The Support Grunt

by MW Cook

I really miss fiction. I used to write it a lot. I’m getting back into it, with a few neat projects on the go. But I really wanted it to be a part of this blog. Otherwise people might think that I’m just a whiny dude who doesn’t like Christians (I do, actually, like Christians).

So on that note, I’ve decided to start writing some flash fiction, aiming at around 500 words. We’ll see how it goes. Enjoy.

They said he would get used to the constant whirring of the servers behind him. He never did.
Or maybe he did. But whenever he would stumble across that thought he would notice them all over again, and they would drone away in his mind, burrowing under his thoughts and permeating them. He was sure they were driving him mad. But only when he thought about them. Or when he thought about how he hardly ever thought of them.
It was a slow day. People rarely called on Fridays. He thought that was a good thing, though he couldn't put his finger on why he thought that was a good thing, why no work was better than work and idle, better than moving.
But even though he was convinced that it was a good thing, he was full of angst. He stared at the screen in from of him, primed and ready for a service call, and played with the tea bag in the already-saturated water.
He thought about playing a Flash game, but his boss would probably not have appreciated it. His boss knew he was idle, but it was better to be idle and bored than idle and entertained, or something like that.
He stood up, pushing his chair out and letting it roll out of his workstation. He peeked over the dividers flanking his desk at the other support grunts. They didn't look up. One was busy with wikipedia, the other with facebook. Both better than Flash games, he supposed. More productive, in a way.
He sighed. No one looked up. He looked around the support pit, taking in its painful familiarity, and walked out to the coffee makers. One of the developers was there. He thought his name was Don, or something.
"Hey man!" the developer said with a grin. "Great news!"
"Oh yeah?"
"Yeah! I figured out the problem with that ODBC sync. I've already written a work-around and the new mde is up on the server. Woo! What a rush!" He spilled a little coffee on his bright shirt.
"Yeah? Wow. That's great."
"Yeah, it's great!" Don said. "I don't understand people who say the software industry is boring."
"Huh. Yeah, me neither." He poured himself a coffee.
"You know, people ought to learn programming skills in school. It's good for mental development. Just think of what you've gained by working here."
"What I've gained?"
"All the life-skills you've gotten by working with this software. It's unique, no one else knows how to handle the program like you support guys."
He tried to smile. "Yeah, I guess it is really useful. I mean, I don't even know how many times in life my knowledge about online product purchasing and receiving software will come in handy. Yeah. Woo ha."
He turned back to the support pit. Found his way to his desk. Noticed the full mug of tea sitting there. Put his coffee beside it.
He his hands to his temples and wondered if he could have been an actor. Then he began to type.

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