A Short Tale

Yesterday, I linked to the story of police officer Jason Short, who attempted to rescue an inanimate doll. Since reading about it, I haven’t been able to get this sequence out of my mind.

He smashed the window with his baton to save the infant. The CPR, however, did not work. He checked for an obstructed airway and called for an ambulance.

“And I went to put my finger in its mouth and it was all resistance,” he said to WMUR-TV. “And I’m like, ‘This is a doll.’”

Picture Lieutenant Short, as he speeds into the Walmart parking lot in response to a 911 call. He’s responding to an anonymous tip of an infant in peril, suffering inside a hot vehicle. Though no one has stuck around at the scene, Short quickly spots the car in question as he circles the lot. He throws it into park, but even as he exits his cruiser, he’s boarding a roller coaster of emotions.

The officer’s adrenaline rockets up as he tries the door handle. It’s locked, of course, so he must resort to smashing the car’s window with his baton. Even with the loud crash, the baby is non-responsive. Once Short has the car door open, he follows his training. He cradles the child gently and attempts mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Alas, the CPR is terrifyingly ineffective, and he screams into his radio for an ambulance.

In desperation, Short attempts to poke his finger into the newborn’s mouth to clear whatever obstruction might be there. Suddenly, he realizes he’s holding a doll and feels like a complete and utter moron.

Now Short is standing dumbfounded, as the broken glass sprinkled on the ground glints in the sun. All gentleness is gone as he holds the “baby” by a single arm and jerks it up to his face for a closer inspection. His head swivels around, scanning the parking lot as he attempts to find someone with whom he can share a “Can you believe this shit?” look. And yet, there’s no one nearby, no one who has seen what just happened.

“Maybe I can just drive away,” Short thinks. “Otherwise, I’ll never hear the end of this back at headquarters.”

Before he can act on his devious plan, his radio comes to life. The voice of Cheryl Heins crackles through.

“Lieutenant Short, what’s the status on that call?” the dispatcher asks.

“You can cancel that ambulance. It’s…it’s a doll,” Short replies.

“Say again, Jason?” Heins says, incredulous.

“A doll, a doll, it’s a goddamned doll, Cheryl!” Short yells.

After a long pause, the single word response comes back.