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The Sewer Rat
Expecting the unexpected
He would only be away on business for four days this time, but when Dustin made his New Year’s Resolution four months earlier to exercise for 30 minutes daily, that included his trips away from home. Normally, a brisk walk around town would do, so he checked his watch to begin his return trip at the 15- or 20-minute mark.
“Hey, help me. Help me!” a voice called out.
Dustin heard it but couldn’t figure out where it was coming from. The voice echoed as if it were in a cave.
“I see your shadow up there. I’m down here, in the sewer. Help me,” the male voice said, still with the echo.
There, two feet away was an open manhole with the cover missing.
Dustin knelt down and called into the hole, “Anybody in there?”
“Yes, thank you, thank you, thank you.”
“What’re you doing down there?” Dustin asked. “How’d you get down there?”
“Never mind that. Call 9-1-1 and have someone come pull me out.”
“Can’t. Don’t have my phone with me. Oh wait, I lied. Here it is. Forgot I had it. What’s your name?”
“Name’s Tristan. Call for some help please. I’m dying down here,” Tristan said.
Dustin said, “I’ll try, but you really shouldn’t be down there. I don’t know how you got there. You don’t work for the City, do you? I mean, you’re not a maintenance worker or something. They’re going to be asking a lot of question.”
“Hey buddy, I get it. I messed up. No, I don’t work for the City. Please, can you just call 9-1-1? I think I broke something on the way down. I’d call 9-1-1 myself but my phone is covered with ewww…”
“No need to say more.”
Dustin pulled out his phone and dialed 9-1-1.
“9-1-1. What is the nature of your emergency?” the operator asked.
“Well, I was walking by and there’s a guy here inside a manhole.”
“Inside a manhole? How’d your friend get there?”
“Oh, no, Operator. You see, he’s not my friend. I just happened by. He wouldn’t say how he got there.”
“What’s his name and is he injured?”
“Says his name is Tristan. Hey Tristan, what’s your last name?”
“Fielding,” Tristan said.
“Fielding, ma’am, Tristan Fielding. Yes, he said he broke something on the way down. He’s still talking so that’s a good sign.”
“Can I have your name, sir, for our records?”
“Oh, I’d rather not. I just…”
“That’s okay, Mr. Ford, Dustin M. Ford from Tulsa Oklahoma, is that correct?”
“Yes, ma’am, it is.”
“I have you right now at Vine and Maple in Rochester, is that also correct?”
Dustin looked around for street signs and squinted.
“Yep, that seems to be where I am.”
“Thank you very much. A squad car and fire truck are on their way. Seems Mr. Fielding has two warrants out for his arrest. There’s a small reward for his apprehension. Interested in cashing in on your friend?”
“Oh, no. He’s not my friend. Eh, just give it to a worthwhile charity. I’m visiting Rochester this week.”
“Thank you for your help, Mr. Ford. The City thanks you as well.”
“Okay, Tristan. Good news and bad news. Good news is help is on its way.”
“And the bad news?”
“The cops are on their way too. Oop, there they are, the sirens.”
“Yeah, that’s what I was afraid of. Thanks for helping me out,” said Tristan, but Dustin was already continuing his walk. Have to get those 30 minutes in.
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