The Coder

Posted October 5th, 2007 by Mike Cherim

Hey, don’t laugh… this could have been you! Coding’s dangerous.

Sure, you may think coding is all glamor, parties, and chicks, but this story will reveal the dark side.

With his coffee consumed and the sun up, The Coder began to work. Today’s project was a script. A rather involved script he had been putting off for more than a week. The Coder knew he’d be at it all day and probably into the night, but it had to be done — there was no more putting it off, even if he had to spend the entire night in his office as he had done so many times in the past. Stopping midway through it, he knew, would be a mistake. His logic back-trail would evaporate.

The Coder worked on the script all day stopping only twice: once for a stale vending machine sandwich washed down with bitter coffee; the second time to relieve himself. Others in the office turned off their workstation lights at five and punched out, but The Coder stayed, focused on his screen, blurred fingers stroking his keyboard. Some asked if he was going to work all night, others just said bye, and some knew better. The Coder was on a mission. He said bye and nodded and tried to notice his co-workers, but he really it was just the two of them: The Coder and his script.

Hours passed as The Coder pressed on. His fingers moving so quickly that an onlooker wouldn’t have been able to really see them. The Coder sat in an oasis of soft light in the otherwise dark office. His face awash in his monitor’s glow. If not for an Exit sign dotting each horizon the office would seem to go on forever into the darkness. But The Coder noticed none of this; he focused on the script. To anyone seeing The Coder’s eyes from from the monitor’s perspective might note a slight insanity. The Coders focus was deep and trance-like. His fingers blurred even faster.

A few hours passed, though how many exactly will never be known. The Coder shifted uncomfortably in his chair. Something was calling him. Water, coffee, food, bathroom. His physical being yearned all of it, but his mind was elsewhere. These two sides of him argued for dominance, but the body’s yearnings were fruitless. The mind was in control, and it was elsewhere. The Coder coded.

He didn’t notice — he noticed nothing — but an onlooker would have been horrified. The Coder’s blurred fingers seemed to be inserted into the keyboard as if he were being drawn in. They would also notice that The Coder learned forward in what would appear to be a very uncomfortable way, his head almost touching the screen. They would also have noticed that The Coder’s body quivered almost imperceptibly as it seemed to be resisting some unseen force.

Time passed and the Coder was beginning to notice that the script he was working on was all around him instead of in front of his eyes. He was really getting into it it seemed. He had gotten into his work before, but not to this extent. Then again, this was a challenging script. He liked it, though. Having the script around him seemed to help it all seem more logical. This weirdness seemed to make it easier. He smiled. The script seem to change for a moment and smile back, but then it returned to normal. The Coder blinked.

An onlooker, if there was one to see this, would have seen a hunched over man sitting on a chair, his head swallowed by a computer monitor, with a demarcation of bright light ringing his neck. They would have also noticed his arms ending at the biceps, not cut off, but fused or somehow melted into the keyboard, still pumping away at their work. They would have heard the man humming something, maybe a favorite tune, as he worked. The body, they would see, would be minutely pulling back as it were trying to pull the man’s head out of the monitor, but they would quickly be able to tell that the body wasn’t winning the tug-o’-war.

The Coder was humming from the inside, it seemed to course through his whole body. His legs were feeling tired but he didn’t understand why. It’s like they were straining. The script was coming together very quickly now. The Coder, in fact, didn’t even really understand parts of it now, yet it all felt right. He knew the script would work. It was all around him, it was inside his mind — it was a part of his being. As if the script had somehow consumed him. But it felt all right; it felt natural.

An onlooker would have seen The Coder’s situation a bit differently. To them they would have seen the last vestiges of an adult male being slowly split and and sucked into a computer’s monitor and keyboard. The would have seen a shoe fall off of what was left of what appeared to be a foot. They would have seen the shoe drop onto the floor next to an overturned office chair. They would have then seen, or thought they’d seen, the foot-like shape disappear. At this point they might have cried out, but probably they would have just turned and run towards the closest Exit sign.

The script was done. The Coder relaxed as the script floated around him. He felt tired and laid down on the a bright whiteness that was maybe a floor but not really. The Coder had no sensation of it. For some reason he suddenly noticed his shoe was missing but he quickly put it out of his mind. He closed his eyes and slipped away into nothingness. The whiteness went away.

An onlooker, if one where present, would have seen a pinpoint of bright white light flare momentarily in the middle of a computer screen before going black.

~ The End ~

Hey, don’t laugh… this could have been you! Coding’s dangerous.

9 Responses to: “The Coder”

  1. David Zemens responds:
    Posted: October 5th, 2007 at 7:10 am

    You need a vacation. :-)

  2. Dave Woods responds:
    Posted: October 5th, 2007 at 7:16 am

    You have some imagination….. nice read though :)

  3. Elliott Cross responds:
    Posted: October 5th, 2007 at 8:22 am


    Interesting read…

    I smell a vacation coming on, or at least a few weeks in an institution! Have you been watching Steven King movies lately?

  4. Rob Mason responds:
    Posted: October 5th, 2007 at 10:17 am

    This is so true it’s scary…well done mate.

  5. Rich Pedley responds:
    Posted: October 5th, 2007 at 2:27 pm

    First story of yours I have read Mike. I was concerned while reading it though, very concerned. mainly because it sounded like me! :grin:

  6. wdray3 responds:
    Posted: October 6th, 2007 at 3:31 pm

    Nice story Mike that’s one of the reason I come to your site. Keep up the good work.

  7. Mark Ferree responds:
    Posted: October 6th, 2007 at 8:31 pm

    I think I’ll be turning off my computer now…

    Loved it, instead of making coding look less glamorous, it would make non-coder feel like they are missing out on a supernatural experience.

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