- By Corey Brown - By Corey Brown

Severed the book

© 2017 Corey Brown

Terminal Velocity

 

Terminal Velocity: Noun
1.
Physics.
a.the velocity at which a falling body moves through a medium, as air, when the force of resistance of the medium is equal in magnitude and opposite in direction to the force of gravity.
b.the maximum velocity of a body falling through a viscous fluid.
 
2.
Rocketry, Ballistics.
a.the greatest speed that a rocket, missile, etc., attains after burnout or after leaving the barrel of a gun.
b.the speed of a missile or projectile on impact with its target.
 
3.
Information Technology, Consulting.
a.burnout after accepting an IT position within a retail, corporate, commercial, professional or any other type of business on this or any other planet in the known universe.
b.the speed of at which your dreams are destroyed upon entering the IT consulting profession….like a missile or projectile on impact with its target.
c. the maximum velocity of a body, an IT body, falling through a viscous fluid, otherwise known as his or her job.
d. being dumb enough to run off with that sizzling Russian chick, AKA the Printer Lady, with no idea of, or plan for, the future.
 
 
Putting down his multi-threaded knobby thing, he just stared. After a time he looked away, dragged a hand across his mouth and bit his lip then said, “Rick, where have you been?”
 
My name is Spinner. Rick Spinner. I am---was a consultant, I carry….used to carry a badge. I was a computer guru, master of technology, a man to be trifled with. However, as of late, I have been a professional beach bum and jailbird.
 
“What do you mean?” I said.
He said, “What do you mean, ‘what do I mean’? I haven’t seen you in two years. One day you’re here the next day you are not. And, now, you’re back. Where the heck have you been?”
“Oh. That’s what you mean.”
 
Truth be told, for the last two years, I had been in Caribbean, sometimes in jail, sometimes not. But I did not want to say this to Nacho Flaherty, my former partner, a guy who was born in Norway and Canada---don’t ask, it is a long story----I did not want to tell him because I had pretty much left him holding the bag.
 
“Rick,” Nacho said. “Where have you been? He frowned then said, “And why are you so tan?”
“It’s like this----”
“You left me holding the bag,” Nacho said.
 
What the….? I’m gone a couple of years and Nacho becomes clairvoyant? This is not good.
           
“There are,” I said. “Worse things to hold than a bag full of cash.”
Nacho made a face. “Not that bag. Although, now that you mention that bag, you really think one hundred twenty-one dollars is a lot of money? Rick, you disappear, go totally off the grid, then magically reappear two years later, and you think a plastic shopping bag with two fifties, a twenty and one dollar left on my desk means anything?
“Hey,” I said. “That was my life’s savings, it was all the cash I had.”
“Okay, forget the money, where you’ve been and why are you here?”
I frowned, feeling confused. “I…uh…I work here.”
Nacho sighed and said, “Same old Rick. Some things never change.”
 
There was a stapler on Nacho’s desk. He opened it and thwacked his forehead. Fortunately, it was not loaded. A small bruise is better than a staple sticking out of your noggin. Less painful, too.
 
I gave him a look. “Are we done, now?”
Nacho rubbed his forehead. “I’m not sure. Continuing to injure myself or listening to you, it’s a tough decision.”
He had me there.
“I meant,” Nacho said. “You left me, on my own, here at this Large Corporation. I’m the junior partner of this team and you just disappear, what’s up with that?”
 
I glanced at my old desk and noticed it was exactly the way I had left it. Hmmm….that seemed odd.
 
“I want to hear it all,” Nacho said. “Why you left, where you went and why you’re back.” He gestured toward my old chair. “Sit and spill.”
“First, I need coffee.”
Nacho pointed. “What’s that?”
I looked down and was surprised to see my old cup, full of coffee, latched onto my hand. Strange, I didn’t remember tanking up. On the other hand, it was always the first thing I did when I arrived at work. Some things never change.
 
So I sat. On a hunch I pulled open my desk drawer. And there it was, my ID badge, right where I had left it two years ago. Cool.
“Okay,” Nacho said. “The sixty-four cent question, where, on earth, have you been?”
“Do you remember that sizzling Russian chick down on the third floor?”
Nacho nodded. “Yeah, the Printer Lady.”
“Yes, her. Well, turns out she was spy for the Idaho State police. She was sent here to learn everything she could about this Large Corporation, everything we do and how we do it.”
“But we don’t make or sell anything,” Nacho said. “We don’t do anything.”
“I know that, you know that, but the Idaho state Police did not know that. When the Printer Lady reported back what we, uh….don’t do, the ISP suspected she was lying or, perhaps, a double agent. So they turned up the heat, pushed for more intel, threatened to deport her.”
 
I stopped, frowned, wondered how they could do that. The Printer Lady was born in North Platte, Nebraska. I mean, if she was an American, how could they deport her? Where would they send her, Chicago? It was the only alien place in the U.S. I could think of.
 
 “So,” I continued, “that’s when she panicked and bought a winning lottery ticket. Because she was here legally, she asked me to marry her so she could get a passport.
 
Nacho opened his mouth to speak, but nothing came out.
 
“Are you saying,” Nacho said. “You married this Printer Lady?”
“Yup,” I sad. “Married and moved to Barbados. Like my tan?”
“It’s very nice. Why Barbados?”
“Extradition. Barbados doesn’t honor U.S. requests for extradition.”

Nacho fingered the stapler. I could tell he was considering a second go ‘round with is forehead.

“Drop the weapon,” I said, sounding like my old ‘in-charge’ self.
“I’m considering using it on you,” Nacho said.
So, the Red Haired One had grown bold in my absence.
“Watch your tone, mister,” I said. “I’m still the senior tech around---- ”
“No, you are not,” Nacho said, interrupting. “We have a new manager. You’ll love her.”

I was stunned. A guy disappears for a couple of years without telling anyone and he loses his job? And my new boss is a woman? What kind of crazy, mixed up world are we living in?

“But I logged into the support call system remotely,” I said. “I closed all kinds of tickets.”
“That was you?” Nacho said.
I nodded. “Closed ‘em faster than anyone else.”
“That’s because you never fixed anything.”
“How could I? I was all the way down in the Caribbean, sometimes out fishing or collecting seashells. How was I supposed to get to anyone’s PC to actually fix it?”

Nacho calmly opened the stapler, loaded it with an entire clip, closed it back up. I knew the situation was getting perilous. A stapler with ammunition is far more dangerous.

“Why,” Nacho said, “did you come back?”
“I was extradited,” I said.
Nacho frowned. “What? I thought you said they didn’t honor those requests.”
“Barbados asked the U.S. to take me back.”
“Ah, yes,” Nacho said. “You reached terminal velocity.”