A Farewell to a Server

A silly, Hemingway-esque short story. This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

The technician delivered the new server alone in early October. A new server had been installed and he was to take away the old server.

It was fall on the morning of the 13th when the technician came to take the server away. He had slept well the night before. His task lay before him like a winding road away from the data center. The new server sat in the first floor closet, its tiny motor humming.

He saw a server in front of him. Not the server he was looking for, but his hands were steady. Nothing would take him from his task. Not seeing the old server, he lifted the new server off the ground and placed it in a box. The grates on the back of the server tower left faint lines of dust on his palms.

He wiped his palms on his pleated khaki pants and carried the box out of the room. He was not a strong man or a weak man and he carried the box out with purpose.

Pedro sat alone in the NOC as was his custom. Time did not weigh on Pedro as it does on some men. He sat alone in the NOC and saw the alert appear in front of him that a server had gone.

It was there one moment and then it was not. This is the way of the NOC.

When a server disappears, Pedro calls Jake to find it. This is what Pedro did on this cool October morning. They spoke at length about the things men talk about at times like these.

“There is a server missing. You are the one who can find it.”

“I will find the server for you.”

The technician was gone when Jake got to the server room. There is something about these men and solitude.

Two men cannot face each other in a server room. Each must face the room alone.

Pedro asked Jake to find the server and check its connections. The server must have been there. If someone had unplugged it, Jake could plug it back in and Pedro could stop seeing the alert. Pedro could go back to being alone in the NOC the way he liked it.

Instead, Jake found a different server and unplugged it. The technician returned. Pedro spoke to him on the telephone.

“I came to take the old server away.”

“I wasn’t told about a server going away.”

Pedro called Robert. Maybe Robert would understand.

Robert went to the server room with Jake and the technician. These men who spent so much time alone in these rooms surrounded each other.

Robert understood what had happened. He helped the technician to take the new server out of the box and plug it back in. He helped Jake plug the other server back in. The alert in the NOC went away.

The technician left and Jake left.

“The servers are working again,” Robert said. The fans in the server room hummed.

“Yes,” said Pedro. “The servers are working again.”