My computer was moving sluggishly, then the software failed to load altogether. It was gonna take a stroke of genius to get it working again. My genius was wearing a name tag that read, “Audum.”
I asked him how he pronounced it. Is it a creative spelling of the first man Adam? Is it a sanskrit chant? “Audum.” No, it’s pronounced autumn, like the season.
“Are you in a band?” I asked.
“No, my mother gave me that name.” Audum begins talking about his mother. She’s a speech pathologist who works in Albuquerque and he admires her work. I am charmed by his obvious affection for his mother. He has been well cared for, I think, as I notice he has good teeth.
As he examines my computer he tells me that my hard drive is dying. But it’s so young. It’s only a few years old. He explains that computer years are like dog years times three, making my computer only slightly younger than me.
“Audum, how old are you?”
That’s when he suggests a radical move. He wants to strip my computer down completely and then he will reload my hard drive. In order to make this work, I will have to agree to do everything he says even if it sounds a bit unusual.
“To give something, we have to take something away,” he tells me. Is he quoting the Bible or a sacred Steve Jobsian text? I have no idea. But he had me at “reload.” I have fallen in love with Audum Genius.
His affection for his mother coupled with my being totally dependent on whoever can repair what has become my most essential appendage has endeared him to me. His hair might be a little greasy but the teeth are good, the teeth are good, I assure myself.
Dear God, I just want one night of genius sex before I hit the half-century mark. But where would we do it? My house? No, we have kid artwork hanging everywhere and it just seems wrong that we would sneak by the watercolor rendering of a dinosaur pooping as we head into the bedroom. Cannot go to a cheap motel. A cheap motel does not figure into this or any other fantasy I have at this age. No, I will have to dip into our savings for a swanky hotel. Hopefully I can write it off as a business expense. Yes!
“You’re good to go.” “Yes,” I whisper. “I mean, yes?”
“My shift is over,” he says. “Your laptop’s ready.”
And rotating my computer I can see that the folder he’s created for my retrieved documents is named “Old Annabelle.”
I catch sight of Audum heading towards the exit. Out of his uniform he looks different. He gives me a little wave and I can tell by the tentative and reluctant quality of that wave, and his red, high top Keds that we will not be hooking up. Audum leaves. I feel a bit sad, but also, extremely relieved.