Сборники Художественной, Технической, Справочной, Английской, Нормативной, Исторической, и др. литературы.

"The Adventures of Lone Wolf Scientific" by M. Peshota

   Welcome to "The Adventures of Lone Wolf Scientific"
                Copyright 1991 M. Peshota

    In a perfect world they would be mission commanders on
the space shuttle.  But due to the ineptitude of Fate, the
rambunctious computer hardware engineer and the
gentlehearted programmer are working for a government
defense contractor instead.  When they lose their jobs,
following a series of embarrassing exploits, they decide to
form a high-tech company together.

    "The Adventures of Lone Wolf Scientific" is a chronicle
of a computer startup where innovation never comes without
chaos.  In the coming months, you'll meet S-max, Lone Wolf
Scientific's Macchiavellian "Head of Hardware" who plots to
change the world with his antenna-festooned inventions; his
softspoken programmer sidekick, Andrew.BAS, who names all
his programs after successful Apollo flights; and a bevy of
hangers on, including computer magazine pundit Ordin
Babblebin who finds in Lone Wolf Scientific fodder for
endless puerile columns, and Congressman Boris Q. Popinrath,
a technology gunho politician who discovers in the startup
the only reason he can give consituents to re-elect him.

    "The Adventures of Lone Wolf Scientific" is an
electronically syndicated series.  New installments appear
every two weeks (except in summer, when they run every three
weeks).  The series is a regular feature on dozens of
bulletin boards across the country.  The central
distribution center for the series is the Exec-PC BBS in Elm
Grove, Wisconsin (414/789-4210).  All installments can be
found there in the "Free to Unregistered Callers" file
collection.  You don't have to be a registered user of the
system in order to download installments from the board.
Lone Wolf Scientific also appears in GEnie in the Telejoke
Roundtable BBS, Category 6, Topic 16.

    Other multi-line systems where you can obtain up-to-
date Lone Wolf installments include the Sound of Music BBS
in Oceanside, New York (516/536-8723) and Exactus
Information Service in Santo Rosa, California (707/524-
2548).  (If your BBS carries the series and you'd like its
name and number included in future releases of this file,
drop me a note.)

    If you would like to carry "The Adventures of Lone Wolf
Scientific" regularly on your BBS/online service free of
charge, just drop a note to one of the mailboxes listed
below.  Due to the popularity of the series, we are no
longer able to upload it to each BBS individually, but there
are several ways you can receive it via e-mail, including
through the Boardwatch Magazine BBS (303/973-4222) where
it's distributed with USA Today and Byte's Newsbytes, and
via the Smartnet mail echo (contact Paul Waldinger at the
Sound of Music BBS).

    At present, we are still working on satellite,
microwave, and ham radio transmission.  ;->

    You may upload episodes of "The Adventures of Lone Wolf
Scientific" to any bulletin board or online service that you
wish.  You may also print them out and distribute them--in
hardcopy or electronically--to friends, colleagues, loved
ones, whomever you wish.  You may not charge them anything
for your reproducing efforts, though, except maybe for an
occasional cup of coffee or a doughnut--you may demand a fee
of one of those.

    The only responsibility that will be placed on your
weary shoulders is the request that whenever you
distribute episodes of "The Adventures of Lone Wolf
Scientific," you distribute them with this file,
WELCOME.LWS, and the accompanying file EPISOD.LWS which
lists all previous episodes and the order in which they
first appeared.

    "The Adventures of Lone Wolf Scientific" is copyrighted
by the author, of course, but may be reproduced for free, in
whole or in part, in any not-for-profit publication,
including computer user's group newsletters.  The author
requests only that a copy of the publication be mailed to
the street address listed below.

    Additionally, if you publish a user's group newsletter,
you may obtain from M. Peshota, free of charge, a disk
containing whimsical "shorts" designed specifically to fill
small empty spaces in newsletters.  Simply mail a blank
floppy disk to one of the addresses listed below, along with
the name of your user's group.

    I hope that you enjoy "The Adventures of Lone Wolf
Scientific".  Writing them has been one of the great joys of
my life.  Hopefully, reading them will be one of the joys of


M. Peshota

Internet:  3127737@mcimail.com
GEnie: M.PESHOTA, user i.d., XTY31866

"The Adventures of Lone Wolf Scientific"
"The Adventures of Lone Wolf Scientific" is
an electronically syndicated series that
follows the exploits of two madcap
men of high-technology. Copyright
1991 Michy Peshota.  May not be
distributed without accompanying

           The Computer Genius Goes to Work

>>The worst thing that can happen to a globe-trotting
computer genius is gainful employment.  From a curb outside
an artificial intelligence company, computer genius S-max
contemplates the wreckage of his employment history. He
desperately hopes the rescue mission is properly wired for
his needs.<<

                     By M. Peshota

    The computer genius took a seat on the curb outside the
artificial intelligence company from which he had just been
ejected.  The reason for his firing this time was that he
had refused to speak to anyone in the company.  He felt that
this was unfair.  He didn't speak to imbeciles.  That was
just the way it was.
    He unfastened the big plastic walkie-talkie that was
clipped to his belt and started fiddling with it.  It was
his form of whittling.  Whenever he had things to think
about, he took apart his walkie-talkie.  If anyone had
passed by and spotted the bear-sized computer dweeb with the
ripped sneakers, Moammar Ghaddaffi pout and dark brooding
eyes, perched on a curb, disembowling a walkie-talkie, they
would have run for the police.  The Chia Pet-like helmet
that was his hair and that was the shape and color of
violent explosions on TV from which there are seldom
survivors would have prompted them to run faster.
    Job loss ordinarily had little effect upon S-max.  This
was because he had more important things to think about than
how to earn a living.  There was neural processing, for
instance.  There was gallium arsenide.  There were thrilling
new video games coming into the stores almost each and
everyday.  (Curiously, none of the computer genius's former
employers seemed to appreciate one of the most astounding
traits of his remarkable mind and that was that he
did his best work after playing seventeen straight hours of
video games.  Equally amazing, most of them insisted that he
show up for work everyday--as if a computer genius of his
stunning intellect should have to work everyday!)
    Through the past year, ever since S-max's parents had
booted him and his myriad of feckless inventions out of the
house, the computer genius had found it increasingly
difficult to hold a job. There was the Swedish
telecommunications firm, for instance, from which he was
fired for taking indecent liberties with other people's
geostationary satellites.  There was the Nevada chip-maker
from which he was suspended without pay after parking his
Chevy with the satellite dish on top in the reserved parking
spaces of company executives.
    There was the Montana aerospace firm from which he was
booted after the FBI brought in a computer expert to dump
over his wastebasket and sort through its contents after he
had discovered, quite by accident one day, that all it took
was one directory sort and a liberally applied case of flux
remover to bring every Defense Department computer network
crashing to its knees.  O, what a tragedy that had been!
Then there was the Brazilian mini-computer maker.  Just
because the computer genius had disappeared for three months
with a company inflatable dingy and, upon reappearance, had
explained that he had been to a DIP switch convention in the
South Seas, was no reason to leave him out in the jungle for
six weeks with nothing but a can of pinto beans and a ribbon
    Normally, the computer genius couldn't care less when
he got the pink slip.  He took his walkie-talkie and his
shopping bag full of screwdrivers and shuffled out the door
with a sniff of indignation.  He never looked back.  He
never apologized.  If anything, he pitied his former
employer for its shortsightedness in firing a computer
genius of his magnificent intellect. This time, however, his
brusque escort to the artificial intelligence company
parking lot left him feeling a mite bitter. Maybe it had
something to do with the fact that it had been less than
forty-eight hours since he had lost his job at a
semiconductor manufacturer, he reflected.
    Again, the whole affair had been shockingly unjust.
Just because the company's Cray-Y-MP-Z80 supercomputer had
inexplicably vanished one night and its kitschy Naugahyde
designer seat cushions had been discovered the next day
stacked atop a file cabinet in the computer genius's office
(except for one which was found epoxied to his computer
"prayer stool") was no reason for security guards to hussle
him to the door and take away his cafeteria pass.  It had
been an enormous blow to his frail ego, especially in light
of the fact that it had been only three days since he had
lost his job at a robotics firm for driving a forklift
through the false floor in the computer room in the
middle of the night.
    O, why couldn't these people appreciate true genius for
what it was?  Afterall, he was nothing but a man who
fervently believed that one's creativity should never be
needlessly hampered by the constraints of responsible
engineering, moreless responsibility in general.
    S-max grunted indignantly, poking a gnarled transistor
with a brutish, solder-caked thumb.  It would all be
different, he reflected, jerking a tangle of wires from the
back of his walkie-talkie with a grunt, if his career as a
travelling Rubik's Cube pro had turned out differently.
    At first it was heady, travelling from agricultural
fest to custom car rally, demonstrating to gaping crowds the
wrist twists and thumb flips that had earned him the
honorific of "The Rubick's Cube Kid."  Despite appearances,
solving the magic cube was not a talent the computer genius
had been born with.  Indeed not.  It was a skill in which he
had invested hundreds, possibly thousands of hours
perfecting while in the employ of one dreary high-tech firm
or another, until finally, he knew that it was a talent he
could no longer keep to himself and whatever officemates he
may have at the time, but had a responsibility to share with
the rest of the world.
    The pinnacle of S-max's Rubik's Cube pro career came
when he solved the magic cube in a record six seconds while
parachuting out of an airplane over a meeting of the
Association of Accumulating Computing Machinery.  In his
"Dinky the Transistor" clown costume, the tatters of his
parachute streaming behind him like zinnia petals ripped in
the wind, he crashed through the trees, landed on top a
picnic table, bounced off a styrofoam model of an old
Univac, and landed on top a guy in a wizard's cape and hat,
his "Dinky" costume badly ripped, but his spirits soaring as
he was lifted into the air by a mob of mothy old computer
engineers who cheered "Dinky!  Dinky!"
    Little did he suspect that just two weeks later, during
a cuthroat "cube-down" at a zucchini roast in Omaha, he'd be
badly beaten by a fourteen year old with incredible manual
dexterity, and would later find himself stranded in an Omaha
bus station, penniless, despirited, a washed up intellectual
Olympian with nothing to his name but a dumb plastic cube
and a suitcase full of Mattel lifetime achievement plaques.
    But the computer genius was not a man to know hard
times for long.  When he saw opportunity, he seized it, and
that's just what he did when he began selling the four
million-watt power supplies for personal computers.  Now,
most personal computers have power supplies of only 100 to
200 watts, most personal computer never need anymore watts
than that, but the computer genius, inspired by his lifelong
credo that one's creativity should never be needlessly
hampered by the restraints of responsible engineering,
moreless responsibility in general, and realizing how much
personal computer owners, like fast car afficianadoes, are
always craving faster speed, more zoom to the metal,
proceeded to unload truckload after truckload of four
million-watt computer power supplies upon unsuspecting
personal computer owners.
    When purchasers wrote to the computer genius asking him
what they could do with four million watts on their
motherboards, he responded gleefully: "There are many things
that you can do with four million watts!  You can power
small industrial plants.  You can make inquiries into
whether any rural communities in your area would like extra
electricity.  You can recharge golf cart batteries for
yourself and friends. You can start your own radio station.
Or, you can just add on lots and lots of expansion boards.
Think of the fun!"
    As with many of S-max's other similar high-tech
entreprenuerial ventures, it didn't take long for the
appropriate consumer protection agencies to track down the
name and face behind the anonymous post office box number.
Before he knew it, angry-looking men who looked alarmingly
like Ralph Nader were pounding on his door, demanding
details of his product's Underwriters Laboratories tests.
The computer genius barely escaped with his life.  He fled
to Cincinnati where he laid low for a while, selling
integrated circuit test clips under a variety of aliases and
living in a secret, concealed room above a Snookey's Parts
Shack store.
    S-max clipped his now reassembled walkie-talkie back
onto his belt and contemplated the decline of western
technology as evidenced by the horrible fact that no one
cared to keep him in their employ for very long.  You can
be sure this would not be the state of affairs in Japan,
he grunted to himself.  In Japan, computer companies would
doubtless be falling all over themselves trying to hire and
retain an employee with the unvarnished Yankee ingenuity of
S-max.  Why, they would probably even offer to keep him in
miniature digital clocks for the rest of his natural days,
that's how grateful they would be for his novel approaches
to computer engineering.
    S-max got up from the curb and dusted himself off.   It
had occurred to him that the withered and decomposing form
of a computer genius lying in the gutter would not look
pretty and might even deter impressionable youth from
entering the exciting world of high-technology should they
happen to pass by.  And he certainly didn't want that to
    As the computer genius shuffled down the street, he
fervently hoped that the rescue mission to which he was
headed was properly wired for his needs.


>>>In the next episode, "The Second Renaissance of Space
Exploration Technology and What Happened to It," S-max has a
soulmate in the making.  Tune in then.<<<

"The Adventures of Lone Wolf Scientific"
An electronically syndicated series that
follows the exploits of two madcap
afficianadoes of high-technology.
Copyright 1991 Michy Peshota.
May not be distributed without
accompanying WELCOME.LWS and

               When Men of Destiny Meet

>>Robbed of the last vestiges of his engineering school
idealism, the dimpled young software engineer's spirits
improve when he befriends another man who also failed to get
a job on the space shuttle.<<

                     By M. Peshota

    During the seventeenth month of Andrew.BAS's wait for
his government security clearance, he was joined by another
new employee who also appeared to be waiting for a security
clearance.  The man was so big that he made the security
guards at the door nervous whenever he walked in.  As
he moved, he jingled as though his pockets were filled with
thirty pounds of broken screwdrivers.  He had a perpetual
brooding scowl and his nose leafed out in various
anatomically non-standard directions, prompting Andrew.BAS
to speculate that he had probably been in a lot of fights in
dark, seedy computer rooms.  A pair of smashed safety
goggles poked ominously from his army jacket pocket.

    Each day, the man would slump in a chair in a
corner of the aerospace company's lobby opposite the corner
where Andrew.BAS sat, either fiddling with a walkie-talkie
or snorting and grunting loudly as he read the engineering
magazines on the coffee table.  After cautiously observing
him for several days, Andrew.BAS summoned the nerve to walk
over and introduce himself.  To his surprise, he found the
man not only affable, but once introductions were made, he
never stopped talking.

    His name was S-max, a name he had chosen, he explained,
to replace the poetastic affliction of Sherwood Franklin
Maxwell that he had suffered from birth.

    When Andrew.BAS volunteered that his name--Andrew.BAS--
was actually a derivative of "Andrew Sebastian" and a
nickname given him by engineering school pals because he
used to write all his programs in compiled BASIC, S-max
gasped.  "You're a programmer!"

    "Yes, that's right." Andrew.BAS said this proudly for
he felt that being a computer programmer was something to be
truly proud of.

    "I don't like programmers," S-max scowled.

    "No?  Why not?"

    "They're bothersome.  They use up all the computer
paper.  They're always doing something irresponsible with an
EEPROM.  You have to watch them every minute because they
get underfoot and they leave their program editors where
you're bound to step on them.  Well, you should know, you're
a programmer."

    Andrew.BAS raised his brows.  This was the most bizarre
thing he had ever heard.  "You don't program?"

    "No, I don't program!  I would never debase myself in
such a vile and horrible fashion.  I have more respect for
myself than that!"

    "Then what do you do?"

    "I build things--amazing things, marvelous things,
things that pop and spark and fizzle, and have lots and lots
of cables and connectors hanging off the back, and bright
buttons that you can push, and levers that you can turn, and
that use up incredible amounts of electricity--"

    "You build computers?"

    "Yes, that's right."  S-max smirked pompously.

    Andrew.BAS decided to change the subject.  He asked the
computer builder how he had ended up at Dingready &
Derringdo Aerospace.

    "I was traded," came the bitter reply.


    "Yes, traded."

    "You mean, like, what happens to quarterbacks and
baseball players?"

    "Yes, that is correct."

    "But, umm, I thought that only happened to,
like...quarterbacks and baseball players."

    "Well, it happens to computer geniuses, too."  The man
grunted.  "I was traded by SRI International for two COBOL
programmers, a keypunch machine, and a $3,000 wastebasket."

    "I'm sorry."  Beyond that, Andrew.BAS truly did not
know what to say.

    When the traded computer builder asked Andrew.BAS how
he had ended up at the defense contractor, the programmer
woefully explained that he didn't get the job he wanted
most--the one he had studied for all his life, the one he
had worked for, dreamed of, and suffered for all through
engineering school, the only job that would ever make him
happy--that of mission commander on the space shuttle.

    S-max gasped.  "You applied for that job too?!  I
thought fer sure that I was going to get it.  I am in top
physical condition, you know.  I'd be very good in non-
gravity environments.  I have experience with exercycles.
And I don't know anyone who'd be better at taking care of
payload than me.  Do <> know of anyone who'd be better
at taking care of payload?"

    "Umm, no."

    "See?  It just goes to show how far the job
qualifications of our nation's space program have slipped!"
S-max scowled darkly.  "I was absolutely shocked when I
didn't get that job.  Truly shocked.  I was going to write
an expose on it for national distribution in newspapers,
because it is shocking you know, and someone should write an
expose on it."

    "I guess so."

    "No wonder the space program has been experiencing such
dire calamities."  S-max grunted indignantly.  "It is a dark
day indeed when sensible people refuse to hire capable
computer geniuses like me."

    S-max went on to explain how, following his
disappointing visit to the employment office at NASA (a very
hasty visit, as it turned out, for he was led to the door
shortly after being asked how, as an engineering genius, he
would fasten inside the shuttle's cargo bay a twenty ton
satellite, and he had replied "Duct tape--lots of it!"), he
was fired from his job at another government defense
contractor for living over the false ceiling in the computer

    "Where else is a computer builder like me supposed to
live!?" he howled.  "It's not like I can just go rent a $25-
a-night room in a downtown men's hotel and move in a couple
of Cray Y-MP-Z80s, is it?"

    "Umm, no, I suppose not."

    Shortly after that, he explained, he was suspended
without pay from his next job, at a Dutch electronics firm,
for blowing up the company's research and development labs.
"Now, you would think," he began indignantly, wagging a
finger, "that an employer, especially one in the high-tech
industry, would be more sensitive to their employee's grief
at having blown up all forty-two research labs.  But no!
They had to completely exacerbate the situation by
threatening to cut off my dental insurance and have the
government stamp funny things on my passport!"  The computer
builder again scowled fiercely.

    Upon his return to the United States, a very hasty
return, he explained, for his plane ticket was paid for in
full by the State Department as part of an emergency high-
tech trade diplomacy measure, he procurred a job at a
California mainframe computer manufacturer.  Unfortunately,
that job ended in tragedy too, for the company insisted that
he remove the satellite dish from the top of his car before
driving it into the company parking garage, an experience,
he claimed, that had caused him to grow increasingly bitter
and withdrawn over the years.

