The Base Case

Sometimes when the light comes in low, I look at the world outside and wonder what I’ve been doing with my life. If there was any point where I could have chosen differently, and not ended up here…in the dark, unforgiving office that serves as home more than home itself.

But when duty calls, it doesn’t take “no” for an answer. This town is full of bad code. I’m just providing a public service by cleaning it all up…one piece at a time.

The name’s Brian…Harvey Brian. I’ve been in this line of work far too long, but anything else just wouldn’t be worth it. You come in, you show me the code…I show you the problem.

Some call it “psychic”. I call it experience. I’ve caught dozens if not hundreds of problem characters in my day. I’d thought I’d seen it all…until now.

The e-mail came early in the morning, even before I’d gotten into the office. That alone should have tipped me off. Instead, I took a sip of my coffee—shaken, not stirred—and began to read.

Late last night, one program after another had begun to stop and spin like crazy. None responded to treatment of any kind. The telltale signs of an infinite loop.

Some of them had eventually fallen over and crashed. They were the lucky ones.

The message provided few hints of what could have caused this epidemic. Instead, I was left with an ominous question mark…just like the remnants of my former life.

But this was no time for memory games. I strapped on my trusty Debugger—a vintage Colt .38—and headed for the door. I knew that this could be the most important case I’d ever encountered.




Not a poem, but I couldn’t resist.

Part of Poem-a-day 2012. Title donated by Isaac L.