|A Whately Landmark dee|
I am not scheduled to start working for another ten days. The school plans on letting me move in, get settled, open bank accounts and get my household in order. The call from Cole Potter is unexpected. I know it is Cole before he says the second word out of his mouth.
If there was such a thing as a game show called, “Name that Voice,” I would be a fierce competitor. I have heard that there are people with unusually sensitive palates and others whose olfactory senses are nearly superhuman. Some people claim to have perfect pitch or the ability to memorize and recite unimaginably long numbers without fault. My particular gift to this world is the uncanny knack of hearing a voice and being able to flawlessly recall the person’s name with whom the voice is affiliated. It would have been nice if this translated into some particularly refined musicality on my part. While I like to bang on the piano and strum on a guitar, I would never consider myself gifted. But in this particular modality -- voice recognition -- call me Mozart. The only benefit to having this talent is that knowing a caller before they identify themselves can give me a leg up on any given situation. I have been told that, in social settings, I have the habit of shutting my eyes when I can’t remember someone’s name. I know it’s so I can hone in and distinguish the person’s voice from the background noise, but it can look a little awkward.
“Cole Potter? What’s it been, eight years or more?”
In a drawl he must have imitated when Dallas was still on t.v., Cole says. “Y’all got that right.” What bothers me is this guy was born in western Massachusetts, educated in western Massachusetts, and has lived here his entire life. His wife, Lucinda, on the other hand, is from Texas. They go back for one week every year. Could a guy really adopt an accent reflecting his wife’s personae? I suppose, anything is possible.
Cole is built a little like a brick. He is squat, almost portly, and when he walks, his arms hang off his body at a thirty degree angle. He swings each leg in a slight arc as he struts rather than kicking straight through on a line. Gotta wonder.
“Are you and the Missus settlin’ in, Carl?” He knows perfectly well that I am not married.
Two can play this game. “We sure are.”
He is either not listening or is done with amenities.
“Julia asked me to call you. There’s been some goin’s on in the graveyard.”
I feel myself shrug, physically recoil, at all his dropping of g’s.
“Is that so?” I prompt him.
“Y’up. Wondered if you had time to run over and look-see at it and get back to me on how much damage’s been done. You know I took over as Head of Security about three years ago, I ‘m sure. Right?”
“Congratulations.” My voice is flat. Any flatter, it would be an iron.
“So, can you take care of that soon? I’m going over the footage now tryin’ to work out what happened. It’s a pitiful shame someone would knock down a headstone like that.”
“Cole, you haven’t told me what happened....”
While I am still talking, I hear him, his voice turned away from the receiver, “Did cha catch the Red Sox came last night?” Then, I hear a click. Dial tone.
I hang up the receiver. With a deep sigh of exasperation, I look through a box or two to locate my official Whately Prep cap. Finding it, I jam it on and head out the door.