was a typical gray November afternoon at the giant headquarters of Amalgamated
Conglomerated Megacorporation, Inc. It was closing time, and
the Men in their Gray Flannel Suits streamed down the steps of
the building to get into their giant-finned cars, to drive home
to ticky tacky boxes where their wives, having finished the day's
cleaning and cooking, would have their martinis ready for them.
the stream of automobiles poured out of the parking lot, a different
vehicle came the other way; a chopped, channeled, low-riding,
flame-painted, double-carburetored 1987 Kaiser-Fraser hot rod.
It carried the two Computer Technicians, Biff and Rocky.
Conglomerated Megacorporation, Inc., had greatly expanded its
operations ever since its formation in 1991. The company had
grown so big that the directors had taken a daring step and had
a Computer installed in their giant headquarters building. "A
Computer!" one director had said. "How shall we ever
be able to afford it? Much less justify having all that mighty
brain power? They say those machines can make a thousand calculations
a second, and store as much on one great foot-wide reel of tape
as might be in a hundred books! We shall never need so much!"
he was overruled, and the Computer was bought from the giant
UniVac Corporation, and installed in the basement of the giant
headquarters of Amalgamated Conglomerated Megacorporation, Inc.
It took up the entire basement, and required a vast amount of
power to run its mighty electronic brain, and the vast support
systems that kept it functioning. Often, even the lights in the
private restroom of the Vice-President for Operations dimmed,
as the great electronic thinking machine demanded more power
for its efforts. Two young men, who had worked on the installation,
were transferred to the payroll of Amalgamated Consolidated Megacorporation,
Inc. to run this powerful electronic mind.
and Rocky parked their hot rod at the rear entrance of the building,
next to the door where the maintenance men carried out the day's
trash. They entered the building, and took the stairs down to
the Computer Room.
the Computer Room, they drew their leather jackets tighter, for
the giant air conditioners needed to keep the electronic brain
functioning made the room very cold. Great reels of tape jerked
back and forth as the giant electronic brain calculated all the
financial efforts of the mighty industrial giant. Biff and Rocky
consulted paper tapes that spewed from Teletype machines to determine
the running of the giant electronic brain.
they were harboring a secret plan of their own. In the few minutes
when the great electronic brain was not needing some adjustment,
some changing of a tape, or loading of some set of commands,
the two young men furtively proceeded to the card punching machine
in one corner of the Computer Room, where they carefully punched
holes into the command cards that were used to transmit orders
to the electronic thinking machine.
had been their project for the past three months, done in stolen
time from their official work. They were determined to analyze
the great financial transactions of the giant citadel of industry,
to learn the nefarious deeds that were hidden amid the great
rows of figures that were churned out by the electronic mind.
great company had increased its advertising budget to over a
million dollars. With their access to the internal figures of
the company, Biff and Rocky had determined that the quality of
the company's many products had seriously declined. This increased
spending on advertising was clearly intended to induce the witless
public into buying shoddier and shoddier goods. The extra profit
was going somewhere, and this project was intended to uncover
they were done with the first step of their process. Slapping
each other on the back, they took the stack of command cards
and put it in the hopper of the card reader. It consumed the
stack with a roar, converting the holes in the cards into the
commands that would make the Computer manipulate the magnetic
tapes and unearth the hidden figures.
Computer Program would take many hours to run, not reaching a
conclusion until well after midnight. Thus, Biff came to a conclusion.
"How about we go to the malt shop?"
shrugged. "Sure. They hired two new carhops last week."
that conclusion they turned their backs on the giant machine,
with its panels of flickering lights, its giant tapes jerking
back and forth, and its chilly smell of ozone. Leaving the Computer
Room, they locked the door, and went up the stairs, doffing their
leather jackets as they did. Their immediate destination was
the men's room, where Biff renewed the structure of his hair
with liberal applications of Brylcreem, while Rocky combed out
his ducktail. When they had finished their work there, they left
the building, locking the door behind them.
outside, Biff reached into the pack he carried in the rolled-up
sleeve of his T-shirt and extracted two unfiltered Kools. He
handed one to Rocky, who said, "My doc says that smoking
cigs calms the nerves. He recommends it."
lit their cigarettes as they got into the hot rod. Rocky hit
the starter, then as the engine ground into life turned on the
radio. It warmed up as the motor idled, then when Rocky hit the
clutch and put the hot rod into first gear, the radio burst into
Jack, the famous disk jockey, could be heard announcing the new
record by Elvis, the King of Rock 'n' Roll. Biff said over the
disk jockey's shouts, "Who cares about Elvis? I say Buddy
Holly is still the better singer ..."