“I’m dialing as fast as I can!” Carl cried. Each number seemed to take forever as the phone dial slowly worked backwards and pulsed out the digits after he’d entered them.

“Hello, this is central dispatch, please state the nature of your emergency.”

“It’s Sweeney,” Carl said, breathlessly, looking out his window at the farmland. “He’s trapped!”

“Slow down, sir,” the operator said. “Where are you, and where is this Mr. Sweeney trapped?”

“Rural Route 401 #2287,” said Carl. “Sweeney’s one of the guys around here. Runs and rents farm equipment, combines and the like. He’s not exactly a big deal around here, but…I guess, maybe a medium deal? He’s a personality.”

“I see,” the operator said. She did not sound particularly interested in either the urgency in Carl’s voice or his account of events. “And he was trapped…?”

“Oh. By a sinkhole that opened up under his tractor. Maybe from the rains? Darndest thing I e’er did see.”

“We’ll send someone out.”

“See that you do,” Carl said. “I’m paying him by the hour, and I’ll be darned if I’m paying him for loafing around in a hole.”

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