Matt Jacobs was a jerk. Always right, never wrong, stuck to the boss's behind like a leech, and a general pain in the neck. There's one like that in every office. That's why last Thursday was so memorable. We'd had a large project on and, sensibly, the Project Manager hadn't let Matt anywhere near it. It didn't stop him.
He spent the morning pointing out "alternatives" to the way it was being done. The flaws in his code, the fact that his way would take longer, these were obviously lies fabricated by jealous lesser coders. Then he accessed the (confidential) working files, and started looking through the code for alterations he could make. All the while keeping up his running diatribe on the inadequacy of the computers, everyone else's lack of skill, managerial incompetency, etc.
He was smiling nastily, one hand on the mouse on the desk, when he leaned close to the monitor to point something out. The next moment, everyone hears the scream. Matt is flailing around, trying to pull away from the monitor. His arm appears to have vanished within it. Abruptly it is yanked in up to the shoulder. Fumbling, screaming, he manages to pull back the tattered bleeding limb for a second before it is jerked back in, and his head and shoulders follow. His kicking legs disappear into the blank white screen. An arm that ends too soon flails over his desk briefly, spraying the papers red before it is pulled back in. Something denim blue flickers against the monitor's blank white display for a moment and then is gone.
Everyone stands, stunned. No one tried to interfere, frozen by fear and incredulity, and trying to ignore the tiny voice inside them that gave a silent cheer.
Finally the computer bleeps and the screen clears to a normal display, with a single message blinking on the screen. No one wants to move but eventually Moira goes across, bends down, and reads it out.
"Fatal Exception Error".
© copyright A.Whetton 2002.