    When they finally received their government security
clearances several days later and were told that they could
start work, Andrew.BAS was quite relieved, for he feared
these tales of woe would never end.

    Their new boss was a frenetically indecisive man with
his hair cropped in a military buzzcut.  His name was Gus
Farwick.  As he presented them with employee i.d. badges, he
congratulated S-max on the fact that the FBI's background
check had revealed him to be trustworthy enough to be given
total, unlimited access to every top secret government
computer network in the world. "You must be a great asset to
our country's high-tech research efforts, Citizen S-max," he
cooed with an oozy admiration.

    The computer builder merely grunted as he clipped the
badge to his dirty t-shirt.

    He then turned to the Cub Scoutish Andrew.BAS.  He
frowned.  He explained that because of the programmer's
kooky "nom de guerre"--Andrew.BAS--and because of a certain
program editor he owned that had been written by an
immigrant from an Eastern bloc country that appeared, to the
FBI, to be overly friendly to certain cable TV comics,
he would be permitted only limited access to a payphone
outside the employee washroom and a weekly trip to the
cellophane tape dispenser on Farwick's desk.

    "You're telling me that I've just wasted the past
seventeen months of my life waiting to get access to a tape
dispenser?!" Andrew.BAS cried.

    Farwick twittered in a blithely ineffectual way.
"Funny how that works."

    As the engineer-manager led the two new "recruits," as
he called them, down a crooked, spooky hallway, S-max
whispered to the bereaved Andrew.BAS, "Don't worry about it,
kid.  I'll get you all the long-range intercontinental
missiles that you need.  Did you know that I once had access
to a nuclear submarine?"

    When they rounded a corner, Andrew.BAS thought he saw,
in the darkness, a ghostly apparition pantomining the demise
of his once lofty software engineering ambitions, but it
turned out to be only the shadow of the humungous computer
builder swatting at a bat with a rolled up engineering


<<< Here," Gus Farwick shows Andrew.BAS and S-max their new
office.  They are sobered to discover that they must share
it, not only with each other, but with a mentally frayed
assembly language programming prodigy who's advanced psychic
burn out at times makes him dangerous.<<<<

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

          Welcome to The People's Republic of
                 Electrical Engineering
            "Abandon Hope Ye Who Enter Here"

>>Andrew.BAS, the dimpled young computer programmer who
looks like the kind of programmer Norman Rockwell would have
drawn, is horrified to learn that he will be writing batch
files to aim nuclear missiles.  Meanwhile, his new
officemate gets into a snit with their boss over anti-static
boot mats.<<

                     By M. Peshota

    The engineer-manager, striding ahead of them into the
darkness, droned on like a cardboard sergeant.  "Should you
find yourself lost in the research and development sub-sub-
sub-sub-sub-sub-sub-basement, just follow the jet engine
pieces on the floor.  They'll lead you straight into heart
of The People's Republic of Engineering."

    S-max grunted in appreciation for this travelling tip.
A stricken Andrew.BAS whispered to him, "I still can't get
over the fact that we're going to be building nuclear bombs.
The employee recruitment brochures that they passed out at
my college never said anything about writing batch files to
aim missiles at major population centers."

    "Will you just mellow out!" the computer builder huffed
in impatience. "I don't see why you can't make the best of
this.  Just because you'd rather be a space cadet than work
for a military contractor is no reason to incessantly whine
in my ear.  I, personally, am looking forward to the
opportunity to work with state-of-the-art peace-keeping
materials."  He grunted.  "Just think of all the wonderful
things you'll be able to do with a surface-to-air missile."

    Rounding a hall corner, the trio heard a maniacal
shriek, then spotted the shadow of a hunchback in a space
suit scurrying across the path in front of them.

    Farwick noticed Andrew.BAS gaping at a printout banner
that clung to a cinderblock wall like refuse from a failed
liberty uprising.  It read: "Welcome to the Gus Farwick's
People's Republic of Engineering, Abandon All Hope Ye Who
Enter Here."  The engineer-manager smiled.  "The research
engineers and I share a remarkable relationship.  Some of
them think of me as their father.  That's probably because I
enjoy hearing about the things they do, even though the
technicalities involved make no sense to me."

    S-max shot Andrew.BAS a look of intense and profound
relief.  The programmer wondered what that meant.

    Their new boss continued, "We do a lot of special
things together here in The People's Republic of EE.  Last
month, for instance, I treated everyone to new alligator
clips.  Sometimes we sit around during lunch and talk about
electricity.  That's how close we are."

   The trio reached a drain-opener green door.  A yellowed
window mounted in the center and reinforced with chicken
wire suggested a cross between a door from a seedy public
washroom and a San Quentin cell.  Farwick jiggled the knob
and swung the door open with a clatter.  "Mr. Jellowack!" he
chimed.  "I have officemates for you!"

    They spotted, hunched in a far corner of the office,
what looked like a gargoyle with humungous black-rimmed
glasses bobbing askewedly from his nose.  Perched on a tall
stool in front of a computer terminal, his hair and fingers
flying, he looked like a dungeon apprentice to lunacy.  He
peered at them with dark feral child eyes for a second, then
his gaze darted back to the terminal screen as if he
preferred to think they didn't exist.

     "This is Mr. Jellowack," Farwick motioned to him.  "He
programs exclusively in assembly language, sometimes for
days without sleep, fresh air, nourishment, or healthy human
contact.  This, I am told, is something at which to both
marvel and consider highly dangerous."

    S-max squinted suspiciously at the assembler savant as
if he could see already how dangerous he was.

    Andrew.BAS waved at him in a bright-eyed, friendly
programmerly fashion.  "Hello, Mr. Jellowack!"  he hailed.
"My name is Andrew.BAS.  My favorite programming language is
C, although I do occasionally enjoy adding assembly language
subroutines to my code."

    S-max rolled his eyes in disgust at such a mawkish
display of the over-friendliness programmers like to lavish
upon each other at any meeting.

    Mr. Jellowack ignored them and continued prancing his
scarred knuckles over the keys.

    Farwick swept around the office, arms extended, like a
real estate agent.  "One of the many amenities of this
particular office," he began, "is the plastic boot mat in
the corner."  He pointed at it with pride.

    S-max scrutinized it.  "Is it anti-static?"


    "THEN WHAT GOOD IS IT?!" the indignant computer builder

    Farwick paused in distress, then ignored him and
continued on in an animated, Cavalcade of Homes fashion.
"But wait!" he said.  "There are other hidden graces to this
particular earthen sanctum---"

    S-max glared at the battered metal desk in the center
of the office.  "Why is there only one empty desk?" he
demanded.  He unfastened the big, plastic walkie-talkie that
was clipped to his belt.  He slammed it onto the desk with a
territorial fury.  "And why isn't Andrew.BAS getting a

    Farwick paused and gazed at the desk.  Yes, the wierd
man with the walkie-talkie was correct.  There was only one
empty desk, and he had two new employees to accomodate.
What to do?   He bit his lip in indecision.  He hated
requisitioning office furniture.  There were so many forms
to fill out, so many questions to answer, so many big green
boxes to check.  He finally mumbled, "I suppose you two can
share the desk."

    "I DO NOT SHARE DESKS!" S-max erupted.

    Farwick quivered.

TREATMENT!"  The enraged computer builder flung his baboon-
big arms in the air, all the while rattling like a million
broken screwdrivers.  "At other high-tech installations
where I have worked, I was not only given my own boot mat
and my own pad of While-You-Were-Out memos, I was allowed to
walk around in jeweled slippers!" he howled.  "I had an
office that that overlooked a major freeway!  I had an index
card with my own name printed on it, spelled correctly too
and taped to the office door!  It was taped with the highest
quality masking tape available!  I was provided with an
almost limitless supply of Post-It Notes!  Think about it:
<>!  The crowds gasped and parted
whenever I walked in the direction of the Cray-YMP with a
screwdriver!"  He huffed and sputtered and pulled from a
pocket inside his army jacket the most humungous circuit
diagram that Farwick had ever seen.  He crushed it into a
desk drawer.  "Some days I played video games until I
dropped!" he continued hotly.  "Other days I took naps at my
desk!  My wastebasket was emptied almost daily!  People
retrieved for me my t-shirts and gym socks whenever I
dropped them in the hall!  THAT'S BECAUSE I AM A FAMOUS
glared at Farwick, the engineer-manager felt every fiber in
his body turn to pudding.  "I do not share things,
especially not desks, and <> not with some low-
life computer programmer!"  S-max motioned irritatedly in
the direction of Andrew.BAS.

    Andrew.BAS wondered what he had done to deserve the
designation of low-life.  Meekly, he placed his backpack
full of engineering textbooks and his briefcase full of sci-
fi novels on the floor beside him.  "I'll just sit on the
floor," he volunteered politely.  "The last thing I want to
do is cramp S-max's style."

    S-max looked relieved.  So did Farwick.

    The engineer-manager clapped his hands together. "Then
we are all moved in."

    S-max looked around the office bewildered.  "One last
question," he said.  "Where is my champagne-filled Jacuzzi?"

    "You'll have to take that up with the sales and
marketing department."  The engineere-manager bolted towards
the door.  "They have all the champagne-filled Jacuzzis at
the moment.  We don't get many down here in R and D unless
they're in need of a new landing gear or something like
that."  With that, the frightened Farwick fled down the
hall, leaving the self-proclaimed "famous computer designer"
scowling indignantly and the gentlehearted computer
programmer wondering what he had done to deserve a life of
sitting on the floor, programming nuclear missiles to
annihilate major population centers.

>>>>In the next installment, "Bad Days Befall the People's
Republic of Electrical Engineering," engineer-manager Gus
Farwick contemplates ways to keep the restive S-max safely
in his desk and out of trouble.>>>>


"The Adventures of Lone Wolf Scientific"
An electronically syndicated series that
follows the exploits of two madcap
enthusiasts of high-technology. Copyright 1991
Michy Peshota. May not be distributed
without accompanying WELCOME.LWS and

         Bad Days Befall The People's Republic
                     of Engineering

>>Super engineer-manager Gus Farwick contemplates his newest
problem employee and formulates ways to keep him safely in
his office.<<

                     By M. Peshota

    Darkness had fallen on the happy land of the Gus
Farwick Engineer Management Legacy.  Not since The People's
Republic of Electrical Engineering had suffered confounding
problems learning the company song and been awash in
confusion for days had the engineer-manager endured such
nervous strain.

    The trouble started when he found his newest charge,
Employee S-max, the self-proclaimed "famous computer
designer," sifting through the jet engine pieces on the
research department hall floor.  He was looking for parts
with which to build a champagne-filled Jacuzzi.

    Initiative like that troubled the engineer-manager.
There was always the possibility that the employee would
become so wrapped up in their little engineering diversion--
in Employee S-max's case, building a champagne-filled
Jacuzzi--that they would completely forget to attend to the
more important tasks in The People's Republic of Electrical
Engineering, like practicing the company song(1) and reading
the bulletin board outside Farwick's office.

    Then there was the problem of Employee S-max's so-
called resume.  Resumes were the engineer-manager's primary
means of keeping in touch with reality.  They were his soap
opera and his song.  Whenever one crossed his paper-piled,
rubber band-strewn desk, he read it over scrupulously as
though it were an inter-office memo from heaven.  He
ruminated on the long, elegant job titles and wished that he
had one himself.  He examined the quality of paper, held it
up to the light, and tried to ascertain the cotton content.
He reflected on what if any engineer management
opportunities lay ahead of one who indented so sloppily.

    Employee S-max's resume, however, was the very opposite
of vita-penned reality.  Imagine having been arrested for
pushing an IBM 360 across a Dairy Queen parking lot in the
middle of the night wearing nothing but your shorts--as was
noted under 'Professional Experience'!  Imagine having been
kicked off a Defense Department computer network for calling
everyone on the network "Bud"--as was listed under 'Hard Won
Accomplishments'!  Imagine having fallen asleep in the
trunk of the car of a Digital Equipment salesman and
allegedly awoken the next day in a parallel universe where
VAXen were nothing but little doodads that you tie to the
toes of your ice skates to impress the girls--as was
explained beneath the heading 'Education/Mystic

    The fact that this particular resume had arrived
scribbled on the back of a Popsicle wrapper and had been
heaved through the window of Farwick's office tied to some
sort of electronic gigamaree flame-charred past the point of
easy identification did little to assuage the engineer-
manager's doubts about Employee S-max's suitability to
design multi-billion dollar weapon systems that could
potentially blow up the world.  The fact that Employee S-max
was constantly getting lost on the Dingready & Derringdo
Aerospace parking ramp and the engineer-manager was forced
to dispense each time a search party armed with tranquilizer
guns to bring back the high-strung computer builder, merely
bolstered his opinion that Employee S-max was not typical
People's Republic of Engineering material.  How he had
gotten a laminated employee identification badge in the
first place was a complete mystery to the engineer manager.

    Farwick was resigned to the fact, though, that until he
could dream up some bureacratically cogent, one-sentence
reason for firing Employee S-max and which could be printed
neatly and legibly on the bottom of the "Employee
Termination" form, the restive computer builder was here to
stay.  In the meantime, his ownly recourse was to formulate
a plan for damage control.  The beleaguered manager
extracted from his desk drawer a thick-lined tablet labeled
"Gus's  Own Brainstorms."  It was a souvenir of one of those
high-priced engineering project management seminars that he
attended so frequently and which were often underwritten by
IBM--as was the matching hot pink marker embossed with the
motto "Manage First, Think Later!" which he also extracted
from the drawer.  The quoin of his plan, he resolved, inking
"Big Plan" at the top of the tablet in bold, decisive
strokes with the marker, would be to keep the so-called
"famous computer designer" safely in his desk chair. There
would be no more riffling through the jet engine pieces on
the hallway floor for him.  There would be no more traipsing
into other offices with his over-stuffed prototyping boards
where he might enlist other employees in his eccentric
engineering escapades.  The only time that Employee S-max
would be permitted to leave his office would be once a day
when a Farwick-designated escort would pick him up and walk
him down the hall to read the bulletin board outside the
manager's office.  At all other times, he would be strictly
quarantined to his desk.

    Farwick couldn't decide whether to give Employee S-max
a phone or not.  It might be wise, he reflected, continuing
to jot these gems of research engineer management brilliance
onto the tablet under the heading "B-storm," to give
Employee S-max a phone, but not the ability to dial out.
Oh, how he would have loved to give him a couple thousand
hours worth of Dingready & Derringdo Aerospace employee
motivation cassette tapes with which to fill his time ("Now,
just relax and concentrate on the phrase 'jet
propulsion'...."), but that would mean that he would also
have to give him a tape recorder with which to listen to
them, and Farwick wasn't so sure that he cared to give
Employee S-max access to anymore electronics than was
absolutely necessary.

    The engineer-manager had one final weapon for keeping
the unruly computer designer safely in his desk chair.  Like
many of his other employee relations innovations, it was
nothing less than pure MBA brilliance.  (Not surprisingly,
Farwick had two of them.  One in marketing, or more
specifically, how to prevent marketing from ever taking your
engineers seriously, and another in business communications,
or more specifically, how to avoid active verbs, concrete
nouns, and phrases whose meaning can be pinned down with any
certainty in all written and spoken forms of communication.)
He would put Employee S-max in charge of rolling up the long
pieces of kite string that Dingready & Derringdo tied to
individual components of complex, multi-billion dollar
weapons systems so that they could be easily assembled on
the battlefield with nothing but a few slipknots.  It was a
chore that was guaranteed to keep the all-thumbs computer
designer occupied for months at a stretch.  Why, just
keeping track of the coffee cans in which the kite string
was stored would require titanic organizational skills, the
kind Employee S-max clearly lacked.  What's more, given his
resume-revealed propensity to muddle along pointlessly on
engineering projects for indefinite stretches of time, it
was a task to which he was ideally suited.  (Farwick would
have liked to also put him in charge of keeping track of the
Post-It Notes that the defense contractor affixed to
individual components of multi-billion dollar weapon systems
and which explained to military personnel how to knot the
strings together and correctly pronounce the name of the
complex weapon system, but that might be asking for

    As Farwick returned the cap to his pink marker, he
rejoiced.  Not only had he once again solved a particularly
icky personnel crisis in typical Farwickian fashion, but he
had figured out a way to take an allegedly top computer
designer and have him spend his days rolling up kite string.
What genius!  What moxie!

    In the otherwise unextraordinary mind of engineer-
manager Gus Farwick, the opening pages of Tom Peters' "In
Search of Excellence, Part II--The Farwick Principle" zoomed
into view--as they often did during emotionally moving
moments such as this.  As usual, the pages spared no awe, no
managementese-choked superlatives, in extolling the glory
and wonder of the Gus Farwick Engineer Management Legacy.
("Where life is so sober and well-ordered, the research
department is indistinguishable from the elevator lounge of
a convalescent home.")

    And oh, what a legacy it was!

    (1)  "Onward Dingready Soldiers, as Sung to Chariots of
Fire" by Gus E. Farwick, -- "[Refrain]:  Our blowtorches
are ready, our shoe-strings are tied; Our courage is in
order, our desks are too; Our glasses are polished, our
shirts are pressed (and are in possession of all their
buttons too); Our mission is looming, our courage is too.
[Stanza]:  And when the dawn breaks o'er our research sub-
sub-sub-sub-basement we'll be waiting; to build a better spy
plane or maybe an onboard doughnut maker for a B-2; But the
thing we are best at is the thing we most like to do; And
that is designing things that explode only if they're
supposed to.  Oooh-oooh!" [Repeat refrain.]"

<<<< Workers," a bored Andrew.BAS glues together a plastic model
of the space shuttle, while his new officemate, S-max, brags
about what it's like to be a genius computer builder who has
been put in charge of the awesome task of keeping track of
"super-string links between key components of battlefield
defense networks."<<<<<


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

        A Day in the Life of Two Defense Workers

>>S-max and Andrew.BAS struggle to adjust to their new lives
as defense contractor workers.  When the computer builder
tires of his responsibilities keeping track of "super-string
defense links", he convinces his officemate that they should
design a closet-sized replica of NASA's Mission Control.<<

                     By M. Peshota

    Andrew.BAS was glueing a plastic model of the space-
shuttle together when his officemate burst in.  "Gus and I
just had a man-to-man talk," S-max bragged, referring to
their boss, Gus Farwick.  "Or should I say--"  He smirked
pompously.  "--technological-innovator-to-technological-
innovator?"  The self-proclaimed 'genius computer builder'
plopped a tin can full of kite string on his desk.  "Gus has
assigned me to a most urgent task.  The very fate of
technological civilization may hinge upon its successful

    "Yeah?"  the programmer looked up, impressed.

