2004

DEADBEAT PAYING JOB • chapter 2

 

pst

sun
dec
26

Achilles, who has mastered human communication, asks me to play, the Pakistani landlord's washing machine humming behind me, through another wall, and holding my breath a second, nostrils slightly flared, I go to play.

pm
4:18

 

 

mon
27

Since 1972 I've been intentionally whittling away inside myself, transmuting neurons – memory bundle by memory bundle – from certain very specific, earliest days of my life, beginning in 1946, whose accumulated memories had grown into the strength, fearsomeness, and bitter sting of internal tyrants, into a new organ of perception, gradually increasing my awareness of an internal night sky, and just before I fell asleep last night, realized I've become slightly smaller than what I'm whittling! I mean, if it were a dream house I've been whittling (inside myself), I could walk right in!

am
4:47

     

tue
28

I'm avoiding going to sleep because my dreamself wants to tell me something.

am
1:11

     

 

Waking, I hear, "//// ... // . //// ..... // . // .. someone else did .. // ... /// // .... /// .. / ./...," a quiet whisper voice in my mind, as it rises to the surface, then quickly sinks, and I, into sleep. Oh, wait! I also see a small left hand, and it has blood, or maybe food, on it.

7:52

 

 

 

My first job as a computer programmer, at IBM in Philadelphia, taught me something about crime, in a way I would never suspect.

After several successful projects on an IBM 360 mainframe, I had been assigned responsibility for the entire program library on a time-sharing system based in San Jose and Philadelphia.

On the seedier side of Center City, in an unmarked basement office off Market Street near City Hall, pristine air-conditioned mainframes, up on white-tiled flooring, with cables running underneath, served IBM clients around the world, and one day, while I was engaged in a test run of a Basic 360 Assembly Language program (BAL) for converting FORTRAN data files into DATA statements for BASIC language programs, I noticed one of the computer operators creating an unscheduled magnetic tape backup on the machine floor, and since this fell under the span of my responsibility and authority, asked him the nature of his business.

"It's sort of hush-hush," Bill said, "I'm doing this for Mac." When pressed, he added, "I'm making a copy of the entire program library for IBM World Trade, but I'm not supposed to say anything about it, because it's outside normal channels."

That was a little circuitous and odd ... Part of those normal channels was me! ... and why should anything be under wraps? Mac was my boss, and I really didn't want to interfere in any hush-hush business, though I did want to understand its general nature. Without too much thought or hesitation, I simply ratcheted one level of management, deftly bypassing Janet, Jack's internal screener and receptionist, and into the slightly-more-spacious office of Jack Packert, who had originally hired me in the Information Marketing Division, who was also Mac's boss, and told him what was happening out on the machine room floor, whether this was something I should expect.

"I'm glad you came in," Jack said. "I fired Mac this morning, so I guess he's making a copy of the program library to take with him ... on his way out ... helping himself to a present ... no need to worry ... I'll take care of it."

And without a hiccup on the cool white whirring machine room floor, not long after my twenty-second birthday, he did.

pm
3:21

 
 

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