Access Denied

Dink entered the passcode multiple times daily, for over a year now. He had probably entered the code over a million times if he took the time to count them. It was automatic. His fingers knew it better than he did. The password box popped up, his fingers did the walking and boom – he was in. So when the words, “Access Denied” popped onto his screen, he froze…confused.

He thought for a second as he looked down at the keyboard. He brought his hand up and typed in his passcode again, a little slower than the last time – just in case.

Access Denied.

Dink looked at his hand and moved his fingers quickly in a rippling motion as if to wake them up. He punched the passcode in again with deliberate intent and recited the change of letters and numbers in his head as he went. As right as it all was in his mind, it felt off.  He was doing it wrong.

He went over the code in his head. Everything was right, but it wasn’t. Somewhere his finger drifted or he transposed something. He had all the elements, but he popped them in wrong. Of course, he knew the passcode. It was silly to think he didn’t, but it was so automatic, so habitual that he barely paid attention. And now…

He stared at the keyboard. His thoughts grew cloudy. Did he really just forget his passcode? A tiny wave of panic rippled over him, not because he couldn’t access his system, but more because of the utter ridiculousness of the situation. He used to have the passcode written down, when he first got, but that was a long time ago and that sticky note was long gone.

He took out a pad of paper and wrote the code down. That was it. No, it wasn’t. Something was wrong with it. He pecked at the keyboard again, slowly just in case his fingers were so fat and clumsy that he really didn’t type the characters in correctly the first several times.

Access Denied.

Ridiculous! He just typed the very same stupid code into the very same machine not an hour ago, and with great success! He crumpled up the small page and tossed it into the bin.

He tried again. Access Denied. Unbelievable.

He squelched the desire to punch the keyboard. It wasn’t its fault, but this was silly and frustrating and stupid.

He rubbed his hands together and closed his eyes, part trying to clear his mind of the near endless combinations of numbers that swirled with in and part just to calm down and focus. He thought back to an hour ago. He had just come back from the bathroom. He set his energy drink to his left. He sat down.  He cracked his knuckles as he pulled up to his keyboard, moved his cursor into the passcode box and typed in…

Dink held his breath for a moment as he let his hand move to the keys. He hoped the muscle memory would help cool his frustrations. His fingers tapped the keys before him and while not minutes ago the movements seemed foreign and out of place, this time the flow seemed right. Not wanting to jinx it, he let the fingers finish. He opened his eyes, breathed and pushed enter.

“Welcome back, Dink!”

Duh! Of course!

Not pausing to savor the sigh of relief escaping from him, Dink reached for a sticky note. He scribbled down the passcode and locked in his front desk drawer, just in case.

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