365 Writing · Stories

The Problem

“We’re going home, Jack!” Rachel yelled over to Jack as he stared at the lines of code on his computer screen.

“Sure, see you guys.” He responded without looking over.

“You should really get some rest, come back at it in the morning,” Tom said swiping his keycard to open the door out of the office.

“Sure, if only the boss thought the same way,” Jack said shifting to a new area of the code.

“Alright well, good luck.” Rachel said as a final parting word of sympathy as they left.

Jack knew it was just him left in the office. This bug had been plaguing his team for weeks now and tomorrow morning was the deadline. He just couldn’t solve it, and neither could anyone else. Without this fixed, however, the product could never go live.

He took off his glasses and rubbed his eyes. There was an eerie feeling being the only one in the office space. Peaceful yet somehow disturbing. Jack tried to focus on the code but felt exhausted. He’d been staring at the same line for days now. Maybe a twenty-minute nap would help. He set the alarm for thirty and kicked his chair back and closed his eyes. Unable to sleep with his mind racing with flashes of code soon he felt like the Matrix. Green code whirling past him.

The sense of falling shook him into wakefulness and he found himself lying on the office floor. He checked his phone next to him. He had slept for five hours. Shit. He thought to himself.

The early morning janitor had come in and was standing nearby. “You ok?” The janitor said.

“Yeah…” Jack answered and put his glasses back on. “I’ll be fine.”

“Sorry, but you don’t look so good.” The janitor said. “Need a hand with anything?”

“No, unless you can solve this.” He gestured at his computer screen. He realized it had gone to sleep, so he moved the mouse and comically repeated the gesture.

“Ah, you got a bool there. It should be an integer. Thank me later.” The janitor said and started to walk off.

Jack stared at the screen. He was right. How could no one have seen that? “Wait. How did you?” He turned to look back at the janitor. But there was no janitor. He was alone in the office.