    S-max smirked again.  He tossed his large, bushy head
for effect.  "I am to keep track of the super-string links
between key components of our multi-billion dollar defense
network.  I am to ensure that expensive weapons do not fall
prey to big hairy knots on the battlefield."  He continued
on breathlessly, "Gus no doubt chose me for this important
task, not only because of my much legended electronic
genius, but also for my extensive knowledge of cosmological
string theory."  He grunted with self-importance.  "I will
no doubt be working on the project for days.  You probably
won't be hearing a lot from me."

    Andrew.BAS nodded agreeably, looking back to the half-
built plastic shuttle model propped on the floor by his
knees.  He liked the idea of not hearing from the loquacious
computer builder for a while.  For the past four days, all
S-max had been doing was shuffling around the office,
ranting about how computer programmers like Andrew.BAS were
intellectually inferior to genius computer hardware
designers such as himself.  He called them "brains-in-a-
wristwatch programmers."  It would be good not to have to
listen to that for a while.

    S-max blurted, "I bet it is a good feeling to know that
you have an officemate who is already getting in good with
the boss."

    "I suppose," Andrew.BAS said politely.  Inwardly, he
couldn't help feel envious that the computer builder now had
work to do while he did not.

    "Employers love me," S-max continued brightly. "They
are continually showering me with goodies."  He pointed in
illustration to the can of kite string on his desk.

    Andrew.BAS smiled wanly.  "I'm very happy for you."

    S-max stuffed his big hands in his army jacket pockets.
He swaggered across the room.  Arriving at his half-
completed "champagne-filled Jacuzzi" sitting in the corner
on the floor, he gazed fondly at its tangle of jet
propellers, lawn sprinklers, and half-drained bottles of
bubble bath.  "It was no doubt my vision for twenty-first
century technology--of which this is a prime example--that
excited Gus the most."  He idly disentangled the cockpit "No
Smoking" sign from the three-legged bathtub.

    "I wouldn't be surprised," Andrew.BAS mused, pouring
over the shuttle model assembly blueprints.

    S-max spotted the plastic cargo shuttle bay with its
miniature satellite that Andrew.BAS's clenched.  "Please,
take that vile thing away, out of my sight," he commanded,
motioning to it. "I don't want to be reminded of our space
program's gross ineptitude in refusing to avail itself of
the free advise of a computer genuis such as myself."  He
shuddered at the memory of his ejection, months prior, from
the employment office at NASA.  One moment he had been
advising the space program on how to secure its forty-ton
satellites in the space shuttle during transport ("Use duct
tape--lots of it."), and the next they were escorting him
and all his broken screwdrivers to the door.  He shuddered
again.  And to think, if they'd played their cards right,
they could have also have had him for a commander on the
space shuttle.

    Andrew.BAS compliantly tucked the miniature cargo bay
out of sight in a nearby cardboard box.

    From the other side of the office, they heard strains
of "Chariots of Fire."  It sounded ghostly.  It was their
officemate, burnt out assembly language savant Austin
Jellowack, humming the company song, "Onward Dingready
Soldiers, As Sung to Chariots of Fire."  With each passing
day, Austin seemed to sink lower and lower behind his
computer terminal, his arthritic knuckles rattling over the
worn, dirty keys faster and faster, as if the more he saw of
his new officemates, the more frightened he became.

    Ignoring him, S-max shuffled back to his desk.  He
pulled from his jacket's inside pocket a wide roll of paper.
With loud, self-important rustles, he smoothed it out on the
desk.  He traced a finger over the blueish paper, back and
forth several times, emitted a "Hmmph!" of thought, then
stared at it intently, rubbing his stubbled chin.  Finally
he said to Andrew.BAS, "These are blueprints for a multi-
billion dollar weapon sytem.  I sweet-talked them out of the
receptionist at the front desk."

    The programmer looked up skeptically. "The receptionist
had blueprints for a multi-billion dollar weapon system?"

    "They were entrusted to her in case of an attack by
barbarians.  The last place barbarians would look for secret
multi-billion dollar weapon plans would be in the top drawer
of a receptionist's desk.  Clever, don't you think?"

    Andrew.BAS lifted his small, blond head to get a look
at the alleged multi-billion dollar blueprints.  "Isn't that
one of the posters that Dingready & Derringdo mails to
college job placement offices to help recruit employees?"

    S-max eyed the paper skeptically.

    Andrew.BAS walked over and pointed out a small drawing
at the bottom.  It depicted a gaggle of recent engineering
school graduates holding their moon helmets.  "And look at
this plane," he added, pointing to a graceless craft with a
missing propeller and which looked like it had been shot
down over Cleveland.  Passengers, adorned in hombergs and
1954 suits and dresses, slid down a big orange inflated
slide propped against its side.  They were sliding into the
ocean, or else jumping out the door in parachutes.
Andrew.BAS explained, "It's a poster that shows how to exit
a Dingready & Derringdo plane in an emergency.  Don't you
see the company motto on the bottom?"  He pointed to it.  It
said "Courtesy of Dingready & Derringdo Aerospace.  We're
there on the ground when you need us."

    The computer builder scrutinized it further.  He knit
his thick brows in disbelief.  Finally he gasped, "Why
you're right, Andrew.BAS!  I should have spotted it
immediately!  As I'm sure you're aware, these college
recruitment posters are often indistinguishable from plans
for multi-billion dollar weapon systems.  Defense
contractors like Dingready & Derringdo often print up plans
for multi-billion dollar weapon systems at the same time
that they print up college recruitment posters--so as to
save on the cost of silk-screening."  He grunted.
"Consequently, the two frequently become confused.  It was
an easy mistake to make.  I am glad you caught it in the
nick of time, though, before I spent <>
pencilling in a radar navigation system or a computer
telemetry system.  Think of it!  I could have frittered away
enormous amounts of my high-paid electronic genius designing
a telemetry system for a plane that specializes in
transporting floppy hatted nudniks to Miami Beach."  With a
cluck of childlike admiration, he added, "My, you are
perceptive for a computer programmer, aren't you?  I
wouldn't have guessed that a programmer such as yourself
could unriddle such an intellectual subtlety without the
profligate singing of Sesame Street songs."  He grunted
again.  "Usually, computer programmers are not very bright."

    Andrew.BAS ignored the offensive S-max and returned to
his model space shuttle on the floor.

    S-max jammed the so-called "blue prints" into a desk
drawer.   Arising from his desk with the hautiness of a
lion, he sauntered over to Andrew.BAS's model space shuttle
and eyed it critically.  He circled it several times.
Finally, he exclaimed, "No, no, Andrew.BAS, you are doing it
all wrong!"  He wagged a finger in reprimand.  "Before you
glue on the plastic landing wheels you need to mark off your
launch ground.  Migod, don't they teach you people
<> at programmers' school?!  I can hardly believe
what I am seeing."  From a screwdriver-stuffed pocket, he
extracted a gnarled hunk of red chalk.  It looked like the
kind of red chalk usually responsible for indecipherable
writing on the walls of circuit closets.  With a loud sigh
of exasperation, he leaned over and began chalking on the
concrete floor--circles, stars, arrows, lines, ellipses,
x's, triangles, Mickey Mouse ears, two stick figures, dollar
signs, a heart with an arrow through it, something that
looked like the coast of Africa, and a maze-like runway in
the shape of an Aztec lizard.  All the while, he clucked in
artistic self-fulfillment.

    Andrew.BAS watched him in astonishment.

    Finally, the computer builder stood up, brushed the
chalk from his baboonish hands, and surveyed the now
bruised-looking floor in pride.  "That will do it, now
you're set," he proclaimed, shuffling back to his desk.

    In relief, Andrew.BAS resumed glueing plastic wheels on
his shuttle model.

    S-max, meanwhile, once again took a seat behind his
desk, extracted the crumpled "weapon system blue prints"
from the drawer, and began sketching a telemetry system onto
the plane.

    For several moments, the only sound was the screech-
screech of S-max's green laundry marker and the off-key
humming of the assembly language savant in the corner.

    Soon, Andrew.BAS spotted the computer builder once
again eyeing his plastic space shuttle dolefully.

    "Now what's wrong?"

    "You need a Mission Control."

    "A Mission Control?"

    "Yes, a Mission Control.  One with a lot of expensive
computer consoles."

    "I see."

    "It is absolutely imperative that we have one,
Andrew.BAS!  The authenticity of the project depends upon

    "But we already have a launch ground," Andrew.BAS
protested, nodding toward the ravished floor.

    S-max ignored him and pointed to the closet directly
behind him.  "It would fit perfectly in the coat closet."

    "The Mission Control?"

    "I am not talking about that collection of Cracker Jack
prizes you refer to as programming tools!" he burst out.
"Yes, the Mission Control."

    Andrew.BAS stared at the coat closet in apprehension.
He could see it now: the deranged computer builder stuffing
it full of lawn sprinklers and radio-antenna festooned
bathtubs, just like his champagne-filled Jacuzzi.  He would
probably scheme a way to install an electrical outlet which
he would proceed to dangerously overload.  All that
Andrew.BAS could think of saying, though, was, "Where are we
going to store our snowboots in the winter?"

    S-max rumbled, "Migod, you programmers are such old
maids!  <>" he
whined in mimicry of the programmer's soft-voiced protest.
"This is not the time for trifles!  This is not the time to
worry about where we're going to store our rubber boots!
Now is the time for action!"

    "I see," Andrew.BAS reflected calmly.  It really wasn't
such a bad idea, he mused, building a miniature Mission
Control to go with his miniature space shuttle.  It could
serve as a monument to all the computer programmers who work
so hard in Mission Control coding the computer software that
speeds man across the galaxy.  Whenever he looked at it he
could think of his life-long dream--to be one of the
programmers in Mission Control.  Finally, he asked, "What
should we build it out of?"

    As the waifish Andrew.BAS struggled to push the
shopping cart loaded with toy robots down the aisle, S-max
bustled ahead of him through the hobby store.  "Let's
see..." he mused, plucking a plastic rocketship off the
shelf, "we still need a moon rover, an all-terrain planetary
recreational vehicle, and something with extra-large
tailpipes in which to roll over the plains of Saturn in

    "I thought we were only building a Mission Control."

    "Migod, Andrew.BAS!" the blowsy S-max despaired.
"Don't you realize that when you bring an unvarnished
computer genius like me into a project, one visionary
concept is going to just naturally flow into another?"

    "I'm sorry, I didn't realize that."

    "Well it is something you're going to have to become
accustomed to."  The computer builder snorted.  He snatched
from a shelf several handfuls of rubber snakes and lizards
and heaved them into the cart.  Ever since they had arrived
at Loose-Toothed Lonzo's Crazy Crafts and War Games, S-max
had been animated with the glee of a newly installed diety
about to jerry-build a brandnew Creation out of craft paste
and 25 cent felt pieces.  He paraded down the aisles,
tossing into their shopping cart every plastic gewgaw that
caught his eye.

    "What are those for?" Andrew.BAS asked of the snakes.

    "For the model of the Mojave Desert rocket test grounds
that we will erect in the wasteland that is the second floor
marketing department."

    The programmer groaned.  Not only did S-max plan to
build a model of Mission Control in their office coat
closet, but now he also wanted to transform second floor
marketing into a rocket test grounds, as well as make the
the janitor's closet down the hall into a space-ship airlock
by hanging rubber octopus from the ceiling--to simulate
space creatures trying to sneak into the ship.  How did he
ever let himself get mixed up in this? Andrew.BAS wondered.

    The computer builder's restless eyes fell on a plaster
bust of John F. Kennedy.  It was wedged between two ready-
to-paint birdhouses on a shelf.  He seized it with
satisfaction. "This will make an ideal prop for the TV
announcer's room that we can build in the vault down the
hall from our office."

    "You mean the vault where they lock the engineering

    "Yes, that is the one.  It is perfectly insulated to
keep the raucous of ill-behaved TV people from disturbing
the men and women of technological vision in Mission
Control.  It also has a pretty good lock."  He nestled the
bust of the technologically far-seeing president beneath the
shopping cart beside the case of silver spray-paint.

    Pushing the overloaded cart further down the aisle,
Andrew.BAS repeated one of the questions that had troubled
his sensible mind all through their shopping spree. "How are
we going to pay for all this junk?"

    "I wouldn't worry about it, Andrew.BAS," came the hasty
response.  "I'm sure our employee has a credit line here."

    "Why would an aerospace company have a credit line at
Loose-Toothed Lonzo's Crazy Crafts & War Games?"

    "Trust me, Andrew.BAS, I have worked for defense
contractors before.  Where else but the local hobby shop are
they going to procure their instant paper mache'?"

    All through the drive home (they discovered that
Dingready & Derringdo Aerospace did indeed have a credit
line at Lonzo's), S-max chattered away about how they could
expand their depictions of NASA operations beyond the coat
closet, beyond the marketing department, beyond the
blueprint vault, beyond even the janitor's closet.  "We can
hot-glue plastic diplodocuses around Gus Farwick's office to
similate the halls of Congress pitifully frozen in the
technological Stone Age.  We can affix broken hand-mirrors
to that model of the <> in the employee
cafeteria to make it look like a dysfunctional space

    When they finally arrived back at work, Andrew.BAS
stumbling beneath a heavy load of shopping bags, S-max
sauntering ahead of him as nonchallantly as a man with no
burdens in the world, the computer builder proceeded to
spent the rest of the day lying on his stomach on the floor,
modeling from clay misbegotten little figures that were
supposed to be NASA employees, but looked more like
casualties of an atomic blast.  Andrew.BAS, meanwhile,
spray-painted his and S-max's tennis shoes silver to make
them look like moon boots.

    All the while, their officemate, Austin Jellowack,
watched them fearfully from behind his computer terminal, as
he hummed broken bars of the company song, assumedly for
comfort.  When S-max finally tired of this dirge-like
crooning, he seized the startled Austin by the t-shirt
collar, shoved a shopping bag full of mirrors and glue gun
in his withered hands, then dragged the frail, monkish
programmer out the door and down the hall to the employee
cafeteria.  There he deposited him in front of the model of
the <> with vague instructions to transform it
into "something we can all enjoy."

    The model-builders worked late into the night.  Whoever
passed by their office and spotted the dim, yellow light
burning solemnly through the mottled glass window of the
door, marvelled at the employees' zest for work and how they
were applying themselves so diligently to the problems of
our nation's high-tech defense.  Some no doubt commented to
themselves that the government was for once getting its
money's worth from Dingready & Derringdo Aerospace and, as
far as the military contractor was concerned, they were
probably correct.

>>>>In the next episode, "The House Guest with 172 Soldering
Irons," Andrew.BAS naively offers the homeless S-max a place
to sleep.  The two reluctant confreres are not even out of
the employee parking garage when he begins to regret it.<<<<

"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.

         The House Guest with 172 Soldering Irons

>>Andrew.BAS naively offers his homeless officemate a place
to sleep.  He and S-max are barely out of the company
parking garage when the generous-to-a-fault programmer
begins to regret his offer of hospitality.<<

                      By M. Peshota

    "I don't know about you," S-max said to Andrew.BAS, as
the two reluctant defense workers shuffled to the parking
garage, their fingers weary from bending Gumbys into poses
of intelligent earnestness to seat inside the miniature
model of NASA's Mission Control they were building in their
office closet, "but this project has fired my imagination in
a way no other has since I endeavored in my youth to be the
first man to implement true parallel processing with a Z80
chip and sandwich bag ties."  He grunted. "Who would have
suspected that when we arrived at work this morning, two
innocent young men, the sum of whose life ambitions could be
clamped together with an alligator clip, would have, by the
end of the day, transformed four of the five main corridors
of the research sub-basement into real-life replicas of
space shuttle landing strips, each so authentic in their
detail that even the rubber snakes glued on alternate
linoleum floor tiles appear to have been run over by space
shuttle wheels careening at top speed."

    "What about the super-string defense links?" his
officemate asked, referring to the top-secret project that
their boss, Gus Farwick, had put the computer builder in
charge of that morning and which seemed to involve a lot of
kite string.

    "It pales in significance," came the response.  It was
punctuated by a self-important grunt.

    They arrived at a small apple-red motorbike parked in
an out-of-the-way stall. It looked like a one-eyed space
insect, with its over-sized headlight bulging from the front
fender and two long-armed mirrors protruding from each
handlebar like insect antenna. In contrast to the bike's
buggy cuteness were its polished curves, sleek, beautiful,
and cerebral, looking like an idea still sketched on a
design board rather than a welded object. It was the bike of
an impeccably sensible man who is often over-cautious,
sometimes over idolatizes efficiency, but always moves with
a swift, impala-like, mathematical grace.

    Andrew.BAS stuffed his briefcase in one of the wire-
baskets that saddled its sides, while S-max examined a small
triangular flag that flew on an aluminum pole above the back
fender.  It read "BASIC Programming Madman On Board.  Please
Drive Extra Carefully."

    "Yes, I would certainly want to drive extra careful if
confronted by a BASIC programming madman on the road," S-max

    "That's old," Andrew.BAS said self-consciously.  He
hopped onto the seat and buckled the chin strap of his
helmet.  With the oversized helmet cocooning his freckled
face, he looked like a test driver for toy race cars packed
in cereal boxes.  "Where do you live?" he asked S-max out of

    The computer builder pointed toward the opposite end of
the parking garage.  "See that satellite dish?"

    "You live in a satellite dish?"  Andrew.BAS strained to
see it.  Nothing about the screwball computer builder would
have surprised him.

    "No, in the van to which it's cleverly attached."

    "You live in your van?!"

    "It's very convenient.  I keep my oscilloscope and all
my favorite wrenches in the back."

    "But why do you live in your van?"

    "Because the rescue mission where I was sleeping threw
me out after I rewired the light above my cot to blink off
and on in Morris code whenever my blanket caught on fire."

    "Your blanket would catch on fire?"

    "The extension cord they provided me with was
insufficient to simultaneously power my PDP-1, my popcorn
popper, my 450-pound dot matrix printer, my electric tuba,
and the blinking Budweiser sign of the miscreant in the next
cot named Phil."  He grunted. "I don't think it was
Underwriters Laboratory approved."

    "Gee."  Andrew.BAS felt suddenly sorry for his socially
outcast officemate.  Without thinking, he blurted, "You can
stay at my house."  As soon as he said it, he regretted it.

    "Why, I'll do just that!" S-max enthused.  He bustled
off in the direction of the satellite dish.  From across the
parking garage, Andrew.BAS heard him yell: "Lead the way on
your childish-looking scooter, I'll follow!"  The gentle
programmer shuddered.  The last thing he wanted was the
wire-fisted bigot for a house guest.

