Monday, August 24, 2015

A Diet of Bugs or Onions (Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge)

I don't eat onions. 

I didn't always dislike themas a child I often enjoyed a plate of raw onion slices with yellow mustard, dragging rings of onion-flesh through the dip of spicy condiment before devouring them.

But sometime in the intervening years, the sulfur in onions began to do more than bring tears to my eyes. Along with green and red peppers, leeks, and raw garlic, they started to provoke immense intestinal disturbances. As my spouse warns waiters when I order a dish sans onions, "You don't want to be anywhere near when Pat's eaten onions..."

There's another disturbing thing about onions. Peeling them layer by layer only reveals more onion, until at last you take away the last layer and all the onion is gone. I was thinking about this during this last week, as I chased code errors through a highly-formatted Work In Progress, The Social Calendar. I missed deadline after deadline as I tried to find and stomp all the errors in the e-publication code.

Peeling that particular onion kept me squinting at the computer screen until 3 and 4 am, whereupon I would give up and, eyes streaming with tears, fall into bed for a short nap until it was time to wake up and try the next layer. It kept me from reading, from writing reviews andhorror!—from delivering a flash fiction in response to Charli Mill's prompt last week.

My new definition of joy: peeling away that last smelly layer and getting a "No Problems" response from the ebook software. All that's left now is to wash my hands of the residue, and happily turn to the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge for this week:

August 19, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes onions. It can be the main event or a spicy side to your flash. Think of the impact of onions — teary eyes, dragon-breath, indigestion. How can an onion add a twist, reveal a character or sabotage a perfect day?

Next, a glass of wine and a good book! But first, a little reflection on the pain of late-night debugging.

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A Diet of Bugs or Onions

Squinting through bleary eyes at the screen, I struggle to spot any mistyped character in endless lines of code. I could find the bug in this block of text, if only my eyes would stop tearing long enough.

Too optimistic 48 hours ago, I had assured my employer, "No problem, I can get this delivered by Friday." 

I search character by character, dropping one at a time and re-validating. AHA! There it is! 

And it's obvious. Now, anyway.

I'll meet the deadline, and deliver the project with a self-reminder: I'd rather eat only onions than EVER do that again!