Ben Langhinrichs

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March, 2008
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Civility in critiquing the ideas of others is no vice. Rudeness in defending your own ideas is no virtue.


Fri 21 Mar 2008, 05:21 PM
Chapter 2 - Following the Giants

Albino Butterfly"Damn it!"  Thought Bryce as the sweat dropped from his forehead. How could I miss him! Bryce knew he had a few more rounds in his bag, it was the Boy Scout in him, but he wasn’t going to need them, not this time or ever, as he always thought. Giuseppe was NOT going to like it when he finds out "Bingo" Bryce has lost his touch.

"Better go down there and finish the job before this gets out of hand" he said to himself.

Sometimes life has a way of working itself out for people.  But not this time.

Although Bryce was unaware of it, his time on the third planet from the sun was coming to a close, not only the good die young it seems, but first he had some business to complete.  As he moved closer he could no longer see Albert. "He must be hiding behind that box" he thought. Just to check he shot two shots dead center of the box. "Not so bad from fifteen feet away" he thought sadly.

Nothing moved.  No sound of anyone scurrying away and no "thump" of a man falling down.  Bryce moved closer and only then did he see the open pit.  "What the ..!" "Can’t see anything in there" he worried. He did not want to look too far over for fear he would get his face shot off. Luckily the moon came out for just a few seconds and he could see inside and with a quick glance did not see anyone but did notice the ladder.  

Meanwhile Albert had reached the bottom, well he thought it was the bottom as he found a landing. Hard to tell in the dark of course, one shouldn't expect a "You are Here" map in the middle of an unknown hole in the Earth. Bad time to have given up smoking, he would normally have had his Zippo with him otherwise.  Feeling around he realized there was a wood object in front of him.  But no handle or door knob. Tried pushing it… no luck.  Albert tried banging on it but no noise came from it, almost like it was a solid tree trunk. And it very well could be except he reckoned he climbed down over 200 ladder rungs and no tree he knew had roots this deep.  Time was of the essence, there must be a way out of here, and fast. Someone was coming down the ladder and it was getting louder but he still had some time. Feeling around the room, he started clawing at the walls, the floor anything to find a secret button, key, flashlight anything to help.

It was just then he found what he was looking for. A ring embedded in the floor. Pulling on the ring as hard as he could he felt a door open and off he went again into the abyss, this time he closed the door.  "Let the next sucker figure it out" he laughed to himself.  Bryce was getting worried by this time, not only had he gone pretty far down, but he just heard what sounded like a door slamming!  Looking up he could scarcely still see light from the opening, but it was hard to say if his eyes were just playing  tricks on him.  Still he pressed on believing Albert was not at the bottom waiting for him anymore; at least he hoped he wasn’t.

"Every time I try to talk the giant animals they always go down that hole over there" sung Shavista. "I really don’t understand it, it’s not like I am a Bee or Wasp.  Maybe I am not such an interesting butterfly, or maybe I am too small for the giants to hear me.  I speak their language, why don’t they ever understand me." 

She thought to herself.   "Once, just once, I would give anything for them to understand me.  Maybe after all these years, I should also go down the hole since it seems to be so interesting to them, maybe then they will understand me" she sung and off she went.  She could see very well and started to follow the ladder and smelled something which she could not place, a mixture of cinnamon and chile peppers perhaps?  No matter she would keep floating down to the bottom to see what she could see. 

Albert by this time was in a space of a cave which had 4 passageways.  He knew this because there was some faint glow, he wondered where it came from, that lit the space he was in and it illuminated just enough for him to see.  Being rather tired, worried about whoever was after him would find him if he didn’t make a choice, he decided to take the farthest opening from where he stood.  Thinking the person hunting him down would go to the closest one and it might buy him sometime.  Of course maybe they all intertwined in some way and he would come face to face with the hunter, but he had to push that out of his mind for the short term.  Off he went, hoping to bide his time and find some alternative way out of the cave. 

