Dave didn't know he was lonely until his friends pointed it out. But when he gives in and tries an online dating site, something catastrophic happens - talk about a bad omen.
The Day Dave Broke the Internet
by Tara Tyler
As she stood there in that sleek, black outfit with her hands on her hips, she looked like a super hero. Fantasies threatened to invade his mind, but Dave reigned them in. He had to stay focused and not think like a love-struck stalker.
Nathan went inside. "Come on. The brains are in the basement. Our server should be protected from an EMP blast, and our emergency lines are reinforced. That's why I was able to hotwire the lock. We can see what works and if we can connect with someone from the processor room."
With a flashlight in front, Nathan led them to the stairwell, and they went down. Dave had only been in the processor room a couple of times to deliver some paperwork. Hearing the hum of the fans, Dave was relieved that it was working. When they entered, the huge room full of giant server towers still awed him. The blinking lights made him think of Christmas time. A beautiful sight.
"How long will the backup generator keep it running?" Sharon asked.
Before he could answer, something made a loud thump overhead.
Dave looked at the ceiling. "What was that?" They weren't alone.
Nathan answered. "I wonder if it's looters. We're under the cafeteria. Maybe they're looking for food."
"Already? And how did they get in?"
Sharon pulled out a handgun from a holster inside her vest and headed back to the stairs.
"I'll go check it out."
Dave's jaw dropped. He was impressed and intimidated at the same time. He couldn't decide if he should stay and help Nathan or go upstairs with Sharon. He'd be more useful downstairs, but didn't want to look like a coward letting her go up alone.
"Want me to come with you?"
She shrugged. Great. That probably meant yes. Dave had no experience interpreting women's body language, never mind aiding a damsel in distress, though Sharon wasn't the one in distress.
Dave turned to Nathan who was typing up a storm on the access computer.
"I'm going up with Sharon."
Nathan answered without looking at him. "Okay."
As he jogged to catch up to his pistol-toting mama, Dave pictured two burly guys with bazookas tearing through the large kitchen pantry. He tried to shake the image and wished he had a gun of his own. Not that he would know what to do with it. He was more of a target than a protector. Maybe he could help by being a distraction.
Peeking into the hallway, Sharon waved for Dave to follow her as she stepped out. She paused and raised her eyebrows at Dave. It took him a few seconds, but he finally realized she probably wanted to know where to go so he pointed down the hall. She nodded, and they scooted that way.
When they reached the cafeteria, Sharon pointed at the door and widened her eyes at Dave. He nodded, hoping he wouldn't trip and lose the element of surprise.
When she slipped under the door's window to the other side, she put a finger to her lips. Then she eased up and peered inside. Lowering back down, she made some hand signals, pointing to the cafeteria and showing two fingers. He figured that meant two guys were in there. Just as he thought.
Dave didn't know what to do so he nodded again, letting her lead. He tried to keep his cool, but inside he was freaking out. He'd never confronted anyone before, and he didn't want to start by disrupting a couple of possibly armed intruders.
Sharon smiled encouragingly and pointed for him to look.
His whole body shook and shivered as if he was standing out in a blizzard in his pajamas. Dave could hear the ransackers moving around in there breaking things as they rummaged. He feared they'd catch him peeking and shoot him between the eyes. Trying to soak up some of Sharon's confidence, Dave steadied his nerves, reigning in his terror. He was sure his face was twisted, exposing his fear as he searched for the gumption to even look in the window.