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Ballard

Cote sticks her head into the bathroom, towel-turbanned. “Why’d you turn off the radio?”

“You needed the hair dryer,” Ballard says. “You can’t fit both on the outlet.”

“Turn one upside-down.”

“Don’t do that–” he starts.

Cote flips the hair dryer’s plug over, then reinserts the radio. NPR resumes.

“–you might reverse the polarity and–” Ballard falters.

Cote picks up the hair dryer and pokes the trigger. It works fine.

“–scramble the deflector shields,” Ballard mutters.

“How can you not know what a polarized plug looks like? You’re an engineer!”

“A software engineer,” says Ballard, employing history’s weakest defense.

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