Dead Solid Pluperfect

A Hot Buttered Guff™ Production

Arbortext Royalty Fraud: Chapter Fifteen

Tit For Tat


After receiving this latest bombshell from Arbortext, Mary and I adjourned to the office in the garage to lick our wounds and come up with some sort of plan. Other than each of us having a nervous breakdown.

In the thirteen years we had lived here, this raggedy old two car garage with one door disabled had served many purposes. It had been a bedroom for, at various times, four of the girls. It had been a game room. It had been a handyman workshop. An artist’s studio. Once, for about a month, we had even actually parked a car in here. But always, and even now, it was a place to dump everything that wouldn’t fit in the house.

Or simply to dump ourselves.

“We’re not going to make it, are we?” Mary said. Her voice quivered and her eyes misted over and I knew she was thinking about her mom. And her kids. And the house she had bought herself and loved so much.

“God, I feel so alone,” she said. “Just you and me. Versus THEM. I can’t stand that they just get to rip off your whole life’s work and our future and we can’t do anything about it.”

We sat in silence for awhile. Staring glumly at everything and nothing. Frontal Lobe paralysis. The kids were gone for the day and Mary’s mother was esconced out in the custom built cottage in the back yard. It had wheel chair access, a custom handicap shower, a small kitchen, a small front porch looking out on the pool, and portable ramps for easy access to and from our house for various family occasions or just to visit.

We had a small old style ranch house built in 1954, but with a large front yard and a large back yard that contained a black bottomed swimming pool, a large cement patio which doubled as a basketball court, and a gently sloping hillside with bushes and trees that led out from the patio and up to the far corner of the yard.

When the decision was made in March of 2001 to move her mom in with us, Mary had abandoned her medical transcription courses at Cal State Hayward and we had dug out the hillside and built the cottage where her mother now lived. We had also built a huge family room where the patio and basketball court used to be, expanding our dwelling square footage from 1,500 to 2,500 square feet, knocking out a door in the kitchen wall to access the room and allow Mary a short ways to go when taking food and snacks out to her mother each day. The construction for these two additions was about one month along when Dwan had pulled his dissolution Blue Tools gambit and shut off our income pipeline for six months.

Her mother was probably watching an afternoon TV broadcast of a Giants baseball game about now. She was a devoted fan and never missed a televised game. Nor did she ever miss a Forty-Niner game during the football season. This was one area of life where she and I had great rapport.

Up on a shelf in a dark cobweb infested far corner of the garage, a cardboard box caught my eye. The box was labeled “1983 Backup.” I had carted this precious box around with me for nineteen years through four changes of residence in four different cities in three different counties. Its contents contained the stuff of my life. Stuff that went back fifty-five years to the beginnings of my time on earth. The small precious stuff culled and kept through all the wandering years.

It contained the very first photographs of me, as a one year old child lying on a pillow on wooden platform outside the trailer where my parents lived while my dad attended Drake University in Iowa after returning home emaciated from a year and a half in a German prison camp during Word War II. And another one a few years later with my older sister Connie and me sitting on either side of my little baby brother Tom. The first three kids of what would eventually be nine. Five boys and four girls.

Who am I kidding by pretending that spooky shit was not my cup of tea? It was a tea I did not enjoy drinking is all. Spooky shit had marked me from Day One. For in those old Browning photos of that little boy, zooming around above him in the air, were trails and whooshes and streaks of light rays – pure and unexplainable spooky shit. Were they Good beams? Or Bad beams? Or alien beams? Or just beams of no import whatsoever.

A mystery. A spooky shit mystery.

Look at that sweet little kid. Poor sonavabitch had no idea he was going to grow up and turn into me and get into this mess.

The other contents of the box were just the ordinary nostalgia items of one more helpless digit of civilization. The little pieces of proof that I Had Been Here. The box was labeled “1983 Backup” because that was the year I gathered up my past and sealed it off. The year that I started my future that would become Blueberry Software.

This beginning moment was preserved in the box via one huge pancake sized eight and a half inch CP/M extremely floppy disk with data on it that probably could not be read any more by any computer or disk drive in the world. On that disk was the very first computer program I wrote. The one that changed my life and led to Blueberry.

 “The only weapon in our arsenal,” I said, “is the source code updates that Arbortext is waiting for. And they need them pretty badly or Interchange will soon be a less than satisfactory product. They won’t be able to support conversions from Word XP. They’ll be unable to fulfill their maintenance obligations to existing customers and new customers will not be interested in a dead product.”

“Have you added that support yet?” Mary asked.

I nodded.

“But you haven’t sent it to them?”

I nodded.

“Well,” she said forcefully, “no money, no source code is how I see it.”

“I couldn’t agree more.”

 Meeting adjourned.


To be continued . . .

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July 1, 2008 - Posted by | Business, Law, Life, News, Software, Stories, Technology, Writing |

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