Probably should have saved this for an election season…
Mash them all together, and the map would become a mess of purple. Luckily there were thick, black lines here and there, meant to keep the colors apart. Red and blue, red and blue, not purple. What was purple? Some kind of alien hell-color, loathsome and despicable. It was the color of chaos. Instead they looked at little ponds of blue and red, blue and red. Some were gray, but soon they would be blue…or red. They hoped for one instead of the other. They sweated over it, swilled coffee like water because of it, stayed up all hours waiting for this map to change its stripes like an autumn tree.
They were angry. The colors were not going their way. Dozens milled about the tiny office, all were on phones. Some tip-tapped on computers while speaking on the phone. They ate as they talked, talked as they talked, gestured and gesticulated and hoped not to collapse. That was what the coffee was for. Then there was the Huddle. The Huddle huddled around the map, as seen on a big electronic screen. They, too, were on their phones but their phones went to Higher Powers. Within the Huddle was a hushed reverence outdistancing the tumult of the Pit without. This was the nerve center, where forces colluded and contrived ways of making those colors change.
The Numbers. The Numbers were the key to the blue. Or the red. If the Numbers were to be changed, shifted, adjusted, beaten into the proper will then the red would follow. Or the blue. The Numbers play the tune to which they dance. But how to make them sing, change the key or pitch? The Huddle knew.
The phones with the words and the screens could move the Numbers, the Numbers the colors, the colors the map. And then She would have a job. An important job that changed numbers and moved colors and put her in touch with people who changed bigger numbres and moved even more colors in bigger splotches on bigger maps. But heretofore She had used up all her words and was replacing them with coffee and listening. Her words had moved the Numbers and now the colors were following, but Her words were over and pleasing and, ultimately, not quite enough. Soon Her words would be back and when the colors went the right way the words would be back and the colors would move again. Until then there was waiting. And coffee. And the phones and the laptops and the Huddle and the words and the Numbers and the screens and the map.