Funny Fiction Contemporary

“Houston…? Hey, Houston, are you there?”

“Yes, boss!”

“…We have a problem…”

“Okay, what’s the problem?”

“The Internet is down.”

“That’s more of a setback than a problem, isn’t it?”

“It’s a fucking problem when I can’t load my invoices! It’s a problem when I can’t access my fucking bank account!”

“Alright, alright. No need to get shirty with me. I’ll look into it.”

“…Thank you…”

“…Looking at the server… the server says… everything is working normal.”

“So, why can’t I pull up anything on my computer?”

“Dunno. Hang on a sec while I put you on hands-free… Still there?”


“Right… I need to log into your computer remotely. What’s your username and password?”

“You already have that info.”

“I never write it down.”

“Why the fuck not?”

“For security purposes.”

“For fuck’s sake… It’s Admin and one, two, three, four, followed by a hyphen, followed by four, three, two, one…”

“…O for Original…?”


“Are any letter O’s a zero?”

“A what?”

“Are any of the O’s in your password, a zero instead of an O?”

“Fuck no! What’s the point of spelling with numbers?”

“It’s more secure. Slows down the hackers.”

“What do you mean? Have I been hacked?”

“Not that I can see, no. I’m just making a point.”

“Well, why don’t you make a fucking point of fixing my problem, instead of scaring me…”

“I’m on it… Can’t seem to remotely log into your computer from here… Your Internet must be down…”

“…Am I paying you to fix my computer problems or to just be a moron pretending to be a parrot?”

“Have you tried turning off the modem, then restarting it?”

“…If I hadn’t, would I need to call you?”

“That’s O for Oxymoron…”

“What’s that?”

“Have you turned the modem off then on again?”

“…Right before I called you.”

“…And have you rebooted your computer?”

“No, should I have to?”

“It might help.”

“…Might help? You either know it will or you don’t know it will.”

“…It will…”

“Fine… rebooting now.”

“Doing anything interesting this weekend?”

“…Sleeping. Not thinking of computers.”

“Can you access your bank details on your smartphone?”

“Yes, but I still need to see my online invoices.”

“Can’t you do that on your phone?”

“The originals are on my computer, so I need to upload them to the server.”

“Maybe, you need a laptop to carry around with you.”

“I don’t want a fucking laptop. My desktop works fine.”

“Not at the moment, it doesn’t…”


“Just saying that it would be a good backup for you.”

“That’s why I pay for storage in the cloud.”

“As long as you can access it…”

“…Are you trying to be funny?”

“Just stating, that’s all.”

“…Ok, computer’s back up. What now?”

“How’s your Internet access?”

“…Looks okay… for the time being…”

“Try accessing your bank. Then, log into your online invoices.”

“Okay, give me a minute.”

Good shot, Jack!”

“What was that?”

“Oh, nothing. I was just talking to someone.”

“You have a visitor?”

“No, I’m not at home, but I’ve brought my laptop out with me.”

“I’m in! Invoices accessed… Bank accessed…”

“Problem solved, then!”


“What’s wrong, now?”

“Outlook is not reading my emails.”

“Well, it sometimes takes a while to synchronise. Give it a few moments.”

“It’s showing errors.”

“Read them to me.”

“…Send-Receive failed. Outlook can’t reach the email server to send your mail… I thought we moved to a new server?”

“We have.”

“So, what’s the fucking problem now?”

“Did you change the incoming and outgoing server information?”

“Where do I find that?”

“I sent you an email.”

“…And how do I fucking open it?”

“You could log into your webmail account.”

“How do I do that?”

“I sent you instructions.”


“Last month - when we migrated to the new server. Do a search on your Outlook’s inbox…”

“…Okay, searching… I found it.”

“Okay, click on the link…”

“…Page not found…”

“Check your Internet signal. Click on it and tell me what it says…. Be right there, Jack…! Sorry… click on it.”

“I have… It says, No Internet.”

“Are you running a VPN?”

“What’s a VPN?”

“Virtual Private Network. It masks your identity and location.”

“The one you installed that has a shield for its icon?”

“That’s the one. Bring it up on your screen, then click Stop and check your Wi-Fi’s Internet access.”

