The Jumper and the Cross

Another remarkably short story by


L. Van Warren

Just the usual urban scene, tall building, First National Software to be exact. A crowd is gathered below, a lone figure is perched on top, silhouetted at the edge. Below are ladder trucks that don't quite reach. Behind today's jumper are a female fireman and a male police officer. The policeman thinks the fireman is really hot. He is hoping to get a date.


[Fireman] Don't jump!


[Officer] Yes, maam, file says this one's a programmer. By the way, has anyone ever told you...[cut off]


[Programmer  ]I have to jump, it doesn't make sense.


[Fireman] What doesn't make sense?, while thinking to herself, "Rule One of jumpers, get them talking…"


[Programmer] Flash scoping rules


[Fireman] Whaddaya mean Flash?... Flash fires?  Flash bombs? Flash what?


[Programmer] May as well be, … can't grok the seven scopes… frame-layer-function, UMM,  clip-button-graphic, and YIKES the stage. That's 49 ways things can talk to each other. Can you handle a phone with 49 lines? Everybody talking at once? Can ya?


[Officer] This guy may be one of those line-at-a-time types. As I was saying...


[Fireman] Oh!!!! you mean Flash programming… you're a programmer…, we have a hot line for that. Just a second". Ding boodle bing dit.  "Yeah, Flash hotline, we got a jumper, one of the imperative types…"


[Programmer, inching towards the edge] I do applicative too… you people are nameless and meaningless!


[Static on the other end]


[Hotline] We got a line-at-a-timer… looks like a scoping problem".


[Hotline to Officer] Roger, three niner… we can work this call… put the jumper on.


[Programmer] I swear to God I will jump if you change reps on me in the middle of this call. This was supposed to be heaven, instead its just another kind of hell.


[Hotline] We never change reps, sir, your button handler will stay on the line until your scoping problem is cleared up.


[Programmer] inches away from the edge.


[Hotline Static ] Just remember the cross…


[Programmer] What, now you're preaching to me? That's IT… (inches towards the edge)


[Hotline] No sir, the SCOPING cross. Bunny variables on the cross member, graphical objects on the upright.


[Programmer] Ahhh, of course… Programmer yells to the crowd below… REMEMBER THE CROSS!


[The Crowd] Silences in the presence of this declaration.


The programmer holds his arms up in a cross and in a dramatic moment steps forward and completely exhales. His body seems to rock effortlessly forward as he closes his eyes. Then suddenly the programmer opens his eyes, quickly wheels, hops down from the edge and into the waiting arms of the fireman. You saved me! exclaims the programmer, I think I can get this code out on time. Hey fireman, you're pretty hot. Do think maybe we could go out sometime? The fireman say, "I'll think about it…" Meanwhile the officer also asks the fireman for a date, as the mob below disperses to the nearest Starbucks to reflect on the trauma they have just experienced. The fireman says, I like hot coffee, how 'bout we make it threesome? The three retreat into the sunset, another urban problem of the future resolved. As they do the fireman asks, "What's a bunny variable?". The programmer responds, "That's a variable you pull out of a hat."

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