Suicide Hotline Worker Gears Up For Valentine’s Day

"Thank you for calling 1-800-End It All, this call may be recorded for training purposes..."
Camus find working in an office environment comforting.

AUSTIN, TEXAS – Julius Camus, a veteran crisis counselor at the national suicide hotline’s call center in Austin, is getting ready for the busiest day of the year. Sitting in his cubicle in between calls from people on the brink of ending their lives, Julius speaks frankly about his job. “Yeah, I’ve been working here about sixteen years or so. Saving lives is just something I always wanted to do, and since being a superhero didn’t work out, this was the next best thing.”

Camus joined the suicide hotline in 1998 after seeing an ad in the back of the newspaper. “I was working in a boring sales job, answering phones all day. I mean, that’s sort of what I do now, but at least I have this nice spinny chair.” He rotates, and for just a moment a brief smile crosses his world-weary face. He then points to a picture of his twin daughters. “They’re too young to understand what I do, so I tell them I help sad people.” He laughs. “They get a kick out of that.”

While preparing a cup of coffee, the old pro goes over recorded calls from previous years, trying to assess the most effective techniques. “I like asking them about their day, you know, who they talked to and stuff,” said the man. Greying hairs visible in his stubble, he pulls out a cup of coffee and breathes in the smell, sighing deeply. “Sometimes all they need is someone real to talk to, because the voices inside their heads can be real jerks.” Glancing at the coffee, he frowns for a moment. “Gotta have it black. Can’t be enjoying myself on the job.”

Camus, who is divorced, reported that he had no plans for Valentine’s Day himself. “I know it isn’t as glamorous as a fancy dinner, but saving lives can be pretty satisfying sometimes.” When asked what he would do if he got work off on the fourteenth, he shrugged and said, “Maybe check out that Forty Shades of Hay thing.”

About Kushal Chatterjee 60 Articles
Kushal is a hurricane hitting a Brachiosaurus stuck in rush hour traffic. He is the harmless prank phone call that frightens your mother into moving your entire family eight counties away. He is the smell of freshly baked cookies eerily emanating from an abandoned mental asylum. He is an amazing writer and incredible talent.