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> 
> Heaven's donuts are jelly donuts.  The blend of texture, from the
> cool, sweet ooze of the jelly, mined with tiny raspberry seeds, to the
> firm, spongy cake, so lightly encrusted in a thin glaze of sugar, that
> cracks and flakes as you gingerly tear off small pieces of delight, is
> certainly the greatest experience a humble man can afford.
>      
> I was eating a jelly donut when He first appeared in my office,
> smelling slightly of gunpowder.  He was tall and gaunt, with deep-set
> eyes and crooked teeth, long, delicate fingers, and sloped
> shoulders. He wore a black Ozzy Osborne concert t-shirt, frayed black
> jeans, and dusty black high-tops, unlaced. He smiled at me in an ugly
> way.  I put down my donut and glanced at my watch. 7:00 PM.
>      
> "You're Mike Kolesnik."
> 
> I nodded.
> 
> "You're a programmer for CyberHackers."
> 
> I nodded again.  Not only was I a programmer for CyberHackers--I was
> the best damn programmer this group had ever or would ever see.  I
> suppose I should introduce myself.  I am Michael Kolesnik, master
> programmer.  I'm not just blowing smoke here either.  I'm the best
> damn programmer to come out of MIT since code was constructed one bit
> at a time.  I can do it all: C, LISP, assembly--even the languages no
> self-respecting programmer would deign to look at.  I can do it all in
> no time flat, with the most elegant of style.  Code sprinkled with
> glistening semicolons and flowing rivers of indentation.  Lesser
> programmers avert their eyes when I enter the room.
>      
> "They say you're the best, and I'm here to challenge you."  I sized
> this guy up again.  He had the right shape.  The pot-belly, the greasy
> hair, parted with precision.  The fingers.  And the funny smell.  I
> told him I didn't have time.
> 
> "I'll make it worth your while," he said.  "I have something you might
> be interested in.  Follow me."
>      
> I grabbed my box of donuts, and followed him down the hall and into
> the elevator.  He pressed a button and the elevator descended into the
> basement.  I'd never been in the basement before.  For that matter, I
> didn't even recall that the building had a basement.  Nonetheless, the
> elevator chimed, the doors opened, and we stepped out into a wide room
> that was entirely featureless.  That is, except for the fog on the
> floor and two workstations that were set up, side by side.  One of the
> workstations was mine.  The other was a workstation like none other
> that I had seen before.  It was magnificent.
>      
> It was matte black.  More than an object, it looked like a hole in
> space.  The monitor it sported was the biggest I had ever seen, and
> the keyboard was a flow of liquid lines, containing a field of keys of
> different sizes and shapes, packed in like cobblestones.  The mouse
> floated above the table, and had no wire.  Next to the computer was a
> box with a small chute coming out of one side, and a large red button
> on the top.  The monitor was flanked by two gigantic speakers, and I
> could see a sub-woofer poking up out of the fog.  It hummed.  It
> steamed.  It was the most beautiful computer I had ever seen.
>      
> "You approve," said the stranger.
> 
> I swallowed and said, "It is beyond description."
> 
> "It's a custom job.  And it's yours.  If," he said, "If you can beat
> me in a coding contest."
> 
> I looked at him incredulously.  "What's in it for you?"
> 
> "I will have defeated the greatest coder in the world, and thus, I can
> claim that title.  AND, I get to keep your immortal soul."  He smiled
> the ugly smile again.
>      
> Here was a dilemma.  I was dealing with the Devil.  There was no doubt
> about that.  And he was no doubt very good.  I am somewhat attached to
> my soul, but oh, the prizes.  The glory.  I can easily claim to be the
> best coder in the company, in the Bay Area, probably on the whole
> planet, but if I pulled this off, I will have shown myself to be the
> best coder in this entire theology!  Vanity got the better part of me.
>      
> "What's the contest?" I asked.
> 
> I won't bore you with the details, but it was seriously ugly.  Ugly in
> a way that makes the most arrogant of coders cringe and causes
> managers to pad development schedules into the next century.  It had
> to run in any language, including the nasty chicken-scratch ones.  It
> had to be backward compatible, all the way to the ENIAC. And it had to
> run on Windows...  I cringed.  But vanity won. I signed the forms,
> agreed on a deadline of midnight, and we sat down at our machines and
> started to code.
>      
> My watch said 8:00 PM, and I started warming up.  Class definitions
> flew off my fingertips like throwing stars. Structures and
> declarations grew like perfect crystals, and I didn't even break a
> sweat. True to the task, I soon lost myself in an endless cycle of
> postulate, create, instantiate and verify.  Bits grew to bytes, to K,
> to Megs, and finally to Gigs.  By 11:00 PM it had come to that crucial
> point. With an hour to go, I had to put all the pieces together. It
> wasn't going to be easy. It was going to take all the concentration I
> had.
>      
> Then I hit the first bug.
> 
> At first, I wasn't sure where it was coming from, but then I spotted
> it.  It wasn't mine. It was bug in Windows. Even worse, it was a bug
> in Windows that stemmed from a timing problem with the system clock
> itself. I couldn't see a workaround. I was stymied. I genuflected and
> called Microsoft support.  "Hello, and welcome to the Microsoft help
> line.  Please enter your 64 digit user identification number, followed
> by your 32 digit password."