"Now what?" thought Bryce as he too landed at the end of the ladder.  "That slippery bastard got out of here, so can I" he said to nobody in particular.  He too found the impenetrable wall or door.  No luck for him either.  He started feeling around the walls and kicking the walls, looking for any type of foot or hand holds or other openings when suddenly a bunch of dirt he kicked caved in at his feet.  Much to his surprise, there was a light from within.  Bryce was confused, he was sure he heard something close before and knew he did not see any light at all previously either.  No time to lose he had to work with what he found. 

Cautiously Bryce stuck his head through the opening and he was in absolute shock at what he saw.  He started to clear the dirt and rocks and tried to make his way into the new space he had found.  When at last he had cleared enough space to crawl inside he pushed along on his stomach and was just able to stand in the new room.  He couldn’t believe what he saw, he went over very cautiously to touch it and it was real and amazing!  It was also totally impossible.  His mind said this was impossible, but his eyes and hands said it was possible. .

Just then he heard a loud noise followed by what appeared to be his prey falling about 20 feet in front of him. 



About the Author: Keith Brooks 

Keith Brooks has been working with Lotus Notes since version 2 and continues to bewilder his friends with his interest in dead software. To counter the misconception he writes a blog titled Lotus Evangelist, he prefers writing plays and short scripts but will try anything. 



John "Greyhawk" Roling continues the story in Albino Butterfly: Chapter 3 - Twinkies are Forever, where he uses the phrase  "oreo's are nice but twinkies last forever", believe it or not.  John Lance is up next with the phrase "Whatever is done for love always occurs beyond good and evil."  Stay tuned for updates to "Albino Butterfly" at the RSS feed Julian hosts at http://www.andthentheboilerburst.com/AlbinoButterfly.rss.

Copyright © 2008 Genii Software Ltd.

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Fri 21 Mar 2008, 02:39 PM
I won't link to it directly, as you should read these in order, but Jess Stratton has just posted the entertaining fourth chapter that mixes things in our story up even more.  Start with my Chapter 1 - Holy Mystery, and at the end you will find a link to Julian Robichaux's Chapter 2 - A Welcome Beginning, and at the end of that, you can find a link to Rob McDonagh's Chapter 3 - Catalyst and at the end of that, find a link to Jess Stratton's Chapter 4 - The Hand of Fate.  Jess has handed on to Libby "NotesGirl" Ingrassia, who should have her chapter ready after the weekend sometime.

You can also follow the progress of this story by adding the RSS feed to your RSS reader: http://www.andthentheboilerburst.com/WebOfDeception.rss

Copyright © 2008 Genii Software Ltd.

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Fri 21 Mar 2008, 07:57 AM
Chapter 1 (by Graham Dodge)

Albino ButterflyAll cats may be black in the dark but this one was red. Not red with the dull redness that betrayed a Burmese ancestry nor even the screeching red highlights administered by an overpriced salon pampering to the foibles of the rich and famous. This red was the full thick burgandy that policemen and ambulance workers scrubbed from their clothes on the Sunday morning after a fourteen hour shift cruising through a drug-infested, run-down, not-quite abandoned urban battle zone. The redness of a life now gone. Albert grimaced.  Damn fool cat running onto the road. Splat! One red cat.

At least the animal was completely dead. No need to call a vet and pay some exhorbitant bill out of a misplaced sense of guilt. He had tried to stop but even as he he had wrenched at the wheel the cat had changed direction and run straight under his tyres.  He eyed his car carefully. No dents. No scratches. Well the cat was scarely the weight of a football. He could easily hose off the car when he got home. The remains of the cat was smeared along two yards of roadway with its extended intestines forming a maze of twisty passages along the centerline of the road. He certainly wasn't going to pick it up and sweep down this two lane highway to Hicksville. Likely as not some fox would be along soon and carry it home for dinner. The thought of a fox eating the cat's corpse made him spin around but there was no animal watching him. The lifeless moon-lit road stretched endlessly back to the hotel he had left four hours earlier that night. A few trees dotted the middle horizon but apart from that he was alone with the midnight breeze. He turned from the cat and got back in his car. Small white wings washed over the windscreen but then the insect was gone and his finger still fluttered over the empty keyhole.