    As Andrew.BAS steered his tidy cycle down the garage
ramp, he heard a thunderous thumping coming from behind him.
He glanced in the rearview mirror.  Within inches of his
back fender lurched a hell-torn micro-bus, painted heartache
gray except for the copious rust that spotted it like an
Appaloosa.  Both of its headlights were smashed.  A yellow
stenciled lightning bolt zig-zagged down its blasted grill.
On its roof twirled a satellite dish, cocking side to side
like Rube Goldberg's martini about to capsize.  S-max poked
his orange electrified head out the window.  "Andrew.BAS!"
he howled.  "How many electrical outlets did you say your
house has?"

    In terror, Andrew.BAS sped up.

    "Do you happen to have 2,000 electrical amp service?
You don't have 60 amp service, do you--?"  His voice was
momentarily drowned out by the volcanic backfire of the
van's exhaust pipe.  "--because if you do, we're going to
have to knock out some walls and find an electrical
transformer tower and put in a big cable or sumpin'--"

    "Hoooonnnnngggg--gggrrewwww--!" the S-max-mobile went.

    Andrew.BAS felt his hair stand on end.  As he shot out
of the parking garage and into the street, the van trailed
him closely.  It sounded like a million broken screwdrivers
being sucked into a blackhole.  When Andrew.BAS stopped at
an intersection, he heard squeeling tires behind him.  It
lasted for nearly three full minutes.  It sounded like the
background to a film shown in remedial driving class.  In
his rear mirror, Andrew.BAS saw that the S-max-mobile was
haloed by a filigree of purple electrical wires as
ostentatious as the walls of a temple. They streamed from
its half-opened windows, they were strung into the wheel
wells, they snaked around the grill, they sprouted from the
roof and curled into space like inexplicable circuit paths
in a dubious high-school science fair project.  Under each
of the van's broken windshield wipers were stuffed fistfuls
of parking tickets.  Like S-max himself, the van, even when
stopped at the light, jiggled with the nervous
irrepressability of a hyperactive inventor's mind.

    The light glowed green, and Andrew.BAS proceeded
soberly across the intersection.  For several blocks, he
didn't hear any squeeling tires behind him, and began to
wonder if he had lost S-max.  He tried to recall if he had
given the loquacious computer builder his address, then
sighed relief upon remembering that he had not.

   A few blocks later, though, the S-max-mobile reappeared
behind him, clanking and lurching, looming out of the fog
like a garbage barge.  As it once again nosed within inches
of his back fender, Andrew.BAS noticed that a <>
newspaper box was now impaled upon its grill.  The box
dangled from the vertex of the grill's lightning bolt like
some kind of pillaged space-age treasure chest.

    S-max poked his fright wig-haired head out of the
window again.  "Your electrical service is not 60 amp is
it?" he implored.  "Please tell me that it's not."

    Fearing that the thumping van was about to overtake and
crush him, Andrew.BAS sped up again, but to no avail.  S-max
steered the van clumsily up onto the sidewalk beside him,
its tires embracing the curb like giant bolgna rings, as he
drove alongside him.  "I once lived in a house with 60-amp
power," he continued breathlessly, "and everytime I plugged
in my 450-pound dot matrix printer in the outlet above the
kitchen sink at the same time that the outlets in the
bathroom and bedrooms were servicing my X.25 packet-switched
network, my electric tuba would fill the air with the scent
of smoldering duct tape (this was most likely because my
tuba is bandaged to a fair with degree with duct tape)."  He
added, "I mean <> didn't mind, things like this do not
bother me, but it certainly <> bother the Kurdish
family I was staying with."

    Andrew.BAS observed that S-max's van looked like it had
been battered all about with a baseball bat.  He wondered if
the Kurdish family had been responsible for any of that.

    When the programmer eventually glided his bike into his
house's driveway, he glanced over his shoulder to see the S-
max-mobile bump to a stop halfway in the driveway, halfway
out in the street. Its clamorous pistons puffed to silence.
The endomorphic computer builder struggled out of one of the
windows and jumped down to the sidewalk.  He took a place
behind a ravaged back fender and began pushing the van the
rest of the way into the driveway.  In the course of this
effort, the satellite dish made one final exhausted twirl
through space and the <> box fell off the grill
and into the gutter.  Andrew.BAS dismounted his bike and
hurried over to help.

    "I wouldn't worry about it if I were you, Andrew.BAS,"
S-max hailed, inching the exhausted vehicle further into the
drive.  "My transportation system always breaks down when
I'm on the threshhold of a new and exciting stage in my
life.  It's a propitious sign!"

    Bereavedly, the computer programmer wondered < whom>> it was propitious.


>>In the next episode, "The House Where Andrew.BAS Lived,"
S-max discovers that not only is Andrew.BAS's home no
Hilton, it's not even near a Radio Shack.<<

"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.

                The Ghost of Alan Turing

>>Monkish assembly language wizard Austin Jellowack is
pestered by an unwelcome pal from a higher programming

                    By M. Peshota

    Austin squirted glue on the back of a pocket mirror.
He pressed it to the side of the balloon with the fussiness
of an artist who expects each of his glue blobs to endure
through eternity.  He stood back and caught his breath at
the beauty unfolding.  Who would have guessed that a burnt-
out Boolean magician like himself, a man who had sacrificed
the best years of his life and the best parts of his mind to
chasing algabraic monkeys in and out of dark holes and was
now a frazzled, bug-eyed wastrel because of it, would find
personal fulfillment in hot-glueing 59 cent pocket mirros to
a cardboard model of a doomed dirrigible?  He slathered glue
onto the back of another mirror and affixed it to the
quivering airship.  He leaned back in his perch atop the
ladder and gazed at his amorphous creation with pride.

    The idea was to make the model of the dirigible--or,
the <> as it was dubbed--more closely resemble
NASA's space telescope.  Why Austin was supposed to do this
he did not know.  Earlier that evening, his new officemate,
the one with the orange fright wig hair and the big green
army jacket that jingled like a sack full of hardware, had
slapped a glue gun in his pale palm, deposited a shopping
bag full of mirrors in his withered arms, and led him by the
elbow to the company cafeteria with no explanation given.

    But there were so many things that the often
disoriented assembly wiz was unsure of these days--including
his name sometimes, the color of his hair, if he still got a
paycheck, where he lived, and whether he had a family, and
if so, where--that not knowing why he was pasting mirrors to
a big green balloon hardly mattered.  All he thought of was
the sense of accomplishment it gave him.  It was unlike
anything he had experienced before--or at least anything he
could remember having experienced.  Austin slathered glue on
another pocket mirror and slapped it onto the

    The plastic and cardboard gourd that was the object of
his ministrations hovered in a corner of the military
contractor's cafeteria, anchored to the salad bar by fish
line.  It was the product of a research and development
department "motivation weekend."  Mr. Farwick, their boss in
the research department, attended many such motivation
weekends, but one's designed for mid-level engineers-
managers like himself.  At these events, he and and other
engineer-managers attended peppy lectures with titles like
"Getting Your Engineers to Think More Clearly through
Subliminal Suggestion Bumper Stickers" and "How to Talk to
Employees Who Know How to Build Bombs When You Do Not."
They also swapped motivation tapes, practiced using their
cellular phones in rugged terrains like in saunas and
steakhouse parking lots, compared brands of stress vitamins,
and, on the very last day, engaged in some sort of middle-
management bonding ritual in which everyone pooled their
talents to find their way to the hotel cocktail lounge with
a compass.

    Mr. Farwick thought it would be good for his research
engineers to participate in such a motivation weekend.
Since he didn't want to spend the money to send them to one,
he planned the motivation weekend himself.  On the very last
day of Mr. Farwick's motivation weekend, following a
desultory two days of sitting in the damp basement company
cafeteria, looking at slides of various brands of stress
vitamins, he assigned his employees the task of designing an
airship.  Just like when they designed large, expensive
weapons for the Pentagon, they had only a limited budget, a
short period of time in which to do it, and a limited supply
of string and paperclips.  As everyone worked feverishly,
the manager paced among the tables, crooning "To Dream the
Impossible Dream" like a recovered lounge singer suffering a
psychotic flashback.

    The result was the <>.  It looked more like
a lost Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon than a
warship, although ironically it did not look unlike many
other aircraft that Dingready & Derringdo Aerospace designed
for the military.  It looked especially like the spy planes.
The spy planes always cast shadows that looked more like
those of Mighty Mouse with swollen feet and goiters on each
side of the neck than of dark predator birds.  The
<>'s inner frame was woven of lashed together
fish stick boxes.  Its whale-gray skin was concocted of
green garbage bags stapled together.  On its belly was
stenciled the assurance "Completely Biodegradable," which
was a good thing since there was bound to come a day when
its fish stick box skeleton drooped with structural fatigue
and the string and helium which held it aloft like the Loch
Ness monster above the salad bar had second thoughts about
its purpose in the universal scheme of things, and the whole
mess came crashing down on top the avocado salad.

    Austin affixed another mirror to the balloon.  In
tiling its flank, he scrupulously worked around the spot
where everyone liked to reach up and stick their Chiquita
Banana stickers.  He felt that this, more than anything
else, should be preserved for posterity.  He tried to
remember if the space telescope had any Chiquita Banana
stickers stuck on it.

    The programmer was nearly finished glueing pocket
mirrors on the <> (amazingly, it <>
beginning to look a bit like the space telescope), when he
felt suddenly sad.  There were only two mirrors left on the
bottom of his bag.  He hoped the crazy man with the fright
wig hair had more pocket mirrors for him to glue, if not on
the <>, then maybe on other things in the
cafeteria like the chocolate milk machine.

    Austin was reloading his glue gun when, from the corner
of a bloodshot eye, he spotted a glimmer of white.  It
floated through the air in the immediate vacinity of the
croissant vending machine.  Instinctively, the programmer
leaped from the ladder and dove beneath the salad bar, arms
and legs trembling as if his very life was in peril.  He
watched worriedly as the white whisp spiralled over the
grimey cafeteria tables, and twisted among the flourescent
lights like DNA strands.  Gliding closer to the croissant
machine, it swelled out like a genii, then materialized into
a tweedy, gossamer man standing in front of the vending
machines.  He fed quarters into the machine, one by one,
almost defiantly, and grumbled about how old the pastry
looked.  Austen watched the ghost and, barely breathing,
prayed that he wouldn't spot him.

    Ordinarily, the ghost remained in Austin's office
closet, reasonably well-behaved.  That's where the ghost
kept his bicycle--an old, wide-handled Schwinn which he had
pumped to work everyday of his tortured life, counting the
pedals' revolutions until the chain popped off.  Like
Austin, he too was fascinated by how mathematically
predictable mechanical catastrophe can be.  Occasionally the
ghost would come out of the closet and pedal around the
office to illustrate to Austin some subtlety of computer
memory architecture, or else he'd peer over the programmer's
shoulder, telling him which POP instructions to NOP and
which operands to avoid at parties, until Austin became so
annoyed with the ghost's know-it-all kibbitzing that he'd
chase him back into the closet, his skinny arms waving like
a windmill in the air, his thick black glasses bouncing down
his craggy nose as he charged towards the closet and slammed
the door shut with battering ram force.  Then he'd shout at
it "Now you stay in there!"

    Sometimes, though, the ghost couldn't be chased back
into the office closet so easily.  If he didn't get his way,
if Austin didn't follow his advise, he'd stand on the
programmer's desk, his big wing-tipped shoes stamping
indignantly on Austin's coded printouts, flinging copies of
<> around the office.  Other times, when he got
lonely, he'd follow the reclusive programmer down the hall
on his bike, coax him to the cafeteria, and there bend his
ear for hours over coffee and crullers, repeating
unbelievable yarns of his own programming exploits and
reminiscing fondly of his long-extinct Colossus computer.

    Austin had no doubt that the ghost was who he claimed
to be--the long-dead father of computer programming, Alan
Turing.  His taste in nappy flannel pants and British tweed
jackets was unmistakable.  Often he'd wrap his ghostly arm
around Austin and tell him how alike they were--how they
were just two wild-haired, stack-kicking guys mentally
unravelled beyond the hope of shock therapy from years of
addiction to long hexadecimal numbers.  He'd tell him that
the only difference between them was that when Austin was
programming too hard, smoke came from his ears, just like in
cartoons, something that never happened to Turing.  Turing
explained that early on in his programming career he'd had
the foresight to train himself so that smoke never came from
his ears.  Austin wasn't sure whether to believe the ghost
in this regard, but he found himself nonetheless frequently
racing down the defense contractor's hallway to the
washroom, in the middle of a research department meeting, to
check in the mirror if his ears were actually smoking.  So
that his co-workers wouldn't think he had completely lost
his mind, Austin told them about the ghost.  He also told
them how the ghost had warned him that smoke billowed from
his ears whenever he worked too hard.

    Soon the engineering department buzzed with rumors
about how the crazy assembly language programmer claimed to
see the ghost of the greatest programmer who had ever lived.
Austin didn't think anything of it, but it wasn't long
before the rumors grew and grew.  Soon everyone was talking
about how Austin was also fraternizing with the ghosts of
other long-deceased computer pioneers, including Blaise
Pascal, Charles Babbage, and the first programmer ever, the
sublime Lady Lovelace.  Turing became livid with jealousy.
For weeks, the frazzled ghost flung copies of <>
around the office and stamped on Austin's printouts.  It
took the chronically weary assembly programmer months to
straighten up the mess.  Despite Turing's unflagging efforts
to make the programmer his pal, Austin remained terrified of
him, as anyone would be of a ghost who claims to be as
deranged as you.  He did everything he could to convince the
ghost to stay in his office closet and not come out.

    When Austin's new officemates starting filling the
closet with Gumbys and miniature computer consoles and fists
full of cables to make it look like NASA's mission control,
he panicked.  He worried that Turing, stubborn apparition
that he was, would see it as the perfect excuse to
permanently remove himself and his battered bike from among
the coats and boots, and spend the rest of eternity
pedalling around Austin's office, assailing him with
unsolicited advice on keeping the margins of his computer
code from getting out of control during heap sorts.

    Once the ghost finished eating his croissant, he
remounted his fat-tired bike and wobbled out the cafeteria
door and down the hall.  Hearing the bike's rusty chain
clanking farther and farther away, Austin cautiously
extracted himself from beneath the salad bar.  Quickly, he
packed up his glue sticks and pocket mirrors.  Once he heard
no more of Turing, he scurried out the door.  He was going
home, he resolved.  For the first time in more years than
his worn-out mind could recall, he wasn't going to wait
until he collapsed in exhaustion on the floor beneath his
computer before thinking about rest.  He was going to go
home and hide under the covers where the ghost of Alan
Turing would be least apt to look for him.  The programmer
raced down the hall as fast as he could.  He didn't even
stop to turn off the lights in his office or lock the door.
He simply ran and ran, hoping that, if he did have a home,
it wouldn't take him long to find it.


>>>>In the next episode, "Tense Moments in Mission Control,"
a harrowing morning at Dingready & Derringdo Aerospace is
made even more tense by a visit from boss Gus Farwick.
Clipboard and camera in hand, the conniving engineer-manager
is busy compiling documentation to terminate the employment
of his two least favorite research engineers.<<<<

"The Adventures of Lone Wolf Scientific"
An electronically syndicated series that
follows the exploits of two madcap
mavens of high-technology. Copyright 1991
Michy Peshota. All rights reserved.  May
not be distributed without accompanying

          A Smart Bomb with a Language Parser

>>>S-max attempts to thwart The Last Words Bomb's language
parser, but to no avail.  He discovers that program code is
often more stubborn than human will.<<

                     By M. Peshota

    "Whoever heard of a smart bomb with a language parser?"
he heard him grumble.  Austin watched his wild-haired
officemate, his bull-like features creased into a scowl,
hunched over stacks and stacks of thesauruses, whipping
their pages, cursing bitterly.  "Only a nudnik programmer
would think of making a bomb verbally context-sensitive," he

    Earlier in the evening, the computer builder had come
to him, his condescending eyes moist with humility, his
normally Napoleanic upper lip quivering helplessly, and
begged the hollow-eyed wizard to recode Andrew.BAS's guided
missile software.  Specifically, he wanted him to recode it
so that the computer would not screech alarms and its screen
flash bright red whenever he keyed in at its screen prompt
the declaration "Gus Farwick is a testosterone-less simp
with eel toes for brains!"  But, as much as the assembly
language savant would have liked to become involved in such
a worthwhile project, he was too preoccupied at the moment
with his many neurotic frets, especially his fear of the
possible return of the ghost of Alan Turing to his former
domicile in Austin's office coat closet, to be able to do
anything but gape zombie-like into the flourescent-white
night air and drool down the front of his checked shirt
until eventually the computer builder shuffled away.

    Still gaping, Austin could hear him pawing through the
section of the thesaurus that listed synonyms for
"testosterone-less simp."  "Ninnyhead.  Puddingbrain.
Knucklenoggin," he recited in his nasal drone.  He
laboriously typed them one by one into the guided missile
software, then groaned as the screen flashed red in response
and the alarm bells chimed.  "This is what I get for having
familiarized that twit programmer with my entire range of
verbal invective," he grunted, flinging open another
thesaurus.  He raised his head and mused, "Maybe if I tried
some alternate spellings...."  After some thought, he typed
into the machine "Gees...Farwoook...is...a...
Tusktossturoon-Mess Imp...Wif...Eeeel-Tooeys...4...Brains!"
The computer responded with a long, slow gag, then flashed
its screen red and chimed like a maimed pinball machine.
The computer builder slammed his fist on the desk in rage.

    Tired, the assembly language savant nestled his head on
the worn ivories of his keyboard and listened to his
officemate's wild, futile linguistic manipulations until
late in the night.  Eventually he fell asleep.  In his
troubled dreams, he thought he saw the flyblown profile of
the ghost who dogged him, who terrified him day and night
with his incessant ravings about long-forgotten computer
memory registers, the irrepressible ghost of Alan Turing,
the father of programming.  Turing materialized, tweed suit,
shabby wingtips, cobwebbed copy of <>, battered
bicycle and all, in back of the computer builder's zebra-fur
cloaked chair.  With a devil-may-care glower that was not
unlike the computer builder's own condescending smirk, he
extended shadowy hands over the latter's shoulder.  He took
hold of the computer builder's Hanswurst knuckles, and, with
the impassioned vigor of a symphonic conductor, guided them
into a manic dance across the terminal's keys.

    The computer builder, unaware of the ghost's presence,
watched his gamboling hands, aghast.  When his finger were
finally still, lying in an artistically spent, twisted heap,
like the hands of Beethoven on the numeric keypad, he looked
at them in surpise, then glanced up at the screen.
"Omigod!" he gasped.  "I have done it!  My genius has won
out again!  I have found a way to disable Andrew.BAS's kooky
language parser!"  He smiled with pride at the string of
inscrutable algorithms marching across the screen.  "Gawd,
how I wish I could understand what those are," he clucked,
typing into the missile software "testosterone-less simp,"
adding "with eel toes for brains."  He pressed 'enter' and
listened closely, but heard no warning bells, nor did he see
the screen flash red.  He smiled, "Gus Farwick, prepare to
read your epitaph in the sky."  The ghost nodded with
approval, got on his bike, and disappeared, and the computer
builder leaped from his chair and hopped from foot to foot
like a wound up harlequin.


