- By Corey Brown - By Corey Brown

Severed the book

© 2019 Corey Brown

It's all about networking

“Rick, we have an emergency on the ninth floor, let’s go.”
I looked at my partner, Nacho Flaherty. Truth be told, I didn’t exactly look at him….it was more like a blank stare.


My name is Spinner, Rick Spinner. I am a consultant, a tech, I wear an ID badge and the job was getting to me, I just couldn’t take it anymore; all the pain, all the sorrow. Sometimes you stare into the abyss and all you see is a whole lot of nothing.

Of course, that’s to be expected given both the philosophical concept of such a thing, as well as the dictionary definition of the word itself which includes language like ‘unfathomable chasm’ and ‘yawning gulf’ and ‘immeasurably profound void’.

Yeah, there I was, staring into that unfathomable chasm when I detected a sharp pain and my head suddenly snapped forward. Interestingly enough, my head did so because my partner, Nacho Flaherty, had just whacked the back of my skull.


“Ow,” I said. Nacho had my attention now. “Why’d you do that?”

“What was it this time?” He said. “Thinking about how big space is or why humans evolved from monkeys instead of the other way around?”

“If you must know----”

He cut me off with a sweep of his hand. “Not now, Rick. A customer is in trouble, she’s losing data fast. We gotta move.”


The urgency of the moment sharpened my senses. Voids, profound or otherwise, would have to wait for another time. But as a seasoned pro I knew we had to proceed with caution. The aisles of corporate high rises can be rife with unsavory types, emergency or no.


“Okay Nacho,” I said, getting to my feet. “Let’s not act blithely. We need to---”

“Blithely? What kind of stupid word is that?”

“Well...uh... it means to show a lack of due concern.”

“I know what it means,” Nacho said, scowling. “It’s still a stupid word.”

“Look, I’m just saying we need to be careful, let’s not rush into things.”

“She’s cute.”


Nacho caught up with me just as I punched the elevator button for the ninth floor.


“Didn’t know you could move so fast,” Nacho said, breathing hard.

“Give me the details.”

“Five foot seven, red hair----”

“Not those details, you’ll ruin the surprise. What is the problem?”

“Well,” Nacho said, looking at a print out of the trouble ticket. “There’s not much to go on. It says here we’ve got a data loss situation but the level of potential hostility is unclear. The customer was overly-excited and dispatch wasn’t able to get much out of her.”


I nodded, thinking about the abyss and IT work in the business world, realizing there wasn’t much difference between the two. Of course, thanks to Nacho, the idea of humans evolving into monkeys flitted around my mind, as well. Hmmm….I wondered if opposable toes would get me a date with this cute red head.


I flashed my badge. “Ma’am, what seems to be the trouble?”

The woman looked at me and I was instantly caught up in the gaze of her watery green eyes. Instantly, those watery green eyes filled with real water and tears streamed down her cheeks.

“I don’t know what to do,” She blubbered. “My data is all gone, all of it.”

I patted her shoulder and said, “Don't worry, we’ll get it back.”

“We will? Nacho said. "How do you know----?”

I cut him off with a nasty look. He was ruining my damsel in distress shtick.


The woman wiped her eyes with a tissue and clicked her mouse a few times then pointed to a message that had appeared on the screen. “There,” she said. “Every time I try to open a document this pops up.”

Nacho and I leaned in for a closer look. The dialogue box read: Network path not found or file server unavailable.


“That’s no problem,” I said. You’ve just lost your connection to the file server. Your data is perfectly safe.”

“Oh, I don’t think so.” She sniffed, tried to hold back but started crying again. “I’m sure all my files leaked out that hole in the back.”


Leaked out of a hole? In the back of a computer? That was a new one. I glanced at Nacho who mouthed the words, ‘Now what, dipstick?’


I looked at the ‘hole’ in the back of her computer. It was the port for the network cable, which was missing. I gave her a reassuring smile---at least I hoped it was reassuring. Sometimes I get those things mixed up, smiles and leers.


“It's okay,” I said. “Your network cable is unplugged, that’s all.”

To my surprise, she stooped and picked up a network cable which, as it happened, was neatly cut in two. “You mean this cable?” She said. No more tears now, she was all business. “Well, this one is no good.”

“Uh…no, it isn’t, but we can----”

She interrupted me, saying, “And unless I have my network cable, how can I get my files back?

“Well, strictly speaking----”


The cute little red head winked at me.


“And,” she said. “If I can’t get my files back, I can’t work. And if I can’t work…..”

We stared at her, blankly

"Come on boys, help me out here. If I can’t work…..”

Then we understood.

“You have to go home,” Nacho and I said in unison.


The cute little red head sighed.


“If that’s my only option until you get this problem resolved. On Monday. With a new network cable. Until then, I’ll do what you tell me and go home.” She gave us a sad expression and said, “I was so looking forward to a productive Friday but now….well, now I’ll just have to suffer through a three day weekend.”


We watched as she collected her things. We watched as she walked away, toward the elevators.

“That was a nice move,” Nacho said.

“Very impressive. I like her.”

Smiling, Nacho nodded. “Me, too. It was beautiful, like art in motion.”

“Yeah, it was. But tell me, on Monday, what do you think she’ll do to get a new network cable?”