- By Corey Brown - By Corey Brown

Severed the book

© 2019 Corey Brown

End of the world, as you know it

Along with the usual assortment of tools, computer parts and multi-threaded knobby things, my partner Nacho Flaherty had a huge map of North America spread across his desk. Being a highly trained professional I sensed something was amiss. Actually it was more like something was flat-out missing. I looked around. Tools….parts….the map…what was it, what was missing?


“Hey Rick,” Nacho said, as he walked up behind me.
Steeped in concentration, I raised one finger to silence him. Being a highly trained professional, himself, Nacho understood I was trying to concentrate.


“What is your problem, man?” Nacho said. “We’ve talked about that finger thing, you know it really burns my biscuits.”

“Something is wrong. Your tools and parts are here.” I frowned. “And that mondo map, but I can tell something is missing from your work area.”

“No kidding?” Nacho said. “Here’s a newsflash: it’s me. I am what’s missing.”


Hmmm….maybe the kid was right.


“Burns your biscuits?” I said. “How long have you been hanging out with Yosemite Sam? And what’s with that monster-sized map?

“Twenty twelve, baby.”


I glanced at my watch. It was twelve-fifteen.


“It’s a quarter after,” I said. “You’re five minutes fast. But what does the time of day have to do with that big map?”

“Five minutes fast?” Nacho said. “What does the time of day have to do with the end of the world?”

“End of the world?” I said. “What are you talking about?

Nacho made a face. “The Mayans, the Nostradamus effect, the end of the world….you know, Twenty twelve.”

I made a face and said, “Hold on, the world is going to end in five minutes? I better do…uh….something. Quick.”


“What,” Nacho said, “on earth are you talking about?”


Feeling like I was living a flashback from the movie Cool Hand Luke, I half expected to find Strother Martin in the next cube saying, “What we’ve got, here, is a failure to communicate.”

But, given the fact Mister Martin has been dead for almost thirty years, he didn’t say a word.


“Okay, hang on,” I said. “What’s all this about the world ending in…” I checked my watch. “…four minutes?”

“I’m not talking about the time of day,” Nacho replied. “I’m talking about the year twelve twenty, not twenty after twelve. Don’t you watch television?”

“As a matter of fact, I don’t. Someone stole it a long time ago.”

 “Oh, come on, Rick,” Nacho said. “We’ve been over this. No one liberated your TV. You moved it to the upstairs bedroom a year ago. I helped you haul it up there.”

I frowned. “Wait a minute…. I have an upstairs? With rooms?”


Nacho collapsed into his desk chair and started weeping.


I felt bad and wanted to console him. I reached out to put a hand on Nacho’s shoulder.

“Touch me,” he said. “And I will beat you into next week.”


So much for consolation.


“Okay,” I said. “Let’s forget about the television, why do you have that big, old map of North America spread across your desk?”

“If I explain it, do you promise not to talk about the time?”

I glanced at my watch.

“Uh-uh,” Nacho said, shaking his head. “You can’t even look.”

I sighed. “Fine. I won’t mention that it is twelve-seventeen and you have three minutes to tell me about that map. And the end of the world.”


“That’s it,” Nacho said, getting to his feet. “I’m gonna throttle you.”

I raised my hands in surrender. “I’m done. It’s out of my system.” I motioned to the map. “Proceed.”


And he did.


Proceed to throttle me.


Five hours later the police cut us loose. I was grateful to be out of the Big House, but I still didn’t know why our office-mates even cared. I mean, so what if two guys beat the crap out of each other in front of normal people who do not resort to violence to resolve their problems? Did they really have to call the authorities?

Loose or no, Nacho and I were not on good terms, our partnership was in question. I held out hope when I overheard a policeman talking with Nacho about something ‘justifiable’. But what was it? Justifiable happiness, hominid, homicide?


What, exactly, did that cop say?