>>Is trouble on the way when Dingready & Derringdo Aerospace
demonstrates their latest crop of computer-guided weapons to
military nabobs?  Find out in the next episode of 'The
Adventures of Lone Wolf Scientific.'<<
"The Adventures of Lone Wolf Scientific"
An electronically syndicated series that
follows the exploits of two madcap
mavens of high-technology. Copyright 1991
Michy Peshota. All rights reserverd.  May
not be distributed without accompanying

            The High-Tech Weapons Demonstration

>>Dingready & Derringdo Aerospace unveils their newest crop
of computer-guided missiles to military dignitaries.  Will
the proceedings be disrupted by a certain hardware hacker in
ratty sneakers?<<

                    by Michy Peshota

    "Aren't those bull's eyes rather large?"

    "Not if you're a really large bomb."

    A missile sailed past General Figgerty and Bing-bing
Huntz in the bleachers and disappeared with a tuckered out
whistle in a clump of bushes on the other side of the test
field.  Both gazed in disappointment at the missed twelve-
foot-high bull's eye.

    "That missile has a much higher reliability rating on
the battlefield where there are no lilac bushes present,"
the president of the aerospace company said.  He pointed to
the next event listed on the program in the general's hands.
It read "Demonstration of THERMONUCLEAR GUERNSEY."
THERMONUCLEAR GUERNSEY was the bomb's codename.  "Our next
smart bomb contains so many microchips," he said, "it is
capable of honing in on, not just bull's eyes, but giant
cardboard cutouts of cows.  Even under cover of darkness."
Raising his binoculars to his eyes in executive
anticipation, he focused on the technicians a hundred yards
off who were loading a football-shaped object into what
appeared to be a giant slingshot.

    The general glanced uneasily at the other side of the
field where a billboard-high cutout of a milk cow straddled
the grass like a Texas barbecue decoration.  A bull's eye
was lashed to its flanks.  "But if they're smart bombs," he
persisted, "why do they need bull's eyes?"  It was a
question that had nagged him all through the high-tech
weapons demonstration.  "Don't the bombs contain the
electronic circuitry and computer software to zero in on the
cows themselves?"

    "General, oh, general," the executive sighed, resting
his binoculars in his portly lap.  "We at Dingready &
Derringdo have found, through years of experience with
ballistics--and I mean years, we have more experience than a
certain competitor of ours whose smart bombs seem to keep
capturing the public's imagination solely on the basis of
their accuracy--that software <> works better when
there's a bull's eye present."

    The missile launcher lobbed its football into the air.
It arched toward the clouds with a wobbly uncertainty.
Reaching the crown of its flight, it cracked in two like a
candystick, and its halves fell earthward with a heavy
futility.  One knocked over the cardboard guernsey.

    "We may be in the experimental stages for years with
some of these highly sophisticated weapons," Bing-bing Huntz
said.  Peering through his binoculars, he spotted what
appeared to be a parasitic spot scurrying up the bleachers
toward him.  It quickly grew to the size of a three-piece
suited monster in his otherwise sunny view.  He jerked the
lenses from his nose to see, crouching in front of him, the
wiggly form of the irritating engineer-manager Gus Farwick.
His head was clamped between two over-sized audio earphones,
he waved a musical baton like an aspiring instrument of
torture.  He wheezed, "Is it time yet?"

    "No, it's not time yet, Mr. Farwick!  When it's time,
believe me, I will tell you."  Huntz lifted his binoculars
back to his eyes and tried to ignore the impatient manager.
It was the fourth time that afternoon that Farwick had
interrupted him to ask if it was time yet for the musical
portion of the smart bomb demonstration.  Granted, Huntz
found the engineer-manager's composition "Onward, Dingready
Soldiers, as Sung to Chariots of Fire" as spiritually
uplifting as anyone else in the little aerospace company,
but there was a time for leading engineers in song and there
was a time for firing overpriced munitions, and, in the case
of Dingready & Derringdo's weapons demonstration to General
Figgerty and his retinue from the Pentagon, Farwick's Greek
chorus from R & D was not going to start their antistrophes
until so many over-budget munitions had missed their mark
that drastic measures were required to lift the audience's
flagging spirits.

    Farwick, faced with the indifferent, binoculared eyes
of the company president, sighed and scurried back down the
bleachers to the sad-eyed phalanx of engineers clenching
music sheets waiting for him below.

    As he disappeared amid the red choir robes, the general
watched him and, as his eyes scanned over the pasty faces
and rumpled hair, they came upon a familar lopsided nose and
condescending, indignant scowl poking up from above a choir
robe.  The general could not recall where he had encountered
those eyes and that nose before, but he was suddenly
overcome with a feeling of primal helplessness and a dark
forboding that seemed to bring with it a mental image of
copious amounts of duct tape.  He instinctively turned his
head away so as to avoid any painful recollections of who
this engineer was.

    "The next smart bomb," Huntz continued, pointing to the
codename 'THERMONUCLEAR CHECKERS' printed on the general's
program, "is designed to completely annihilate any and all
billboards painted with giant checkers that the enemy may
have to offer."  He directed the general's gaze across the
field to a checkered billboard.  A large bull's eye was
strapped to it.

    "Huntz, I fail to see the strategic significance of
having bombs that can seek out and destroy billboards
covered with giant checkers--"


    "Please, let me continue.  I've already paid you $17
million in R-and-D costs.  I have a right to be heard."  His
face flushed red.  "I simply fail to see the purpose of
having computer-guided warheads that can seek out and
destroy cardboard cutouts of cows, piles of watermelons--"


    "--or warehouses full of old phone books, OR mattresses
spray-painted with the words 'UNDERGROUND SILO,' or--"

    "General, general," the executive chuckled.  "<>
are the great military strategist.  You are the military
mind who has been compared to Patton, to Eisenhower even.
You are the one who's job it is to deploy state-of-the-art
technology on the battlefield.  Our purpose is merely to
provide you with the tools you need.  <> are the one
who must provide the imagination to use them.  We can't help
you with that."  He chuckled again.

    Another warhead whizzed past them.  It missed the
honeysuckle bush with the bull's eye lashed to it to which
it was headed and disappeared a hundred of yards off in a
grove of trees.  All necks cranned to see where it went.
From the vacinity of the company parking echoed a "boom!"
The tinkle of shattered glass and clink of rolling hubcaps
followed.  Two technicians lugging kitchen fire
extinguishers dashed off across the field.

    "Looks like another honeysuckle bush got away," the
general gloomed.

    The next bomb on the weapons demonstration program was
codenamed THERMONUCLEAR FIELDS.  It was engineered
specifically for blowing up large empty fields.  As the
general and Bing-bing Huntz watched it arch into the air,
then vanish permanently in the clouds like a delinquent
kite, the general asked, "What happens when you lose bombs?"

    "They're usually identified soon after by nearby
residents as UFOs."

    "But you do recover them, don't you?"

    "Well, yes, sometimes, assuming we can retrieve the
pieces fast enough before they're sold to the supermarket

    From two steps below on the bleachers came a familiar
whine.  "Is it time yet?"

    Both the general and company president stared down in
mutual irritation at the unctuous engineer-manager who had
once again struggled up the steps with his assailant's baton
and was now standing before them with the peevish foreboding
of a psychopathic accapellaist.
    "No, Mr. Farwick," Huntz moaned, "it is not time yet."

    The general inspected the waiting chorus on the field
and once again sighted the man with the brooding scowl and
lopsided nose.  Beneath his choir robe, he wore large ragged
sneakers, and orange t-shirt printed with what appeared to
be a faded infinity sign poked out from beneath the robe's
open collar.  He seemed to be skulking in the back of the
chorus as if he didn't want to be seen.  Suddenly, the
general knew who the crooked-nosed man reminded him of.
"Huntz," he said worriedly, as the latter watched the
insect-like form of the engineer manager struggle down the
bleachers, "you wouldn't have the bad luck to employ a
research engineer by the name of Sherwood Franklin Maxwell,
would you?"

    "Maxwell?" the executive mused.  "No idea."

    Farwick, who was stepping awkwardly between two gun-
wearing CIA agents and had just tipped over the popcorn of
one, froze upon hearing the dreaded name.  <>  He
shuddered and listened.

    "Curious fellow," the general continued.  "An I.Q.
higher than the odometer on my jeep, and with more advanced
engineering degrees than can be found in an emerging
industrial nation, but let me tell you, he's more trouble
than a nuclear submarine lost under the Pacific."  The
general grew suddenly impassioned.  "Do you know that we
once had to redesign a two-ton Star Wars satellite because
of him?"

    "You can be certain he's not an employee of <>,"
Huntz chuckled.  Secretly, though, the president of the
defense contractor wondered if this Maxwell-character
<> a Dingready & Derringdo employee.  Afterall, Huntz
never bothered to venture into any of the aerospace
company's mamy, many research sub-basements, and god only
knew what went on down <>.

    "He mailed the satellite's blueprints to the National
Aeronautics and Space Administration," the general
continued, "along with diagrams for how to fasten it inside
the space shuttle's cargo bay with duct tape.  I was told he
was trying to get transferred to NASA or something.  It
almost worked."

    Farwick congratulated himself for having been wise
enough to quarantine Employee S-max in his office during
this most important weapons demonstration.  At this very
moment, the meddling computer builder was sitting behind his
desk, far from either phone or electrical outlet, flipping
through an employee motivation calendar and memorizing the
quotes from employee motivation gurus that were printed

    As the general and company president's conversation
turned to an examination of why a four-million-dollar
computer-guided rocket bomb designed to seek out and destroy
mounds of tangled up coathangers had just ended up in a
patch of mulberry bushes, Farwick continued stepping his way
through the CIA panjandrums, confidently, with a renewed
sense of managerial omnipotence.  Suddenly, he heard a
bellow of "Farwick!  Start them singing!" and his musical
baton knocked the hats off three lieutenants in front of
him, and he bolted the rest of the way down the bleachers,
tripping over briefcases and knocking over popcorn along the
way.   Arriving on the field, he hurriedly gathered together
his acapellists, lifted his baton with the surety of one
about to strike out with a fly-swatter, shaped his mouth
into a sordid "o", and brought the baton down with the force
of one semaphoring on an aircraft carrier in the fog.  His
songsters began: <<"Our blow-torches are reeea-dy!...">>

    "Our next smart bomb," Bing-bing Huntz shouted to the
general, his words drowned by the off-key chorus, "is an
especially deadly ground-to-air missile...."

    <<"Our shoestrings are tieeeeed!....">>

    He pointed out the codename on the program.  THE LAST
WORDS BOMB.  "Our programmers have been working very hard on
this one," he shouted.  "According to Farwick, some have
even pulled an all-nighter or two.  I can't imagine what has
inspired them."

    <<"Our desks are in orrrrder!  Our courage is too!">>

    On the test field, the sling-shot-missile launcher
lobbed what looked like a giant pineapple into the air.

    < development sub-basement, we'll be waiting...."

    The pineapple soared toward the clouds with a sonic
crack that caused the bleachers to shudder faintly and the
singers to lose their pitch.


    It curled across the blue with drawing board-perfect
grace, red smoke unfurling behind it.  It swept into the
letter G.


    It wove a U over the clouds.  It scrawled an S.  It
skipped a cloud, and after it scribbled with hasty
determination "FARWICK."  The singing stopped for a moment
as everyone looked upward and gaped.

    The engineer-manager cracked his baton on the portable
podium with oblivious determination.  The choir resumed,

    The bomb plundered further into the clouds.  It wove a
red curlicue, then it spelled, "S...I...N...G...S...T...

    The onlookers gasped.

    Annoyedly, the engineer-manager cracked his baton so
hard on the podium it cracked.  The choir, still watching
the sky, shakily resumed, <<"...is the thing we most like to

    The missile swooped down like a vulture at its prey and
everyone in the bleachers and on the field dived to the
ground or under the seats, their hands covering their heads.

    Farwick stubbornly sung the last words of the song
himself. "< supposed to!>>"  He stretched out his arms out like

    The Last Words Bomb curled to the side and flew
straight into the heart of a bull's eye propped on hay bales
in the center of the field.  It exploded in a white burst of

    Stunned spectators struggled up from the ground or
crawled from beneath the bleachers, as a blanket of smoke
drifted over the hushed field.  Many stood silently looking
up at the sky and its curious proclamation "GUS FARWICK
SINGS THE BIG KAHUNA."  Some wondered if it was a message in
code, and others if it was a typo.  A few considered it a
fitting overhead caption to the warped singing on the
ground.  A handful even toyed with the possibility that some
of its nouns and verbs might be clever dodges of the bomb's
rumored language parser, and a more subtle, potent message
lurked beneath. < SUCKS?>>  For whatever reason, the crowd spontaneously
erupted in a huzzah of blind and barbaric gusto.

    General Figgerty slapped Bing-bing Huntz on the back.
"Golldamnit, your research people never cease to surprise!"

    The company president smiled and said, "Now, I never
want to hear you or your people complaining again about $17
million being mispent."

    The only one who was unappreciative of the screwball
proclamation now smearing across the sky was the former
aspiring symphonic choir conductor.  He pulled off his audio
earphones and gazed at the clouds with the malevolence of
one who's greatest work of art has just been hideously
maligned.  He clenched his cracked baton and envisioned
himself administering deadly karate chops to the perpetrator
of this fiendish affront, a man who at this very moment was
probably slouching in his zebra skin-covered computer chair,
smirking.  Gus Farwick Sings the Big Kahuna, indeed!

    Far down the test field, a man in a faded orange,
infinity-sign emblazoned t-shirt, his choir robe trailing in
the dirt, shuffled off in raggedy sneakers.  He did not know
exactly where he was headed, except that he had a suspicion
it might be best if he went to clean out his desk.  He did
not want to forget his ten pound roll of duct tape or his
classic SIMMs extractor collection in the top drawer, as he
had done at the last place of employment from which he had
been fired.  Dingready & Derringdo Aerospace's five-foot-
thick concrete walls, laser-eye security system, and armed
guards might make sneaking back at night with burglary tools
to retrieve them rather difficult.

    He also figured that he had better tell his officemate,
the ever-naive Andrew.BAS, about this latest turn of events.
He seemed to recall the programmer having said something
about planning to pay the rent next week, and since he had
liberally commented the The Last Words Bomb's software with
"ANDREW.BAS WROTE THIS" he figured he had best tell him
before he wrote the check.


>>In the next episode of "The Adventures of Lone Wolf
Scientific"....When S-max and Andrew.BAS find themselves
without a job and without any viable character references,
they decide that the only option left is to start a high-
tech company together.<<

"The Adventures of Lone Wolf Scientific"
An electronically syndicated series that
follows the exploits of two of the
computer industry's bona fide eccentrics.
Copyright 1991 Michy Peshota.  All rights
reserved.  May not be distributed without
accompanying WELCOME.LWS and EPISOD.LWS

                 Two Guys in a Garage

>>When the bashful programmer and the high-strung computer
builder find themselves without jobs, paychecks, government
security clearances, or viable character references, they do
what any desperate men would do--they start a high-tech

                    by M. Peshota

    As the two former defense workers headed to S-max's
van, they reflected on the loss of their jobs, their
paychecks, and their dignity, as well as their blasted

     "I have never been happier," the computer builder
said, strolling through the parking garage, the fake zebra
fur from his computer chair draped over his arm.  "And to
think, we escaped the whole fiasco without being even made
the subject of some lengthy TV mini-series."  He grunted
with glee.  "Or a congressional investigation."

    The programmer shuffling behind him, his arms full of
boxes stuffed with fur dice, "Honk If You Want Complete
Schematics" bumper-stickers, a plaster bust of John F.
Kennedy, and all the other effluvium from their former
office, didn't reply.  He was too stricken with grief at the
loss of his first engineering job to speak.

    "Did I ever tell you how I was once the subject of a
congressional investigation?" S-max continued.

    Andrew.BAS wanted to reply that no, he had not told
him, nor was he surprised that the mischievous S-max had
been the subject of a congressional investigation, but he
was too sad to answer.

    "This nudnik congressman thought fer sure that I was
the source of a recent spate of computer terrorism in
Surinam, but I wasn't.  I was in Guyana at the time."  He
grunted innocently.

    "I think I read about that in the papers."

    "You most likely did.  I received much fan mail after
my verile profile was transmitted over the wire services.
Although many of the pictures that female correspondents
sent of themselves >>did<< appear to have prison numbers on
them."  He grunted again.

    Andrew.BAS recalled a newspaper story he had once read
about a raggedy computer whiz who had practically taken
Congress hostage, ranting and raving for hours in front of a
microphone about various outdated computer architectures.
How could he have known that he would one day find himself
sharing his office--and his home even--with this same
goofball?  Had he known he probably would have foresaken his
childhood dream of leading an impeccably logical life and
become an art history major instead.

    S-max spotted the gloom on the programmer's face.  He
felt sorry for him, then realized with a start that this was
the very first time he had ever felt sorry for a computer
programmer.  Usually he did not feel sorry for programmers.
Usually he felt they deserved whatever they got.  But he
couldn't help thinking of how hard it must have been on the
young programmer when the evil and demonic Gus Farwick had
phoned his parents and informed them that their son had
programmed a smart bomb to write 'Goose Farwook Sings the
Big Kahuna' across the sky.  (When Farwick had demanded that
S-max tell him the truth about who had been the mastermind
behind the bomb's blasphemy, the computer builder couldn't
help it, the name 'Andrew.BAS' had just slipped from his

    S-max's parents, on the other hand, were not at all
surprised when the engineer-manager called to tell them what
their socially-challenged offspring had been up to.
(Unfortunately, Farwick hadn't believed for a second that
Andrew.BAS was the one most responsible for the bomb that
had embarrassed him in front of half of the Pentagon's
weapons shopaholics.  He may flaunt a job title that was
appended by the word 'manager,' but he was not stupid.)

    Not surprisingly, S-max's parents initially denied
having ever heard of him.  They even denied that their name
was Maxwell or that they had ever lived at the same address
as anyone with a big nose and an orange and black afro.
Only when pressed, did they admit--between sobs--that
Sherwood Franklin Maxwell, self-proclaimed computer genius,
was indeed their child.  After that, they sympathized
profusely with his former boss.  They even invited him over
to dinner and offered to do whatever they could to help the
defense contractor pick up the pieces in the wake of their
child's calamitous employment there.

