I'm sitting at my desk, doing business-y things, when Benton comes rushing over, grabs me, pulls me out of my chair and drags me across the room. Who's complaining about that? But it is out of character for him and, more to the point, it's work time. As a matter of fact, I'm in the middle of approving some payments to a dude named "Sam McGee". I was just about to tell Benton about it, in fact, so we could laugh together. (Sam McGee is a character from a poem by Robert Service, the poet from the Canadian far north.)

"Marilyn! Are you okay?"

"I'm fine, Benneeshore. What gives?" Gee, I hope he keeps his arms around me a little longer.

"Look at your desk! Your computer is smoking!"

Most of Benton's colleagues smoke. He and I don't. But . . . the computer itself? Then I look. Oh dear, indeed there's black smoke coming out of the computer and the smoke is building up under my desk. I hadn't even noticed, I was so engrossed in Sam McGee. Dark, swirling and you expect witches and a cauldron and somebody saying "Double, double, toil and trouble."

He lets go of me. Sigh.

"I think I know what it is, Benneeshore. A bunch of people in my Yahoogroup are working really hard: new graphics, new archive, new tasks as moderators. They're working so hard for the rest of us, they must be burning up their computers and the smoking is going all through cyberspace."

"Yah hooooo grooooop?" Benton doesn't spend a lot of time on the net.

"It's an internet thing. A group. We all read and write and discuss about a certain topic. These people are making changes for us. Gee, I hope they realize how much we appreciate it."

"I don't want to intrude on your privacy, Marilyn, but I'm curious. What do you discuss? Or whom?"

Should I tell him?

"Oh Benneeshore, if you only knew."

Back to Benton in Vienna Menu