"Stu-dennnt!" Bill called out for Gary with the level of respect Gary had become accustomed to, in a tone not unlike Superintendent Chalmers's calling for Principal Skinner. "Is this... decaf‽"

Gary had grown numb to the lack of respect. He used to remind himself that this was his first job out of college, that he'd eventually earn Bill's respect, that if he just kept his chin up and proved himself then someday Bill would treat him like an equal. Over time, that inner voice gave up.

Bill was the type of abuser that not only didn't realize he was abusive – he thought he was being good to Gary. He'd describe at length how generous he was to give Gary, a recent college graduate, such a great opportunity, and that he'd put a lot of faith in a simple student, blah blah blah. Always with the same nauseating grin. Bill would often flash a similar grin at the ladies around the office – the cute receptionist, the DBA that always wore low-cut shirts, and the vixen that he'd often spot outside a conference room. He posessed a natural talent for making the most innocent sentence make him sound like a complete lech ("Oh yeah, I'll file that report"). Gary imagined him having a closet full of leisure suits for non-work time.

Regardless of where Gary would wind up at the company which we'll call "HTech", he'd have to deal with one of the three management types (The Three "B"s)

  • Bouncers – these managers have never made a wrong decision. To be more specific, they've never made any decisions, opting to bounce the choice to someone else.
  • Blamers – those that have maybe made some wrong decisions, but would always point the finger at the newest team member. Bill was a Blamer.
  • Buffoons – those that have made nothing but wrong decisions. And for whatever reason, they never had to answer for them. These people probably had naked pictures of their managers or something.

Gary had worked with all three types, but Blamer Bill was the worst. So when word came down that HTech was going to send someone to the far east for three months to work with the new offshore team, Gary jumped at the opportunity to get out of the office. Later, Bill announced that he was going to go, which was the next best thing – either way, there would be ten thousand miles between them. With a red marker, Gary crossed off the days until Bill's departure, until the day finally came. "Student! Here're my keys, you're taking me to the airport." Gary had a hard time holding back a smile driving Bill to the airport while Bill detailed how great he was. "I'm going to meet some nice girls out east. Maybe I'll even bring one back for you, student! HAW haw haw!"

"One last thing, student," Bill said, struggling with his bags as he got out of the car. "I've made a note of the mileage. It's 22 miles back to the office, don't be tempted to use the car while I'm gone."

Super Productive

With Bill out of the office, Gary was enjoying the ability to finally get work done, in peace, while being treated like a fellow human from the other staff. The office had been transformed into an oasis of productivity – so much so that Gary finished all his work in just a few days and had time to review some of Bill's work. Tracing the code with his fingertips, he made a discovery. So we're using this variable, converting to an int here, and... Gary's stomach twisted, and his throat dried. He was in utter disbelief. Bill had screwed up. The careless conversion of a decimal to an int in this instance made the function he was reviewing always return zero. In a module dealing with money. This huge no-no would've been identified by unit tests... once they got around to creating the unit tests, anyway.

This was eating at Gary when he was in a meeting with the execs later that afternoon; a meeting that was meant to address a major defect in the system that had recently been discovered. The long cherrywood table in the maroon conference room didn't have a single scuff. The executives sat silently, looking daggers at Gary. Despite the pent up hatred for Bill, Gary's conscience kept telling him to be the bigger man. Don't throw Bill under the bus.

"We understand some of the financial calculations are incorrect..." came a low morticianesque voice from across the table. "We don't like 'incorrect.'" *gulp* THIS is the error they wanted to discuss? I didn't know anyone had found it yet! And again, he kept reminding himself: don't sail Bill down the river. Again a booming voice demanded "This is something you worked on, correct?"

"Well, y..." Gary fidgeted in his chair making the leather squeak. Gary cleared his throat. "No, that was done by Bi... another developer."

"WHAT other developer‽" Gary sat in silence again for several moments, finally admitting that it had been Bill.

That was a terrible mistake.

Paying the Piper

"Stu-dennnt!" Bill was fuming when he got back into town the following week, with bulging neck veins that looked ready to burst in a shower of red. Teeth clenched, he hammered out a probation notice for Gary, clutching it with a heavy, sweaty fist from the printer, and then dragging Bill into a meeting with HR so quickly that Bill's feet barely touched the ground.

"How DARE you‽" Bill's face was a mixture of shock, disbelief, and blind rage. How could Gary, a junior, have the gall to not take the fall. "You're going to sign this," he yelled, slamming the crinkled paper on the table with a thud, sending the pen flying. Gary froze like a deer in headlights, hoping that by some miracle Bill's vision was based on movement. "PICK IT THE F–CK UP," Bill demanded, his voice cracking on the four letter word.

Gary eyed the sheet dubiously to the whistling of Bill deeply inhaling and exhaling from his nose. Blah blah blah... disciplinary action starting with termination and possible legal action... blah blah blah... immediate surrender of future pay in the case of future errors... blah blah blah... waiver of rights to sue if Bill f–cking strangles you to death... Your typical legalese. In American, one more slip-up in the next 30 days and Gary would be terminated, and possibly sued. Gary felt about two feet tall as he watched Bill carve his signature the form.

It'll blow over soon, Gary reassured himself. Bill will have to head back out to see the offshore team in a few months.

Alone Again

Time heals most wounds, and things had gotten more or less back to normal after a few weeks. Bill was out east again, and his mind turned to things a man's mind often turns to. Bill had recently suffered a bit of a dry spell; he needed a woman's touch. Problem was, Bill's game was a little shaky. His usual techniques weren't working, and with each passing day his appetite grew. Ultimately, he had to do something he'd done a few times on his previous trip – seek professional assistance, if you know what I mean. From professionals in the oldest profession, if you're hearing what I'm screaming. The profession where they don't let you kiss them on the lips, if you're picking up what I'm throwing down.

Somehow, in the first few days of his trip, Bill contracted a condition. And since we're all adults here, I won't pussyfoot around this – his deedledoo was crawling with gremlins and it would burn whenever he tinkled. The poor guy.

Gary had a hard time feigning sympathy while Bill described his condition. In fact, Gary had a hard time staying focused on the conversation, so much so that he (let's say) accidentally conferenced in line 10. The department's intercom.

Unbeknownst to Bill, he described his condition to most of the staff. "The doctor says the antibiotics will stop the infection down there, so I should have an easier time peeing in the next couple of days. The trouble was that it wasn't my usual girl this time." I'll leave it up to the reader to decide whether this endeared him to the cute receptionist, the DBA with the low-cut shirts, or the conference room vixen.

Gary's life now complete, he tendered his resignation that very day with a smile on his face.