    As S-max and Andrew.BAS shoved the boxes full of fur
dice and "Honk If You Want Complete Schematics" bumper
stickers into the back of S-max's dilapidated van, the
computer builder patted the programmer on the shoulder
compassionately.  "Farwick will regret it," he assured him.
"He will wake up tomorrow and realize what he has done--that
in one flash of blind and ignorant rage he fired his two
most whimsical employees.  It will forever after that seem
to him like nothing but a horrible dream."

    "I'm sure it does already," Andrew.BAS said.

    They crawled into the front seat.  As the computer
builder steered the satellite dish-topped van down the steep
garage ramp with daredevilish swerves, he reflected on what
they should do with the rest of their lives.

    "We could raise labrador retrievers," he suggested.

    "Do you want to build the kennel?"

    "Do you really think one is necessary?"

    The programmer frowned.  How he had gotten himself into
this mess with such a loonball he would never know.
Sometimes he felt his life was being authored by, not by
Fate, but a sadistic sitcom writer whose last paying gig was
'The Gong Show.'

    S-max continued, "We could go on a lecture tour."

    "What would we lecture about?"



    "We could simply rail on and on for several hours in an
entertaining fashion about things that irk us, then pass out
floppy disks full of free software afterward."

    "Like you did before Congress?"

    "Very similar, but we probably wouldn't have to quote
so much from 'Thus Spake Zarathustra.'"

    "This sounds like something you could do without my

    "I think you're right.  Were we to go on the road
together I suspect it wouldn't be long before I'd be itching
to branch off into a solo career."

    The programmer looked out the cracked window at the
street and sighed.

    S-max rattled on, "We could hire ourselves out as

    "What kind of advice would we give?"

    "We could..."  He paused, uncertain.  "We could tell
people how to play their video games correctly."


    "Do we have to tell them anything else?"

    "If they're paying us we do."

    "You're sure about this?"


    "That's really too bad."  S-max swerved around a
fireplug in a broad, illegal U-turn over a grassy island.
Both considered the problem in silence, stunned by the
enormity of it.  Tentatively, the computer builder
suggested, "We could start a high-tech company together?"

    "With you?"

    He bristled, "Yes, with me.  It's not like I haven't
started high-tech companies lots of times before."

    "You have?"

    "Yes, I have.  All you need is a post office box and
one of those little trays that you use to process credit
cards.  It's not that hard."

    Andrew.BAS considered.  <>  It
wasn't such a bad idea afterall, once he got over the
disbelief of the notion of starting a company with someone
as capricious as S-max.  They could sell software by mail,
and maybe some ingenious computer hardware device too, if S-
max dreamed one up.  They could run the business out of
their home.  No one would ever know it was just a weathered
A-frame with fraternity letters on the front rail.  They
could install a bank of phones in the livingroom, and answer
the ringing phones crisply, and make it sound like their
company inhabited a sleek office tower.  They could put the
computers in the livingroom too.  They could work whenever
they liked--late into the night if they wished, and take
regular breaks to watch "Star Trek" episodes.  His eyes
widened.  He especially liked that part about taking breaks
to watch "Star Trek".  His mind reeled with the

    "Do you really think we could?" he bubbled finally.

    S-max snorted pompously. "Like I said, I've started
high-tech companies <> of times."

    The programmer's mind was too muddied by grief at the
loss of his first job to see things clearly and ask about
the outcome of those "<> of times."  Instead, he
brightened and grew enthusiastic about the possibility of
going into business with the hardware hacker.  "But do we
have all the stuff we'd need to start a high-tech company?"
he asked.

    "Look--"  S-max pointed over his shoulder toward the
junk in the back of the van.  "We got a bust of John F.
Kennedy," he said, referring to the bust of the technology-
booster president with the pocket protector pencilled on his
chest, looking lonely and afraid.  "We got a model of
Sputnik."  He pointed to the plastic rocket propped against
a pile of boxes.

    "It's a model of the Apollo 11," Andrew.BAS corrected.

    "Whatever.  We got a complimentary copy of guided
missile software that writes 'Goose Farwick Sings the Big
Kahuna' in the sky."  He pointed to the printouts tangled at
the base of the Apollo.

    "A complimentary copy?"

    "Well it's a copy."  He grunted, not caring to divulge
how he had smuggled classified software out of the defense
contractor. "What more do we need?"

    "A product?"

    He shrugged.  "That's hardly as important as having a
copy of guided missile software that writes in the sky
'Goose Farwook Sings the Big Kahuna.'"  He smirked.

    And that's how it began.  Two guys sharing in that most
magical moment of modern capitalism:  the union of two newly
unemployed men and an ill-defined dream.  Later, they would
reminisce about this moment--Andrew.BAS blaming S-max, S-max
blaming Andrew.BAS.  At least once the police would be
called to break up the scuffle that arose in the course of
reminiscence.  But for now, it was all silicon and gossamer,
and fantasies of growing rich enough to get all of S-max's
soldering irons out of hock.

    As the two wannabe entrepreneurs roared down the
freeway, they spoke of technology in brave visionary terms.
Each attested to the thrill of invention, both drew
parallels between the number of patents that would be
registered in their names and the number of Wall Street
money bins that would bear their famous monograms.
Andrew.BAS recounted the inspiring tale of Bill Gates who,
like him, had one day been a freckle-nosed squirt writing
BASIC programs in his college dorm room and the next had
enough money in his checking account to finance the
colonization of little known star systems.  S-max dreamed
about someday having a credit line big enough to wage
hostile takeovers of bloated computer manufacturers with
nothing but an American Express card.

    "Since you're going to be my business partner, there's
something I would like you to know about me, Andrew.BAS," he

    The programmer glanced at him with a frightened
curiosity, not knowing what to expect.

    "I would like to share a secret about my inner self,"
he said, zig-zagging the van from one lane into another on
the freeway with a kamikaze abruptness that caused the tires
to squeel, horns to honk, and the satellite dish on top the
van to creak and shiver.  "I have never told this to anyone
before.  I don't know why I'm confiding this now in a mere
programmer such as yourself, since it's unlikely you will
understand.  You can have no way of empathizing with the
primitive desires of a hardware hacker such as myself.
Maybe it's because I still feel guilty about having told Gus
Farwick that you were the one who programmed the bomb to
destroy a chicken coop because you considered it the mythic
archetype for the design of his intellect--"

    "I did no such--!"

    "Please!  Do not tarnish the sanctity of this moment
with your squeels of innocence.  I am about to confide an
important secret about myself!"

    The programmer was quiet.

    "This is something that must be said, something that
must be said now before our business plans go any further."
His voice grew grave.  "Without knowing this bit of truth
about me, you will never understand me or the computers I
design, you will never understand why I lead the life I do.
It is a reality that is at the heart of my technical genius,
a truth that courses through every fiber of my being like a
savage animal instinct."  He leaned over and whispered, "I
have always wanted to buy IBM."

    "You buy IBM!?"

    "Yes, me, wild and impossible as it may seem."

    "I would have never guessed it."

    "It's true!  Often, I lay away at night dreaming of how
I would refurbish their entire line of silly computers by
adding super-cooled circuits, gallium arsenide chips,
parallel processing, game ports, 300-key keyboards, and
built-in soft-serve ice-cream makers."  He grunted
blissfully.  "Of course, I would also put an end to their
employees' unnatural obsession with coordinating the color
of their belts with their wallets."

    With that, he turned the van into the driveway of their
house and his request that Andrew.BAS get out and check the
ground to make sure that no pieces of his satellite dish had
fallen in the driveway appeared to signal the end of the

    Later that afternoon, after they had unpacked the John
F. Kennedy bust, the fuzzy dice, the guided missile
software, the "Honk If You Want Complete Schematics" bumper
stickers, the model rocket, and all the other flotsam from
their office, they confronted the cold fact that neither
knew exactly what it meant to be incorporated (S-max
insisted it was a sort legal limbo found only in the state
of Nevada), neither was sure whether Customer Service was a
New Age movement or a sign you hang on the john, and
both were completely baffled as to whether a business
proposal was a form you file with the IRS or a legal defense
you use when your investors try to boot you out.


>>>>In the next episode of "Lone Wolf Scientific" (coming
11.18.91), dreams of shrinkwrap spun into dollars give way
to the harsh realities of starting a computer company when
Andrew.BAS and S-max bicker over who will be the vice
president of research and whether moving the computer
builder's dirty socks and old electronics magazines out of
the livingroom will inhibit his ability to design innovative

"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! <> 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
<> 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 < Pascal>> pens if we plan to do all our programming in C," he
said finally.  "<> a very nice programming
language, but--"

    "Who said anything about <> 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

    He sighed with deep relief.  "I am <> 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

    "I wouldn't be so sure," the programmer scoffed.  "The
same effect can be obtained by wearing a plastic nose and

    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

    "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

    "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.


>>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.<<
"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 #18 (released 12.9.91)

       The Couch, the File Cabinet, and the Calendar

>>After a long night of bickering over how to arrange the
office furniture, the new high-tech startup company is
visited by a neighbor.<<

                   by M. Peshota

    Dawn's dauntless talons were making their first
tentative poke through the cracked windows of the former
fraternity house where the two entrepreneurs had argued the
night away, when there came a pounding on the front door.
It was loud and not at all hospitable sounding.

    "It is no doubt the furniture police come to arrest you
for your appallingly bad taste in the arrangement of office
furniture," the computer builder grumped as he stalked to
the door.

    "It's not my fault that no matter where we push your
precious research and development couch it causes the floor
to buckle and sag."  The programmer cowered on top the file
cabinet, peering cautiously over a pillow he grasped in
front of him like a warrior's shield.  He clenched in one
hand, as tightly as if it were a sacred parchment, a
calendar topped by a photo of a giant staplegun in front of
a sunset.

    "Oh no!  And I suppose it's not your fault that the
free calendar we got at the office supply store clashes
wildly with my favorite couch pillow."  He flung the door
open in disgust.  On the other side stood a woman, tired-
looking, Duncanesque, her arms folded in front of her.  Her
hair looked like she had spent the night tossing awake.
Her green caftan, with its paint smears and splotches along
on the hemline, looked like she frequently paced the floor
among open cans of paint. "Do you know how easy it is to
hear your imbecilic bickering all the way over at my
house?!"  She swept into the livingroom.

    "It is not imbecilic bickering!" the computer builder
huffed. "I have been fighting like the dickens all night to
keep that chintz-swatches-for-brains programmer from pushing
my research and development couch into some dusty corner
that will not show it off to its best advantage."  He
motioned disparagingly toward the programmer still crouched
on the cabinet like a Christmas elf, holding the cushion in
front of him.

    The woman made a quick examination of the saucer-eyed
programmer.  The first thing she noticed was that he looked
like he was about to cry.  "What have you been doing to
him?" she demanded.

    "Nothing, I--"

    "Did you kidnap him at a science fair or something?"
The programmer had lowered the pillow just enough to reveal
his plastic pocket protector.


    "Then why does he look like he's been terrorized?"

    "Because he's my business partner!"

    "I was just trying to keep S-max's R and D couch out of
the line of traffic," Andrew.BAS offered in the way of

    "And while you're at it why don't you also tell her how
you suggested that we cover my couch with a blanket so that
customers wouldn't be exposed to the shameful sight of its
frayed ruffles and the springs popping from its cushions!"
The computer builder snorted. "As if a working R and D couch
is something to be embarrassed about!"

    "Well you're the one who wanted to push the file
cabinet out on the front porch so that we could be
identified from the street as a real business."

    "Don't act so innocent."  S-max wagged a finger at him.
"<> the one who wanted to put the file cabinet next
to my research and development couch, no doubt so that
customers would assume me to be nothing but cheap clerical

    "I was only trying to keep them together since you
insisted the couch and the file cabinet were a matched set."

    "And they <> a matched set.  I told you how I
found them both in the same alley!"

    "Gentleman!" the woman pleaded.

    "I'm sure we wouldn't be having all these arguments if
we didn't have so much office furniture to find places for,"
Andrew.BAS said to her.
    She glanced around the room bewilderedly. "All I see is
a ripped up couch and dented file cabinet."

    "That's what I mean.  If we didn't have all this stuff
we wouldn't have be having so many problems."

    "You've been arguing all night over where to put the
couch and where to put the file cabinet?" she asked in

    "Well, yes," said Andrew.BAS.  "I take it you don't
think that's normal for new business owners."

    "It is all the fault of Andrew.BAS," S-max accused,
pointing to the Cub Scoutish programmer.  "He is the one
with chromosonal deficiencies in the RNA strand having to do
with the ability to arrange office furniture properly."  He
grunted.  "It is no doubt those same warped RNA strands that
are responsible for his leading a life of mathematical
hooliganism as a computer programmer--"

    Before he could finish, their visitor pushed aside the
big-nosed computer builder and headed to the shabby chinz
couch.  Grabbing one of its ends, she dragged it to the
window.  She tucked beneath its ratty cushions the
schematics, printouts, engineering magazines, tools, wires,
and alligator clips that spilled from them.  Then she
collected the dirty throw pillows that lay scattered over
the floor like misfired salvos in a war and tossed them one
by one into a line on the couch with perfunctory
indifference.  She motioned to Andrew.BAS to climb down from
the file cabinet, and after he did so she pushed it to an
empty spot beside the stairs.
    The programmer nodded approvingly looking around the
neatened room.
    The computer builder gasped, "Why, this is perfect!"
He circled the chinz couch, surveying it from different
angles.  "This is exactly how our office furniture should be
arranged.  What style!  What symmetry!"

    "But we still haven't found a place to hang the office
calendar," Andrew.BAS reminded, holding up the calendar.

    She snatched it and hung it on a nearby nail on the

    S-max gasped again, "You are a genius!  Mario Biutto
couldn't have done a better job.  What decorating house did
you say you are with?"

    Their neighbor rolled her eyes at the mawkish flattery.
"I'm Wilma," she said, extending her hand.  "I live next
door.  I'm a professional painter."

    "And we're a high-tech company!" S-max said proudly,
pumping her hand.

    "I should have known," said Wilma.  "Was it your
business plans that I heard being shouted at higher and
higher decibels all night?"

    S-max tossed his furry head.  "We are planning to do
nothing less than usher into being the very future of
American technology.  That is why you heard so much
shouting.  Already we have many exciting plans.  We have
rented a post office box.  We bought $20 worth of stamps.
We have procurred copies of the phone book for each of us.
We stole forty pounds of 'While You Were Out' memo pads from
our former ingrateful employer.  We have 700 pounds of
confetti.  Someday very soon you and our other neighbors
will watch amazed as the very street we live on becomes the
next Silicon Valley.  This house will be its center, of

    "Mmmm," the painter said in doubt. "We were kind of
hoping that once the fraternity moved out property values
would recover."  She looked over her two tousled,
cacaphonous neighbors.  The little one with the blond hair
and wire-rims wore a white shirt and tie, although the shirt
was rumpled and the tie was ripped as if it had gotten
caught in a door.  Or maybe the big one had yanked his tie
or tried to tie it to a doorknob.  She wouldn't put it past
that one, for the big one had black, shifting eyes like
those of a Middle Eastern terrorist leader.  He also had a
twenty-pound orange and black afro that made him look like a
walking fire hazard.  Above grundgy bluejeans, he sported a
yellow t-shirt with a faded infinity sign on it.  The t-
shirt looked like it had had a collision with a pizza.
Clipped to his belt was a walkie-talkie.  Both men had
plastic identification badges from a nearby military
contractor clipped to their shirts.  Somehow that did not
surprise her.

    "One of my clients is a computer company," she said
finally.  She said this with grim remorse.  When she didn't
say any more, the big one coaxed eagerly, "Please, please,
tell us more!"

    "I painted a sign for them," said Wilma.  "That's what
I do, I paint company signs.  But they never picked it up
and they never paid the balance.  I still can't get over it
because I put so much work into that darn thing.  They had
me paint a naked woman on it--"

    "A naked woman?" said the computer builder.

    "Yeah, tangled in fanfold computer paper.  It was
gross.  Painting it was an incredible amount of work."

    "Fanfold?!" he gasped.

    "I don't know what a nude wrapped in green paper has to
do with computers," Wilma sighed.  "Computer companies are
so strange."

    "Do you have any idea what happened to the company?"
Andrew.BAS asked.

    "They must have gone bankrupt.  Their phone is
disconnected.  I--"

    "Can we have the sign?!" S-max interrupted.

    "No!" Andrew.BAS objected, arising from his slouch
beside the dented file cabinet.  "We want to be taken
seriously, S-max.  Remember?  We agreed on that."

    "But Andrew.BAAAAASS!" he wailed. "Think of how much
fun it will be building a computer company that has a sign
with a nude woman in it."

    His partner frowned.

    "It will be so much more fun than growing a computer
company that doesn't have a sign with a nude woman in it."


    "Please, Andrew.BAS!  Can't we at least look at the

    "You can have it cheap," Wilma offered.

    The programmer shuffled his sneakered feet in
annoyance. The last thing he wanted to do was provoke his
business partner into jerking him around by his favorite
engineer school-logo tie again, so he said, "We'll just look
at it, o.k.?"

    S-max smirked victoriously.

    As they strolled to Wilma's garage, where the sign was
stored, S-max pointed out to the painter the gray, rusty van
with the satellite dish on top broken down halfway in the
driveway, halfway in the street.  "See that lightning bolt
zigzagging majestically down its front grill?" he smiled.

    "You mean that crooked line that looks like someone got
hold of a can of yellow paint they use to paint lines on
highways and forgot to mix it before spattering it on the
grill?" said Wilma.

    "Yes, that's the one.  As you can see, it needs a bit
of touch up."

    "It certainly does."

    "Should you ever find yourself in the middle of the
night with a little extra yellow highway paint, feel free to
come over and--"

    "It'll cost ya."

    The computer builder grunted in indignation at the
thought of someone charging him for the privilege of
restoring the artwork on his van, an honor he considered not
uncomparable to being asked to touch up the  ceiling of the
Sistine Chapel.  He remained moodily silent for the rest of
the walk over.

    Company signs and cans of paint crowded their
neighbor's garage.  One of the signs, standing on its side,
read "Wayne's Lube Jobs."  Another one right next to it
read, "Wayne's Outboard Motor Repair."  One to the left of
it read "Wayne's Used Cars," and one behind it read "Wayne's
Shoe Repair."  Yet another read "Wayne's Barber Shop" and
one next to that "Wayne's Shoe Repair," and another,
"Wayne's Burglar Alarms."  There were also lots of signs for
businesses owned by Joes.  There was "Joe's High-Risk
Insurance," and "Joe's Balloonarama."  There was "Joe's
Plumbing & Liquor," and "Joe's Bankruptcy Center."  There
was "Joe's Emergency Pre-School Repair,"  "Joe's Creative
Truck Restoration," and "Joe's Dial-a-Water-Conditioner-
Repairman."  There were a lot of businesses run by Franks
too, but they tended to be less worldly in spirit than those
owned by Waynes or Joes.  There was "Frank's Hair Majesty,"
"Frank's School of Wisdom," and "Frank's Devotional Charter
Service."  There were not many businesses owned by people
named Archibald or Clarence, but when there were they were
often as stylish sounding as their proprietors' names.
There was "Nail Sculpture by Mr. Archibald," and "Clarence's
School of Mail-Order Litigation."

