- By Corey Brown - By Corey Brown

Severed the book

© 2019 Corey Brown

Going Wireless

The day started out rough. A nasty-looking storm nipped at my heels on the way to work. Then came the lighting and we lost power. Computers on every floor winked out, coffee makers went cold and folks born in Alaska figured the six month sundown had come early. The entire office building became a ship adrift.

My name is Spinner, Rick Spinner. I’m a PC tech, a consultant, and on this particular morning I was consulting my survival guide. I knew what was coming next---an avalanche of support calls. Translation: Actual work.


Within seconds my phone lit up like a Christmas tree with one light bulb. A moment later my partner, Nacho Flaherty, had a call. I looked down at my phone, stared at that single, glowing LED and thought, so now it starts.

Feeling strangely nautical, I lifted the handset and said, “Aargh!”

The caller didn’t speak right away but after a moment he tentatively said, “Spinner, is that you?”

“Avast matey, who wants to know?”

Another pause.

“Well, CIO Daniels wants to know.”

Now things were serious, all business. Oops. I’d been mucking around with the Chief Information Officer, Zack Daniels.

“Uh, sorry Mr. Daniels,” I said. “I don’t know what came over me.”

Zack took a claming breath, obviously choosing his words carefully.

“So, Rick,” He said. “Why can’t I get a network connection?”


I frowned, looked at the phone receiver. Was this guy kidding?

“Sir?” I said. “I don’t understand.”

“How do you think it looks when the CIO of this Large Corporation can’t get on the Internet? And what about all those people depending on me to provide for their technology needs, how do you think they feel about not being able to get onto the Internet?"

Now the ship was not only adrift, it was sinking. And fast.

“Uh, do you know the power is out?” I said. “This building has no electricity, none whatsoever. There is not one little ready kilowatt sneaking around here anywhere.”

“Is that right?” The CIO said, his voice taking on a tone. “Well, if that’s the case, why are the phones still working?”


Hmm….there was that.


Being a PC tech and not a phone tech, I had no idea why the pesky little buggers were still ringing. So, I made something up.

“Sir,” I said. “The Federal Telecommunications Act of 1902 requires all telephone systems to remain operational even during power failures. As a result, the government built a huge backup generator, buried it under the entire state of Nebraska and connected it to every telephone in the country. The NSA is in charge of maintenance as required by the Republicans.”

“Oh. I see,” Zack said. “Of course, that makes sense. But we have a wireless network, why is power a problem?”


I considered throwing the phone against the wall. I considered giving up this thankless job and becoming a gigolo, but quickly discarded that plan. Why be tied down?

On his own support call, Nacho glanced at me. Seeing my frustration, he nodded and whacked his forehead with a stapler in a gesture of empathy. Good old Nacho, he always knows just what to do.


“I don’t mean to sound disrespectful,” I said, to the Chief Idiocy Officer. “But are you a complete moron? Are you telling me you don’t know electronics require electricity to work? Do you not know electronic devices like computers, networks and wristwatches require electricity to run? Heck, Mr. Potato Head probably has a power cord these days. And in case you failed to notice, electricity is something we do not have at the moment.”


There was a pause then I heard Zack Daniels sigh. I waited a moment longer but when he didn’t speak, I grew concerned.

“Sir, are you all right?”