Best of RAH96:
A 25,000 Year Still Life
by Greg Borek
Copyright © 1996 Greg Borek, All Rights Reserved.
...Og awoke with a start. The sun was shining full in his cave.
Damn, he thought, overslept again. He was stiff and still weary from
yesterday's hunting, but survival is a relentless effort...
...I have got to get this damn alarm clock fixed. No clean laundry,
no time for breakfast, and I am going to have to drive like an idiot
to get to work on time. Damn it to hell. Mr. Goteborg is already on
my case about being late. Where are my clean pants?...
...The river has been extremely swollen lately. Og knew crossing
would be difficult now that that tree that had been a bridge fell in
and was washed away. Og thanked the Forest Gods when they knocked
the tree over for him to use as a bridge and prayed they would give
him another one. Without a bridge the river would be difficult to
cross. He wondered what he did to displease the Gods...
...When are they going to put in a damn left turn arrow at this
intersection? It's going to be at least five changes of the light
until I'll get to turn left. Green. Finally. Come on, let's go.
What!? Move! Come on, come on, you old fart get that piece of junk
moving. What are you stopping for?!? Move!! Don't you know I'm
late for work!?!? Great, I had to get stuck behind a hat person.
Who did I piss off to deserve this?...
...Og knew he would have to move swiftly through this part of the
valley to avoid the old goat. This time of the day the goat was most
temperamental. It was always alert and always very, very mean. Og
did not know why the old goat was so mean, but he knew many old goats
were. Meeting the old goat would mean fighting or more likely
running away. Suddenly, the old goat appeared directly in his path
preparing to attack...
..."Johnson!! Johnson, I spotted you coming in so don't try running
away. Well, had a restful night's sleep last night, did you? You
must have if you are only getting here now! Do you have any idea
what time it is?"
"Sorry, Mr. Goteborg. My alarm clock..."
"That sounds dangerously close to an excuse! You know how much I
hate excuses! Now, get to work and don't let this happen
"Yes, sir. Sorry, sir."...
...Og was always glad to get away from the goat, even if it meant
running away. He was still able to take on the goat without taking
much damage, but he must try harder to avoid it. These close calls
were getting more and more stressful.
Og made it to the watering hole. As he approached the water, he
noticed some droppings from another caveman. It was from the She-Og.
It must be. Only she would be so careless, leaving her scent
everywhere. Og knew from her behaviour that she wanted to mate
although she had never shown any signs of wanting to mate with Og.
Odd, Og thought, she did not want to mate with Og even though she had
never seen Og's club and how he could handle it. Og did not know why
he wanted to chase the She-Og; he knew he just did. He decided he
would have to do things to try and impress her next time he saw her.
Suddenly, Og spotted the She-Og across the watering hole...
..."Morning, Sheila. You look very nice today."
"Oh, it's you. Make more coffee. And make sure you don't screw
it up again this time."
"Not a problem. So unlike a problem, it's not to be believed. I
would actually enjoy making a new pot of coffee just for you."
"Shut up and do it, lunkhead."
"Okey-dokey. Say, Sheila, I was looking for a new video card for
my computer at home. You know, the one I put together myself? You
can really save money putting a system together yourself. Anyway, I
was thinking of going to the computer show this weekend at the
fairgrounds and was wondering..."
"Oh, the fairgrounds! That reminds me...my boyfriend, Biff, the
doctor and lawyer, is racing his new car this weekend at
the fairgrounds. Or was it next weekend? One is the triathalon and
the other is the race. I can never remember. What were you saying?"
"Absolutely nothing you would want to hear."
"I thought so."...
...The She-Og turned and was gone. Og knew it was pointless trying
to catch her now. He would have to wait for another opportunity.
Maybe he could catch her in a moment of weakness.
Og started down into the valley. He was certain it would be a
good day for hunting. He was behind on his usual route, but he
was well rested. Og took a few practice throws with his spear,
testing his sore shoulder. Not as good as it had been, but he needed
...My hands are getting numb quicker and quicker. I can barely type
anymore. Damn this carpel tunnel. And exactly what am I doing in
here on a nice day like this? I should be doing something else.
Anything outdoors has to be healthier than sitting in this
air-conditioning breathing stale air. Outdoorsy people have to be
healthier. This programming is wearing my body out...
...Og made it to the best part of the valley. This was hard work but
he enjoyed the hunting. He was soon rewarded for his patience and
perseverance. A wild boar, a large one, wandered near where Og was
hiding. This was going to be a good kill - he would receive much
honor for his bravery and skill.
Og waited, prayed to the Hunting Gods, and hurled the spear. A
solid hit! The struggle was violent but brief. Og thanked the
...Yes, yes, yes! Thank you, Mr. Spock. Wow, finally got that damn
bug. I've been trying to squash that bug all week. Excellent. I
cannot believe how hard it was to find that. And who else would have
thought of looking in that allegedly working piece of code checked
into the Quality Assurance machine. I am simply a genius. Wait 'til
I tell the Quality Assurance Group. Shown up by the Development Team
once again. They will simply turn "don't run me over" green with
...Og's success was short lived. The Clan from Below the Valley was
attracted by the death throes of the boar, and began converging on
the scene. Og knew right away what was going to happen. He had more
strength, skill, and ability than his rivals from the Clan, but there
were too many of them. He would never be able to hold on to his
..."Johnson, there you are. I noticed you checked some of the
finished source code back into the library. What's up?"
"Wiggins, I'll have you know you are presently addressing a
certified genius. I fixed a 'memory leak' bug in the old module.
That's what was causing the random crashes."
"Get out of town. The old module was tested and checked in by
Smithers and Brown last week. I don't see how they could have missed
"Yeah, me either."
"Good work, Johnson, I knew you had a brain somewhere in that ugly
head of yours. Tell you what - I have some other things checked out
from the library so I'll submit a full build for the source code
right away from my area. OK? And when I tell Goteborg that it's
working now I will be sure to mention you. I know you're on the
Development Team but I really appreciate the hard work you've put in
for the QA Group."
"Research has shown that the use of large denomination bills is a
very non-subtle and tangible means of expressing gratitude."
"Johnson, you're such a card."...
...Og was sad to lose the prize he had worked so hard for. It was
true the Clan needed the boar more than he did because they were such
lousy hunters. Oh well, just another day without meat.
Og would not be able to hunt again today. He would have to rest
first. He was glad to rest being so weary from his struggles. Too
weary. He did not notice the old goat and the sabre-toothed tiger
ganging up on him until it was too late...
..."Johnson! Johnson! Look alive, will you man? This is Mr. Axeman
from corporate. He wants to have a little chat with you."
"Good morning, Mr. Axeman."
"I don't have time for 'good morning's. Have you seen the
company's last quarter financial reports? I would like to explain
the company's cash flow problem and temporary lack of liquidity..."
Greg Borek is a C programmer with a "Highway Helper" (okay, "Beltway Bandit"
- but don't tell his boss we told you.) in Falls Church, VA. He has previously
been mistaken for a vampire. Greg can be reached via e-mail at:
Freedom is just chaos with better lighting.