    Wilma led the way through an aisle of neatly stacked
company signs.  It was almost like walking through a phone
book.   On one side of them, in alphabetical order stood
"Frank's Devotional Charter Service," "Frank's Hair
Majesty," and "Frank's School of Wisdom," while on the other
side began the Joes.  Taking a left at "Morton's Grub Street
Reading," they came upon a sign with long, runic-style green
letters.   Wilma pulled it out from behind "Morton's Grub
Street."  It read "Dave's Altered States Data Repair." On
it, a two-headed woman with sprigs of rhubarb poking from
her ears perched kewpie doll-like on a mound of computer
printouts.  She was naked except for strategic cloakings of
computer paper curling from her knees to her eight sets of

    "This was a real challenge to paint," Wilma said,
pointing to the green sprigs growing from the odalisque's
ears.  "I must have spent four days getting this rhubarb
right.  And since I couldn't just go out and hire a model
with eight sets of ears, I had to clip no less than 16 ears
from pictures in fashion magazines and Scotch tape them to
Mrs. Kliggerty--you know, the old woman who lives on the
other side of you, you may have already heard about her
arthritis, I sometime use her as my model, assuming her
arthritis isn't acting up.  Why the odalisque was supposed
to have rhubarb in her ears, I don't know, but that's what
the client asked for."  She stared at the eight sets of
Dali-esque ear lobes wistfully.  "Computer companies are
<> strange," she said again, shaking her head.

    S-max paced back and forth in front of the sign like an
art critic.  He stood back and gazed at it, rubbing his
stubbled chin the way he had seen customers in Snookey's
Parts Shack do when they were examining the fine art prints
of integrated circuits hanging on the wall behind the cash
register.  He crouched down and, tilting his head sideways,
squinted at it from the level of the floor.  With his
fingers he formed a frame and squinted through it at the
rhubarb woman from different angles.

    He finally said, "I am in awe of how realistically you
have portrayed the crumpled heap of computer paper draped
around the nude.  I have never seen anything like it.  The
pale green lines and the holes along the sides of the
printouts are so realistic that even I would be unable to
distinguish it from computer paper heaped in the corner of
my office.  What's more, the way you have the paper jumbled
around the nude's knees in so chaotic a fashion reminds me
of many of my own doomed-from-the-start computer projects.
There is verve, sassiness, style to your rendering of
computer paper.  Indeed, it looks like it's virtually crying
out for someone to come walking through, become tangled in
it, and be sent sprawling--just like the piles of computer
paper in my office."  He grunted in approval.

    "Then you'll buy it?"

    "Well, no.  I'm afraid the way the computer paper is
draped around the odalisque is not realistic enough for my


    "Observe."  He pointed to the odalisque's knees.  "The
way the fanfolds wind from her vericose vein-laden calves
all the way up to her crooked neck--well, her two crooked
necks.  It's a known impossibility that a human being cannot
be wrapped in fanfold computer paper without considerably
more folds and creases around the neck than appear here.
It's a fact.  Considerable research has been done on this.
In fact, I have often experimented with the phenomenon

    "Well I must admit, Mrs. Kliggerty refused to pose in
fanfold computer paper for more than ten minutes at a

    "It shows."

    "But I'll give it to you cheap."

    "No, I'm afraid not.  I wouldn't be able to live with a
company sign whose odalisque is not wrapped in fanfold,
tractor-feed computer paper with perfect realism.  I would
find it a constant irritation, like the man who buys an 18th
century desk for $47,000 and must live with the two-by-fours
that are propping up its drawers and legs."  He scanned the
sign-stacked garage.  "What else do you have?

    His eyes landed on one that read "Joe's Balloonarama."
It bore a caricature of a well-known lawyer being hoisted
through the clouds tied to a bunch of funny-faced balloons.
He headed toward it almost instinctly.  Before he got to it,
though, he spotted another intriguing sign.  That one read
"Lone Wolf..."  That's all he could read of it.  "Lone
Wolf..." and the picture of a slot machine.  The sign was
jammed behind "Joe's Bankruptcy Center" and "Frank's
Devotional Charter Service."  He pointed to it.  "Lone

    "Yeah, I'd certainly call them that," Wilma said.  She
walked over and dislodged the sign from its embrace with the
"Joe's Bankruptcy Center" one.  "They never paid me either."

    "Lone wolves are what we are," S-max said, holding up
one finger rhetorically, striking a melodramatic pose.
"Howling hounds in the high-tech wilderness, lonesome
mavericks, devil-eyed desperados unfettered by reason,
unchained by civility, outlaws whose very dreams are new and
savage, whose imaginations make the timid whelp with fear--"

    "And who prefer their odalisques wrapped in tractor-
feed paper with perfect realism," the bemused programmer

    S-max shot him a look of irritation, murderous in its

    "I can sell you the sign real cheap," Wilma said,
pleased at the thought of a sale.  She pulled it from the
stack.  The full sign read "Lone Wolf Slot Machines."

    S-max took a step backward to scrutinize it from a
distance.  "<>?" he said.  He knit his thick
brows.  "We may have to change that," he said.

    "Well, I don't see why," said Andrew.BAS.  "We can just
hang it over those contraptions with all the parts in the
Zip-Lock bags you sell through ads in the back of
magazines."  He was now trying to suppress an impish

    The computer builder ignored his impudent companion.
"Sometimes the magic works, sometimes it doesn't," he read
off the sign.  Smiling, he turned to Andrew.BAS and said,
"How apt, wouldn't you say?  This is it!"  He waved his arms
in jubilation. "We have found a sign for our company!  And a
motto, too!  Sometimes the magic works, sometimes it won't.
It's a perfect company motto!"  To Wilma he said, "We can
buy it, can't we?"

    She nodded.  "Lone Wolf Slot Machines rolled three-
bananas right after I sent them the bill."

    "Lone Wolf Slot Machines?" Andrew.BAS moaned, his elfin
face screwing into distress as he viewed the sign.  It had
purple Old English letters too.

    "Tsk, tsk," the computer builder said, circling it with
growing admiration.  "We can change the slot machines part
to something more appropriate.  Like Lone Wolf Voltage
Concepts, maybe."

    The programmer groaned.

    "Or maybe Lone Wolf Big Visions of Tomorrow.  I like

    Andrew.BAS shook his head as vigorously as he could.

    "Or Lone Wolf MIP Fantasies.  Now what's wrong with

    Their neighbor pointed to the 'Slot Machines' part of
the sign.  "There's just enough room to paint over 'slot
machines' 'scientific.'  How 'bout that?  What's wrong with
Lone Wolf Scientific?  We wouldn't even have to change the

    "Let's do it!"  S-max jabbed a fist in the air.

    Andrew.BAS sighed.

    "Now what's wrong?  We couldn't have found a sign
that's more perfectly flawed for our needs.  Look."  The
computer builder pointed to the purple slot machine painted
in the bottom corner of the sign.  "We don't even have to
paint over that.  We can turn it into a computer simply by
painting over the slot machine's arm and adding a keyboard
where the money is supposed to fall out."

    The programmer gazed at his sneakers sadly.

    "Isn't that right Wilma?"

    She nodded.

    "And we don't even have to change the apples, oranges,
and bananas on the slot machine's screen either.  We can
leave them there and just let people think it's a software
error message or sumthin'."

    Andrew.BAS shook his head.  "I don't like the
'sometimes the magic works, sometimes it doesn't' part."

    "What's wrong with that?  That can be our company
motto.  It will be perfect."

    "Our company motto?"

    "Yes.  We can print it on product boxes, we can print
it on our product's manuals, we can print it on our business
cards, we can emblazon it across our stationary, and it can
serve double duty as a company motto and a product liability
disclaimer when someone tries to sue us for whiplash or

    Now even Wilma was starting to look skeptical.

    "But I wanted our company motto to be 'To Boldly Go
Where No One Has Gone Before'--just like the motto of  < Starship Enterprise>> on 'Star Trek,'" Andrew.BAS protested.

    S-max erupted.  "That is the most inane company company
motto I have <> heard!  Every noodle-headed high-tech
venture boldly goes where nobody has gone before.
<>, do you understand?  When you become
a high-tech company it's just naturally assumed that you're
going to boldly go where no one has gone before, that that's
what you're going to do, that's why you call yourself a
high-tech company, because you do that sort of thing.  You
invest in space ships and such.  You go around boldly...."
As his words trailed off, he grunted in impatience.  "'To
boldly go where no one goes' is just too, too obvious a
company motto!"

    "But I want us to be just like < Enterprise>>," Andrew.BAS moaned, heartsick at the thought
of not being able to include a literary reference to his
favorite TV show in his computer company's motto. "--to
boldly explore new worlds, to seek out new life forms,
to --"

    "I tell you, Andrew.BAS, every high-tech company does
that!  There is nothing unique about that."  He wagged his
finger at him.  "We owe our customers more than just a space
cadet platitude.  They deserve a more complex explanation of
what our computer company is all about, a more complete
motto that tells them a little something about Lone Wolf
Scientific, a company motto that sums up the entire Lone
Wolf Scientific product line and the likely customer
experience.  'Sometimes the magic works, sometimes it
doesn't' will succinctly do jus tthat."

    "I don't know...."  Andrew.BAS gazed at the purple
slot-machine, crestfallen.

    "I once saw the motto written on a washroom wall at
Intel," S-max offered.

    "You did?"

    "Yes, and it was in Magic Marker too.  I've also seen
it printed on the bottom of lots of high-tech contracts,

    "Really?  I haven't."

    "Well you just have to look.  It's there.  It's usually
at the bottom in very small print--so small you generally
cannot read it until you have a complaint with the
manufacturer and read through the contract slowly with a
magnifying glass and that's when you find it.  But I assure
you, it's there.  It's a very popular saying."

    The programmer sighed.  "Oh, all right.  I guess if
it's on the washroom walls at Intel it's o.k."

    "We have a company name, Andrew.BAS!"  He once again
thrust his fist in the air.  "And a sign and a motto!"  Then
he turned pragmatic and said to Wilma, "How much is all this
going to cost us?"

    "That's company name consulting," she said, counting
her fingers.  "Company slogan authorship.  Company sign
painting.  Not to mention emergeancy corporate interior
decoration.  That's $1,587.45."

    S-max gasped.  Once he stopped sputtered he countered
smugly, "Three dollars and ninety-five cents.  Not a penny

    "Twelve-ninety-five, plus a promise to keep the arguing
down at night and keep the computer nerds out of my

    "Only if you touch up the lightning bolt on my van."


    As the two entrepreneurs shuffled home, each lugging
one end of the long, long sign with "Lone Wolf Scientific,
Inc." now inked on it in curling purple letters, and the
drawing of the slot machine now a drawing of a computer with
apples and lemons on its screen, and Sometimes the Magic
Works, Sometimes It Doesn't" etched in magenta block letters
beneath it all, the computer builder marvelled, "Just think,
Andrew.BAS, a mere twenty-four hours ago we were nothing but
two military-industrial complex losers.  We had little to
our names but a box full of Gumbys and a zebra skin with
which to cover my computer chair.  Our most optimistic
prospect for the future was to spend our days playing < Wars>> and watching "Geraldo!" until someone was foolish
enough to hire us again.  Here we are, less than a day
later, with a company name, a company motto (not to mention
a company warranty policy and liability disclaimer), and a
classy sign which, although it doesn't have a nude woman on
it, will still look fetching when hung from the broken
balcony railing on the front of the house.  We even have our
office furniture stylishly arranged."

    "We still have to figure out who gets which drawer in
the file cabinet," Andrew.BAS said.

    S-max grunted optimistically. "We have the rest of the
week to settle that one."


< High-Technology," the two intrepid techie-businessmen set
out to design the very future of American technology.<<
"The Adventures of Lone Wolf Scientific" is
an electronically syndicated series that
follows the exploits of two madcap
mavens of high-technology. Copyright 1991, 1992
Michy Peshota. May not be distributed without
accompany WELCOME.LWS and EPISOD.LWS files.
EPISODE #19 (posted 1.5.92)

     Engineering the Future of American Technology

>>With the office furniture arranged and the sticky issue
resolved of who will serve as vice president of R and D on
Monday mornings, the founders of Lone Wolf Scientific set
out to design the very future of American technology.<<

                   by M. Peshota

    "Away, away Luke Skyprogrammer!" the computer builder
cried, bounding over the couch.  "You are trespassing on the
hallowed R and D couch of Darth S-max!"

    "Your days on the R and D couch are numbered, Darth!"
The programmer bounced menacingly on the sofa's overstuffed
cushions, the Halloween costume space suit that upholstered
his lithe form making him look like a boy that ran off to
join a toxic waste cleanup crew.  "I have come to transform
all your kooky homebrew inventions into tightly written
Pascal code, just try to stop me!"

    "Ha!  That's what you think, Luke Skyprogrammer!"  S-
max leaped over the arm of the couch, swinging the
flashlight that served as his light saber in a wide arc.  A
markered paper sign that read "DARTH" bounced over the
infinity sign on his t-shirted chest.  A space-belt
fashioned of foil and computer cable was wrapped around his
sagging middle, together with a half dozen tool belts.

    Andrew.BAS swung his own flashlight-light-saber.  "You
haven't a hope, Darth S-max!" he hissed from behind his
green plastic visor.  "I am on a mission to save the
universe from your rewired wash machines, and that's why The
Force is with me!"

    "No, it's not.  It's with me!"

    "Don't delude yourself, Darth.  It is a well-known fact
that The Force bears a strong preference for classy C code
and anyone who dresses like Donald Knuth.  The Force even
owns its own program compiler."

    "The Force would never own its own program compiler!"
S-max blustered. "The Force would never hang around with a
mere computer programmer!  That's absurd.  It sticks around
sophisticated hardware guys like me.  And don't call my
computer inventions rewired wash machines!  They are

    The programmer lunged at him with his flashlight.  As
his sputtering partner jumped aside, he lost his footing and
tumbled over the back of the couch.  He hit the floor with a
loud "clunk" of clattering tools.

    Andrew.BAS clicked off his flashlight victoriously.
Through the glinting plastic of his moon helmet, he peered
over the back of the couch at the crumpled mess of man and
screwdriver on the floor.  "May The Force be with you, Darth
Hardware-Hack," he said sadly.

    It was the second week of intensive research and
development at Lone Wolf Scientific Inc.  The first had
passed in a hectic blur of all-night sessions at a nearby
video game arcade.  Once the two reluctant business partners
had finally agreed on who would get which drawer in the two-
drawer file cabinet (the overbearing S-max eventually got
them both by threatening to solder shut the drawer holding
his partner's papers, so the ever-diplomatic programmer
agreed to store his things in an old cardboard box under the
bed instead), and S-max had pried off the weather-beaten
fraternity letters that dangled from the front of the house
and nailed in their place the sign that proclaimed "Lone
Wolf Scientific Inc. -- Sometimes the magic works, sometimes
it doesn't" and which bore a picture of a computer with
lemons on its screen that still looked suspiciously like a
slot machine, the two brave men set out to do nothing less
than to design the very future of American high-technology.

    The morning after S-max and Andrew.BAS had frittered
away the entire day playing spaceman on the R and D couch,
they were sitting in front of their respective computers in
the livingroom, staring into space, ostensibly
conceptualizing the future of American technology, when S-
max suggested, "Since the future of American high-technology
has already been delayed by two weeks, it couldn't hurt to
delay it another day."

    "That's what I was thinking," Andrew.BAS said, whose
face was a pale, vacant slate.  "At some high-tech
companies, the future of American technology gets delayed by
months and months if everyone has a lot of meetings to go

    S-max picked a section of the day's newspaper off the
floor.  He unfolded it over his ablated keyboard. "I hear
the local cinema shows many educational films in the

    "I've heard that too."

    "And for half price!"

    "I think we'd be fools if we didn't take advantage of

    And so the inventors of the future of American
technology scrambled out from behind their computers and
headed to the movie theatre.

    After they had sat through three showings of
"Terminator 2" (they nearly sat through a fourth simply by
arguing over whether or not they should sit through a
fourth, but an annoyed usher led them out), they headed home
to continue designing the future of American technology.

    Unfortunately, by the time they arrived home (it took
them a while to get home because they stopped twice for
tacos and once for ice-cream), the day was late--so late in
fact that it was time to sit down and relax and watch
videotapes of old "Star Trek" episodes.  So there was no
time left that day to invent the future of American

    The next day, when S-max and Andrew.BAS sat down in
front of their computers to design the future of technology,
ten minutes of dull silence passed and then the computer
builder suggested, "You know, it couldn't hurt to go to the
mall and spend a little time at snarfing through the sale
bins at Radio Shack before designing the future of American
technology.  It will clear our heads, and who knows, we
might even find some of those little pocket poker games that
we may eventually want to incorporate in our engineering
schematics of the future of American technology."

    That sounded perfectly plausible to Andrew.BAS so he
and S-max promptly got up and headed to the mall.

    What neither of them realized, though, was that time
travels faster in a Radio Shack than it does when you're
sitting in front of your computer, trying to dream up the
future of technology.  Before they knew it the day was over.

    "I think we had better go home," Andrew.BAS said,
pulling his partner by the sleeve, trying to dislodge the
King Kong-sized computer dweeb from a parts rack.

    "But Andrew.BAS!" he wailed.  "I still haven't examined
this rack of electrolytic capacitors.  And who knows, if I
don't, the future of American technology may be tragically
short on electrolytic capacitors."

    By the time they returned home it was late, so late
that it was time to relax on the R and D couch and watch
videotapes of old "Star Trek" episodes, so there was no time
left that day to design the future of American technology.

    The next day the founders of Lone Wolf Scientific
decided to barbecue in the backyard.  To be efficient, they
planned to begin designing the future of American high-
technology while flipping burgers.

    Unfortunately, they never got as far as flipping
burgers.  While S-max was still grilling hotdogs, a stray
dog wandered into the yard.  It was an especially obnoxious
poodle that looked like it had fled a previous owner while
having its fur pruned to resemble a mausoleum lawn

    "Yip-yap!" it cried, upon spotting the computer
builder, who also looked like he had fled a previous owner
while having his hair pruned to resemble a mausoleum lawn

    S-max discovered in the exasperating, dirty, matted
creature a soul-mate.  He fed it one hotdog after another.

    "I don't know if you've noticed," he said to
Andrew.BAS, tossing the dog another weiner, "but this
intelligent creature responds to the name '8087'."

