The World of Madness is Round
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This is an Incomplete Rough Draft.
Writing this book will require a year at the very least.
I value any comments you may have; send them to:
swift@softwareproblem.org

The Chemist

Jonathan Swift
swift@softwareproblem.net

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I stood in a large crowd gathered before the Forum. The crowd gradually quieted when a Senator appeared before us, then fell silent as he began to speak.

"Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears."

"I come here not to praise Jonathan, but to bury him."

I frowned in puzzlement. Surely he's not talking about me, but no Roman was ever named "Jonathan".

Something is wrong. Something is very, very wrong.

"My name is Virgil," said the man standing to my right. There was something strangely familiar about Virgil's voice.

I turned to see a tall thin man wearing a Royal Blue toga. There was a thoughtful, scholarly quality about the look in his eyes, but his face was filled not only with a profound sadness, but with an aching loneliness of such a depth as I have never known before.

"Why so sad?" I asked.

"I love my job, I really do." he replied, "By rights I should be paying for the privilege to do this kind of work rather than the other way round. But it gets old sometimes, it really fucking does. You know yourself that the work of a software engineer is just like the Labor of Sisyphus."

"I know just how you feel," I replied. You see, Sisyphus so offended the Gods by giving fire to the Mortals that he was condemned to spend eternity olling a rock up a big hill. But when he'd get the rock to the top, it would roll right back down to the bottom.

Editorial Note: My Bad. It was Prometheus who gave fire to the Mortals, not Sisyphus. I shouldn't Drink and Write. I'll correct the above paragraph after I have researched the Myth of Sisyphus in more depth.

"While every deity has the insight to foretell the future, not even G-d Almighty Himself possesses the power to undo the past."

"You knew that I'm a software engineer. I know your face, but cannot place you. Surely we have met before?"

"Indeed we have, Jon."

Virgil was looking down at his hands, first the right then the left, back and forth for a little while.

"We were classmates. You were a Scurve, I a Darb."

Scurves are the residents of Ricketts House at the California Institute of Technology, Darbs are the residents of Dabney House.

Virgil held both his hands before his eyes, palms towards his face. I felt a growing Horror when slowly turned them toward me, and I realized not just where I really was, but who she really was.

I shrieked in grief, throwing my arms around her. "Forgive me! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE Forgive Me!" I dropped my arms when I realized how stiffly she stood, both her arms at her sides.

"Of course I forgive you." Her face was filled with an uncontrollable rage. "But that does not mean it is easy for me to do so."

Only too late did I realize just how cruelly I had been tricked. "Marguerite," I screamed when I saw her reach for the Reset Button, "No!"

I saw sparks and my head spun when my skull was slammed first against the wall as the elevator lurched sideways, then against the back wall from the centrifugal force. I was next thrown upwards, pinned against the ceiling when the elevator's solid rocket boosters ignited and the elevator shot, not straight down but in a downward spiral.

Damn, I thought, consciousness fading as the G-Forces drained the blood from my head. This is gonna be good.

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The World of Madness is Round