John hasn’t even set the phone back in the cradle from his hour-long conference call with the FBI and the highway patrol commissioner before there’s a knock on his office door. He grunts a “Come in” and picks up his neglected coffee mug. Mmm, room temperature.
It’s Deputy Briggs, and she’s looking concerned. That’s almost never good.
“Sir, your son called about 20 minutes ago. He said that it wasn’t urgent enough to interrupt you, but that I should give you this message as soon as you were done.”
John sighs. He needs to learn how to do the whole texting thing, even if he still has a phone with only numbers on it. “What’s the message?”
Briggs clears her throat nervously, and John can practically hear the air quotes as she reads. “Stiles says that a group of ‘angry potatoes’ showed up at ‘the place where all the stuff happens’ because they think ‘it’s their taffy.’ But not to worry because the ‘mountain lions’ are taking care of it.” She frowns at the piece of paper in her hands. “Sir, I don’t mean to pry, but has your son suffered a head injury recently?”
John rests his forehead against his hand. “Almost definitely. Is there anything else?”
“Um, no sir.”
“Thanks, Trisha.” He doesn’t have to fake the put-upon smile. “Teenager stuff.” Not technically a lie.
She nods and backs out of his office, closing the door behind her. John pulls out his phone and flips it open, laboriously punching the numbers until he spells out a message letter by letter: Stiles we need to figure out a better code. POTATOES???
The response comes not ten seconds later: what im hungry. pick up pizza? all the meat u want.
John wonders what it says about his life that all he feels is relief.