    "You mean like in 8087 the Intel math coprocessor

    "That is correct.  Not 80286, the computer processor,
or 80386, or even 80486, mind you, but the Intel 8087."  He
grunted proudly.

    "He doesn't respond to the names of any Motorola

    "Apparently not."  He tossed a cookie at him at the
cottonball-tailed dog.  "I even tried on him the names of
several Japanese chips, but I couldn't get so much as a tail
twitch from him.  Overall I'd say he has remarkably good
taste in computer chips for a stray poodle.  I think we
should make him our mascot--8087-The Poodle, Mascot of the
Future of American Technology."

    By the time S-max and Andrew.BAS had finished playing
with 8087-The Poodle, and feeding the mascot of the future
of American technology hotdogs and cookies, it was dark--so
dark it was time to go in the house and watch "Star Trek,"
so there was no time left that day either to engineer the
future of American technology.

    There wasn't any time the next day either because they
had to take 8087-The Poodle to the vet for rabies and
heartworm shots.  After that they went to the pet store to
buy him a leash, dog toys, and dog bed.  Then they spent
another two hours in the grocery store picking out
nutritionally balanced dog food.  When they returned home,
they were greeted by their scowling neighbor Wilma who
informed them that the mascot of the future of technology
had torn up her garden while they were out buying him a dog
leash, so they spent the rest of the afternoon replanting

    Curiously, the irony of having a stray poodle as a
mascot for a company named "Lone Wolf Scientific" occurred
to neither, although S-max did at one point note, as they
were jamming begonias back into the dirt, "From the moment I
laid eyes on him I knew the spirit of a wolf lurked inside
8087's wee skunk-sized body," and the curly-haired dog
leaped and yapped in joyous agreement.

    Not surprisingly, by the time the founders of Lone Wolf
Scientific and their new mascot finally straggled into the
house, it was time to relax on the R and D couch and watch
"Star Trek," so there was no time left that day to invent
the future of American technology.

    The next day, 8087-The Poodle chewed up S-max's R and D
couch, so it was impossible to engineer the future of
American technology that day either.

    The day after that, the two technological visionaries
decided to stop fooling around and sit down at their
computers and design the future of high-technology.
Somehow, though, by mid-morning, they and 8087-The Poodle
found themselves wandering through a computer flea market.

    There, the inscrutable S-max bought two dozen dented,
antediluvian, obsolete 24-inch computer disk drives.  When
Andrew.BAS politely inquired how these would fit into their
plans for the future of American technology and what exactly
S-max intended to do with them, the computer builder flew
into a rage.

    "Do?  What do you mean <> with them?" he roared.

    "You know--<>," said Andrew.BAS.  "What are you
going to build with broken computer drives?"

    "<>"  S-max's black-browed
face crinkled into a troglodytic scowl of confusion. "Must
one <> something with every piece of technology that one
buys?  Must one have plans for each and every hunk of broken
computery stuff that one lugs home with them?  Must one be
expected to buy only things which will work and which can be
used for well-defined practical purposes?  Is this one of
your prerequisites for making high-tech purchases?  Is this
what they teach you at software school?  Is this the way
that you look at life, Andrew.BAS?  If so, I am deeply
shocked and I can see already that our high-tech venture is
headed for troubled times if you persist in this delusion of
yours that every single item of expensive high-tech
merchandise that one drags home must serve a distinct and
valuable purpose."  He grunted angrily.

    By the time they had dragged home all two dozen broken
computer drives, it was time to relax on the tattered R and
D couch and watch "Star Trek," so there was no time left
that day either to begin the future of American technology.

    The next day, the increasingly cash-poor owners of Lone
Wolf Scientific Inc. decided to stop avoiding the inevidable
and sit down and plan the future of American high-
technology.  The computer builder sprawled across the ratty
remains of his dog-chewed research couch, grunting, sighing,
and rubbing his brow, while the programmer and their mascot
poodle paced the livingroom floor in thought.

    Within the hour, S-max was watching a soap opera on TV
and grazing from a box of breakfast cereal.  Andrew.BAS was
pretzeled in a yoga position on the floor beneath the office
calendar with the picture of the giant staple gun, reading a
sci-fi novel with a lot of big space guns painted on the
cover.  8087-The Poodle was asleep on top a pile of overdue
utility bills, and glow-in-the dark company keychains,
snoring in a faint, wheezing poodle fashion.

    When S-max pointed questioningly to the paperback novel
in his partner's hands, the programmer responded matter-of-
factly, "I get some of my best ideas about the future of
American high-technology from sci-fi novels."

    That sounded perfectly plausible to the computer
builder who would have gotten many of his own ideas about
the glorious technological future from sci-fi novels if only
he could follow the plots better, but not to be outdone he
bragged, "I know of an even better place."

    Andrew.BAS looked up, curious.

    "Yeah, sure."  He plunged an enormous fist inside the
cereal box he was clenching.  He fished around inside it.
"Inside cereal boxes."

    "Cereal boxes?"

    "Yeah, sure.  Try Cap'n Goodness or Tony the Tree Thug.
That's where I get all my very best ideas for the future of
American computery stuff."  Shoving a handful of purple-
specked cereal into his cavernous mouth, he smirked.  "Just
look for the cellophane packages and the special offers on
the back of the box.  Sometimes you can even find little
helicopters and nuclear goodies inside."

    The fourth week of R and D arrived at Lone Wolf
Scientific Inc. and the once carefree computer entrepreneurs
found themselves without heat, water, phone, or electricity.
Wilma had also reposessed their company sign because they
still hadn't paid the remaining $12 balance on it.

    When Andrew.BAS demanded of the capricious S-max what
he done with the money he given him to pay the phone bill,
the computer builder, sprawled across his R and D couch,
engrossed in playing with his walkie-talkie and chomping
Tony the Tree Thug cereal, sighed, "I don't know if you are
aware of this, Andrew.BAS, but they are making great strides
almost daily in the ever-burgeoning science of kerosene-
powered computers.  If you like, I can whip one up for you."

    Andrew.BAS frowned.  His normally stoic face tightened
with annoyance.

    "In fact, if you'd prefer," said the computer builder,
"I'll make it a hybrid of kerosene and solar power--kerosene
power for the video monitor and add-on cards, solar power
for the clock/calendar and disk drives.  That way, when you
and your programmer buddies are busy compiling, you don't
have to worry about someone getting frisky with the threaded
interpreter and tipping over the bottle of kerosene.  On the
other hand, maybe you'd prefer a cold fission powered PC--"

    "What did you do with that money, S-max?"

    "I hear that disk caching is really wild on a fission
powered PC."


    His blowsy partner grunted.  "I bought some new
batteries for my walkie-talkie and a Hostess Twinkie."

    "Oh, S-max!" he moaned.  "Where are your priorities?"

    "With the future of American computery stuff, where
they've always been."  He sighed loudly like a wrongly
accused child and examined a miniature purple hand grenade
that he'd pulled from the cereal box.

    By the seventh week of intensive research and
development, Lone Wolf Scientific was still no closer to the
future of American high-technology, despite the fact that
Andrew.BAS had re-read his entire collection of 523 sci-fi
novels and dozens of empty, discarded cereal boxes ringed
the floor around S-max's research couch like the ruins of a
massacred Sugar Pop City.

    8087-The Poodle was also showing signs of stress.  He
no longer cared to chew up company stationary or bury bones
and mutilated company keychains in the eviscerated cushions
of the research couch.  He padded among the empty computer
boxes almost daily and whimpered.

    "Isn't it amazing how exhausting it is just thinking
about designing the future of technology?" S-max marvelled
one day, fishing through yet another cereal box for a toy
grenade.  "Think how hard things are going to get when we
actually have to try to make the future of American
technology work according to the description on the box."

    Sadly, his similarly idea-bereft, exhausted partner
couldn't help but agree.


>>>>In the next episode of The Adventures of Lone Wolf
Scientific, computer genius S-max has a midnight

"The Adventures of Lone Wolf Scientific" is
an electronically syndicated series that
follows the exploits of two madcap
technology entrepreneurs.  Copyright 1991,
1992 Michy Peshota. May not be distributed
without accompany WELCOME.LWS and EPISOD.LWS

  What Research and Development Was Always Meant To Be

>>>>>Computer genius S-max has a midnight brainstorm.  His
business partner is sobered by the realization of what weeks
of R and D can sometimes lead to.<<<<<

                      by M. Peshota

    >>"Chief Engineer Sebastian!  Thirty seconds before the
shields collapse!  We have to get those engines back

    The brave computer programmer, oblivious to the
hysteria growing on the bridge, watched the code skidding
over his computer terminal screen.  Deftly, he typed in a

    "Chief Engineer Sebastian!  If it weren't for those
stupid hardware engineers we wouldn't have lost the warp

    The captain's nerves were nearing meltdown, but the
programmer remained calm.  He always did in crisis.  He
typed in the last line of the circuit bypass that would save
<> and its crew from total and
immediate destruction by the disruptors of the approaching

    He hit and smiled as he heard the reassuring
hum and whir of the warp engines firing.  They sounded like
vacuum cleaner attachments.

    Never again, he vowed, settling back in his chair with
a victorious simper, would they let the hardware engineers
tamper with the personnel department's database

    "Andrew.BAS!  Let me in, quick!"

    He cracked open an eye.

    "Hurry!  I have a product idea and I don't think it
will last very long!"

    Andrew.BAS groaned in his half-wakened state.  He heard
thumping on the attic door.  It was not the magisterial
voice of the starship captain that hailed him, nor the
beastly growl of his Klingon security officer--

    He groped around disorientedly on the Microsoft box
beside his bed for his glasses.

    "Andrew.BAS!  Hurry!  I've just discovered what
research and development was always meant to be!"

    Although it sounded a great deal like the infantile
whine of a thwarted Romulan, it was not that either.
Instead, it was the hysterical blat of his high-strung
business partner--a hardware engineer.  A hardware engineer
just like the ones who had gummed up the warp engines.   He
could heard him iggling the knob and heaving his thug-like
bulk impatiently against the door.

    "One minute, please," said Andrew.BAS.  Dazed, he sat
on the edge of his cot and slid on his slippers.  What time
was it anyway?  He looked at the digital clock on the box.
Three a.m.  His head felt heavy as a loaded cattle-car.

    <<"Chief Engineer Sebastian, you're the only one who
can save us from the crazy hardware engineers....">>

    "Please hurry, Andrew.BAS!" he heard his business
partner whine.

    He had barely lifted the latch on the attic door when
the pajamaed computer builder shoved his way in.  He flung
his arms in the air and blurted, "We can build a computer
operating system!  Every computer needs an operating

    Andrew.BAS gazed at him in distress.  He noticed for
the first time how much his matted Valley of the Apes coif
made him look like a rabid Klingon.  He cupped his hand to
his mouth in a yawn.

    S-max seized him by the collar of his pajamas, and
blatted in his face, "Listen, we can give our computer
operating system important features that other computer
companies, through egregious misperceptions of the needs of
the technological marketplace, have forgotten to build into
their computer operating systems--like the ability to
remotely steer radio-controlled model cars from the command


    "That's right, no computer operating system has this
fundamental feature at the moment--incredible as it may
seem."  S-max grunted.  "We will also design it so that it
can pick up radio stations in Los Angeles, interfere with
the geosynchronous orbits of other people's satellites,
direct submarine reconnaissance in the Arctic Circle,
interfere with television reception in hostile lands, beam
digital images to Phobos.  These can be major selling
points.  To build it we can use up some of those old Z80
boards that are starting to fill up the garage."

    The sleepy programmer slid his wirerims to the top of
his nose, perturbed.  He reflected, his face a placid moon.
He finally said, "I don't know if anyone's ever mentioned
this to you before, S-max, but most computer operating
systems are fashioned of software.  They're not build out of
old Z80 boards."

    "And that's what's wrong with them," S-max scowled.  He
wagged a finger in disgust.  "If they were, they could have
lots of buttons, toggles, and switches, and bright lights
and batteries, and an internal fan, and tons of electrical
cords and interesting cables dangling off the back.  Where's
your entrepreneurial spirit, Andrew.BAS?"

    "Vanishing fast."

    "Now, look."  He paced the floor in thought.  "You
write the software part of the operating system, and <>
will build the hardware part of the operating system, and
then we can put them together and see if they work."

    "They won't," said Andrew.BAS.  "I can assure you of
that now."

    "No, no, Andrew.BAS!" he wailed, once again wagging his
finger in reprimand.  "Let's not be so cynical at this
early, critical stage in the research and development
process.  It is wholly antithetical to the atmosphere of
daily technological excitement that we are trying to build
here at Lone Wolf Scientific, Inc.  Migod, you programmers
are always such killjoys!  Now listen to me."  He grabbed
him by the shoulders.  "<> write the software part, and
<> will build the hardware part, and then we will sell

    "To who?"

    "To anyone who wants a computer operating system with
which they can remotely control model cars, boats, planes,
and trucks from the command line!  Haven't you been
listening to me?  Haven't you heard what I've been saying?
Have I been painting my life's hopes, dreams, plans, and
ambitions half the night to an insensate home computer?"  He
gestured disparagingly toward the small computer next to
Andrew.BAS's cot.

    "It's not a home computer," the programmer corrected.
"It's an Apollo workstation.  And it's a very powerful
computer."  He smiled at his beloved software development
computer, a machine on which he dotted with an almost
mawkish affection.  He patted its well-polished monitor.  He
smiled at it.  "But don't worry," he said, "I don't think it
was offended much.  It had its disks optimized today and I
installed on it a new C compiler, so it's in especially

    S-max scowled at the programmer's saccharine affection
toward the tidy computer, squinting at it skeptically, wary
of any contraption a programmer might find worthy of
adoration.  Suddenly, his potent Ghaddafi-like eyes
brightened with interest.

    But before Andrew.BAS could spot this most telling
symptom of another mad idea swirling in his partner's
feverish mind, S-max hurried on to detail all the marvelous
computer peripherals that could be attached to a computer
whose operating system was capable of interfering with
television reception in hostile lands.

    "We could daisy-chain a gas grill to it and cook
fajitas while the operating system is running maintenance
on Neptune--" he said.

    It took almost thirty minutes for Andrew.BAS to calm
him and convince him to return downstairs to the livingroom
and the research couch upon which he slept.  When he did, he
insisted upon taking along Andrew.BAS's Apollo computer,
claiming that having such a powerful computer near his bed
would help him sleep.  Since Andrew.BAS often found this to
be the case himself, he didn't object too much.

    Once S-max was gone, he returned to his small, folding
cot and tried to fall back asleep.  His sleep was restless,
though.  Many times throughout the night he was awakened by
sounds of pounding, sawing, welding, soldering, hammering,
and wire-snipping filtering up from the livingroom below.
He shuddered to think what the morning light might bring to
Lone Wolf Scientific, Inc.

    When Andrew.BAS descended the stairs in the morning, he
found, to his dismay, his partner, still p.j.-clad, fussily
wiring a pair of rabbit ear antenna to the top of his
treasured Apollo computer.  A large metal ammunition box was
riveted to its rear.  He hurried the rest of the way down
the steps, trying to remain calm.

    "Good morning, Andrew.BAS!" the computer builder
hailed, waving a conspicuously solder-caked soldering iron
in greeting.  "You'll never believe what I've been up all
night doing."

    "Beaming digital images to Phobos?"

    "Even better.  I've been building more and more
revolutionary features into our new computer operating
system.  Each feature is better than the last.  Take a look
at this feature."  He pointed to the small slot filed
crookedly on the top of the ammunition box that was riveted
to the backside of the $10,000 computer.  "You'll never
guess what this is.  I'll give you a hint, though:  it is
totally revolutionary.  It will transform the world of high-
technology as we know it."

    "That's where you deposit the quarters to get the
operating system running?" said Andrew.BAS dourly.

    "'Migosh, Andrew.BAS, you are correct!" S-max
exclaimed.  "You must have been up all night thinking like
me!  (How very impressive.  Obviously my presence in your
disheveled programmerly life is starting to make its good
influence known.)  Yes, this is in fact where you deposit
the quarters.  Seventy-five cents will give you fifteen
minutes of pure operating system pleasure."  He grunted and
fumbled in his pajama pockets.  "Can I borrow some


    "But Andrew.BAS!" he wailed.  "I want to demonstrate
fifteen minutes of pure operating system pleasure.   How are
you going to be able to write the software for this
complicated high-tech product and provide the technical
support if you have never seen it in operation?"

    "I'll read the description on the box."

    "No, no, you won't!" he declared.  "You'll deposit
quarters just like everyone else.  Where do you think Bill
Gates would be today if someone had asked him to deposit
quarters in one of his operating systems and he had

    "Making twice as much money as he is now?"

    S-max scowled at his partner's humorless quip. "Let's
not be uppity, Andrew.BAS."  He shook a blasted screwdriver.
"I am giving you the opportunity to not only shape the
future of global technology--"

    "Wait a second.  I thought we were only shaping the
future of American technology."

    "Well now it's global technology as well--thanks to my
hard work."  He snorted.  "You should be eternally grateful
to me for what I have done for you.  I challenge you to find
another computer inventor of my stature who would stoop to
include a mere nincompoop computer programmer such as
yourself in the early moments of their product's R and D
magic.  Count your blessings.  This is not the sort of thing
that will happen to you twice in your confused programmerly

    "I do frequently count my blessings for that."
Andrew.BAS slid his glasses to the top of his nose and
smiled coyly.

    "Now, hand over the quarters!" S-max squawked,
extending his palm.

    He stared at the pajamaed computer builder and the
rabbit ear antenna with an astonished stupor, half bemused,
wondering for a moment if their neighborhood was zoned for
this sort of thing.  Finally he shrugged his wispy shoulders
and said, "Sorry, all I have is nickels."  With that, he
turned and quickly tread the steps back to his attic
programming loft, resolving to wait until later in the day,
when S-max was safely asleep on his R and D couch, to
retrieve his computer.

    He could hear the incensed computer builder yelling
after him, "You'll be sorry, Andrew.BAS!  You'll regret
this!  Twenty years from now when someone asks you to
explain how you were involved in the historic birth of the
coin-operated computer operating system, you will be forced
to admit 'I forgot to bring the correct change.'  And how do
you think <> will sound, Andrew.BAS?"

    Infinitely better than if he <> have the correct
change, Andrew.BAS smiled to himself.  Vastly better indeed.


>>In the next installment of The Adventures of Lone Wolf
Scientific--"What Is a Computer Operating System?"--S-max
puts the finishing touches on his seminal Coin-Operated
Computer Operating System.  He reflects on the role of the
computer operating system in modern society--and how it is
about to be changed forever by the wirey contraption with
the rabbit-ear antenna on his desk.<<

[Apologies for the delay in this episode.  I was putting the
final touches on "The Adventures of Lone Wolf Scientific"
the novel--look for it in your bookstores soon!]