Big Trouble in Little Charlottesville

Charlottesville / UVA/ Albemarle Emergency Communications Center

Ole Jim “Hurtin” Burton pulls his dust-covered Peterbilt into the Downtown Metered Lot deep in the late-September night. He’s been hauling a load all the way from Oxnard and all he has left is a quick nap until dawn when the loading dock opens up and he gets a full week of leave.

Not long after killing the engine and closing his eyes, Hurtin hears a low rumble accompanied by a steady chant. He cocks an ear out the passenger window and the sound reverberates in a way that shows the sounds are getting closer. “”HOOS!” “HOOS” “HOOS”!

What the…Hurtin racks his brain but fails to understand what this Hoos business is about and why it’s coming his way. Suddenly from the other direction he catches the faint sound of another, similar cadence of a chant. “HOKIES” “HOKIES” “HOKIES”!!

Two rival groups come to surround Hurtin’s truck, one wearing blue and orange, – the other maroon and orange. So much orange!! The groups are arguing with each other and referring to a deep history between the two. Taunts about football victories, a discernable lack of championship trophies, and Edgar Allan Poe fly back and forth at neck-breaking speeds.

Hurtin struggles his way out of the truck, crawling through the masses until he drops into the only opening he can find for escape – a storm drain. Along the way he had somehow come into possession of a stuffed turkey mascot tail and realizes it is extremely important as the crowd sees the last image of the turkey tail disappearing into the void as takes chase.

Hurtin races through the drains mere steps in front of 500 ravenous university sports fans who desire the treasure he carries. Eventually he finds a ladder to access a manhole and flees to the streets, leaving the throng in the darkness to squabble with each other once again.

Hurtin realizes he has no idea how to return to his truck, and the only lifeline is his cell phone, which he uses to call 911. The call taker identifies his location through landmarks and technology such as Hurtin’s phase 2 data, Carbyne, and CAD GIS. The call taker is able to guide Hurtin back across the winding streets. Along the way Hurtin encounters several obstacles to overcome, which he does with the 911 calltaker’s help.

Jack eventually arrives back at his truck, which has been disabled by the instigator of the mobs – Dave Matthews, who comes into focus as he rounds the rear of the trailer. He has brought each member of his 37-member band and all of them have a supernatural power. The 3rd trumpet player, for instance, shoots confetti out of the bell of his instrument? What’s that about? Anyway, some of them are cool – a harmonica guy can throw lightning.

Dave Matthews explains that he knows Hurtin has nothing to do with this, just relinquish the feathers and he can go about his day. That load won’t deliver itself (WHOA, new song title – WRITE THAT DOWN! WRITE THAT DOWN! )

Ole Hurtin’s been around the block a time or two – he knows Dave Matthews is up to no good. There’s no telling what will come about if the Virginia Tech Hokies mascot is given up to a Charlottesville guy. Could be the end of days, could be an Instagram post. Worse yet, it could be the inspiration for another album. Yeeesh, uhhh no thanks.

Hurtin realizes the 911 dispatcher has been on the line for the entirety of the exchange, so he announces “Aint nobody gettin’ this tail, not if Ole Hurtin Burton can do anything about it” and throws the feathers as far as he can see – about 14 feet high into a mass of old Comcast and Centurylink DSL lines that should have been buried 25 years ago.

The quick thinking dispatcher had long ago sent police to Hurtin’s location and after the precious feathers were safe, they sprung into action – bright lights and shouting from every direction sent a ton of banjo, trombone, and french horn players running in every direction. Soon they were all detained. The call taker contacted Comcast to retrieve the feathers from the lines and they were returned to the rightful owners. Dave Matthews apologized for making such a fuss, signed autographs for everyone while handing out a few bottles of his wine and immediately entered a waiting helicopter to go off to his next gig.

The mayor showed up on scene by coincidence – he was going to the kombucha stand across the street and saw the commotion. The mayor gave Ole Hurtin a key to the city right then and there as the sun was coming up along the sound of the loading dock door being rolled up.


This encapsulates so much about the area. The UVA/VT rivalry, DMB, mascots, downtown, wine, etc etc. Really though, it’s about what we do in the ECC here every day. We do get a lot of tourists or people not from the region who are lost and in emergency situations. This sort of situation, while ridiculous, isn’t too far off from some things we have seen and heard here in CUA ECC. We stay on the line to give the absolute best customer service, and route emergency services to those who need them by using all sorts of techniques and technologies.