- By Corey Brown - By Corey Brown

Severed the book

© 2019 Corey Brown

Smith Corona or Smith & Wesson?

My phone rang. This was not good for two reasons. To begin with, answering the call meant I’d have to start working. And…..crud, I can’t remember the second reason, but I’m sure it was a good one.


My name is Spinner, Rick Spinner. I wear an ID badge. I’m a consultant, a PC tech, help desk guy and, apparently, a prophet. Because I already know, if I pick up that phone, I am going to be miserable.


“Talk to me.” I said, taking the call, feeling the pain.

"Rick, is that you?”


Hmmm….it was a good question. I was pretty certain I was me, but nowadays one can’t be too sure. Given the advances in science and medicine---not to mention the shenanigans performed by the Federal Government on a regular basis---it was quite possible someone else was me.


“The current data,” I said, “suggests I am, most likely, the Rick Spinner often identified as the person I believe myself to be. But I can’t make any promises. Who are you?”

“Oh, for heaven’s sake. Earth to Rick, this is Nacho, come in knucklehead.”


Ah yes, Nacho Flaherty, my partner, trusted cohort. I was relieved to hear a familiar voice. I could always count on Nacho. On the other hand, if it was possible for someone else to be me, how did I know he was him? I mean, who was to say this guy wasn’t a girl?

Crap. No question, I was working my way toward a good, stiff drink. At this rate, I’d kill a bottle of Johnnie Walker by dinner time.


“What’s up, Nacho?” I said, trying not to imagine his face attached to a chick, hoping like hell I wasn’t talking to a body snatcher.

“Funny you should ask. Did you loan a machine to a customer recently?”

“You know it, scrappy” I said. “Is there a problem?”

“Could be. He’s asking where to plug in the mouse. Got any suggestions?”


Nacho’s question was worrisome. True enough, he was the junior man on our team, but surely he could handle this simple problem. I wondered if he needed additional training.


“Well,” I said, “what kind of connector does the mouse have, USB or PS/2?”

“You think that matters?” Nacho said.

“Of course it-----”

“You gave him,” Nacho said, interrupting, “a Smith Corona. A Super Sterling, from the looks of it, made in 1965. And it’s not even electric. Rick, you gave this poor slob a manual typewriter instead of a laptop. What, on earth, were you thinking?”


“Hey now,” I said. “It’s not so bad. He can still write memos. And when a memo is done, it’s already printed. No more print jobs to get hung up, no more jams, and no more problems with low toner. Just think of it as the miracle of instant printing.”

“You’re kidding, right? Instant printing. Really? What about email or creating spreadsheets or accessing databases or using the Internet?”

“All, highly over-rated.”




I heard Nacho sigh. I could tell he was getting frustrated and knew I had to take the lead in this situation.


“Tell me,” I said. “Is the customer asking about anything else, besides his mouse?”

“Well…..no, I guess not.”

“Look, man, I gave this guy his “loaner” four days ago. Four days and the only thing he is worried about is the mouse, you really think he even uses that stupid thing?”

“Well…..no, I guess not,” Nacho said. “So, what should I do?”

I thought about it for about one tenth of a nanosecond and said, “Shove the mouse cord in anywhere and tell this numbskull its working. Then come on back here, your desk needs you.”


Just as Nacho was making his way toward me, the phone rang. This was not good----hey, I just remembered the second reason why this was not good: A few days ago I had given out a 1965 manual typewriter as a loaner computer, and I sure as heck did not want to talk that customer.


So, like an idiot, I answered the phone.


“Talk to me.” I said.

“Hey Rick.”

Crud, it was Smith Corona man.

“Thanks for getting my mouse fixed,” the guy said. “Nacho told me how you helped him figure out the problem. I just want you to know its working fine.”

“My pleasure. Everything else okay?”

“Yeah, it’s all good. Well, I am having a little trouble getting to the Internet.

“Try rebooting,” I said. “If that doesn’t work call the network team.”

“If that doesn’t work,” he said, “this numbskull will get his friends, Smith and Wesson.”