- By Corey Brown - By Corey Brown

Severed the book

© 2019 Corey Brown

Defining Moment

It was a work day, one of those slow-motion time slices that seem to happen between Monday morning and 5:00 PM Friday. I took a hit of coffee, sat back and folded my arms. Then I contemplated things. Things like termites, drag racing cars and why my partner, Nacho Flaherty, was cooler than me.


I looked over at the Young Turk, considered him, wondered how he always managed to have that mix and match thing going on with his hair and clothes.


My name is Spinner, Rick Spinner. I’m a consultant---not a fashion consultant, lord knows if I was my clothes would compliment my hair. What I am is a PC tech, someone who wears an ID badge. I am not someone you want to know socially.


Thusly, contemplating things and being otherwise disengaged, when my phone rang, it startled me. I yelped like a little girl and sat up. I looked at the phone. I looked at Nacho who adjusted his hair color-coordinated shirt and shrugged. Good old Nacho, he always has the cool moves. The darn thing rang again, if you can believe it. Dumbfounded, I picked up the handset.


“This is Spinner,” I said. “Talk to me.”

“Hey, man, my computer is dead.”


Hey man? What was that all about? Had the sixties returned for an encore? I wondered where this was going. Could the guy be an executive, or maybe an undercover consultant working for Internal Affairs? Was this a set up? I knew one thing for sure: this man was definitely not a woman. You do this job long enough and you pick up on subtleties.


Cautiously, working a discreet interrogation, I said, “Define ‘dead’.”

There was silence on the line. Hmm…maybe more than a computer was in trouble, here. I wondered if this guy should have dialed 911 instead of calling me.


“What kind of question is that?” The guy said. “Hold on, are we using Bill Clinton speak? Are we defining words like ‘the’ and ‘Who’s your daddy?’ Or is this a John Cusack kind of conversation? Are we talking ‘every man’ where normal English is spoken? Uh…what are we talking about?”


This was my kind of guy, confidently plowing ahead long after the subject matter was no longer relevant or even identifiable.


“We’re speaking Cusack, not Clinton,” I said. “And we’re talking about your computer.”

“Yeah that’s right. My computer is dead.”

“Define ‘dead’.”

“Oh, come on,” the guy said. He drew a breath, maybe he sighed. “Dead,” he said, “As in it no longer runs.”

“No longer runs what?” I asked. “Define ‘runs’.”

“It doesn’t work. It won’t turn on, no booty uppity. What else can I say?”


Now we were getting somewhere.

“I see,” I said “What line of work are you in?”

“Who cares?” The caller said. “My job has nothing to do with this dead computer.


It was a crucial mistake and I was on to him. My finely honed consulting skills told me his computer quit doing whatever computers do. Neither of us spoke. I waited, knowing he would crack.
So, it had come to this.


Actually, it had come to nothing. I had said nothing, he had said nothing. Nothing had happened.


“Sir,” I said. “I’m afraid you’ll have to come downtown.” Man, I liked saying that. Oh great. Now I was saying man. I had to stay sharp, wouldn’t want the decade of free love sneaking up on me.


“What are you talking about?” The caller said. “We are downtown.”

This guy was one tough mug. “Okay, good,” I said. “That’ll save us a trip. Now, what can I do for you?”

I heard a noise on the other end of the line. Kind of a thump-thump-thump sound then the phone cut out. Worried, I looked over at Nacho. I could tell he sensed things had gone wrong.

“I think that guy is in trouble,” I said. “There was this whacking sound, like maybe his head hit the desk or something.”

Nacho slowly nodded then said, “Define ‘whacking’.”