>      
> While I frantically typed number after number, trying to navigate
> through layer upon layer of phone menu, I heard Him pick up his phone
> and call a number.
> 
> "Hello, is Bill in? ... I don't care, wake him up ... Tell him it's
> Mr. Black ... Hey Bill, what's shakin'?  Listen, I needed to know a
> workaround to one of your bugs ... Yes, I know what time it is...
> Yes, I know ... Bill ... Bill!  You remember our little deal?...
> That's right.  Now be a dear and give me that workaround ... Mm-hm
> . Right ... Thank you, Bill.  I'll be seeing you."
>      
> I was shocked.  It was obviously pointless continuing my desperate
> journey through Microsoft's Help line. I needed immediate genius! I
> scarfed down a grape jelly. Sugar shock engulfed me, and my vision
> tunneled. I shuddered once, something clicked, and I determined the
> answer I needed--I could use the clock on the sound chip to get my
> timings.
>      
> I dove back into the code, and was quickly integrating modules when I
> hit bug number two. It was even uglier than the first. In fact, it was
> the ugliest bug I had ever seen. It was a problem with C. With the
> language itself. There's no way fix a broken hammer using the same
> hammer.
>      
> I wracked my brains. I clenched and grunted and sweated and thought
> and Thought and THOUGHT, but to no avail. Over my shoulder, I could
> hear Him chime in, "Bugger, isn't it?  I remember putting that one in
> back when I was working on the Unix kernel. Did you really think there
> was a Kernighan and Ritchie?  Rearrange the letters in their names and
> you'll discover an interesting anagram."
>      
> I ignored him and continued thinking.  My mind went deeper and deeper
> into the problem at hand--my senses dulled, my breathing grew shallow.
> My eyes rolled back and sweat beaded on my forehead.  Clumsily,
> blindly, my hand pawed it's way to the box on my desk, containing my
> last jelly donut.  It raised slowly to my lips, and I bit.
>      
> Pounding waves of sugar induced euphoria washed through my mind.  I
> felt my brain hum and crackle.  My hands trembled, my body shuddered,
> and I began to type. I was a man possessed. Complex topographical math
> equations formed on my screen. Klien bottles and hypercubes locked
> neatly into place like pieces of a puzzle. Beyond my control, a
> complex mathematical world formed in my computer, with additional
> dimensions unimaginable.
>      
> I felt a small pop, and I came to. I looked at my screen. I had worked
> around the bug. My watch read 11:45. Frantically I continued putting
> all the modules into place. Glancing for a moment at my rival, I could
> see I had him worried.  He was typing furiously. Smoke poured from his
> ears, and flames licked around his collar.
>      
> Then I hit the third bug.
> 
> It was not so much a bug, it was a limit. I only had 4 Gigabytes of
> memory, and I had used it all. There wasn't a bit left. I had
> compressed data to a point so fine that it was in danger of collapsing
> into a black hole. I was storing memory in every conceivable way,
> including keeping a chain of sound waves running between the speaker
> and the microphone. There was no memory left to be had.
>      
> Frantic, I reached into my box of donuts, and my heart sank into my
> stomach when I realized that I had eaten the last one.  I glanced at
> my watch, but it was too late. I was sunk. I had done the best that I
> could, and I had nothing more to give.
>      
> The Devil laughed, and grinning cruelly, he reached over to the box
> with the chute and the button. Remember the box? Slowly, firmly, his
> hand pressed the red button, and a jelly donut slid down the chute and
> onto the table.
>      
> My jaw dropped.  "What...is...that?" I asked.
> 
> He languorously chewed as he replied, "The Box of Eternal Donuts." 
> 
> "The Box of Eternal Donuts!?"
> 
> "Yes," he said.
> 
> "It never runs out?"
> 
> "Never," he said.
> 
> "It's mine if I win?!?!"
> 
> "If you can win, it is entirely yours," he replied, grinning cockily.
>      
> My mind reeled.  The Box of Eternal Donuts.  The Box of Eternal
> Donuts!  My eyes darted everywhere, my jaw hung slack, and my throat
> emitted strange animal-like noises. Anything. I would do anything to
> win! I just needed the smallest amount of memory. But where could I
> get it from? I glanced at my watch again, and a plan came into my
> mind. A beautiful, devious plan.
>      
> I went quickly upstairs and retrieved the emergency toolkit that we
> keep in the medicine cabinet. I ripped the case off my computer, and
> quickly scanned for the right connections. I pulled two wires, and
> unscrewed the back of my watch. The Devil's eyes widened and he
> desperately started coding again, but it was too late. I got the last
> of the memory I needed out of my watch, and pressed the ENTER key
> seconds before he did.
>      
> The watch burst into flames. Sparks flew from the disk drives and the
> monitor glowed and throbbed, finally melting into a puddle of
> glass. The computer exploded in a shower of sparks, and then there was
> absolute silence.
>      
> There was a pause, and both of us turned as the printer started,
> slowly emitting a single sheet that wafted gently into the out bin. I
> nonchalantly strolled over, and held up to the Devil's scowling face,
> a sheet imprinted with two words.  "Hello World".
>      
> Nothing more needs to be told, other than, as I write this, I am
> sitting in front of my new computer, munching on what is undoubtedly
> the best jelly donut I have ever eaten...
> 
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Cogito ergo spud (I think therefore I yam).
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alexsiodhe, christopher north-keys, christopher alex north-keys