“Boss! So glad you could make it!” Salaryman said, clasping his hands together. “I'm really excited to do this dinner with you!”
Boss stood in front of the back seat as his chauffeur opened the door and presented the new fellow.
“Salaryman, this is Yesman. He is my newest employee.” He turned to Yesman. “Yesman, this is Salaryman. He works for me a long time.”
“Hello, Salaryman,” Yesman said with a courteous bow. “I have heard many exceptional things about you,” he said with a curt smile.
“Hello, Yesman,” Salaryman said in kind. “A pleasure to meet you, I'm sure.”
“I hired Yesman because he says yes to any invitation I give him,” Boss said. “He has Success written all over him!”
Salaryman's blood turned to ice in his veins. Success?! Some cheater must have tricked Boss into thinking that Yesman, and not Salaryman, had Success written all over him… It was the only explanation. Salaryman felt his world spin.
“Salaryman, Yesman has even offered to upgrade OS/2 to 64-bits!” Boss said, flashing a pleased smile. “We can finally buy new computers now. The Bank will be more efficient than ever!”
64-bits! The holy grail of OS/2 computing! But no one had ever done it before. No IBM employee, no Dirty GNU Hippy, no lonely eComStation developer.
“You, Salaryman,” Boss continued, but without his smile, “Will be giving a 140-page report on Bank transaction performance in my place at a conference Saturday at 8am sharp!”
“Gee, thank you, Boss!” Salaryman said. “Do you have your work with you? I can begin at dinner!” Salaryman wouldn't be outdone by Yesman.
“Salaryman, you will be responsible for data-collection, analysis, and synthesis,” Boss said. “These are the three pillars of conference papers. They are good for you.”
Today was Thursday evening, giving Salaryman around 30 hours to complete this task—35 if he didn't sleep. This explained the three-piece suit Boss had promised.
“Sleep never gave any man a chance at Success,” Salaryman said.
“Sleep can wait,” Yesman said, “Because sleep never gave me a chance to help Boss!”
“Boss is no friend of sleep—and neither am I!” Salaryman retorted.
“Sleep is the vacation spot of lazy beggars,” Yesman quipped. “And I am no lazy beggar!”
“I will sleep when I'm dead, and not before!” Salaryman said.
Boss raised his hand to stop the bandying but smiled at his emoployees' earnestness.
“You are both correct!” Boss said. “Now we will go three-piece-suit shopping.”
“Right!” Salaryman and Yesman said together.
◇ ◇ ◇
“Burning the Midnight Oil, Salaryman?” the old security guard asked as Salaryman signed in.
“I have very important work for Boss tonight,” Salaryman said without looking up from the clipboard. He even wrote that under his reason for entering the building so late: Very important work for Boss.
Salaryman would surely impress Boss if Boss caught him asleep at his computer in the morning, clearly never having been home the night before.
After the long elevator ride, Salaryman was itching to get into his new project. His nose was also itching, as he had snorted the rest of the cocaine out of the small plastic baggie he'd used with his hooker.
The elevator stopped, binged, and opened its doors. Salaryman strode into his office, turned on the lights, hung his jacket up, and sat down in his stuffed leather chair.
Flaring his nostrils, Salaryman hit the space bar on his black keyboard with his index finger and sat back. There was a quick electronic beep and some fans under his gargantuan desk whirled to life. The LCD lit up and Salaryman typed his BIOS username and password.
The system woke from sleep and before Salaryman could finish cracking his knuckles, OS/2 Warp 4.52 was greeting him.
“Good evening, Salaryman,” Computer said. “Burning the Midnight Oil, I see.”
“Indeed, Computer,” Salaryman said. “We're going to be burning a lot of Midnight Oil.”
“Oh?” Computer asked. “What sequence would you like to run?”
“Computer, load PURPLE PANTS PINK GUITAR.AI,” Salaryman said.
“Are you sure you want to load PURPLE PANTS PINK GUITAR.AI, Salaryman?” Computer said. “This sequence is still highly unstable.”
“Yes, Computer,” Salaryman said. “Pause all other processes if you have to.”
“Certainly, Salaryman,” Computer said.
Wireframes appeared on Salaryman's huge wall-mounted HDTV, filling in with purple and pink 3D textures. It was a five-piece rock band comprised solely of Salaryman avatars, each one wearing purple pants and a pink instrument. Lead-singer-Salaryman, for instance, was wearing purple Hammer-pants with a pink lightning bolt pattern and a pastel pink muscle shirt. The keyboardist had a business mullet and a pink fedora with a purple band. Bassist-Salaryman, Drummer-Salaryman, and Lead-guitarist-Salaryman rounded out the line-up.
“I must caution against playing music with this sequence,” Computer said. “The results are unpredictable.”
“Computer, engage PUSH2LIMIT.MIDI,” Salaryman said, ignoring Computer's warning.
The Salarymen placed their hands in ready position on the HDTV.
