The Walt Longmire of IT Guys

[fiction]

Kolarov started watching Longmire on Netflix last winter while engaging in half-hearted workouts on the bike trainer. The show has begun to own him. Kolarov is an IT guy, the dude you see in the office wearing a blue polo shirt and khaki pants, pushing a cart loaded with computers. That was before Longmire. Now Kolarov wears Lee jeans and flannel shirts. People have noticed—he feels them staring at his back when he enters the server room. The shoes have changed as well. The Sperry boat shoe is standard issue in the IT world, but now Kolarov has switched to the Timberland Chukka, which is almost a boot. He’s not brave enough to go full cowboy boot so the chukka will have to do. It’s close enough.

Kolarov is deep into season three of Longmire and the lead character’s detective tendencies are now part of his daily routine. A typical conversation with a staff member used to involve the person barging into Kolarov’s cubicle and demanding immediate help. Kolarov would avoid eye contact while mumbling something about resetting a password. Now, when an irate staff member arrives, Kolarov offers a chair that isn’t there—they need to pull one in from the next cube. He looks the person directly in the eye, Longmire style, and asks a series of questions. The cowboy hat is missing, which is a shame. On the show, Longmire holds court in a shadowy, lamplit office, slouching in his desk chair and peering at various suspects from under the brim of his Stetson. Kolarov has to get by with fluorescent overhead light and a concerned grimace that looks more like a dude struggling on the toilet. Most people look at Kolarov like he has two heads during these Q & A sessions, but he doesn’t notice.

Kolarov has found his Vic as well, the alluring female lead in love with the much older Longmire on the show. Kolarov’s Vic is also much younger. From time to time, she sends him an email with a question about how to do something in Microsoft Word. In the past, he would answer via email. Now when she sends a message he goes right to her desk and leans over her shoulder, working on the problem like a real detective; a bold, powerful, six-foot-two-inch muscular detective. The physical presence part is a bit difficult for Kolarov, he’s only five-foot-eight and weighs maybe one hundred fifty pounds after dinner. He’s been doing pushups and sit-ups every night in order to better fill out the baggy flannel shirts, but there’s no guarantee this is making any difference. She may or may not notice.

When the day is done Kolarov arrives home and does not change clothes as quickly as he used to. His wife thinks she knows what’s going on, but she doesn’t say anything. His son passes him in the hallway and says, “Nice shirt, Dad.” There’s not a lot of Longmire work to do in this house on a weeknight. Most of the action is centered around dinner preparation, homework, basketball watching, some sort of exercise.

But a recent Wednesday night brings changes. Just after dinner, as Kolarov is preparing to go downstairs and hit the trainer, his wife receives two phone calls in quick succession from a colleague at work. Each call is from a different number. Kolarov’s wife checks voicemail and says, It’s weird, Gina sounds upset. Kolarov starts in with the questioning: how are things at home? Is her husband normal? Do they fight? You better call her back, we may need to intervene. Fifteen minutes later Kolarov is grinding away on the bike trainer watching Longmire rappel down a mountainside using a length of rope routed through handcuffs connected to his tough-guy cowboy belt. Kolarov’s wife comes downstairs and says her friend is fine, she was just trying to line up a substitute teacher for her upcoming vacation. Kolarov wants to know why the second phone number. His wife laughs and says the friend first called from her cell phone, and then from the school phone. Kolarov turns back to the screen and picks up the pace. Someone’s not telling the truth, he can feel it. Hopefully they won’t read about it in the paper tomorrow.

 

John Meyers

John Meyers’s poems, stories, and essays have appeared in a wide variety of publications. Over the past year, his work has been featured or is forthcoming in The Louisville Review, Fiction Southeast, Thrice Fiction, Easy Street, and the Jellyfish Review, among others. John lives in Maryland and once worked for Ringling Bros. Circus. He can be found online at www.hammeredinmetal.blogspot.com.