Get email delivery of the Cadence blog featured here
This is a continuation of A Cadence Carol. Be sure to read the previous installments!
“Spirit!” Ben cried, “If there is any person in the valley who feels emotion caused by the folding of this company, show me that person, I beseech you!”
The Phantom spread its dark hoodie before him for a moment, like a wing; and withdrawing it, revealed a garage by daylight, where a bunch of interns sat, despondently, facing away from their computers. It was the Cratchit’s garage, once again, only with a significantly different mein surrounding the assembly. Mary and Martha sat in front of a single computer, murmuring quietly. Mary sat back and put her hand up to her face. “The screen hurts my eyes,” she said.
The screen? Ah, poor Tiny Time!
“It should be about time for Bob to get back, so we can all talk about the future,” said Mary. “He didn’t have much to pack up. It only took me a few minutes.”
And there he was at the door to the garage, opening the wide aperture to the room with the garage-door-opener, allowing the late-afternoon light to stream in from the street. She rushed to him with a hug. Bob was very cheerful with them, and spoke pleasantly to all, although their little startup had obviously folded along with the mystery company about which Ben had observed the fallout of its passing.
“Oh my dear, without our little startup, Tiny Time is gone; there is no hope for a future for him,” said Bob, with tears in his eyes. He left the room, and went inside the house through the side door. The interns watched him go. He composed himself, and then returned.
The interns gathered around Bob and Mary’s desk. Bob told them about the extraordinary kindness of Fred, the Cadence AE, who had worked with them all through thick and thin, and who, meeting him in the street that day, and seeing that he looked a little—“just a little down you know,” said Bob, inquired what had happened to distress him. “On which,” said Bob, “for he is the pleasantest-spoken gentleman you ever heard, I told him. ‘I am heartily sorry for it, Mr. Cratchit,’ he said, ‘and heartily sorry for your good partner.’ By the bye, how he ever knew that, I don’t know.”
“Knew what?” asked Mary.
“Why, that you were a good partner,” replied Bob.
“Everybody knows that!” said Peter, another of the interns.
“Very well observed, my boy!” cried Bob. “I hope they do! ‘Heartily sorry,’ said he. ‘If I can be of service to you in any way,’ he said, giving me his card, ‘that’s where I work. Please do come and see me for coffee.’ It really seemed as if he had known our Tiny Time, and felt with us.”
“I shouldn’t be at all surprised—mark what I say!—if he got our little tribe of interns a better situation,” said Mary.
“It’s just as likely as not,” said Bob, “one of these days; though there’s plenty of time for that. But however and whenever we part from one another, I am sure we shall none of us forget poor Tiny Time—shall we—or this first parting that there was among us?”
“Never!” they cried.
“I am very happy,” said Mary, “in spite of our griefs. Very happy.” Bob and Mary gathered the interns in a group hug, but not in a creepy and inappropriate way.
“Now, my dears,” said Bob, “let’s see what we can do in the way of severance…”
“Spectre,” said Ben, “something tells me that our parting moment is at hand. I know it, but I know not how. Tell me what company that was whom we have heard discussed?”
The Ghost of EDA Tools Yet To Come conveyed him as before—and he found himself in the offices of Skrooj, Inc. The Spirit stopped; the hand was pointed elsewhere.
“The office is here,” Ben exclaimed. “Why do you point away?”
Ben hastened to the window of his office and looked in. It was an office still, but not his. The furniture was not the same, and the figure in the chair was not himself. The Phantom pointed as before.
He joined it once again, and, wondering why, accompanied it until they reached an iron gate with the wrought iron inscription of Dewey, Breakum, and Howe: Solicitors.
Ben had heard of this law firm; they handled bankruptcies of both chapter eleven and thirteen; private and public. Behind a desk was the solicitor by the name of Breakum, with a large stack of papers in front of him. The offices were untidy and bleak, and a lone computer on the side table flickered discordantly with the flash of a failing fluorescent light bulb, creating a migraine-inducing glare that blanketed the vinyl surfaces of the office chairs and the shabby chic that was really just shabby desks and tables. Breakum was young, with a grease-smeared pate with dark, thinning hair held at unnatural angles created by using too much pomade across his shiny forehead. He had a habit of breathing through a whistling gap in his front teeth while he muttered to himself as he signed and rubber-stamped paper after paper and shoved them into a long manila folder.
The Spirit stood among the piles of papers around the office and pointed down to One. Ben advanced towards it, trembling. The Phantom was exactly as it had been, but he dreaded that he saw new meaning in its solemn shape.
“Before I draw nearer to that file to which you point,” said Ben, “answer me one question. Are these the shadows of the things that Will be, or are they shadows of the things that May be, only?”
Still, the Ghost pointed downward to the file as it neared the top of Breakum’s pile. “Please tell me that this end may yet change with the change of course enlightened to me this night!”
The Spirit was immovable as ever.
Ben crept towards it, trembling as he went; and, following the finger, read upon the long folder, filled to overflowing, his own name: Defendant E. Ben Easer, of Skrooj, Inc.
“Spirit!” he cried, tight clutching at its hoodie, “hear me! I am not the man I was. I will not be the man I must have been but for this night. Why show me this, if I am past all hope!”
For the first time, the hand appeared to shake.
“Good Spirit,” he pursued, as down upon the ground he fell before it, “Your nature intercedes for me, and pities me. Assure me that I may yet change these shadows you have shown me, by an altered life!”
The kind hand trembled.
“I will honor innovation in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will learn from the Past, the Present, and the Future. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach. I will look beyond what has been dictated by Moore’s Law, and strive to build a new kind of Law, one of creativity and new ideas! I will be open to taking help when it is offered, and will not look ahead with cynicism, but with optimism, learning from and encouraging what the next generation of designers have to offer!” In his agony, he caught the spectral hand. “Oh, tell me I may sponge away the writing on this file!”
The Spirit sought to free itself, but Ben was strong in his entreaty and detained it. Holding up his hands in a final prayer to have his fate reversed, he saw an alteration in the Phantom’s hoodie and sweats. It shrunk, collapsed, and dwindled down into a television screen.
...to be continued...