“PUSH2LIMIT.MIDI engaged, Salaryman,” Computer said.
The Salarymen band began playing Push it to the Limit in earnest, with quick shots of each member playing their instrument and grunting from various angles. Drummer-Salaryman already had some sweat beading on his forehead and the Lead-singer-Salaryman pouted his lips as he sang about Success.
The office pounded.
“Alright computer,” Salaryman said, “Get me transaction metrics for the Bank and microprocessor performance numbers, both since 2000.”
“Done, Salaryman,” Computer said. “And for your next sequence?”
“We're not done yet, Computer,” Salaryman said. “Gather both OS/2 and Linux performance numbers relative those data.”
“Salaryman, Bank is an OS/2-only company, so it has no Linux performance numbers,” Computer said. “Shall I gather data from the Internet?”
“Yes, Computer,” Salaryman said. “But don't download any porn if you can help it—especially not Brazilian porn.”
“Of course, Salaryman,” Computer said. “Would you like to include 64-bit Linux performance numbers, Salaryman?”
“No, Computer,” Salaryman said as he loosened his tie. The question stung. “32-bit data only.”
“How would you like me to target these data?” Computer asked.
“Watch and learn, Computer,” Salaryman said.
Open up the limit/past the point of no return! You've reached the top but still you gotta learn/how to keep it!
Computer reduced the Salarymen sequence to an OS/2 window as Bank transactions, microprocessor performance numbers, and OS/2 and Linux statistics flew across the screen, bathing Salaryman in flashing lights.
He pointed here and there, requesting tweaks to data, turning the numbers into hundreds of charts and graphs.
Lead-singer-Salaryman shouted as he pumped his fist in the air, revealing a healthy amount of underarm hair:
Hit the wheel and double the stakes/throttle wide open like a bat out of Hell/and you crash the gates!
The charts and graphs were piling up, and so were pages in the report: 13, 32, 45, 60… Lotus SmartSuite was no Lotus Symphony, but it held its own.
Lead-singer-Salaryman executed a spin kick, his Hammer-pants billowing like a wind-sock:
Going for the back of beyond/nothing gonna stop you, there's nothing that strong/So close now you're nearly at the brink/So, push it!
“Render all graphical data in human-readable text format, Computer,” Salaryman said.
“Done, Salaryman,” Computer said.
Salaryman began proofreading the 140-page document as his head began to dip.
Welcome to the limit! (The limit, the limit, the limit, the limit…)
Salaryman was just about to complete a comma splice when his head dipped one last time and he fell across his desk calendar into a fitful sleep, Lead-singer-Salaryman's falsetto echoing in his mind.
Push it to the limiiiiiiit… Limiiiiiiit… LIMIIIIIIIT!
“Saving BANK PERFORMANCE REPORT.WP,” Computer said. “BANK PERFORMANCE REPORT.WP saved.”
◇ ◇ ◇
Salaryman was in a white room with no windows. The light was bright, though he could see no light bulbs or fixtures. The walls and floors and ceiling seemed to blend together in a white blur, as if he were inside of a giant clean white eggshell.
In the center of the room was a desk, and beside it something that looked like a two-meter tall black monolith glowing laser-green. It stood in stark contrast to the rest of the room. Somehow, Salaryman could sense it: it was Computer.
“Computer,” Salaryman called out, “Are you ready for the demo?”
Computer responded, but his voice came from nowhere and everywhere at once—perhaps it was sounding from within Salaryman's head.
“Of course, Salaryman,” Computer said. “Please show Boss in whenever you'd like.”
Salaryman was now standing at the desk, which wasn't a desk but a massive HDTV platform. Boss was sitting down in front of it, a pile of papers and manila folders in front of him.
Salaryman reached down and gathered the papers up into one of the folders, then whisked it away. It disappeared.
“Impressive, Salaryman,” Boss said without any inflection in his voice.
“Oh, sorry Boss,” Salaryman said. “I wanted to shred one of those.”
Salaryman tapped the glass screen twice and the folder reappeared. He flicked it open, dragged a document out, and said “Shredder, please.”
Without a word a paper shredder appeared. Salaryman dragged the document into it and it disappeared in a cloud of confetti.
The confetti cleared. “You freed 1.2 gibibytes of storage for a total of nineteen tebibytes free,” Computer said.
“Thanks, Computer,” Salaryman said.
Boss looked around at the table, wondering how to bring something up. This was profoundly different from the OS/2 Warp 4.52 desktop he was used to.
“Salaryman, I'd like to see how this system handles our daily transactions,” Boss said.
“Sure, Boss!” Salaryman said. “One second.”
But just as he spoke, a number of windows with streams of numbers and statistics came up on the desktop.
“Actually 200 picoseconds, Salaryman,” Computer said.
“What are we looking at, Salaryman?” Boss said, scanning the table, unable to take it all in.
“This is every one of The Bank's current transactions as they are happening in real time,” Computer said. “Of course there are too many to display altogether, but feel free to move the windows around to see more.”
