(from "The Old Man and the C")

It was winter and that made the typing good. He liked to type. He liked to type quick and clean and hard, and see the words form on the screen. They were like droplets of water on a window pane, small and dark. But they weren't liquid. They were words. What the hell, he thought. Maybe they're not like drops after all.

What the hell, he thought. What the hell.

The workstation hummed and as it hummed he thought of Maria. The workstation reminded him of Maria. They were both expensive and sat on his desk a lot, but the workstation had a better memory than Maria did. She would ask him about the .cshrc files over and over. Over and over again until the words were not words, but were like little droplets on a pane of glass. What the hell.

He had new mail.

She had been sitting in Harry's, dressed in blue tafeta that was somehow not blue tafeta, sipping an absinthe. That had been May and Florence and a new start but now it was January and he had bunions and his office mate had the brain of a zither, and in two weeks there was a deadline. Not like the deadlines he had known back home. Those deadlines were hard and sure and swift. These were like Melted Pudding.

This was the Hard Way. It was tough. At least it was not Man Pages.