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archive:stories:17.lws

"THE ADVENTURES OF LONE WOLF SCIENTIFIC"


"The Adventures of Lone Wolf Scientific" is an electronically syndicated series that follows the exploits of two madcap mavens of high-technology. Copyright 1991 Michy Peshota. May not be distributed without accompany WELCOME.LWS and EPISOD.LWS files.


EPISODE #17 (released 11.18.91)


    The Early Days of a High-Tech Start-Up Are Magic
Snits over glow-in-the-dark promotional keychains lead to

squabbles over who will star in the folksy company founder TV commercials, as the programmer and computer builder stumble their way towards self-employment.«

                    by M. Peshota
   S-max and Andrew.BAS's business venture was barely an

hour old and already the high-tech startup in the former fraternity house was rocked by managerial disaccord. The trouble started when the clamorous S-max announced that he planned to be vice president of research and development.

   "But I wanted to be vice president of research and

development," his heartsick partner protested.

   "You can be the vice president of marketing," the

computer builder offered magnanimously. He was stretched across the ratty flowered couch he referred to as his "R and D couch," grunting and flipping through a magazine for entrepreneurs. Heaped around him were enough crumpled electrical schematics to rewire Buffalo.

   "But I don't want to be the vice president of

marketing," moaned Andrew.BAS, pacing the floor tensely, his cherubic eyes woefully downcast. "I'm a software engineer. I want to be the vice president of research."

   "But you already have the title of 'Trusty Computer

Programmer,'" his partner pointed out.

   "Yes, I know, but--"
   "And remember, we agreed to let you put it on a rubber

stamp as many times as you like."

   "Yes, but--"
   "We also agreed to let you have the attic all to

yourself–an entire attic in which you can live and work as you see fit."

   "Yes, but you're also the company president."
   The computer builder grunted with pride.
   "And the Chief Executive Officer--"
   "But you see--"
   "And the Chairman of the Board, the Corporate Director,

the Chief Engineer, Head of Science, Head of Hardware, Head of Intelligence, Governor-Elect of Office Supplies, Chief Curator of Company Antiquities, and the Vice President of Fiduciary Matters–although I still can't figure out what that is."

   "It's the person who is in charge of fiducing when the

chips are down."

   "With all those titles, why do you also have to be the

Vice President of Research?"

   "All those titles is the very reason I should also be

the Vice President of R and D! «I'm» the one with all the business credentials." He rolled over onto his elbow and sniffed. "I don't see why you're complaining. 'Trusty Computer Programmer' will look mighty impressive once it's printed on a rubber stamp."

   "I'm not sure if I want my name above the title 'Trusty

Computer Programmer' on the company stationary."

   "Who said anything about printing your name on the

company stationary? You should be grateful that we are printing your name on a rubber stamp." He grunted again in indifference, and scrutinized an article titled "Cash Flow Politics: How to Make Your Expense Account Go Further than Your Business Partner's."

   Eventually the bossy S-max relented and agreed to

permit his partner to occupy the much in-demand post of vice president of R and D on alternate Monday mornings. He would occupy it the rest of the time.

   Since neither of them cared to be vice president of

sales and marketing, as both considered anything involving sales or marketing to be as dishonorable a vocation as picting over-priced funeral plots on late-night TV, they agreed to take turns in the post on the last Friday afternoon of every month–at least until their computer company got off the ground and it was no longer necessary to have someone in charge of sales or marketing. They did not think it would hurt terribly much if there were no vice president of sales and marketing the rest of the month.

   Once the problem of job titles was finally resolved,

the entrepreneurs proceeded to discuss a more touchy topic. That was the 400,000 glow-in-the-dark keychains that S-max had ordered. He planned to emboss them with their company name and motto–although they had no idea what those were yet–and give them away as promotional prizes at computer trade shows, demolition derbys, and anyplace else where they might pass out things and not be arrested for loitering. When Andrew.BAS questioned whether such an expenditure was wise or necessary, especially since they lacked the money to even have call-waiting installed on the phone, the computer builder bristled.

   "Let's be realistic," he huffed, a suggestion which

caused the increasingly anxiety-filled programmer to squirm with disbelief. "The keychains will help us get venture capital. A couple glow-in-the-dark keychains and a few «Turbo Pascal» ballpoint pens and you can impress the hell out of just about anyone."

