If Mr.Boyd hadn’t been a perfect bastard, Sally would never have had a close encounter of the third kind.
No, wait, we’re telling it all wrong.
If Sally hadn’t dropped her keys right in front of her door, she’d never have seen the giant green spiders.
Of course, the reason that Sally dropped her keys is that she was practically sleep walking, and honestly shouldn’t have been driving. And that was because Mr. Boyd was a bastard who kept trying to make his programmers deliver on what the sales people had over-promised the clients of his computer company.
In fact, as Sally walked down the hallways of her dingy apartment house, she’d been muttering to herself “Midnight code? We should be so lucky. At Boyd’s and Boyd’s we write four am code. And then get up two hours later and spend most of the next day undoing the mistakes we made while half asleep.” She was so sleepy she didn’t get into the mystery of why the firm had an extra “and Boyd’s.” As far as she could tell Mr. Boyd had no family and had never been married. But she supposed it was entirely possible Boyds reproduced by fission.
And then, blessedly, her apartment door ws in front of her, and she reached for the keys from her purse….
Perhaps it was some movement in the shadows of the dark hallway. She’d never know. But she dropped the keys and bent to pick them up. And saw the two giant green spiders hiding around the corner of the hallway looking at her.
Okay, so she couldn’t see any eyes, but she knew — just knew — they were looking at her, and sort of jiggling in anticipation, like kids who have set up a prank and are waiting for you to fall for it.
And then she was running, screaming, down the hallway and towards the door of the building.
Which is when she collided with a large, dark male. Though at the time she didn’t know he was a large dark male, or in fact even human. She thought in fact he was a spider.
“Ow,” Craig said when hit on the head with Sally’s shoe. Fortunately women no longer wore high heels to work, but the tennis shoes stung when it smacked across his face.
Which is when Sally realized Craig — though she didn’t know he was Craig — must be human, because she couldn’t imagine a spider saying “Ow.” Well, Sally wasn’t a particularly imaginative kind, even if she was a very good coder.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” she said. “There were giant green spiders at my door.”
Instead of recommending a good alcoholism-prevention program, Craig shuddered. “At my door too. And they were holding ray guns.”
Sally blinked. We said she didn’t have much imagination, remember? “The spiders were holding ray guns?”
Craig rubbed at his eyes. “Hell, I think so, but I’m not even sure. You see, my boss, Mr. Banderas, is a perfect bastard, and he keeps promising code that can’t be delivered in the time he gives. And then he works us until we deliver it anyway. I don’t think I’ve slept eight hours in the last ten days. Cumulative.”
And Sally laughed because she rarely met a guy who even knew the word cumulative. Particularly since it seemed she spent her life writing midnight code. “You live here? In the building?” she asked.
And sitting on the floor of the dingy apartment house, Craig realized that Sally was really very pretty despite the dark rings around her blue eyes, which matched her glossy dark hair. “Yeah,” he said. “It’s weird we never met. But I blame it on Mr. Banderas.”
“No. Some of the guilt must go to Mr. Boyd,” Sally said. “Trust me on this. Your Mr. Banderas can’t be worse than Boyd. He’s a perfect bastard. I mean, he calls his firm Boyd’s and Boyd’s but there’s no indication there is another Boyd. Possibly in the whole world.” She allowed Craig to help her rise, and leaned on him while she put her shoe on.
When they went back to her door, there were no spiders visible.
They said goodbye at the door with smiles, because this is not that kind of story. But the next night, when Sally came stumbling in at 4 am, Craig was also stumbling in at 4am. It was none of Sally’s business that he’d been lurking in his car for half an hour so they could stumble in together.
And after a few early mornings of stumbling in together, Sally had said “We have to stop meeting like this and go out for dinner or something” which was very bold of her, since she had never even had a date.
And Craig said, “Let’s do it.” Which was very bold of him, since he’d once thought the best solution to romance would be to write himself a girlfriend program. Only he couldn’t ever get the AI right. The technology was just not there yet.
But anyway, their first afternoon off, after two weeks, they went to the zoo, and then out to dinner in this tiny, quaint Greek diner.
After a few more of those afternoons — and a glorious evening — they started looking for different jobs, where the managers might be slightly less bastard-like. Or at least, perhaps, imperfect bastards.
As it happened Craig found a job paying double what he’d made at Mr. Bandera’s. Which allowed him to ask Sally whether she wanted to marry him and perhaps have beautiful kids who’d be perfect coders.
She said yes, of course. She was socially awkward. Not stupid.
On her wedding day, while her mother told her how unlikely it all was, she thought, “And mom doesn’t know the half of it.” Since she’d never told mom about the green spiders.
In a bar across the galaxy, amid many other strange life forms, there is a table around which several green spiders sit, drinking something pink and foaming from little steins.
And frankly, if you can’t picture that, your imagination is as bad as Sally’s and we can only hope you’re as good a coder.
“Mike,” one of the spiders says to the other in spider language. (And if you can’t imagine either a spider language, or a spider named Mike. We’re sorry for you. After all, phonetically — mīk — is a very easy sound to make, and why shouldn’t a spider be named that?) “We’re going to be so rich. This Mating Human Geeks Program is a hit.”
Mike hoisted his glass of beer and nodded. “Isn’t it weird they never search their apartments of the cameras we hid earlier?”
“Nah,” the spider named Bob — what you’re going to have problems with a spider named Bob, really. Phonetically ˈbäb is even easier than Mike — who was the camera man of the group said. “I’m very good at hiding the cameras.”
“And guys, this is not just curiosity,” the Spider named Uotty’rq (are you happy now.) said. “Without us contriving it, it is possible most Human Geeks would never meet. And they’re a beautiful subspecies, well worth preserving.