Author's Notes: Truth is stranger than fiction! This story is based on the less-than-illustrious career of a friend of mine who, like me, has been a computer programmer his whole life. And like me, he's also an aspiring writer, though as far as I know he's never written any pr0n. For various reasons, he isn't at liberty to write about some of these events, but I have no such restrictions. I also wish to thank him for giving me examples of mainframe code and terminology. Up until the moment when Einreb meets Tamila, all the events depicted in this story are absolutely, positively, 100% true! The names of individual people have been changed to protect the guilty, but the locations and company names have been kept true.
Operators of erotic story web sites, whether free or fee-based, have my permission to post my stories for public reading, provided that credit is given to "Hungry Guy" (firstname.lastname@example.org) as the author, and as long as you don't make changes other than fixing typos. Even beware of fixing typos, for I occasionally use local slang and dialects that may be flagged by your spell checker. Thanks.
Einreb parked his little yellow Beetle in front of Troll Associates' Lethbridge building in Mahwah and made his way to his cubicle, as he had done nearly every workday for the past 10 years.
"Morning Yrral!" Einreb said as he passed Yrral Allemoc's cube at 10 to 9 on a Monday morning.
"Morning Einreb!" Yrral called back.
"Where's Gerg?" Einreb asked.
"I don't know; he's going to be late in a minute," the boss said.
Sure enough, the receptionist then announced over the PA system, "Attention please! The time is now nine o'clock!"
Einreb poked his head into Yrral's cube, "Didn't Gerg say he was going to a Grateful Dead concert over the weekend?"
"Yeah, I think so," Yrral answered.
"Ah! He must be out buying a new car again."
"Mmm," the boss muttered.
Einreb stopped over at Tnecillim's cube. "Hi Tneci! You got the wall textures for Monster Maze for me?"
"Yup! Here!" she answered and handed him a floppy diskette.
Einreb booted up his computer and began to merge the artist's graphics with his assembler code when Evets popped into Einreb's cube, handing Einreb a floppy disk. "Here's the background midi for the boss fight."
"Thanks, Evets!" Einreb said as Gerg wandered in.
"Morning everyone!" Gerg said.
"Morning Gerg," Yrral answered. "What happened?"
"Sorry I'm late. I, er, had an accident this weekend."
"Hey Gerg!" Einreb called out. "That's three-for-three now. Three Dead concerts and three wrecked cars in the past year. Maybe there's a pattern there you can do something about..."
"Shut up!" Gerg sneered back.
Einreb loved his job as a computer game programmer for Troll. Sometimes he longed to work for a company that people actually heard of, like Atari or Activision, who made games for the Atari 2600 that people actually wanted to buy. Still, he counted himself lucky to have been recruited by Troll before he even graduated from Orange County Community College 10 years ago. Though graduating with Honors and on the Dean's list didn't hurt either.
That the receptionist announced the start of work, breaks, lunch, and end of day, was a joke among the professional staff. Still, it was a great working environment. Most of the times, it was very laid-back. Though things heated up as year-end ship-dates approached. Still, writing computer games for a living sure beat cranking out business reports and statistical analysis that was the norm of most programmers. Headhunters often called him nearly every night trying to lure him into taking a higher-paying mainframe COBOL job at UPS, A&P, or BMW. He always politely refused. "COBOL? Ugh!"
He and Yrral often played Flight Simulator in linked mode during lunch hour together. And it was a running joke how Gerg Xeurt always wrecked his cars coming home from Grateful Dead concerts.
Being a young group, the guys often invited each other to their bachelor pads for parties.
Evets had invited the group to his house one Friday night after work for a little party. Einreb, Yrral, Gerg, Mit, Ycnan, and Tnecillim were all sitting around Evets' coffee table one Friday night after work as Evets came out of his bedroom and lit a joint.
When Einreb's turn came around he said, "No thanks."
"What? You don't party?" Gerg asked in shock.
"I don't. But it's okay; I'm a Libertarian! I've no problem with what other people do for fun. But I don't do drugs, myself."
"Oh, come on! One joint isn't going to hurt!" Evets insisted.
"You guys enjoy! Don't mind me!" Einreb replied.
As it was, the party ended early and Einreb headed home in his yellow bug.
Autumn was well under way when Yrral was promoted to marketing Analyst, and Gerg was promoted to manage the game development group.
The drop-dead ship date was 24 hours away and Einreb still hadn't fixed that bug that the testers had found that caused the boss monster to run around in circles when he was down to 1 hit point.
The receptionist announced five o'clock over the PA system on Wednesday evening, but Einreb stayed at his desk. Within five minutes, the building was completely empty.
Einreb continued to run compiles and tests. "Damn!"
5:00 PM quickly ran into 6:00 AM when Einreb finally got the game done.
