- By Corey Brown - By Corey Brown

Severed the book

© 2019 Corey Brown

Executive Decision

My name is Spinner, Rick Spinner. I wear an ID badge. I’m a consultant, which is Secret Squirrel talk for over-paid.


It was a typical weekday morning. I topped off my coffee cup at the beverage bar and took a hit. Then I headed back to my cubicle. When I got close, I stopped short. The message light on my phone was glowing red. I glanced around, knowing who had called. It was the printer lady, that sexy young thing who’d put the moves on me the other day. What a dish. It had taken all of my willpower to resist her wile charms.


I looked over at my partner, Nacho Flaherty, and said, “What’s going on?”

Nacho shrugged, took another bite of his Krispy Kreme and said, “The usual: power outages, application failures, data loss. Oh, and the apocalypse. You know, same crap, different day.”


I smiled. Good old Nacho, he just took everything in stride. It was the third apocalypse this week.


I was downing my coffee when the phone rang.

“Help desk,” I said. “Talk to me.”

“Rick, it happened again,” the man said. He sounded nervous. “Uh, I really don’t know why this is such a problem.”

This guy was a suit. Well, okay, I didn’t know if he was actually wearing a suit but I was pretty sure he wasn’t naked, either.

“What happened again, Sir?”

“You know, it. And I’ve got CNN on the screen, too.”

“I see. Hold please.”


I looked at Nacho and said, “You didn’t change the tape, did you?”

Nacho shrugged and tossed his empty can of Red Bull into the trash. What a cool customer, that Nacho, Mr. devil-may-care. Cool, devilish, but I’d have to kick his butt later. I reconnected with the executive.

“We’ll be right there, Sir.”

I logged an incident in our call tracking software, grabbed a new tape and we headed out.


As we rode the elevator, Nacho and I worked out a detailed, complex, sophisticated plan.

“The usual?” I said.


“What about backup?”

“Got it,” Nacho said.


When we arrived, our man was pacing the floor in front of his computer screen. I glanced at the guy, this suit, and nodded to myself. I had been right; he wasn’t naked.

“Step away from the computer,” I said.

“I’d like to see what you do,” the man said. “Maybe next time I won’t have to call you.”

We had anticipated this.

“Sir,” Nacho said, putting his hand on the man’s shoulder. “Did you know that Stalin was cloistered nun before he was a communist dictator?”

The man frowned, looked at Nacho, thought about it. “Uh, no, really?”

“Yup, it’s true. Now, why don’t we step out of your office and let Mr. Spinner correct this little problem? C’mon, we’ll talk about Sister Stalin. It’ll be fun.”

“Well,” the man said, looking at me, “I’d really like to know what you do to fix it.”


Nacho and I glanced at each other. This guy wasn’t going easy. It was time for the backup plan. Nacho hesitated at first and I could see he was worried, but then he reached into his pants pocket.

“Look, Sir,” Nacho said. “Shiny beads.”

The guy stared at the beads, blinked, rubbed his eyes.

“Oh, I like those,” the suit said. “Where did you get them?”

“Right this way.” Nacho said, leading him out of the cubicle.


It was a perilous last resort so I had to work quickly. Executives love shiny beads and I knew I didn’t have much time before a crowd would gather around Nacho. Sometimes things got ugly.

I pressed the eject button, the VCR whirred and a cassette popped out. I shoved in a new tape and pressed play. It’s like this: we’d replaced all of the executive’s computers with TVs, VCRs and tapes. These guys would tap on their keyboards and move their mice, all while pretty pictures of spreadsheets and pie charts flashed before their eyes. We had no choice, really. I mean to tell you, this guy alone had re-formatted the Internet twice in one month. Talk about down time.


I waited a few moments then stuck my head out the cube’s opening—something that, in a real office, would be called a doorway—and said, “All set. Everything is working fine.”

Nacho shoved the beads back into his pocket and collective sigh reached my ears. The shiny beads were gone and the crowd was disappointed.

Our man returned to his desk and looked at the screen, a PowerPoint presentation seemed to pop up from nowhere.

“That is amazing,” the executive said. “How do you do it?”

I looked at him, considering how much to say. “It’s a complicated procedure, Sir. There’s some digital multicasting, a little IP stack realignment, a ball of yarn, other stuff too. You wouldn’t understand.”


Back at our desks, I closed out the incident in our call tracking software. Nacho was visibly shaken. Using the beads had taken its toll. He would need some time off. But first we had to deal with the apocalypse. Again.