Master Suku and her three novices had come to a temple where sixty red-eyed monks were toiling frantically at all hours of the day and night.
“How came you to this state?” Suku asked a weary monk.
The monk replied, “Time and again, the head abbot promises many things to the provincial governor. Very well, we say, but we shall need more developers. And the abbot agrees. Yet always we find ourselves with one month given to complete our work where two are needed. We fear for our sanity.”
“I shall speak to the abbot,” said Suku.
The head abbot’s study was half-buried under schedules, timesheets, and status reports scribbled over in red ink. The abbot was pacing nervously back and forth.
“How came you to this state?” Suku asked the abbot.
The abbot replied, “Time and again, my monks tell me they need more developers to meet our deadlines. Very well, I say, but I must beg the provincial governor for the funds needed. And everyone agrees. Yet always we deliver one feature where two were contracted. I fear for my head.”
“I shall speak to the provincial governor,” said Suku.
The governor and her treasurer were discussing the treasurer’s complaints about the province’s accounts being in the red. Since the treasurer’s head had just been separated from his body, the conversation was slightly one-sided.
“How came you to this state?” Suku asked the treasurer’s head.
The governor replied, “Time and again, the abbot holds my software hostage unless I give him more money. Very well, I say, but for double the coins I desire double the work. And the abbot agrees. Yet always I find twice as many defects as in the release before. I fear the monks are insufficiently motivated, and their abbot takes me for a wealthy fool.”
“I shall speak to my novices,” said Suku.
The novices were waiting outside the temple when their master returned, her cheeks flushed red with frustration.
“How came you to this state?” the novices asked Suku.
Their master replied, “Time and again, it is the same story. If we do not intervene, next year there will be double the monks here, then double that again, and still the provincial governor will be unsatisfied. I fear the abbot’s eagerness to placate her has had quite the opposite effect.”
“What now?” asked the novices.
“You shall speak to the abbot,” said Suku. “Tell him Suku has devised a solution to his problem and presented it to the governor, who was delighted with its simplicity and frugality. If he wishes to set it in motion, send him to the governor to speak his most treasured words, I agree.”
“What then?” asked the novices.
“Bring back his cowardly head in this basket,” said Suku. “For if it is to roll, the sooner the better for everyone else.”
Provided under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.
*Many thanks to Jay Carr for the idea!