- By Corey Brown - By Corey Brown

Severed the book

© 2019 Corey Brown

Push it real good

It was a hair-on-fire Monday with the help desk drowning in calls and everyone whining about bad print jobs, broken MP3 players and lost loves. The increased workload forced my partner, Nacho Flaherty, and I to split up. As a result, we had to deal with the perps alone. I knew computer-related disturbances account for the majority of on-the-job injuries. As a seasoned pro, being on my own was not a problem. But Nacho was the junior man on our team; I worried about him, wondered if he might be feeling the pressure.


By the way, my name is Spinner, Rick Spinner. I carry an ID badge. I’m a consultant, a PC technician and Juju bead extraordinaire. I mean, really, how else can you fix a computer? A tech without magic rushes in where outright crazy people fear to tread.


Flying solo, I stepped off the elevator, still thinking about Nacho, wondering if his Juju was fully charged. I headed into the south wing of the second floor, rounded a corner and found my partner staring through a large window. I froze. I knew about this particular pane, this wasn’t just any looking-glass. Nacho was looking into the Large Corporation’s data center.


For the uninitiated, data center is geek speak for a room with a bunch of computers. Usually, the computers in this room are mission critical, meaning they keep the information flowing, businesses in operation and the universe revolving around the sun. Data centers are climate controlled, have card-access locks, sophisticated fire suppression systems and at least one big, red button marked ‘Press in case of emergency’. No one really knows what will happen if the button is ever pushed, but it has to be bad. Why else would the dang thing be red?


I mention the big red button only because I knew that was what had Nacho’s attention. It happens all the time, a rookie thinks he can tackle any situation and before long he finds himself smack in the middle of trouble. He’s mesmerized, staring at that big, red button wondering what would happen if….

Dealing with a man trapped in Button-Blindness, as the department shrinks call it, can be tricky. You don’t want to startle him, you never know what might send him into action. Mentally, I reviewed what the Manual had to say about the situation. I wanted to do this by the book. Of course, having never read the Manual, I was at a complete loss. Stupid thing. How would I know there’d be anything useful in it?


So, I had to proceed on guts and good old common sense, both of which I am sorely lacking. Truth be told, I rely on those Juju beads a lot more than I care to admit.

“Why don’t you just step away from the window?” I said, in a calm voice. “Nice and slow.”

Nacho didn’t speak. Instead he held up a hand, index finger pointing upward, a gesture for me to wait or be quiet. Or maybe he was getting ready to crash through the door, lunge at the big, red button and mash it with his extended digit. My pulse pounded in my temples. It could all go bad in an instant.

“Come on Nacho, just put that finger away and we’ll talk this out. It’s going to be all right.”

Nacho remained silent and continued to stare wild-eyed through the window into the Data Center. Then he slowly shook his head ‘no’.


As my heart raced, as I tried to figure out how to avert this impending crisis, I couldn’t help wondering why the heck they put windows in data centers in the first place. Seriously, who would want to look at a wall of rack mounted computers anyway? And a window just puts that big, red button out there for god and country to obsess over. I decided right then I was coming back at night with a sheet of plywood, those previous convictions for criminal damage to property be damned.


Just as I was considering a call to the help desk for backup, Nacho dropped his hand and looked at me.

“Now what, exactly,” he said, “is your problem?”

I let out a breath, Nacho had snapped out of it just in time. I didn’t know if I should congratulate him or cite him for violating the regs. Since there were no regulations about staring at that dumb button, I chose to do the former.

“Nice work,” I said. “I’ve never seen someone break the grip of Button-Blindness on their own. I’m impressed.”

Nacho frowned. “What on earth are you talking about?”


I jutted my chin toward the data center window. The big, red button....the one stamped ‘Press in case of emergency’, you were half-insane from staring at it. I was getting ready to do the Heimlich on you.”

“You think I was looking at the emergency shut down button?”

I nodded, feeling odd, like I had missed something.

“I was looking at,” Nacho said, grabbing a fistful of my shirt and yanking me over to the window. “Her.”


Staring back at us was gorgeous brunette with a face like an angel and a body that would temp a televangelist to commit transgressions of the flesh---wait, they do that even with plain women. The dark-haired beauty smiled and waggled her fingers at us.

“Who…? I could barely speak.

“She’s the repair technician for the company that makes those computers,” Nacho said. “The email server blew a spark plug.” Nacho waved back at her and sighed. “I think I’m in love.”

I looked at Nacho. “You weren’t staring at the big, red button? You weren’t getting ready to charge in there and slam it with your fist?”

“Are you kidding?” Nacho practically snorted the words. “I’m not going near that thing. I heard what happened after you pressed it.”