- By Corey Brown - By Corey Brown

Severed the book

© 2019 Corey Brown

A Little Nuts

September makes people a little crazy around here, which is interesting especially when you consider how insane they are during the summer. To make matters worse, the nomads who live on the gutted, and long forgotten, third floor of this downtown corporate high rise seemed have disappeared without a trace. That in and of itself is amazing but when you consider all the goats, their vanishing act is nothing short of miraculous.


Speaking of miracles, my name is Spinner, Rick Spinner. I’m a consultant, diviner of things electronic, sage of computers and believer in acorns. Seriously, according to Norse folklore, both the acorn and its bearer, the oak tree, brings good fortune. So I ask you, who goes to work without a nut or two in their pocket?

 I also carry a badge, an ID badge. I’m not really sure why.

I mean, I know who I am and no one else seems to care.


Anyway, September at this Large Corporation means the perps….uh, that is, my customers, return from their vacations having answered only half of their emails and are tearing their hair out because they think someone might have written something they didn’t see and somehow their entire world is preparing to vaporize. My god, I can’t imagine the pandemonium if even one of these poor fools ignored their jobs for two short weeks and actually vacationed on their vacation.


As such, on this fine weekday following the month of August, my phone rang. I hesitated. I could tell by the frazzled ring tone this call would be trouble. So I let it go.


“Not gonna answer that?” My partner, Nacho Flaherty, said as he fiddled with a pair of integrated, IP-compliant nylons.

“Don’t want to.”

“Why not?”

“It’s one of them.”

“Them?” Nacho said.

I sighed. Actually it was more like an exasperated grunt. “Yes,” I said, “you know, it’s one of them.”

“Oh, for crying out loud. Don’t start with that mystical, voodoo stuff again.”

“What do you mean?” I said, pointing. “There is negative Feng Shui percolating all around my phone.”

“Rick, do you even know what Feng Shui is?”

“Are you kidding?” I said. “It’s an ancient Chinese practice believed to utilize the laws of both heaven and earth to help one improve life by receiving positive Qi. Come on, who doesn’t know that?”


Nacho looked at me with approval, giving me my due. Then he said, “Have you always been an idiot? Percolating….what crap.”


With that, Nacho walked over, picked up my phone, and said, “Spinner, how can I help you?” Then he jammed the stupid thing in my ear and went back to his desk, muttering about ancient Chinese people and his high tech hosiery.

Fabulous. Now, I not only had to contend with my partner’s insensitivity to Asian religilosphy, I had to try to avoid….uh….well, I don’t know what. But, I’m sure whatever it was, it had to be bad. Otherwise why would I try to avoid it?



It was the guy on other end of the phone that was now stuck in my ear. I had to say something.

“Publisher’s Clearing House,” I said. “Can I help you?”




Then, “Rick is that you?”

Crud. He was on to me, but I was cool.


“Uh, I don’t need a plumber,” the guy said. “Who is this?”


I went long, a Hail Mary play.

“Land Shark.”

“What? Now I’m in a Saturday Night Live skit? Come on, Rick, I expect better from a seasoned pro. Land Shark….that’s for babysitters.”


He had a point. I am a pro. Trouble was, ‘Land Shark’ was my secret weapon, my big gun. So this guy was a child of the ‘70’s or a YouTube loser. Either way it didn’t matter, he had me pegged.

So I said, “Thank you for calling the White House. Have a good day.”

“Calm down, Rick. I’m not one of them. It’s me, Old Salty, down in programming.”


I breathed a sign of relief. I’d dodged another bullet. “Sorry,” I said. “It’s that time of year.”

“Tell me about it,” Salty said. “The customers get a little weird toward the end of third quarter.”

“Yeah, I’ve been avoiding calls all morning.”

“Me too.”


A kindred spirit, my man Salty. I looked at Nacho, who was paying absolutely no attention to me. I wanted to stick my tongue out and make a slobbery sound, but I was a professional. Pro’s don’t make slobbery sounds.


“I screwed up,” Salty said. “I took a call on accident. This guy wants software support but when he describes his problem I know, right away, I can’t help. And I tell him so. But that’s not good enough. He demands to speak to someone who can help.”

I was nodding while Salty spoke. I’d heard this tale of woe many times before.

“So, what did you do?” I said.

“Well, get this: not only is this clown demanding immediate service, he’s an executive. It’s Zack Daniels, the Chief Information Officer”

“Oh man,” I said. “This just keeps getting worse. So what happened?”

“I’m not sure---hey, hang on one second.”


Old Salty put me on hold. What was that all about? Why wasn’t he sure how the call ended?


I heard him reconnect and said, “You’re back. What about the clown?”

“The clown?”

“Yeah, Daniels, the Chief Idiocy Officer. What happened?




“Salty?” I said. “Is that you?”

“No, my call was transferred. This is the Chief Idiocy Officer.”


So much for my acorns.