Heteroglossia

Terry and Cobb were on shift tonight at work. Overnight security. They watch over Old Lady Nora’s place over the Summer. That old complex of hers. It used to be her husband’s, but it was also her Uncle’s for a time. And she thinks her son has some stake in the property. It’s all really confusing. No one really understands it no matter how much Nora explains the ins and outs.

Regardless, Terry and Cobb had a long night ahead of them. Terry sits in a small room with 10 lightning blue screens, each displaying a different part of of the complex, all displaying the place as a whole. Terry’s job is pretty simple. If no one is in the complex, other than Cobb of course, then he doesn’t press anything. But! if it just so happens that somebody who is not supposed to be in the complex is, well, in the complex, then Terry presses the red button to set off the alarm and alert officials of the break-in. It is imperative that the red button is pushed. The red button. Pushed. The red one. That’s it.

Cobb, on the other hand wanders the complex with his tiny, dim flashlight and his tool belt with an unnecessary amount of screw drivers and wrenches. Phillips. Flat heads. Allen. Robertson. The whole enchilada.  He keeps the complex up to snuff and then some. No violation of any kind. Building. Zoning. Health. Everything kept clean, sharp, and to the book. He can recite the first three pages of the city code to the letter. That’s why they call him “The Lawman” Cobb.

“The Lawman” roams around the complex like an ant would a colony. He checks every corner. Opens every door and pops his head in and it scans the room like if it’s on a swivel. Closes the door. Checks the next room. Then the next. Automatic.

Terry watches Cobb on his screens. He’s the size of a raisin on the screens. Just some moving blur. The only thing that changes on the screens all night. Usually.

At about 2:30AM when Cobb was doing his 15th round through the complex. He was on the first floor of the complex, checking the rooms inside. All was good until he reached the third door on the right. On the other side of that door, “The Lawman” spotted two kids in black masks climbing into the window.

Cobb and the kids looked at one another a few seconds. Cobb had to make sure what he saw what was he saw. The kids looked at Cobb because they weren’t sure if he saw them or not. But “The Lawman” being “The Lawman,” he took the radio on his tool belt and raised it to his mouth.

“There’s a code 12 on first floor, Terry. Go ahead and follow through with protocol,” said Cobb.

Terry was half asleep when Cobb’s voice came through his radio. Usually, he doesn’t hear from Cobb until the end of the shift when they say their goodbyes. So when Terry heard Cobb’s voice, he thought it was a ghost.

“Woah, man. I though you were a ghost,” Terry responded through the radio.

“I don’t understand what you mean. Can you just call in the code 12, I have two kids breaking in,” said Cobb.

“What do you mean? I don’t understand?” said Terry.

“What do you mean when you say what do you mean?” said Cobb.

“How do I call in the code 12?” Terry said.

The kids have yet to move. Cobb hadn’t budged either. “I don’t understand how you don’t know how to call in a 12. Press the blue button on the dash,” said Cobb.

Terry’s voice came through Cobb’s radio and filled the room. “What do you mean by ‘blue’ button?”

“I mean the red one,” said Cobb.

“I don’t know, there’s like a whole bunch of blue ones, man,” said Terry.

“What do you mean? There’s only one blue one,” said Cobb through Terry’s radio. Terry wiggled his fingers around every button trying to find the blue one.

“Cobb, there’s like twenty blue buttons.”

“I don’t understand, Terry. There is only one blue one. Next to the Royal one,” said Cobb.

“Royal? I don’t understand, man. There’s only this baby blue one next to the Turquoise one.”

“What are you saying? There shouldn’t be a turquoise button. Are you sure what you’re referring to is not the Navy button?” asked Cobb. Cobb shook his head at the kids who have yet to move a muscle. “Just press the blue button, Terry. You’re holding up the protocol.”

“I don’t know, man. They’re all blue, Cobb. Fucking Tiffany blue, Sky blue, Fucking Yale blue, and… is that Carolina blue?”

“Terry, when I say the blue one, I mean the blue one. There is no other blue button on your dashboard. Kid. Hey, kid.” Cobb kept the button on his radio pushed. One of the masked kids raised his chin in response. “When I say blue, what do you envision in your mind?”

“I dunno. What do you mean?” the kid asked. His voice quivered.

“When I say blue, what pops up in your head?” asked Cobb.

The kid hesitated. “Blue, I guess.”

“You hear that, Terry. Blue. When I say blue, I mean blue. Now press the blue button.” said “The Lawman.”

“That’s the thing, man. You say blue, but I think about a different shade of blue than you.”

“I don’t understand. Blue is blue. There is no other blue other than blue.”

“What are you saying?”

“What do you mean?”

“I just don’t understand what you’re trying to say.”

-Hec

 

 

 

 

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