- By Corey Brown - By Corey Brown

Severed the book

© 2019 Corey Brown

Printer Lady

Consultant PC Computers Badge

My name is Spinner, Rick Spinner. I wear an ID badge. I’m a consultant. That’s like saying I steal for a living.


It was a typical weekday morning and there were the usual gripes about lost data, the network crashing and stale Krispy Kremes. I was working on my second cup of coffee when the call came in.

“Help desk,” I said. “Talk to me.”

“It’s my printer,” she said. “I think it’s jammed.” Her voice was pleasant but I detected a hint of apprehension.


“Yes, it’s jammed. I think.”

“Is it a color printer?” I said.

“Um, no. Does that matter?”


Hmm…I wondered about that myself.


“I see,” I said. “Did you try, uh....anything?

“Of course. I called you, didn't I?”

“Yeah, well I meant did you try anything besides calling me. You know, like trying to remove the jam.”

“What? Why would I do that?”

Why indeed. I sighed. “We’ll be right down.”


I logged an incident in our call tracking software then my partner, Nacho Flaherty, and I took our toolkits, software CDs, and headed out.

In the elevator, the ride down to the fourth floor was tense. What would we be up against this time? Would the sizzling Russian chick be around? I glanced at Nacho. I could tell he was worried. I offered him a mint but he declined, said he wanted to keep his head clear.


When we arrived, the customer was about to panic.

“See?” The woman said. “The display says it’s jammed. And there’s some paper sticking out over there.”

I looked at her. She was attractive, tall and slender; my imagination contrived stiletto heels. We could be something together. Of all the lousy, second-rate companies she had to work for this one. I was falling, fast and hard. Then I remembered Nacho was married. Hang on, I used to be married. I made a mental note to schedule a CAT scan. Clearly, I had become a head case. Jeez, fast and hard, what was that all about?


“Well?” The Printer Lady said.

I looked at the printer’s display. My partner looked at the display. We both looked at the display. We looked at each other. We looked her. She looked at me.

“See what I mean?” She said.

So this was it.

“Yes ma’am,” I replied. “I see what you mean.”

“It’s jammed, right?”

“Oh yeah, jammed up tight.”

Nacho nodded in agreement.


Then we left, feeling good about another successfully resolved support call.


I was several feet from my desk when I heard the phone ringing. I checked the caller ID. It was her, the Printer Lady.

“Spinner,” I said. “Still jammed?”

“Yes, it is.”

“Very good. Thank you for calling.”

“But I need you to fix it,” she said, her voice taking on a tone. “I need it un-jammed.”

It occurred to me that maybe this was a pick up line. I get it all the time. It’s the badge, always the badge.

“I understand,” I said. “Now, I have real work to do. Take care.”

I hung up then forwarded my phone to back her extension. Sometimes you just have to nip these things in the bud.


As I sat, filling in the details, closing out the ticket, I reminisced about the call. It had been a close one, all right. But when you’re in my line of work you have to be ready for anything. I reached for that mint, it was time to unwind.