- By Corey Brown - By Corey Brown

Severed the book

© 2017 Corey Brown

Lunch. On Monday.

Like any good American, I recognize my work involves, shall we say, unpleasantries. Every solid corporate citizen knows the job requires certain sacrifices. Like the time I had to call in sick because I didn’t feel like working or when my manager insisted that I actually do my job---you believe that? Talk about harassment. I filed a grievance with the union but, since I don’t belong to a union, it went nowhere.

 

Despite these and many other sacrifices there are limits to what an office-hardened guy, like me, will endure. Hard or not, I am a guy named Spinner, Rick Spinner. I am a PC tech, a consultant, someone who carries an ID badge.

As an interesting side note, the Teamster’s president did call. Apparently, he’d heard of my grievance. He wanted to know if I drove a truck. I asked what kind of truck. The Prez said it didn’t matter. I said I drove the Mighty Dump. He was excited and asked how long I’d been on the road, wanted to know if the Mighty Dump was Ford’s latest model. I asked if he was always this stupid because everyone knew Tonka made the Mighty Dump. I also asked if the stupid idiot knew the Mighty Dump was yellow.

 

He hung up.

 

Anyway, it was a quiet day on the help desk. But I had the sense something was brewing. You do this job long enough, you walk those mean aisles of countless cubicles, and you develop a nose for trouble. Of course, most of the time my nose is tucked into a cup of coffee in a hopeless attempt to revive myself, hence my propensity toward things brewed.

 

My partner, Nacho Flaherty, was just finishing a support call when we heard the sound. From the corner of my eye, I saw Nacho pause then, like a well-oiled machine, we snapped into action, executing our disaster preparation plan with scientific precision.

 

“What should we do?” I said.

Nacho dropped the phone, missing the cradle. “You’re asking me? I’m half your age and have orange hair, how would I know what to do?”

“Good point. Okay, don’t panic.”

“I’m not panicking. You’re the one who sounds like a little girl.”

 

Being highly trained professionals, we did not panic. We did, however, succumb to pure desperation. So we started throwing things. Pencils, staplers, floppy disk drives; we threw it all. The thrust of my precision plan was to create a hail storm of debris in the hope that raw chaos would allow us to escape unscathed. Under the circumstances, chaos was about as well-oiled as I could do. But it was no good, he just kept coming.

Looking back, I probably should have ended it all by sticking my finger into a USB port and turning on the computer. But there was an unexpected maelstrom of crap flying around and I couldn’t think straight.

 

“Rick, Nacho,” he said, strolling to my desk.

I was mid-fling, I think I was about to toss a hexadecimal raster graphic, when he spoke. I mean, just like that, he strolled up to my desk. I hate it when people stroll.

“You guys doing anything for lunch?” He said.

 

I hesitated----let me tell you, stopping halfway into an all-out toss of a hexadecimal raster graphic is not easy. To this day my external motator cup still hurts when I use the toilet. Hesitating, I looked at Nacho, who was looking back at me. He was like an orange-haired deer caught in a pair of headlights that didn’t exist.

“We don’t eat,” I said, my voice sounding like a hypnotized robot.

“What?” He said.

“Never,” I said. “We never eat. Uh, lunch. We don’t eat lunch.”

“Except on Monday,” Nacho said, looking at me triumphantly. “We only eat lunch on Monday.”

 

Problem was, it was Monday. I hoped to god this guy wouldn’t catch Nacho’s gaff.

 

Wrong.

 

“Great,” he said. “This is Monday, where should we go?”

 

By now, all the crap we’d tossed in the air had responded to gravity and was lying about our feet, like we’d been hit by a cubicle’s version of a micro-burst. Despite the failed diversion, I was kind of proud our little mess.

I saw Nacho’s shoulder’s sag and felt my own droop, as well. There was no getting out of it, now. We were stuck with him, we could not escape the company babbler.

“How about it?” Gabby said. “What’re you hungry for?”

I decided to go on the offensive. “Look,” I said. “We have upgrades in progress, computer investigations, and power cords gone bad. We’re dealing with serious stuff, here. We don’t have time for civilian interference.”

 

Nacho groaned at the same time my brain started asking me what the heck I was doing. Bad power cords? Where did that come from?

 

“What kinds of upgrades?” Babbler Boy said. “I once knew a guy who had an aunt that dated an FBI agent who was fired for official misconduct----he had relations with the adult sister of an under-aged minister, so I know all about covert activity.”

 

In an un-choreographed move, both Nacho’s and my eyes slowly began to rotate up and backward into our sockets. Our simultaneous eye rolls seemed to be syncopated with the babbler’s controller automatic rifle-like shots of vociferousness.

 

“Not only that,” the gabbinator said. “My mom’s newspaper was delivered by a kid who grew up to be a shoe salesman who made a million dollars selling inserts. The trick was they were knock-offs, he made them himself and sold them as Doctor Scholl’s. Of course, now he’s in jail for income tax evasion, but that’s another story. So then, my brother’s ex-girlfriend thought she was pregnant but she didn’t know who the mother was, but that didn’t matter ‘cause Doctor Phil had it all worked out beforehand so they could find true love and Oprah would make it so---- she just loves everyone, especially when every CEO of every huge company in America is making unconscionable amounts of money and they should all burn in hell because they are thieving SOBs.”

 

Each sentence was like a gear turning the millstone, slowly grinding our brains into powder. I tried to remember my training. Somewhere in all those hours of meaningless ISO-chatter and MAC address mish-mash had to be a way out of this verbal version of the Danaides trek; I was sure my bucket had been patched at some point in time.

 

Wrong.

 

Those meaningless hours of training turned out to be nothing more than corporate colostomy-talk, every bit of it. Like the daughters of Danaus, I was leaking water everywhere.

 

So, Nacho and I exercised the only option we had: violence. I whacked the guy on the head with a high-speed mouse pad then we both dragged the poor slob down to the loading dock, leaving him behind the trash compacter. Then Nacho and I went to McDonald’s.

 

Hey now, it was Monday. Everyone knows we have lunch on Monday.