A Man of Numbers

All Theodore cared about was numbers and all he wanted out of his life was to find particularly challenging sets of numbers to play with. Let the others have their social lives and their romances. Numbers were all he needed.

Columns of reference numbers scrolled past as he looked for a break in the sequence. Each column’s total should equal all of its reference numbers added together which should equal the total of the column left of it plus the number of reference numbers in the column.

It was a tricky algorithm, but it ensured only he could create new reference numbers. If they didn’t all add up correctly, the program wouldn’t close when he tried to exit. It meant staying late, frequently, but he didn’t mind.

After almost two hours of searching, he found the new reference number and followed it to the document it represented. It was a few sheets of transcribed meeting notes someone had hidden on the network.

After he finished reading through them, his heart was racing as he typed an email to his boss. They were hiding something from their bosses and he’d found them! He hit send and went home. Tomorrow couldn’t come soon enough.

The next day, he met his boss on the main floor to watch two security guards and the man’s manager talk to the culprit for a moment and then gently guide him out. Theodore recognized his cousin Bill, as Bill tried to pull away from the guards.

Bill saw him and shouted. “Theo! Please!” The guards grabbed him and continued to guide him toward the foyer. “Theo! Tell them! We were just making plans to throw a surprise party for Gus’ birthday tomorrow!”

Theodore’s stomach lurched. Gus, his boss, turned to him and sighed. “Dammit, Theodore. Not again.”

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