE: It's All In How You Say It
By Sandy Roberts
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Karen was nineteen and ready to work. Going to college was a bore. Her parents tried to convince her otherwise. They even enlisted the aid of their Pastor, but Karen thought she was wasting her time reading books when she could be making money. Consequently, she took a Typist Clerk Exam for a job with her local county and landed an entry level position with the Sheriff's Department. When she received the notice after her interview that she was hired, she thought she was something really hot! A full-time permanent position right out of the gate, and with the Sheriff's Department. Grandiose thoughts overtook her mind about saving lives and protecting the good citizens of her community.
There was a cool autumn breeze blowing the first day of Karen's new job. She was appreciative of the crisp air against her skin as she walked from her car to the front door of the Sheriff's Department. The thrill of working consumed her causing tiny beads of perspiration to secrete upon her forehead and cheeks. When Karen arrived, she was warmly greeted by her supervisor and then immediately ushered into orientation. Not only did her duties include typing and filing, but she was overwhelmed and filled with awe that she was also going to be trained on the radio. Wow, the radio! It sat on a large platform in the middle of the Sheriff's Records Office. She counted the steps; two steps up with a black swivel chair facing it. Its ominous presence held her gaze and she felt a deep respect. This was how she was going to communicate with the officers on the streets, or in the field as they called it internally. She would inform them if a suspect had an outstanding warrant or criminal history. Her shoulders were back, and she held her head high with great self-assurance.
During her week of orientation, Karen was given a list of code words to memorize for use while communicating vital information to the officers. After the first week, her turn came to implement those codes. Her trainer was present to guide her, and she praised Karen for her speedy accomplishments. They practiced again and again until Karen and her trainer were confident in her ability to handle the radio alone. It was exciting. Her heart filled with great expectancy of doing her job well. She became fluent and trusted her ability to rattle off those codes effortlessly with each officer's query. Nothing could stand in her way judiciously operating the radio. Weeks turned into months, her confidence soaring.
Then one routine Saturday, a predictable query came in. "Records, 10-29 on subject...." Karen quickly ran the subject's history through the vast databases of the Sheriff's Department and the Department of Justice. She saw that the person in question had several warrants and could be armed and dangerous.
She responded in monotone, "Two-Boy-One, suspect has a 10-29 out of San Joe-a-qwin (San Joaquin) County."
The officer immediately countered, "Records, could you 10-9 that County?" (Say that again?)
Did Karen hear laughing in the background? She thought to herself, "what don't you understand? San Joe-a-qwin, you know, San Joe-a-qwin!" She was much too busy for this repeat stuff. Maybe the officer should get a hearing test.
Frustrated, she repeated it back pronouncing each syllable slowly and deliberately, "San JOE-A-QWIN."
Yeah! There was definitely laughter, hysterical. When Karen realized what she had done, she lowered her head and muttered under her breath, "I think I need a coffee break; a long one!" She didn't even like coffee, but today she would make an exception.
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