Blue Screen of Death (A Todd short story)

Image by Andrew Martin from Pixabay 

The van shuddered as someone bashed on the back door. Todd clambered over the seat and stretched as far as he could to hit the catch. The door swung open and his Boss almost fell in, his ridiculous costume impeding his ability to walk. Todd felt the responsibility to help him up so he ignored it and stood and stared as the large man twisted and turned over before pulling half the contents off the side to stand.

The Boss stood up and yelped immediately as his head, currently encased in a clown head, hit the top of the van. With a growl, he pulled it off and threw it, narrowly avoiding Todd.

“Go well?” Todd asked as he watched through the open door of the surveillance van, seeing five of the Boss’ henchmen running out of the building towards the van. The Boss reacted to the yells and pulled the door shut, leaving the men standing out in the cold.

“Bunch of fools, how hard is it to overcome a security system?”

Todd looked down at the costume again, “In those shoes?” He hadn’t quite understood how the full clown outfit would help them break into a bank in the dead of night but the Boss had demanded it. Todd was pretty sure he had been reading DC again and had mis-interpreted the Clown Prince of Crime.

“We planted what was needed,” The Boss ignored the comment as he managed to contort himself to sit in the chair next to Todd. His hair was damp with sweat and he struggled to push it from his forehead. The straggly grey strands framed his face, making him look more realistic as a clown without the mask. Todd knew for sure the suit didn’t come with that much padding either. “Now, Todd. Do the thing.”

“What thing?”

“You know, the hacky thing,” he waved a hand at the bank of computer screens in front of them.

“The hacky thing?”

“Yes, go in through the wormholes or something and give it a bug and steal all the money,” he rolled his eyes as if it were all simple. Todd decided not to remind him that he had shouted at his computer for fifteen minutes on Monday before Todd had come in to explain it really did help if the plug was in the wall.

“I have no idea how to do that,” Todd replied matter-of-factly.

“What do you mean? You’re a personal assistant. What do they teach you at PA school these days?”

“Shorthand,” Todd replied. “I must have been ill for the cyber-crime lecture.”

“Drat!” The Boss slapped his hands down on the side like a petulant child. “I mean how hard can it be?”

Todd raised an eyebrow and folded his arms over his chest.

“There’s a book up there, maybe it will help,” he pointed up to a shelf where listening equipment was wedged. Todd grasped the yellow and black book and stared at the cover.

“Are you serious? Hacking for Idiots?”

“Perfect. I need a nap, get hacking. We have about five minutes before the security men find the damage,” The Boss leaned back in the seat and closed his eyes, ignoring the knocks on the van door.

For the first minute, Todd stared blankly at his boss, still not quite believing this latest transgression. Realising, he had little choice he went about flicking through the book. There were some words there, and symbols he recognized but not in that order. It might as well have been in another language for all the good it did. He pulled his phone out and dialed number six on speed dial- the IT guy.

“Kevin, it’s Todd,” he began. “No, no I have not tried turning it off and on again. Look I need your help….Yes it is plugged in. Stop will you?” Todd quickly explained the situation as Kevin listened attentively. “So, can you help?” Kevin issued Todd a series of commands. Balancing the phone on the side and putting him on speaker, Todd followed the instructions. A screen came up with the bank’s accounts on it.

“I’ve got it Kevin, the accounts are up,” Todd grinned. “Now what?”

“Now you need to go back into the command line.”

Todd hovered over the command line box and clicked. Everything disappeared.

“Ah,” Todd bit his bottom lip.

“What is it?”

“Oh, for f… It’s the blue screen of death,” Todd banged his hands on the keyboard. “The bloody thing’s crashed.”

“Well I suggest…”

“Don’t you even dare say it,” Todd warned. “Look, can you hack in from there and get the money?”

“Of course I can.”

“That’s what I thought, just get it done,” Todd climbed through to the driver’s seat and started the van ignoring the clamours from the men outside the van. “And while you’re there, hack in to payroll give me a raise.”


This was written in response to a prompt on Putting My Feet In The Dirt’s blog April writing prompts.

For more on Todd the Supervillain’s Assistant read the start on his adventures here on catch him every saturday on my twitter feed!


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