- By Corey Brown - By Corey Brown

Severed the book

© 2019 Corey Brown

The Third Floor

I woke up feeling bad, and I mean bad in the most serious sense of the word. My head ached, my fingers hurt, my nylons had runs—whoops, you weren’t supposed to know about that.

What had happened last night? Then it all came back to me: the Red Bull, the apple pan-dowdy and all that coffee. We’d thrown a bachelor’s party and coupled it with a 2:00 AM maintenance window for the company’s web servers. What a great time: silly hats, pizza, chocolate doughnuts---one guy’s mom even jumped out of the cake and pretended to do a strip-tease.

We updated code, reminisced about college, updated code that didn’t need updating, flummoxed the code, crashed servers and ruined a bunch of perfectly good data. It had been a terrific party but now I was paying the price.


By the way, my name is Spinner, Rick Spinner. I wear an ID badge. I am a PC technician, a consultant, and right now I am hung over.


Getting out of my car at work, a parking lot security guard waved me off saying, “Hey, you can’t park there it’s a fire lane. Don’t you see the red paint on the curb?”

I looked at the curb. It was red. How about that?

“Did you try rebooting?” I said.

“What?” The security guy said.

“Yeah, try that first. If a reboot doesn’t work call me back. I may have to edit your DSL connection or rack-mount your CD-ROM. Either way, we’ll get it working again.”


I held up my hands. “Please, no need to thank me. It’s what I’m here for.”


At my desk I sipped a coffee bomb—coffee and Red Bull with a splash of Jägermeister---a little hair of the dog, if you will. But I felt strange, like I was supposed to remember something. I looked over at my partner but he was no help. Nacho Flaherty was still sacked out, forehead balanced on his mouse; a crash and burn from last night. It was obvious he’d over-dosed on pizza and bad code.


“Excuse me,” someone said.


The voice wasn’t loud but having an apple pan-dowdy hangover makes you painfully susceptible to the unexpected. I looked at the person who’d spoken and frowned. Tattered robes, long beard, sandals. What did that mean?

Oh yes. Now I knew what I was supposed to remember. Man, I should have gone directly to the third floor this morning.


“Uh, hey there Mr. Matarishna,” I said. “What’s up? You know, you really shouldn’t be here.”

“Please, call me Roy.”

“Okay, fine. Roy, people will talk if they see you.”

“Yes, yes, I know. I am so sorry. But we were wondering where the goats should, you know, go?”

All I could do was blink. Hard.


Ouch. Nothing was working for me; not the coffee bomb or the Band-Aid on my nose, not even Pamprin. And now, even blinking hurt like crazy. Fabulous.


“Goats? I said. “What goats? You didn’t say anything about goats. Did you say something about goats?”

“I thought I did. Didn’t I? Oh well, if not, I am very sorry. But the goats need to…uh, go. Where should they relieve themselves?”

“Wait. Goats?” I shook my head. “You can’t have goats down there.”


Mr. Matarishna looked puzzled then said, “If not, how do we make the sausage?”

“Hold on. It’s goat sausage? We’re selling goat sausage?”

“Is there any other kind?”

At that moment, Nacho sat up and said, “Goat sausage, no other kind.” Then he tipped forward, whacking his skull on the keyboard and he was out like a light.


Thanks, Nacho. Good work.


During the party last night, after we’d crashed every fileserver we could find, we found something else: a band of nomads. Some time ago they had started out looking for the Promised Land but then someone had broken their promise and now these poor slobs were just looking for a place to live. Any place. A corporate high-rise would do. It was better than wandering by a long stretch.


As it happened, nobody in this Large Corporation knew the building had a third floor. I think it had something to do with a half-baked reconstruction plan. Crews gutted the floor then the project was axed and everyone, well, just forgot about it. Forgot about the project, forgot about the plans...forgot about the entire floor. I mean, the elevators didn’t even stop on three anymore.


So we gave the nomads and, apparently, their goats the run of the place. The third floor isn’t fancy but it is above sea level— these guys had some story about the water not staying parted long enough and ever since they preferred higher ground. In exchange for free housing, they agreed to let us sell their sausage. Sell it at cost plus; a good deal for nomads and Byteheads alike. But I didn’t know it was goat sausage, as in goats-on-the-third-floor sausage. Well, maybe I did know, but I had an apple pan-dowdy hangover, so it didn’t count.


I looked at Mr. Matarishna. He smiled back at me. Okay, so the goats had to whiz, I could handle this.

“Just herd them over to the corner,” I said, with a sigh. “By the pile of old office furniture, later on we’ll figure out how to eliminate what they, uh, eliminate.”

“Bless you, Mr. Spinner. God will smile upon you.”


Cash, I thought. What’s wrong with cash? Why couldn’t God give me cash instead of a blessing and a smile? Then I wouldn’t have to sell goat sausage on the side.