Short Story on the Spot Challenge #1 Day #1

Ok folks, I worked on the first challenge story in two sessions today.  This idea came out of my own experience from early in my career in IT.  It will be entitled until I come up with one 🙂  I feel like it was a decent first day.  Stats for each session during the day or any notes will be bolded and/or bracketed to separate them from the story.  I should mention that I was writing this on an android tablet, using Firefox, and I had a hell of a time with the way it typed.  It really slowed things down.  Hopefully, I will be able to work from my laptop tomorrow.  Please read on.  Comments are more than welcome.

My day started, at about 10PM, by discovering I had lost yet another sock in the wash. Worse yet, there was only one pair in that load. I swear the damn dryer must eat them on purpose, and out of spite. As it happened, I had a pile of unmated socks that survived the dryer’s clutches and grabbed one that looked like a close match at a quick glance. The light must have been worse than I thought because after I got to work, the white versus light grey was pretty damn obvious.

But I digress.

[Session 1 – lunch Break.  Writing time: <30 minutes.  Wordcount:  Aapprox 116]

I got to work with about five minutes to spare.  It’s amazing how much traffic is out that late at night.  If people knew what I was responsible for as the third shift computer operator at my company, they might show a little appreciation and get the hell out of the way when I’m coming into work.  Anyways, I made my way through the employee entrance.  Gave a nod to Wild Bill, the security guard at the front desk.  He was reviewing the log book when he looked up and saw me come through.

“There he is; the man with his hand on the panic switch.”  He laughed as he said it.

I guessed he’s heard about last night.  I faked a laugh back.  “Ah yeah, and there’s the man the wit we wish we all could have…or at least half of it.”

“Man, you had the whole programming department running around for flea shit in pepper all day today,” he said, slurping down the last of his cup of coffee.  “And you know what they found?”

I stopped rolled my head back around to him, in an as if I couldn’t guess gesture.

“Not a damn thing.  Again.”

He said it with a smile and smug satisfaction like he had something to gain from it.  I looked at that shit-eatin’ grin for a long moment, and then it dawned on me.

“Did you guys have a fricken betting pool again?”

He laughed again, this time trying to channel Eddie Murphy.

I turned and walked off, just shaking my head.

I heard him call from behind me, “Don’t you want to know what I won?”

I’d reached the elevator by that time.  The doors opened, and I stepped in, turned around, and said, “Not if I don’t get a cut.  Ass.”

I guess I should have expected as much.  For months there had been…issues…during my shift.  Issues that the brains on the third floor couldn’t find, and I couldn’t prove.  They were getting more and more frequent, and my supervisor was losing more and more patience with me.

It was about six months ago I’d first gone into his office after a particularly bad night and told him, point blank, that there were weird things happening with the servers during my shift.  Things would go offline, or automated processes would fail, all for no good reason.  just as I would begin troubleshooting, things would go back to normal.  Sometimes the same error would happen again about five minutes after I moved on to other work.  So I’d have to stop what I was doing and check it out.  Nine and a half times our ten, nothing was wrong.  While that crap was happening, virtually no processes actually failed.  No data was ever lost.  But sure looked like a dumbass whenever I reported a problem and they couldn’t find anything.  I got fed up and told my boss, very directly, that the programmers weren’t taking anything I said seriously, and there was something very, very wrong in our little server farm.  I was pissed off and I wanted some answers.

Without missing a beat, he said something like; You’re tired.  The nightshift can get to the best of us.  Go get some Starbucks, go home, unwind, and take the night off.  In this environment, these systems can seem like misbehaving little kids when you’re here by yourself.  Just keep logging your reports and we’ll take it from there.  Don’t worry about it.

If he’d have paid any kind of attention to me, he’d know that coffee is the last thing I’d be drinking, period.  And ‘don’t worry about it’?  Easy for him to say.  Let the wrong system go down, and maybe payroll doesn’t get processed or, heaven forbid, accounting processes don’t run right, and we’ll see have fast they find another monkey to come in and follow the bouncing ball from ten to six in the morning.

But it’s more than that.  I know I’m not crazy, but every time they tell me they could not find anything wrong, it makes me wonder.  Now it was happening almost nightly, and everyday they still don’t find anything wrong.  It’s gotten to the point to where people around the office, like Wild Bill, bet on what time during the day the programmers give up looking for a problem and conclude I’m crying wolf, again.  I wonder what the over/under was this time.
[Session 2, 1/21/14 – powered by Woodchuck Hard Cider]

[Stats for 1/21 – Writing time:  90 minutes.  Wordcount;  aapprox. 775]

That’s all for today, kids.  Check back tomorrow for more.  I feel like I’m starting to hit my stride with this one, so time permitting, I might be able to knock it out fairly quickly.  As always, thanks for reading.


About Thomas J. rock

Writer of Science Fiction

Posted on January 21, 2014, in SSTS Challenge, The Daily Grind and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

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