- By Corey Brown - By Corey Brown

Severed the book

© 2019 Corey Brown

Signing the Registry

 For those of you who care, my name is Spinner, Rick Spinner. I’m a consultant and I wear an ID badge; I work on PCs. It’s not a nice way to make a living; that said I’m not nice. Neither is my dog.


I know, I know you’re saying, “So what’s in it for me, who cares?” Well, for starters, you might hear me talk about the old days, back when floppies were not only floppy, they were huge and when computers ran on CP/M, not Windows. But don’t worry I promise to speak English.


If you’re lucky.


Speaking of English, just recently I had a little problem with the language barrier myself. It had been a slow week and the calendar indicated it was Friday, but it felt more like a frozen tundra. Absent were the usual complaints about jammed printers, account lockouts and who was tossed off some stupid reality show last night. The morning was dragging out and I was making an origami porcupine out of paperclips when, thankfully, the phone rang.

“Spinner,” I said. “Talk to me. Oh God, please talk to me.”

“I can’t believe it,” the man said. “Someone on the help desk is actually working today.”

Hmm…. ‘Actually working…today.’ What did that mean?

“I don’t understand?” I said. “Why wouldn’t I be here?”

“Well, I just figured that no one would be here on Sunday.”


Sunday? Jeez, that explained things. Now I knew where the last two days went. No wonder it had been so quiet. No wonder I hadn’t seen a single person all day—yesterday, either, for that matter. Worse, I’d blown my whole weekend working and didn’t even know it.


“Yeah,” I said. “Well, I’m working today because I’m an idiot. What’s your excuse?”

“I’ve already spoken with security and they said I should talk to you.”


The man’s voice had a thick accent. It sounded either like Very Worried or Completely Lost, maybe, with a touch of Nut Cake, I couldn’t be sure. But I knew this call was going to be tough, those dialects can be hard to understand.


“Talk to me about what?” I said.

“They said I had to sign in just once, at the door, and maybe this was a new policy. You know, having to register and stuff.”


“Yes, register,” the man said, his accent growing thicker. “Maybe like a ship’s registry only it’s a corporate one. Can I register from my computer or do I have to sign a piece of paper?”

“This isn’t a ship.” I said.

“I know this isn’t a ship. I said it was like a ship’s registry. So does this company have one or not?”

“A ship?”

“No, a registry.”

“I doubt it. A ship’s registry provides information about the country of origin, stuff like that. I think we know what country this building is in.”

“I was afraid of that,” the man said, with a sigh. “Now I’ve wasted a trip into the office. If I can’t sign the registry I can’t work.”


User-speak can be very difficult to interpret, but now that the shock of losing two whole days of my life was wearing off my brain was becoming less foggy. Something about his dilemma sounded familiar.


“Are you getting an error message on your computer?” I said. “Something about the registry?”

“Yeah, that’s why I called.”


So, now he was speaking….well, he was speaking. Let’s leave it at that.


“What does the message say?” I asked.

“Every time I try to log in it says, ‘The system encountered an error accessing the Registry’ and then it puts me right back at the log in screen.”

“Ah….” I said. “Your system files have been corrupted.”

“Ooh, that can’t be good. Don’t tell my wife, okay? It will only make things worse.”

“What? What will make what worse?”

“My wife,” the man said. “If she finds out I’ve been corrupted, even once a week will be too much for her.”


I frowned. Not that anyone was around on Sunday to see me, but I frowned just the same.


“Too much for her?” I said, still frowning. “I don’t understand.”

“You know,” the man said. “Once a week. As in, get it once a week.”

I wasn’t getting it and I said so.

“Are you serious?” The guy said. “You don’t even get it once a week?”

“Define it,” I said. Then I got it. Great, not only was I short one weekend, but this bozo had to remind me what I’d been missing.

“Okay,” I said. “Let me get this straight. Your wife has you on the once a week plan and you’re worried that if she finds out you have a problem with your computer at work, she might cut you off entirely?”

The guy was silent for a moment then he said. “Do I need to call security again? Because you’re scaring me.”

“Not to worry,” I replied. “I can fix this registry problem remotely, from right here.”

“Really? From your desk?”

“Yup. But I’m not going to.

“Why not?”

“First of all,” I said. “It’s become painfully apparent that I’ve been sitting at this desk since Friday. In case you can’t add, that means I’ve been here for three days, including nights. I don’t know how or why but I have been sitting right here for 72 hours straight, but if I don’t get up soon, my feet will forget how to walk. Secondly, if you think I’m scary on the phone wait until I show up at your desk.”