“Done… Connected, it says.”

“Now, refresh the page and log into your webmail.”

“Why can’t I use Outlook?”

“Hey, that’s my shot, Jack…! Sorry, what was that?”

“Why can’t I use Outlook…? Where are you?”

“I’m out and about.”

“Where exactly?”

“Um… the twelfth hole…”

“What the fuck are you doing playing golf?”

“I’m taking a break…”

“I pay you to fix computer problems. Not to go play golf!”

“Sheez, I’ve brought my laptop with me. I don’t need to be in an office to work. What’s the problem?”

“It’s a focussing problem. I want you to focus on me, right now.”

“I am… I am. Hang on a sec, I’ve got a three-meter putt to make… You there?”

“Of course, I’m fucking here. It’s where you should fucking be….! Hello…? Houston…? Houston…!”

“Boss! Boss!”


“Can you hear it? Can you hear it?”

“Hear what?”

“Boss, can you hear me? it’s Houston.”

“I know it’s you. What is it, Houston?”

“…The eagle has only gone and fucking landed…! Boss…?”

“…If you don’t fix my computer problems now, then there’s no reason for you or your fucking eagle to come into the office next week or the following week, or ANY FUCKING WEEK AFTER THAT!”

“…But I just shot a two-under par on the twelfth hole! I’ve landed an Eagle…!”

“I’m about to throw this piece of shit computer out of the window!”

“Your office is in your garage…”


“Boss, your office is in the garage… You have no windows…”

“…Fuck off!”

“Boss…? Boss…? He’s hung up on me, Jack.”


“He’s just frustrated about his computer problems.”

Still a wanker calling you on your day off.”

“Well, technically, I’m still on the clock… Shush, Jack! He’s calling me back… Hey Boss! We got disconnected.”

“I need my computer fixed. I’m not using webmail and I’m not going to wait for you to finish your round of golf.”

“Okay, okay… hang on… Jack, I’ll catch you up… Right, I’m all alone in my buggy. You have my undivided attention. Let me log into your computer and change a few things… Uh oh…”

“What now?”

“My laptop battery is running low…”

“Then, please hurry…”

“…Okay… I’m in. Can you see me moving your cursor on the screen?”

“That’s you, is it? I thought the computer suddenly developed a mind of its own.”

“Do I detect a little sarcasm, Boss?”

“…A little.”

“Tell me, Boss. If you know nothing about computers, why did you start an I.T. support business?”

“Because… I’m a great salesman. I can get the contracts, so I knew if I got the right qualified I.T. person, business would boom.”

“And it has. I’ve been very busy of late, hence the open-air support today. Business going well, then?”

“Only when I can invoice customers… Why has my screen suddenly gone blank?”

“It’s not blank. I’ve opened up the command window to ping your IP address.”

“What does that do?”

“It lets me know what your address is on the web, so I can add it to an online whitelist using my laptop. This will solve your Outlook problem not being able to connect with the mail server… Shit!”


“My laptop’s just died.”

“So, plug it in.”

“I’ll have to go back to the clubhouse and get the power supply from my locker.”

“How long will that take?”

“Fifteen, twenty minutes, tops.”

“What do I do in the meantime? I’m staring at a black screen!”

“Just close it.”

“How? It’s locked!”

“That’s odd. Must be a glitch in the remote access software.”

“How do I regain control?”

“…You could try rebooting… Boss, you there…?”

“…What fucking good is an I.T. support company when it can’t even fix its own I.T. problems…? I picked the wrong fucking name for it, didn’t I. Instead of I.T. Support Limited, you’re turning it into Limited I.T. Support instead! What a fucking joke!”

“Now, now, Boss. I didn’t recommend that computer. You already had that when I started working for you… Boss…? Boss…? What are you doing…? What’s that crashing sound…? Boss…?”


“Yes, Boss.”

“I’m going to need a new computer…”

“What’s wrong with the one you already have?”

“It’s broken.”

“What!? How?”

“I threw it out of the window…”

“You don’t have a window.”

“…I do now… Can you do me a small favour?”

“Sure, Boss…”

“Google the latest desktops and order me another one. I don’t want a laptop and I don’t want fucking webmail. I want a desktop to put under my desk, so I can kick the shit out of it when it eventually fails. Got it?”

