3/9 Some minor edits, and fixed some dialog where the original speaker told me the exact words he used.
HungerThe group of four programmers sat huddled around the table, upstairs in the crowded deli in midtown Manhattan. The usual lunchtime crowd was present, though thinned out due to the snow which cut through the air like a million icy razor blades.
The conversation turned to the weekend game-playing habits. The one with the plaid scarf stayed quiet, nursing an electrolyte-rich sports drink, trying to maintain a high hydration level while dealing with yet another wintertime illness.
The tall, heavyset one mentioned that, while he was sick over the weekend, he was quarantined away from his wife and newborn son; as such, he was able to finally get some time playing World of Warcraft.
"Oh," said the short one with the glasses, as he ate a bite of salad. "Did hunger pains interrupt your game?" he asked, poking fun at a recent buzz-marketing campaign for a competing game product.
"Hunger pains? What are those?" asked the tall one, confusedly, while the scrawny French-looking one looked similarly confused.
"Everquest II has a feature where you can now fire up a web browser to order a pizza online inside the game," the short one said, sarcastically.
"No," replied the tall one. "I was playing World of Warcraft," he said, as if the short one were simply devoid of clue.
ThirstAfter a long day of bug-fixing and tongue-biting, preparing for the inevitable release of a mobile game, the programmer logged out of the computer and began to put on a jacket and a plaid scarf, preparing to leave for home.
"Oh, hey, did you get my email?" asked the manager.
"No, what email?"
"Asking about the progress on the Java version characters. Well, you were busy all day getting the BREW version ready for release, so we can talk about it tomorrow."
The programmer nodded, weary and tired.
"But, real quick, how many phones is the Java version running on right now?"
"Uh... I dunno, all the MIDP 2 ones, none of the MIDP 1 ones. I've kept notes in the spreadsheet."
"Oh," said the manager, expectantly.
"Aaaand getting it to run on any MIDP 2 phone is easy, but MIDP 1 phones won't be."
"Mm hmm." The manager continued to look as if he was expecting something from the programmer.
"Well, aren't you going to look in the spreadsheet?"
"So I can see how many phones it's running on."
"It's...not complete, and it doesn't matter, because— Oh, alright." The programmer sat back down at the computer, and logged in, in order to bring up a spreadsheet.
"It's running on all these phones," the programmer said, hilighting all of the rows.
"So that's... how many? One, two, three—" started the manager, counting the rows manually.
"Fourteen," said the programmer, glancing at the left column and doing a simple subtraction.
"Oh. That's great!" said the manager.
"Yes, well, it's Java. It's not like BREW where we can tune it for each phone... either it'll run well enough or it won't run at all."
"So what about the N-Gage?"
"No," said the programmer, growing impatient, "although the N-Gage is supposed to be a gaming phone, it has the worst Java implementation for gaming of the lot. Nokia just wants developers to pay the $10K for a developer license or something."
"But Gameloft has all their games running on the N-Gage!"
The programmer decided that, rather than mentioning how Gameloft's games target MIDP 1 and that it doesn't look like they actually support the N-Gage and so on, it would be easier to simply shrug and say, "I dunno, I'd have to look at it. They might be doing something special."
"Anyway," said the programmer, logging out again, "I'll see you tomorrow."
The programmer donned the plaid scarf, and mentally screamed profanities while walking towards the elevator, wishing that if the manager had wanted to know these things, it would have been nice if he had asked during a slow period during the day and not 15 minutes after the breaking point at which the sick, tired, and fed-up developer had wanted to leave the stressful hellhole of the 9th floor.
Minutes later, a dark figure paused amidst the blinding blizzard to raise both middle fingers at the office building from which it had emerged.