Rather than drive home and then drive back to work again in a few hours, Einreb curled up on the floor under his desk and fell asleep.
When Gerg came to Einreb's cubicle at 4:45 on the following Friday, Einreb had a bad feeling. Whenever someone got fired from Troll, it was always at 4:45 on a Friday.
"Einrneb," Gerg started.
"I'm sorry to tell you, but we had a meeting with Yrral and got approval from Mr. and Mrs. Retcehcs, and have decided that we no longer need your services."
"What!" Einreb said. "After I just put in a 32 hour day to get that game done!"
"That has nothing to do with it."
"You're damn right about that, Gerg! It's because I won't smoke drugs with you!"
"Clean out your desk and come with me, Einreb!"
"I didn't do it!" Einreb pounded on the table in the interrogation room at the Piscataway police station.
"We have several witnesses who overheard you make a terrorist threat this morning," Detective Llemtrac sneered back.
"It wasn't like that! We all knew that AT&T was handing out the layoff notices this morning, and we were all making jokes about it; you know, gallows humor. No one was making any terrorist threats!"
"But you did mention a bomb."
"Well, yes. But they tricked me! I didn't realize they were steering the conversation to trick me into using the 'b' word until the police showed up at my house! I was so close to saving the princess in Super Mario World, too!"
"Why would they do that to you?"
"I explained that to you already!" Einreb said through clenched teeth. "It's all because of the hazing! I told you that after I complained about the Birthday Beatings to Dref..."
"Who?" the detective demanded.
"Dnanidref. He's the manager of another development group in the department. I never worked under him, but we were sort of friends. I had asked him to see if he could do something about the Birthday Beatings."
"Why didn't you ask your own manager?"
"Mij Htims? He was in on the hazing as must as the rest of the bunch! They all said they were going to get back at me for asking Dref for help..."
The detective leaned forward and stared into Einreb's eyes. "If you're making accusations at your manager to get out of this, you're gonna be in even bigger trouble!"
"Then give me a lie detector test, that'll prove I'm telling the truth!"
The detective ignored Einreb's plea and pressed on. "Were you ever in the military?"
"Do you own any guns?"
The detective grilled Einreb on and on and finally left him alone in the interrogation room for another half hour, then drove him back to the AT&T building and turned him over to corporate security.
Lien Tnaf and Adnil Regnettip, the executive management team of the division, were there and slowly read the report handed to him by the detective. "Do you know evacuating the building this morning cost AT&T over $100,000?"
"You're blaming me for your paranoia!" Einreb asked the suit. "You made the decision to evacuate the building, not me!"
"You're suspended until further notice," is all he said in reply.
"I gave five years of my life to AT&T, Lien! I deserve better treatment than this!"
The suit turned his back and left, and corporate security escorted Einreb out.
Einreb cried all through the night. Six bottles worth of Nytol pills sat, uneaten, in a big pile on his night table. He didn't even get a chance to say "goodbye" to Airam. Being a shy loner, she was the closest he had to a best friend, whom he went out to lunch with once a week or so. Had she not been married, he often wondered if their friendship could have turned into something more...
Eventually, though, things improved. His suspension ended and he returned to work at AT&T, but assigned to a different department. Most of the people he had known before had been laid off that fateful day. "Good riddance!" he thought of most of them -- though he never got up the courage to call Airam back again, nor did she ever call him. A few people asked him if he really did it and what it was like to be arrested, despite promises from Lein Tnaf that his privacy would be protected.
He even bumped into his former District Manager, Yrrab Remmir who commented, "As a Christian, I believe AT&T did the right thing. Somebody who can't go along with some simple office hazing fun without being a whistle-blower about it deserves to die."
Hardened to corporate life, Einreb continued to do his job. However, he didn't make it through the next round of layoffs that AT&T held five years later. Largely, he suspected, because of the lawsuit he had brought against AT&T for the Birthday Beating hazing and for his false arrest.
(Hey! This is supposed to be a sex story! So where's the frigging sex?)
(Just hold on! It's coming!)
After being unemployed for nearly a year, and beating Metal Gear Solid, and Final Fantasy VII and VIII, Einreb had found a clerical job at Guardian Life through Kelly Services.
A few weeks earlier, Knarf Ollurec, the department head, offered him the job immediately at the conclusion of the interview, and he accepted it. The two-hour commute to Bethlehem was horrendous, but at least he was doing a reverse commute from Piscataway to Pennsylvania along I-78. The traffic in the opposite direction crawled toward New York in the morning, and crawled back toward Pennsylvania in the evening, but for Einreb traffic was light except for the occasional big rig pulling out of the truck stops that lined the expressway.
Einreb parked his big white Cadillac DeVille behind the Guardian building and headed toward the employee entrance. It was a relatively stress-free clerical job, although it barely paid above minimum wage.
