- By Corey Brown - By Corey Brown

Severed the book

© 2017 Corey Brown

Can't Get There From Here

My name is Spinner, Rick Spinner. I’m a computer tech, I wear an ID badge and I’m a consultant. No one really consults with me so, like a woman making love, I have to fake it.

 

The phone rang. It was late morning or nearly lunchtime, depending on your point of view. I glanced at my partner, Nacho Flaherty, who was busy tinkering with the rheostat on a Linux multi-threaded knobby thing. Tools, Norwegian girlie magazines and cans of Bolt soda littered his desk.

“Spinner,” I said, picking up the handset. “Talk to me.”

“Well, it’s about time,” said the man on the other end.

I wasn’t positive, but I thought this guy was angry. Why would he be angry with me? I couldn’t answer the question so I decided to stir the pot.

“Yes Sir, it is,” I said. “In fact, it is way passed time, by golly. Thank you for reminding me.”

 

Then I hung up.

 

If the guy wasn’t angry before, he should be now. I waited. Ten seconds, twenty, forty seconds. Nothing. He didn’t call back. What did that mean? Was he so mad he couldn’t speak? Hmm…this was shaping up to be a pretty good day.

 

However, not long after, I heard distant footsteps. Staccato, kind of trotting footsteps and they were coming toward me. Then the footsteps stopped and I heard a wheezing sound. The wheezing was close. Close enough, in fact, to be right next to my desk. I glanced at Nacho. He’d stopped fiddling with the knobby thing and was just staring. I could tell he was worried.

“Are you Rick Spinner?” A female voice said.

Slowly, I turned to look at her. She was attractive in her own way. “Yes, Ma’am,” I said. “I am he. I’m a—

“Yes, yes, I know. Big deal, you’re a consultant. Um, Rick, maybe you should have consulted the help wanted ads before coming to work today because you’ve made quite a mess by hanging up on Mr. Cray.”

 

I looked at her. Nacho looked at me. The woman looked at him. Nacho looked at her. I looked at Nacho. I hit a few keys on my keyboard.

“Let’s start with the facts,” I said. “First of all, I am, as you correctly noted, a consultant. Thusly, you can’t fire me because I don’t actually work for you or this Large Corporation.” Then I pointed to my monitor, pushing aside the headphones so the music wasn’t so obvious, and said, “Thirdly, according to the database Mr. Crayfish is a junior assistant mini-manager, which is undercover talk for Doofus or Loser, depending who’s doing the talking.”

 

The woman sucked in a breath---it was a calming breath. Calm? Right. Like the calm before a Major League pitcher rockets one over home plate.

 

The woman narrowed her eyes and said, “Which database? You’ve got Stevie Nicks singing Go your own way. What? You guys think a music CD is a database?”

A tough cookie, this wheezer. So, she was computer savvy, no push over. Maybe I’d ask her out sometime.

“Look,” she said, “I just want you to get Mr. Crayfish, uh…Mr. Cray access to the Internet.”

“That’s it? I said. “That’s all he wants?

“Yes. That’s it.”

“Internet access, as in access to the Internet?”

Wheezer nodded.

“Sorry,” I said. “You can’t get there from here.”

 

She opened her mouth, closed it then sort of opened it again. Bonus item: I’d made Mr. Doofus so mad that he’d sent someone in his stead and now I’d struck dumb that very person.

“What do you mean you can’t get there from here?” The woman said. “I’m on the Internet all the time.”

“We’ll take care of that problem right away,” Nacho said.

I looked over at Nacho and smiled. Nice timing. His return from the Land of Knobby multi-threaded Linux rheostats was right on the mark.

 

“Hold on, Nacho,” I said, raising my hand. I looked at the woman, tried to appear serious, and said, “Only people who have filled out an Internet Access Request form can get to the Internet.”

“What?” She said. “You have to fill out a form, to get to the Internet?”

I nodded. I think the nod was grave but, since I’d only read about doing that kind of thing, I wasn’t sure how successful I had been.

“Did you fill out the Internet Access Request Form?” I asked.

 

She did the mouth thing again, only less so. Kind of, half opening and closing it.

“What if I say no?”

“Oh, you don’t want to tell me that.”

“Then, yes,” she said. “Yes, I filled out one of those Internet forms. Is that all Mr. Doofus-- Mr. Cray should do? Fill out a form?”

I nodded.

“Do you have a copy of the form?”

I shook my head.

“Then how--? She stopped mid-sentence. “Do you have to fill it out online, at a website?”

I nodded.

“Can I do it for him?”

I shook my head.

“But if he can’t get to the Internet, how can he fill out an online form?”

I shrugged my shoulders.