Andy: Portion

Test cases, for so long a mythical luxury, have become a meaningful possibility. I pound out a command-prompt test harness, and the rest of the team sets about supplying the oxen. The server winds up crumpling under the repeated no-op baseline case, and it's back into the mines for me and Glenn, but the whiff of fresh air is invigorating, and besides, I'm floating anyway. Metaphor speaks too strongly to me; I settle on Chester as my test case for Irene. I tell him about this plan when I give him his evening dish of food; he responds with a flick of the tail. I think this is assent; it can be hard to tell with cats sometimes. Then she calls, to make more specific plans of our vauge tentativities, and wonder if I should bribe Chester with double rations, or perhaps surreptitiously rub Irene with catnip, just to make double-sure she doesn't fail the test.

When faced with this intruder in our private turf, Chester's first response is to hide his fuzzy mouse toy under a chair, followed by a purred consent to ear scratching, followed by a return to his usual catlike disdain. Cats, she says, with a shrug, then pokes me in the arm and we head out, leaving Chester to his own devices. On our way out of the theatre, we discover that her car won't start. A towing service proves unnecessary, as a kindly fellow with a pickup gives us a jump, along with a glowing recommendation for the church he attends. Irene tells him, with completely straight face, that's she's an ordained minister. Universal Life Church, she says, and of course, she really is, as she's dropping me off, she shows me the card she printed out off the web page and had laminated. At this, I kiss her. For the lamination, I explain when we pull apart, she laughs and it's the most astonishing sudden burst of joy, sunbeams through stormclouds.

We don't have a water cooler at work, there is no forum for such things, I call my sister and tell her, but a string class is a string class no matter how happy you are, and Matt's nerves are frayed and everyone is short with everyone else. Share and enjoy, I pull the boathorn out of my desk at half past six and once I have the undivided attention of the room, I order the team to dinner. I have the boathorn, so they obey. It's beer and burgers and baseball games with no sound at Champions for everyone, like it or not, but they like it just fine, even Glenn who's a vegetarian. Andy is resistant, but I manage to land a beer in front of him, he starts sipping it and stops twitching. We play a shamefully incompetent game of darts, and then the crowd hauls itself contentedly back to the office. Tom and Matt disappear down the hallway to their cubes, bickering over the protocol handler's interface like a married couple, and Glenn suggests we all play Frisbee on the weekend, if we make it to the weekend, and Andy says thank you, it's good to feel part of a group you want to feel part of like this and is hunched at his keyboard with his ears between his knees, oblivious to the outside world, before I can parse his sentence. Time to start making some large charitable donations, I think, because I must have used up a whole hell of a lot of karma the last few days.