"Hey" Nairb called out as their paths converged toward the entrance of the office, "Nice car! How's a clerk afford a Cadillac?"
As part of the settlement agreement, Einreb isn't allowed to talk about his settlement with AT&T (but Einreb's friends are :-), so he just told a different truth, "I got a good severance package from AT&T."
Once inside, Einreb and Nairb went their separate directions as Einreb settled into his cubicle for the day.
"Hey Einreb!" Naoj called out from the cubicle across the aisle.
"What's up?" Einreb asked.
"How do I find special characters in SPF edit again?"
"Type _F P'.'_."
At work, the programmers around him had discovered that his 10 years of mainframe programming experience at AT&T, and 20 years programming overall, came in handy when they needed to know some esoteric detail about ISPF, COBOL, PL/1, JCL, VSAM, DB/2 or CICS.
"Hey Einreb!" Rehtse asked while leaning over the cubicle wall from her cubicle adjacent to his.
"What's up, Rehtse?"
"Do you know an easy way to insert sequence numbers into a flat file?"
"Sure, you can do that with ISPF. Just edit the file, turn number mode on, then turn it off again."
"I already tried that. The file is too big for SPF, and I don't want COBOL numbering."
"You could always use Syncsort."
"Syncsort? You can't put sequence numbers in a file with Syncsort!"
"Sure you can! I've done it plenty of times to build test data."
"Then why isn't it in Quick-ref?"
"It's in Quickref, but Quickref doesn't explain clearly how to do it."
"You're pulling my leg, Einreb."
As a clerk, Einreb didn't have a TSO ID. "Let me sit at your terminal for a moment, and I'll show you how."
"I don't really have time for this, Einreb," Rehtse said. "But suit yourself."
Einreb sat at Rehtse's terminal and typed the following JCL into a member in her JCLLIB PDS:
//SORT EXEC PGM=SYNCSORT,REGION=4M //SORTLIB DD DSN=SYS1.SORTLIB,DISP=SHR //SYSOUT DD SYSOUT=* //SORTIN DD * /* //SORTOUT DD DSN=REHTSE01.TEST.SORT, // DISP=(NEW,CATLG,DELETE), // UNIT=DISK,SPACE=(CYL,(1,1),RLSE), // DCB=(RECFM=FB,LRECL=15,BLKSIZE=0) //SYSIN DD * SORT FIELDS=(0001,010,CH,A) OUTREC FIELDS=(SEQNUM,5,ZD,START=8,INCR=3,0001,010) /*
"There," Einreb said. "Change the START and INCR values to suit your needs, put a JOB card on it, put some test data in SORTIN, print the output file with a GENER, and run it."
Einreb returned to his cube to continue transcribing his minutes from this morning's budget meeting into an email to send out to all the managers.
The rest of Einreb's day was filled by reserving conference rooms for upcoming meetings, calling Xerox to request a technician for a belligerent copier, and confirming that the cafeteria will serve coffee at tomorrow's executive luncheon.
Ever since his gall bladder surgery a few years back, when he had medical insurance at AT&T, Einreb sometimes has bouts of diarrhea at the most inconvenient times. Taking Imodium helped when he had plans to do something on a Saturday afternoon, but he didn't want to be dependent on pharmaceuticals to live his day-to-day life. That evening, about a 45 minutes into his commute, nearly half way home, Einreb stopped into Truck Stops of America along I-78 to use the men's room.
After doing what he had to do, he browsed through the small truckers' store for a few minutes. Like a quickie-mart, they sold snacks and soda, but they also sold truckers' log books, maps, CB radios, mud flaps depicting naked women, and assorted other "truck" stuff. He excused himself past the truckers browsing around, all big burly guys whom he wouldn't want to piss off.
When he arrived home, he was thrilled to have a phone message from a recruiter who had found his resume on programmingjobs.com.
He called the recruiter back and, about 15 minutes later, had lined up an interview with Unisys in Trenton the following day for a permanent programming job with benefits.
With his interview suit still freshly pressed, he called in sick, headed down Route 1 past the Quakerbridge Mall, and got off north of Trenton.
The HR manager, Nerak Klov, met him in the lobby and showed him in to a conference room. She talked briefly about company benefits and such before leaving to bring in the management team who would interview him.
The management team filed in and introduced themselves to Einreb. The manager was Nylorac Nesredna, and the other members of the team were Ennayd Yksnad, Ekim Sirrom, and Lav Veyilas.
Nylorac started by asking him what utility he would use to create a VSAM file.
"Everyone knows that!" Einreb answered. "You use IDCAMS."
Nylorac laughed and said, "Not everyone knows that."
The technical questions were pretty basic, but the pressure was building during his first shot at a programming job in over a year.