"Too tired", he muttered reaching for his pocket. Coat then pants then shirt then back to keyhole. It took two more rounds of the same circuit before he was suddenly fully awake. Carefully stepping out of the car he frisked himself fully. The key wasn't on his body and it wasn't in the car.

"I looked at the cat - didn't go far." Albert knew the key was somewhere within five yards of where he stood. He just had to find it. He needed to get back into the car and keep going before another motorist kindly stopped to help him and perhaps caught a glimpse of what lay on the back seat covered by a blanket.

Twenty minutes later he sat by the side of the car with his greasy knees aching and the palms of his hands grazed from crawling over the worn bitumen. The cracked bitumen or the nearby weeds had swallowed his key and the dim moonlight gave him little chance of finding it. No key meant he now owned two tons of lifeless metal and an object on the back seat that would be of great interest to any passing law enforcement officer. There was no scream loud enough to describe what he was feeling.

Albert didn't notice the butterfly at first. It must have landed on his foot while his eyes were closed and his mind was gently savoring the eternity in jail that awaited him. When his eyes finally opened and the butterfly impressed itself on his mind it seemed so surreal that he needed to respond.

"Hello," he said impulsively. The butterfly's wings flapped slowly twice. In the dim light of the distant moon the insect appeared white all over.

"Wouldn't have a spare car key on you by any chance? I guess not. You probably travel pretty light."

The butterfly gently glided into the air and spiraled slowly out of sight. Albert's memory pulled out a vision of an earlier time. He was ten years old and playing on the beach in the blaze of an afternoon sun. A white butterfly had been the only thing moving in a cloudless sky. He had watched it climb higher and higher until it had disappeared into the glare of the sun. Later that afternoon he had met the vacationing Richards family and his life had never been the same. When his mother died two decades later she had still not forgiven him for what had happened on that that day. Was it the same butterfly? The thought bought forth an involuntary laugh. A butterfly had better things to do than follow him around for thirty or so years. How long did those things live for? Maybe only a couple of months. He pushed himself off the road and determined to have another search for his key.  This time he searched further afield. Five long paces out and then work back inwards towards the car on his hands and knees.

If there was no luck then move clockwise around the car and try again. It was on the seventh such lattempt that he fell over. His movements had bought him off the bitumen and into the low shrubs and coarse weeds that lined the road. In attempting to negotiate a prickly bush his foot caught on a hard lump and he tipped headlong into the unyielding landscape.  By now he was too tired to curse. He rolled over and slowly stood up, looking to avoid the rock that had so viciously caught him.

There was no rock there. The object was wood, a low-lying piece of wood about three feet by four feet looking like one end of a packing crate part covered by wind-blown sands. Albert had time to see a metal ring at one side of the wood before scudding clouds covered the moon and the box disappeared into the shadows. That didn't matter. Boxes could hold all sorts of valuable things. He could afford a couple of minutes to investigate.

Moving by touch he found the wood and the metal ring. Perhaps a steady pull would drag the box out of the sand. Albert clenched his teeth and heaved on the ring. To his surprise the ring and the attached wooden trapdoor swung upwards, revealing a rough-hewn opening in the ground and an ancient wooden ladder disappearing into the depths. Albert leaned forward excitedly, thereby saving his own life as the bullet aimed at his head instead shaved the back of his neck and lodged in the trapdoor with a loud 'Thwuck'.


About the Author: Graham Dodge

(Lotus Business Partner in Sydney Australia. Been consulting with Notes since version 1 - yes, I am that old -  and am extremely intrigued by the possibilities of using Lotus Symphony as a replacement for Excel in some of my customers and hoping to find someone in IBM who can articulate their strategy in this area.) 



Keith Brooks continues the story in Chapter 2 - Following the Giants, where he cleverly uses the phrase "only the good die young".  Stay tuned for updates to "Albino Butterfly" at the RSS feed Julian hosts at http://www.andthentheboilerburst.com/AlbinoButterfly.rss.

Copyright © 2008 Genii Software Ltd.

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