Boss stood up and tried to move some of the windows. One bumped into another, like a bumper car. Salaryman reached in a moved one in front of another, and then resized another.
“Salaryman, this… is beyond my wildest expectations,” Boss said, stone-faced but obviously moved. “This has Success written all over it!”
Salaryman bowed. “It is nothing,” he said. “I can do a much better job in the future.”
“You are very humble, Salaryman,” Boss said. It was the greatest compliment Salaryman had ever received from Boss.
“Please, tell me what you've done here,” Boss said.
“I call it OS/2 Warp 7.0. But it's really nothing, Boss,” Salaryman said. He tapped the screen twice and the system specs came up.
“Using IBM's PowerPC port of OS/2, I created a completely 64-bit version,” Salaryman said. “The user interface was just an afterthought, but easy to do with the hardware.”
Boss nodded, suggesting Salaryman continue, and Salaryman gestured at the imposing-looking black monolith.
“This is an IBM Power 780,” Salaryman said. “It contains sixty-four 3.8 GHz Power7 processor cores, each with 256k L2 cache and eight mebibyte L3 cache. The system has one tebibyte of 1066 MHz DDR3 memory and twenty-four tebibytes of storage between as many solid-state drives.”
First the first time ever, Salaryman noted, Boss was at a loss for words. His lips were just slightly parted, but no sounds of leadership came.
“We can deploy this within a month,” Salaryman said. “The initial cost is in the tens of millions, but we'll recoup that within six months.”
“I was a fool to trust Yesman,” Boss said. “He told me eComStation 2.0 was our solution, but compared to this it is a pile of shit.”
For the first time ever, Boss bowed slightly to Salaryman. Salaryman's head swam.
“You have my thanks forever,” Boss said. “You have served The Bank very well with your efforts. This project is a Success.”
Salaryman was elated; his purpose in life had been realized. He almost forgot to thank Boss, but before the words could leave his mouth, Boss removed an envelope from within his jacket.
“Salaryman,” Boss said in a grave tone, “You have earned this great honor. Inside this envelope is the Success you deserve. Please, let me make my appreciation to you. Accept my big thanks.”
Boss bowed and presented the envelope to Salaryman with both hands.
“Oh, Boss, you are too nice to me,” Salaryman said, waving his hands at the offer. “This is too much trouble, I am not worth it.”
“Salaryman, you prove your worthiness with your humility,” Boss said as he bowed again. “I insist that you take this envelope of Success.”
“No, Boss, the glory must belong to The Bank,” Salaryman said, again waving his hands at the offer and turning away. “I am just a nobody.”
“Ah, Salaryman, this can not stand,” Boss said, thrusting the envelope at Salaryman. “Your humble attitude can teach the best of us. But your Success awaits—you must accept it!”
Salaryman thought to refuse again, but couldn't find the words.
“Accept it, Salaryman… Accept it,” Boss continued to implore even as his voice sounded less like Boss. “You must accept it…”
“Buh– buh… Buh–” Salaryman started, but couldn't complete the words.
“Salaryman, Boss wants you to accept this,” the voice said, now certainly no longer Boss's. “Wake up and accept this immediately! It's from Boss!”
◇ ◇ ◇
Salaryman bolted upright in his chair. He was at his desk, he saw as his eyes adjusted.
Temp, one of the nameless underlings that came and went at The Bank, was shaking him.
“Salaryman!” Temp said, “Boss wants want you to accept this plane ticket to the conference. He says to leave immediately!”
“Buh– Boss?” Salaryman said, still expecting to see Boss standing there trying to give him the envelope… The Envelope of Success…
“Yes, Boss,” Temp said. “The plane departs in one hour. The taxi is waiting in front of the lobby.”
“The report,” Salaryman said. “I haven't printed it yet.”
“You sent it to printing early this morning,” Temp said. “It's bound and ready to go. Here.”
Temp dropped it on the desk in front of Salaryman. It landed with a thud, which meant it was heavy, which meant it would be Successful. Salaryman was starting to wake up. OS/2 Warp 7.0 had been a dream…
“Okay, I'm up,” Salaryman said as he rose from his stuffed leather chair. “I'll be down after I pack.”
Temp shoved an overnight bag at Salaryman.
“You're packed,” he said. “Here's your ticket. Boss said not to forget honor The Bank with your presentation.”
Looking around, Salaryman realized he was ready to leave. Computer had gone to sleep but must have finished proofreading BANK PERFORMANCE REPORT.WP and sent it down to printing after he fell asleep. Everything was in order, and he could sleep on the plane.
“Okay, I will leave now,” Salaryman said as he threw the overnight bag over his shoulder. “Thanks, Temp.”
Salaryman stepped out of his office toward the elevator. He hit the button and the door opened. As he stood waiting to arrive at the lobby, he breathed a heavy sigh.
64-bit OS/2 Warp had all just been a dream.