Waging war against software bugs can take a toll. This Advantage engineer depicts the aftermath of one such battle.
… I hobbled into my office. One leg dragging slightly like a long breath on a bitter cold winter day; every moment hurts just a little more than the last. I had been in brawls before, it’s part of the job, but this time was different. This time one of us didn’t walk away.
I continued to push my body into the room. I was only a few feet from my desk now. “Perhaps I’ll make it,” I allowed myself to think.
The floor came up to greet me like an old friend who had had too much to drink. Too fast, too firm, and unwelcome. I lay there for a few minutes to let the floor think it had won. Once I felt it was sufficiently distracted, I dragged my chair over. Climbing the back slats like rungs on a ladder, I ascended to face my fate.
It was there sitting on my desk. The bug report folder lay open, showing off the once-lively foe I had just beaten into submission. Sending it into a darkness he would never wake from, and one that I would always gaze into. I closed the folder in disgust with my good hand. Was that my blood on my hand, or his? Eager to push the accusing eyes away from me, I took out a red marker. It sat nearly brand new, having hardly ever been used. I scrawled a couple of rough words on what would be the final grave marker of a bug that long deserved its fate.
It was a rough day, and we both paid a price. Some might say he paid more, but I know I’ll be paying for it for the rest of my career. The lucky devil.
I looked around for my can of Coke and poured myself a double. Only half the can left? It would have to do. I had some things to forget, so I slammed it down, and poured myself another. I can keep this up for another few years, can’t I?
I could feel the world blissfully becoming fuzzy. The details bleeding from my vision like the open wound on my chest next to my empty gun holster. The last thing I remember before blacking out was: “I’ll tell Mike and Phil the deed is done in the morning.”
I never called. Let them figure it out. I’d done enough of their dirty work.
Sean Leslie: Code detective.