John and Ray

by Randal L. Schwartz
originally published at 05:28PM on Thursday, November 29, 2007

He stared at the printout. There it was. “J E S S I C A ”, repeated over and over.

He first thought about calculating the odds of some semi-random sequence spelling her name, but quickly dismissed that.

The director of the research division entered. “Ray, how’s it going? Kevin and Jeff just gave me the weirdest look as I passed them in the hall, and now you’re in here alone.”

“John, how long have you known Jeff?”, Ray asked.

“I didn’t know him before you brought him into the project. What’s that, about two years ago?”

“Yeah, well, I thought I knew him pretty well. But, he seems to have a pretty macabre sense of humor.”

“What do you mean?”

“He and Kevin apparently wanted to play a trick on me. They’ve both generated some obviously faked data.”

“Faked how?’

“The expected error offsets apparently somehow spell Jessica’s name, over and over.”

John stopped, his mouth half open. He then took an angry tone. “What the f[...]? We’re so close to finishing. Why? Why would they fake this?”




  • from MRay:

    I was a little confused, and still can’t get a grip, on who is talking to whom, about whom.(ex. “John, how long have you known Jeff??, Ray asked.”) Then you mention a guy named Kevin, and of course, there is Jessica. That means we have John, Jeff, Ray, Kevin, and Jessica all introduced in two ficlets. See what I mean? I’m not sure you need to introduce five characters so quickly.

    I do like your tech-speak, however. Reminds me of Michael Crichton.

  • from Randal L. Schwartz:

    The problem is that four of the characters are already there, but three are anonymous, since I started with only Kevin in the first bit to keep the dialog moving. So I was using this piece to give them names… and yes, after a re-reading I see that it confuses more than it expands.

  • from Stoner:

    So many places to take this…where should I begin?