- By Corey Brown - By Corey Brown

Severed the book

© 2019 Corey Brown

The Beat Goes On

There was nothing doing on the help desk. Absent were desperate calls, complaints about faulty ring tones or questions about the email address book that seemed to disappear after pressing the delete key. And just how do those things happen anyway? I mean, what’s the delete key got to do with anything?

It was quiet, too quiet. Un-nerved by the calm, I randomly selected someone else’s extension and put my phone on send. Then I got up, stretched, and motioned my partner, Nacho Flaherty, to join me on foot patrol.


My name is Spinner, Rick Spinner. I’m a consultant working the help desk of a Large Corporation. I carry an ID badge and, when required, I know how ruin a perfectly good computer.


We took the elevator to the twelfth floor. Deciding on a top down approach, we worked our way, floor by floor, to the lobby. Walking the beat can be risky, so Nacho and I were vigilant as we walked past all the poor slobs stuck at their desks, staring zombie-like at spreadsheets, cross-linked OLE doo-dads and database reports.


“Hey Rick,” someone called out.

Nacho and I froze. This could be a ploy, a trick to get us to actually help one of them. Slowly, we turned in the direction of the man’s voice.

“Oh, hi there,” I said, recognizing the guy from a local hang out for consultants. Not that he actually was a consultant, but some folks like to be seen with those of us in the biz.

“What’s up?” I said, hitching my pants, making sure my ID badge was visible.

“I just downloaded this new screensaver,” he said. “It’s like I’m in a spaceship flying through space and all these stars are just whizzing passed. It’s really cool. But every time I move my mouse, the darn thing quits.”

I narrowed my eyes. “Just quits? Like, the screensaver stops saving your screen so you can work?”

He nodded enthusiastically, a big grin on his face. “Yeah, like that. Can you fix it?”


Nacho and I moved on. As I said, walking the beat can be hazardous.


And so it went. On the ninth floor someone asked us about rebooting the network, on the seventh floor it was a question about that pesky Delete key again. I swear that stupid thing is the bane of my existence. And down on six we came across a hair-raising situation, something no civilian should ever see: three guys doing the hamster dance in sync to ZZ Top’s Legs playing on an iPod. My eyes still hurt from the experience.

But a real challenge presented itself on the second floor when the former parking lot guard, turned head of security, cornered us near the elevator.

“Spinner,” he said, giving me a look.

“Chief,” I said, suppressing a grin. I still had memories of this guy darting around the parking lot, issuing tickets, humming the theme to Mission Impossible.

The chief glared at me. “Need to talk to you about something,” he said. “I’m hearing rumors that you and your pal, here, are selling goat cheese out the trunk of your car. What about it? We don’t allow solicitation on Large Corporation property.”


Uh-oh, this could be trouble. Well, not real trouble because it was goat sausage we were selling, not goat cheese. Hey, it’s a long story. It involves some nomads and a midnight bachelor party that included someone’s mother popping out of a cake while we performed maintenance on a handful of web servers. If you haven’t heard this tale, forget about it. Trust me, you don’t want to know.


Nacho looked at me and I nodded. We had planned for this contingency.

“Hey Chief,” Nacho said. “Did you know that Doctor Fu Manchu was not actually a doctor?”

The security chief frowned. “Uh, no I didn’t.”

“Yup, that doctor title was completely made up. In fact, being a fictional character in novels written by Sax Rohmer was just a part time gig for Mr. Manchu. When people weren’t reading those books, the old Fu Meister was operating a successful nail salon in Irving Texas.”

The chief continued to frown. “Are you serious?” He said. “A world famous villain owned a nail salon, in Texas?”

“It’s true. At the time, he was one of the only people in the Lone Star State who really understood cuticles.”

“How about it?” I said, taking the chief by the elbow. “Let’s get a cup of coffee. We’ll talk about manicures, nail polish and arch enemies. C’mon, it’ll be fun.


We started walking. But the security chief slowed his pace then stopped. “Weren’t we talking about dairy products or cheese or something?” He said.

I frowned, looked at Nacho, scratched my head and tried to appear confused. Then I said, “Dairy? Cheese?”

Nacho smiled pleasantly. “Not cheese or dairy, really scary. That Doctor Fu Manchu was really scary.”

The chief thought about it and nodded. “Yup, he was really scary.”


And the beat goes on.