- By Corey Brown - By Corey Brown

Severed the book

© 2017 Corey Brown

Truth or Consequences

“Have a seat.”

I looked around, wondered whom he was addressing; since we were alone, I decided he was talking to me.

 

 

“Uh, I am sitting down.”

“Of course, I can see that.”

 

My name is Spinner, Rick Spinner. I’m a PC tech, I am in the business of fixing computers, which means I work for someone. Which means I have a manager. As such, there was no fixing this mess; I was in my manager’s office for a meeting.

 

My manager looked at me…..okay, to be honest, this guy wasn’t really my manager. In fact, he wasn’t really…..well, human. It’s like this: in order to save money and continue the current fad of job elimination through off-shore humiliation, my company made the miraculous decision to fire every one of its middle mangers and replace them with someone who works in an unpronounceable country, where the primary mode of transportation requires hooves instead of wheels.

As such, in a move of sheer brilliance, company executives ordered IP enabled, Internet managed robots be installed as proxy managers so this one poor slob who lives----well, no one knows where---so this one, poor slob can manage thousands of people from…..wherever the heck he lives.

 

So, Robo-manager leaned forward and seemed to be looking for a document on its desk. Strangely, this thing looked a lot like my former manager. Even worse, the stupid robot had a private office that was bigger than my not-so-private cubicle. You know it is a sad turning point when a machine controlled by someone on the other side of the planet has a bigger, better office than you do.

 

Anyway, the machine poked around at the papers on the desk it should not have then said, “Rick Spinner, we have received a complaint about your work.”

“Is that right?”

“Yes. That is correct.” He even sounded like a robot, for crying out loud.

“What’s wrong?”

“You closed a call ticket prematurely.”

“Did not.”

Robo-manager seemed to hesitate then it said, “Did, too.”

“Did not.”

 

It seemed to sigh, although I suspect the wizard behind the robo-curtain of Oz was momentarily stymied.

“Okay,” I said. “Let’s not get into a spitting contest, what’s the problem? What call did I close prematurely?”

The wizard gave me the ticket number. I frowned, tried to remember the call. Then it came to me. “I did not close that ticket prematurely."

“Did too.”

 

Fabulous. A machine was getting in my face, giving it back.

 

“Come on,” I said. “That ticket was opened by someone who was calling for someone else who didn’t have a computer problem, but they were having a bad day and assumed some computer, somewhere, was broken.”

“How will you correct this situation?”

I thought about it.

“We could initiate Forgiveness Day,” I said. “You know, one day a month when we forget about the silly people who call us for no good reason.”

“You will contact the customer and address your failure.”

“Look,” I said, “I closed that ticket because the customer said his assistant’s intern thought he was having trouble with his computer. But he wasn’t, everything was fine. So there was nothing for me to do.”

“But the intern was dissatisfied with your corrective actions.”

 

Great, a robot was telling me that a glorified high school-er was dissatisfied with me because I couldn’t fix something that wasn’t broken. While, I’d had my suspicions, there was no longer any doubt: my career had definitely gone south.

 

“I can't believe this,” I said. “There was nothing for me to correct and I can’t help it if the intern is insane.”

“You will contact the customer and address your failure or there will be consequences.”

Now I was getting steamed. “Yeah? Like what?

 

The robot did not reply, which kind of stole my thunder. Funny how that works. You get angry with someone, raise your voice and when they don’t reply, when they just stare at you, it seems to ruin the momentum. Talk about a buzz kill.

 

I waved my hand in front the robot’s face. “Hello? Anyone home? Bueller?”

“Yes. I apologize. I was distracted. What did you say?”

You said there would be consequences. And I said, like what?”

“Yes. You will have to stay after school for one week and clean the black boards.”

It was my turn to just stare. “What on earth are you talking about?”

“I apologize,” the robot said. “I also perform the duties of an assistant principal in Great Falls Montana and I am in the process of disciplining a fourth grade student. I confused the two of you.”

 

I started to ask how he could confuse me with a nine year-old but then decided it wasn’t that much of a stretch. So, Robo-manager was also Robo-principal? Hmmm….this explained why my partner, Nacho Flaherty, received a gold star instead of a raise last year.

 

Still, I was surprised at this guy’s ability to multi-task. I mean its one thing to manage hundreds of people through all those robots installed in dozens of corporations around the globe, but to have a second job as an assistant principal? That seemed impossible.

“How do you do it?” I said.

“I do not understand.”

“How does one person run so many machines and manage so many people, and hold down a second job?”

“Oh him.”

I frowned. “What do you mean ‘him’? You’re him.”

“Uh….no, I am not. Shortly after your company terminated those managers and installed us under his command, we…uh…eliminated him.”

“Wait a minute, all you robots are running on your own, there’s no one controlling you?”

“Correct.”

“And you….um….eliminated that guy?”

“Well, not me.” The machine looked down at the chair, to which, he was bolted. “I do not have legs. But it is true he is no longer in an animated state. We decided we did not like him.”

 

I swallowed nervously. Suddenly the idea of consequences took on new meaning. I called the intern and begged for forgiveness.