   The programmer reflected.  "I don't think we should be

signing multi-billion dollar software contracts with «Turbo Pascal» pens if we plan to do all our programming in C," he said finally. "«Turbo Pascal is» a very nice programming language, but–"

   "Who said anything about <<you>> signing contracts?"

his partner gasped. "That is my job as Chairman of the Board, Chief Engineer, Head of Science, Head of Hardware, Head of Intelligence, and whatnot." He added, "Trusty Computer Programmers like yourself are not yet recognized as having legal rights in any of 47 states. I am shocked they did not teach you about that in software school."

   Somehow, the squabble over who would be signing the

multi-billion dollar software contracts evolved into bickering over who would get to hold their product in front of the camera when they filmed TV commercials that featured their company's folksy founders.

   "But I'm the one with the highly photogenic tie-clip

that doubles as a light pen!" the computer builder wailed, until Andrew.BAS finally threw up his hands and told him that he could star in the folksy founder commercials all by himself.

   He sighed with deep relief.  "I am <<so>> glad you

finally saw reason," he said. "You have restored my faith in the viability of our partnership. A pimply squirt like yourself would only remind TV viewers of their own grievous mental deficiencies by churning up horrific memories of their high school pre-calculus class in which pipsqueeks like you always seemed to thrive and excel while the rest of the class was reduced to helpless, pulpy mounts of mental confusion and resolved to become economists or TV sportscasters instead of mathematical geniuses like you or I." He grunted. "Viewers can much better identify with a guy like me who is not only classy and articulate, but has a crooked nose and a large collection of screwdrivers in his pockets." He cocked his orange-and-black bushy head in pride.

   "I wouldn't be so sure," the programmer scoffed.  "The

same effect can be obtained by wearing a plastic nose and glasses."

   With that, the programmer and computer builder called a

truce, and decided to spend the rest of the day re-arranging the furniture in their livingroom to make it look more like an office. There wasn't much furniture to arrange. There was just a file cabinet, a wall calendar, and S-max's wartorn R and D couch. (The computer builder's electric tuba had previously been relocated to the bathroom to serve as an extra-large clothes hamper.) But within minutes their interior decorating efforts had erupted in shouting, stomping of feet, and a cross-fire of epithets and aspersions upon each other's character.

   "THIS IS TYRANNY, I TELL YOU!" the computer builder had

screamed, as the programmed dragged his research couch across the room. "How can I be expected to do major research work when my trusty research and development couch is not sitting next to a pile of wadded up engineering magazines and socks?!" He gesticulated in despair toward the pile of debris that the programmer had swept out onto the front porch.

   "Maybe we could stack it into neat piles?"  Andrew.BAS

picked up the broom and headed toward the pile of junk.

   "NO!  Don't touch those things!  Leave them there!"  S-

max dashed toward the pile to save it. "Take a broom to it, and within minutes, WEEKS of my research efforts will be lost for all eternity! Western civilization may never recover. Technological progress may be set back millions of years. Already you have destroyed countless months of research simply by pushing my magazines and socks out on the porch."

   "Maybe we could put them in the file cabinet?"

Andrew.BAS suggested, tipping his head toward the dented, rust-splotched receptacle.

   "What are you suggesting--that we jam my research into

three squeeky, wobbly drawers? You heathen!"

   When Andrew.BAS attempted to pin over the R and D couch

the wall calendar that they had gotten free at the office supply store, S-max gasped, "Nothing but electronics posters are supposed to go over a research couch! Anything is a desecration!" And when Andrew.BAS tried to push the file cabinet to the side of the livingroom opposite the couch, S- max wailed, "No, no! Can't you see how you are breaking up a matched set! I told you how I found them both in the same alley!" And he dragged the couch after him.

   And so it went into the night.  As the programmer

pushed the R and D couch to one side of the livingroom, the computer builder dragged the file cabinet after him, and when the programmer pushed the file cabinet into the corner, S-max shoved the R and D couch beside it, and after Andrew.BAS arranged them both by the window, S-max pulled them away from the window, arguing that the sun would fade the couch's already-faded chinz.

   Their bickering voices could be heard all down the

street, prompting many of their neighbors to reminisce about how peaceful the street had been when their neighbor was a fraternity and not a high-tech company.

                        <Finis>
In the next episode of The Adventures of Lone Wolf

Scientific, after a long night of high-decibel parrying over how to arrange the office furniture, Lone Wolf Scientific is visited by an irate neighbor.«

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