"What is the difference between a join and a union?" Ekim asked.
Einreb answered, "A join takes two different tables and connects them side-by-side, using keys in each of the tables to match up corresponding rows, to make one wide table. An inner join only returns rows where keys match on both tables, but an outer join returns every row of both tables, even if there's no matching key on one table." He knew his answer was somewhat imprecise and there was more to it than that, and he could go on about left and right joins, but he didn't want to make a mistake and say something wrong, so he left it at that. Besides, unions and joins are really inefficient SQL, and no one hardly ever uses them if they can help it.
"And what about a union?" Ekim persisted.
"A union takes two tables with similar characteristics and stacks them to make one long table." Again, he knew the answer was somewhat imprecise. Most programmers would create a VIEW of the tables and create the JOIN or UNION from the VIEW rather than the table itself, but anyone who knew DB2 would know what he meant.
Ekim continued asking about cursors, DML vs. DDL, SPUFI, DCLGEN, and other aspects of DB2 programming.
Then their focus changed to CICS questions. His mind froze when Ennayd asked him what TRANID he would use to debug a CICS program. He knew the answer. It was on the tip of his tongue. But all he could say was, "Sorry, my mind went blank."
Still, he knew that he had answered most of the technical questions correctly.
The personality questions came next. First came the dreaded, "Do you prefer to work alone or in a team?" question.
Einreb was a programmer through and through. Like any self-respecting techie geek, he loved nothing better than to be given a set of requirements, a deadline, and left alone to code. "I love to work with people," he answered. "I've worked on large teams, and I've worked alone. I work well either way."
"What was your favorite assignment?"
That was easy. "The time I was the last remaining programmer on a small project as a result of downsizing. I was assigned to a manager who knew little about my project, so I met with my users, did software maintenance, ran the daily production cycle, and my desk phone was the help line for the system."
The questioning went on like that for about an hour, then they asked him if he had any questions.
Of course, he wanted to ask them the really important questions, like how long the workday was, if they can wear jeans to work, and how many vacation days they got a year. But he knew better. "What challenges will I face on this assignment?" and "Have you done a risk analysis for the work, and what contingencies have you identified?"
The interview finally ended and they thanked each other for their time.
Einreb started his car and his eyes suddenly brightened. He rolled down his window and yelled out, "CEDF!" as if the people on the 4th floor of the distant office building could hear, while drawing curious stares from passers-by on the sidewalk.
Upon returning home, he made a few changes to the thank-you letters he had already saved in his PC, printed them out, and dropped them in the mail.
Upon arriving at work the following day, Noaj called over to Einreb from her cube. "Hey Einreb, can you come over for a second?"
Thankful to take a break from figuring how many bagels he needed to order from the cafeteria for next week's department status meeting, Einreb across the aisle. "What's up, Noaj?"
"My TSO session's locked up recalling an HSM'd dataset! Ever since Desktop Services re-imaged my PC to XP last month, I lost my PA2 key! They say you're good at this PC stuff too. Do you know how to get my PA2 key back?"
"I'll try. Let me have a seat," Einreb said.
Einreb had never used IBM Host On Demand before, and he preferred Rumba, but he knew that these TN3270 emulators all worked much the same. He clicked on EDIT, then PREFERENCES, then KEYBOARD."
"I tried that," Noaj said, "I don't see any of the AID keys listed."
Einreb clicked on the drop down menu under CATEGORIES and selected HOST FUNCTIONS. He scrolled down the list until he found PA1 and highlighted the row. He pressed ALT and F1 together, but nothing happened. He rubbed his chin and then clicked on ASSIGN KEY. Again he pressed ALT and F1 together and the key sequence appeared in the row for PA1. He repeated the steps for PA2 and PA3.
He clicked on APPLY and ended out of the menus back to Noaj's TSO session. Pressing ALT and F2, he broke out of the HSM wait.
"There! ALT-F1 is your PA1 key, F2 is PA2, and so on."
"Thanks Einreb! You're a life saver!"
"No problem," Einreb answered and went back to counting bagels.
After several days had passed, he sent an email to Nerak Klov asking her if they had reached a decision yet.
Her reply the following day was that they had chosen another candidate.
He replied asking her for some feedback why he was passed over, and she replied again saying that he wasn't very strong technically.
"Damn!" Einreb said to his computer. "I'm as strong as anyone! I'm just not a good salesman."
Several weeks passed without any further job leads when Mit Nahanahs, his immediate supervisor at Guardian, stopped by his cubicle and asked to see him privately.
Mit spoke in his thick London accent, "Einreb, we've had some complaints from the head of maintenance about the bathrooms."
"What about the bathrooms?" Einreb asked.
"He says you've left messes in the bathrooms on two occasions."