“Got it.”

“Then, search for a local carpenter and glazer. Call them up and let them know we have an urgent need for them. Offer them double the price to install a window in my garage this weekend, okay?”

“Sure, Boss.”

“Now, I need you stop playing golf, head to the clubhouse, retrieve your power supply from your locker, go plug it in anywhere, and get this done right away. Is that clear?”

“Yes, Boss.”

“Call me when it’s done.”

“Will do… Where will you be…? Boss? Boss…? He’s hung up, Jack.”

We playing or what?”

“Sorry, buddy. Work calls. We’ll have to finish early. I’ve got a rush job to take care of… Fancy a quick drink at the 19th Hole…?”


February 04, 2023 07:46

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Susan Catucci
14:33 Feb 13, 2023

"I've landed an eagle . . ." Great fun, fun take on the prompt. I don't know a soul who hasn't envisioned tossing their equipment out the window and perhaps following it. Technology - like some people - it's great when it works.


Chris Campbell
22:30 Feb 13, 2023

Thanks Susan. I hear it all the time from my boss. It's lucky the windows are narrow and high.


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Jack Kimball
18:14 Feb 11, 2023

Hey Chris. Yes. Yes. Yes. I suspected you were in tech. All I would add is the part where tech support blames another department or company. 'Sir, you need to call your wireless modem people for a software update. It can't be us.' --therefore offsetting the problem and assigning a project at the same time. Love all the dialogue. Given what we get out of Hollywood today I wish you had stayed longer, but glad you are on Reedsy all the same.


Chris Campbell
00:23 Feb 12, 2023

Thanks for your kind words, Jack. I detect an opportunity for job security in your comments, "Offsetting the problem and assigning a project at the same time." It might just work :)


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Delbert Griffith
15:06 Feb 11, 2023

I can relate to most of this, Chris. Not being tech savvy, I often find myself frustrated when something goes wrong. I find your relationship between the boss and his I.T. person to be both hilarious and realistic. Everything about this story rings true. Really nice work, Chris.


Chris Campbell
16:02 Feb 11, 2023

Thanks Delbert. A little bit of art imitating life in this one.


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Wendy Kaminski
15:00 Feb 08, 2023

Fantastic wit in your stories, a feature which keeps me coming back for them, and this did not disappoint. This is so close to many, many conversations I've had with I.T. in our office, that I think that twitch is back. "open-air support" is my new go-to phrase, and as it happens, I'm off today, so I will start in early! :) “You don’t have a window.” “…I do now…" haha Great entry, Chris!


Chris Campbell
21:35 Feb 08, 2023

Wendy, thank you so much for your great comments. Those of us that work in I.T. do so with the realisation that what may go wrong, will go wrong. Patience is truly a virtue and we learn early on that being virtuous doesn't mean you're patient. 🤣 However, with computers, servers and server migrations, it helps to remain calm, carry on, and hope for the best. Oh, and along the way, try to fix something.


Wendy Kaminski
21:36 Feb 08, 2023

My pleasure, Chris -- in my case, it's usually user error, I am absolutely willing to 'fess. :D


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Laurel Hanson
14:42 Feb 07, 2023

Very funny. I love the quick back and forth and the characters developed through all that technical jargon as well. I considered trying to deal with the technical glitch issue this way but had to discard the idea as I simply knew I could not pull off enough computer language. This just totally reflects all too many scenarios dealing with I.T. with humor leavening the frustration.


Chris Campbell
22:35 Feb 13, 2023

Thanks Laurel. The poor machines and software get so much blame and heated frustration directed at them, when the usual culprit is operator error... 🤣


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Mike Panasitti
13:39 Feb 14, 2023

I enjoyed the dialogue format. It reminded me of a Coen brothers film. The vulgarity suits the character. I just hope the character doesn't reflect the temperament of your boss. If so, you are a heroically tolerant individual.


Chris Campbell
14:07 Feb 14, 2023

Mike, thanks for your feedback. I like the comparison to the Coen Bros. Yes, I am a very tolerant person. My real boss is true to the character in the story; however, unlike the invented boss in my story, he's never insulting to me and a great guy to work for. Creative license has been taken and stretched.


