C.B. Lewis © 2019
All Rights Reserved
They said the veins of Danny Ferguson
ran with coffee.
He told them to sod off as he downed his
Cassandra snickered as she poured some
milk into her own cup of tea. “Well, when you over-caffeinate and give yourself
a heart attack and die, don’t come crying to me.”
“Ha!” Danny struck a dramatic pose,
gazing into the distance. “I’m immortal!”
“You’re a knob,” Shiv said with a snort.
Danny ran his finger around the inside
of his cup, catching the dregs, and licked them off. “Jealousy doesn’t suit
you, Shiv.” He rinsed out the cup and set it down to dry. “Catch you at lunch.”
“One day,” Cassandra called after him as
he headed towards the canteen door, “you’ll take your full tea break like a
normal human being.”
Danny spun around. “And one day, you’ll
beat my stats and get my bonus!” he called back and then widened his eyes in
mock shock. “And one day, pigs’ll fly!”
“Knob!” Shiv repeated.
Danny grinned as he headed out into the
The caffeine had kicked in already, giving
him a nice buzz. He didn’t need it, but sometimes, a jump-start didn’t hurt
when he was stuck on monitoring all day. It was the dullest part of the job,
but he could hardly be on coding every day. It was only fair to give everyone
else a chance to catch up.
He’d been working with IDD—International
Digital Development—for nearly a decade, straight out of his PhD. They needed
people with a good eye for coding and anomalies and had gotten his attention
with a stupidly high salary that had exceeded all expectations.
Still, they couldn’t say he wasn’t
amazing at his job.
He stopped at the door and waited for
the scan to sweep his face, then held his fingertips over the sensor, tapping
the pattern for the week. The door slid open, and he wandered into the sprawling
office he shared with three other coders.
“What’d I miss?”
Ravi glanced up through the projection
in front of him, raising his eyebrows. “In the ten minutes you were gone?”
“Rav farted,” Ekaterina said, pausing
her own screen. “So much excitement.”
Ravi rolled his eyes at her. “Nothing.
You missed nothing.”
Danny wasn’t surprised.
Monitoring could be bloody tedious. His
quad had the week’s rotation on monitoring: a full day’s shift of sitting and
auditing code for external clients, assessing for glitches and anomalies
overlooked by the computers. Sometimes, there could be minor problems. Once in
a while, it was a bug that could—if left alone—start a chain reaction and break
everything. Mostly, it meant sitting on your arse all day, admiring the
amazingly complex codes some of their clients had come up with.
He settled in his seat, reclining the
chair back as far as he could.
The chair had been one of his greatest
When he started working at IDD, he had
one of the usual workstations with a standard ergonomic monstrosity of a
seat—the ‘in’ thing for any office. Maybe they were scientifically good for
you, but Danny hated it. He’d end up on his feet all day, pacing as he scanned
the code, and, apparently, distracting people.
He had to sit, his manager had insisted
because everyone else needed to concentrate too. Danny had agreed, and he’d
ordered a better chair, paid for by himself. The fact that he chose the
biggest, comfiest reclining armchair in the building was a minor technicality.
His boss had hit the roof about it, but
Danny cheerfully argued the semantics. It ensured he worked his best; his
numbers had shot up since he’d gotten it; no one was being distracted; and he’d
paid for it out of his own pocket, so no harm done. He ended up winning the
right to keep the chair.
Thus began a long and glorious rivalry
with his line manager.
He pulled the projection of his latest
project up in front of him, wrapped it around the front of the chair, and set
it scrolling. This particular vast batch came from some anonymous external
client. He’d worked with their stuff before. Once you were familiar with a
particular style of code, you didn’t easily forget it.
Sometimes, they were told who the
Most of the time, they were left in the
They could make guesses, but it was
anyone’s money because unless some big news story broke as a result of
something they’d uncovered, the likelihood of finding out the client’s identity
fell somewhere between slim and nil.
Danny put on some Rachmaninoff in his headphones
and settled back to focus on the code whirling around him. Beautiful, complex,
and intricate with layer upon layer folded into it, whoever had written it had
to be doing some incredibly hi-tech stuff.