Z for Zero-sum (Part I)

Freida Dantas stepped out of the queue to look around. The machine wasn’t that far from here–only a few hundred more. She looked behind. The queue went on for as long as she could see. She too had started from the end of the queue many hours ago. The machine took only a second to judge, so the queue had kept moving continuously. But she worried if there were more hopefuls in the queue than seconds in a day. She had been queueing up religiously for her pronouncement every day since she had died.

She’d learned of the system the day she had arrived at the purgatory. Learned is probably not the best word to describe the process. She had woken up in the purgatory a week ago knowing about it instinctively, with no recollection of her prior life. She knew exactly when and where to queue up for the machine. The machine would tell her if it was her time to ascend to the heaven yet. She’d witnessed thousands of ascensions on her first day. The ascendants one after the other had stood under the

Bugger Fixing

    Aatish dragged his feet to the coffee room. Steam, Milk, Tea, Cappuccino, Espresso, Latte... Latte. Sugar. Two full spoons of it.
    He was brimmed with caffeine, but still struggling to keep his eyes open.
    "Dude, you look exhausted!" Satish said amusedly.
    "Oh… Satish. Didn't see you there, buddy" he said sheepishly. His caffeine potion was ready. He picked it up and looked at Satish. "Yea, man. I'm so… exhausted. I've bee working on the same little bug since yesterday!"
    "Go home, dude. You look like you'll collapse any moment." Satish faked a concerned tone.
    "I can't, man. It's a showstopper. I promised Arun I'd solve it in a few hours, and it's been two days now. I went home at one yesterday night and I was back at eight in the morning. Didn't even sleep properly."
    "Why did you promise him anything?"
    "It looked very straightforward, man. I've solved the exact same bug once before. I can't figure out what's different this time. I've literally been going through every question about Magento on stackoverflow."
    "Oh, Magento?" Satish sipped his Capuccino. "The code I gave you?"
    "Oh... I changed a few variables around. Forgot to document it."
    Two plastic cups fell on the ground. One a Cappuccino and the other a Latte. Satish got a new name that day - vakratunda.

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