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Michelle Oliver
07:15 Feb 05, 2023

Oh I love this! The frustration on both sides of the conversation! IT support- if you only did the steps I sent you in the email, this would all have been prevented. Boss- I have an issue now which wasn’t an issue last week so I didn’t read your email and you must fix it this instant. The whole conversation is so relatable and real, great dialogue.


Chris Campbell
08:33 Feb 05, 2023

Michelle, thank you for your great feedback. Some of this is loosely based on my boss. Although, never insulting, he can be quite volatile when it comes to lost emails. My unashamed parody is just a tongue-in-cheek snippet of a collection of conversations had over the past four years. I just hope he doesn't read this... 😏


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Amanda Lieser
17:15 Mar 21, 2023

Hey Chris, This one was interesting. I felt like it could have done well in the form week as well as this one. I confess I have totally been the person screaming at an innocent employee just as much as I have been the person being screamed at. You did a great job of asking all the usual questions while capturing tone incredibly well. Nice work!!


Chris Campbell
23:04 Mar 21, 2023

Thanks, Amanda. Working in the IT world for so long, has given me the knowledge to write about it. Fortunately, I have great patience with computers and programming. I so laugh at people that shout at their machines.


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Michał Przywara
21:38 Feb 16, 2023

Ah, funny :) But having once worked in tech support, also stress inducing. Oh well, while the client here is hostile, at least he's not completely clueless. Just keep power-cycling :) "You don’t have a window.” / “…I do now…" Ha! I do like the irony of this being a tech support company :)


Chris Campbell
22:51 Feb 16, 2023

Thanks, Michal. I'm more of a developer but I carry my laptop like it's the US President's "Football." It goes everywhere with me. Just to clarify, I don't play golf, but I have been known to try to fix problems after a few drinks. Not wise at all... Perhaps tech support is not really our protagonist's correct line of work; however, he's always reachable. - wherever he goes. 😉


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Rebecca Miles
07:31 Feb 16, 2023

Ha, good one with the golf. Took me a while to spot it. I'm one of the world's least tech-savvy people; if I had received one tenth of these instructions I would have thrown the blasted device out of the window; story would have been over one minute in! This is the problem with tech advice; if the poor sod on the receiving end is a dinosaur then most instructions sound like they've been given by a martian. This is the reason I just take the laptop to the IT department with my hands-up! You nailed the rant by the way; I got into all those exp...


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Graham Kinross
01:28 Feb 16, 2023

I have been on both sides of similar issues as someone struggling with the failure of others to understand the basics and, as with today and last night, failing to understand the basics of the requirements for Japanese visa renewal. I like the talk about numbers in the passwords. They’ve become ever more elaborate, which always trips me up. In the beginning, have a password. Then add a number. Then a capital letter. Longer than eight characters…


Chris Campbell
01:35 Feb 16, 2023

Thanks Graham. I think I'd get confused with foreign language instructions too. I'll just stick to I.T.


Graham Kinross
05:51 Feb 16, 2023

Do you use the classic, “have you tried turning it off and on again?”


Chris Campbell
07:08 Feb 16, 2023

Oh, yeah, that one gets us in fits of laughter.


Graham Kinross
07:21 Feb 16, 2023

That makes me think of this: https://youtu.be/rksCTVFtjM4


Chris Campbell
07:35 Feb 16, 2023

That is a funny sketch. I'm more developer than support; however, my only client is my boss, so I'm expected to support the on/off switch.


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Steve Warford
22:01 Feb 11, 2023

What's to discuss? Itnever left the launch pad due to the excessive drag of all that f-ing (my bad - sorry) gratuitous vulgarity.


Chris Campbell
00:41 Feb 12, 2023

Steve, we can't all live life with blinkers on, or live in a state of idealistic censorship. Writing is a freedom of thought put into words. "Golly Gee" and "Oh my goodness" just don't have the same impact as "gratuitous vulgarity" in our modern world, so I will happily continue to use the correct language befitting the character, time, and situation, and leave the softer words to period pieces when necessary. Constructive criticism of my work is always welcomed; however, to dismiss a literary work purely on its language content, then leave...


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