While passing by the temple’s Support Desk, the nun Hwídah heard of strange behavior in a certain application. Since she had been appointed by master Banzen to assist with production issues, the nun dutifully described the symptoms to the application’s senior monk:
“Occasionally a user will return to a record they had previously edited, only to discover that some information is missing,” said Hwídah. “The behavior is not repeatable, and the users confess that they may be imagining things.”
“I have heard these reports,” said the senior monk. “There is no bug in the code that I can see, nor can we reproduce the problem in a lower environment.”
“Still, it may be prudent to investigate further,” said the nun.
The monk sighed. “We are all exceedingly busy. Only a few users have reported this issue, and even they doubt themselves. So far, all are content to simply re-enter the ‘missing’ information and continue about their business. Can you offer me one shred of evidence that this is anything more than user error?”
The nun shook her head, bowed, and departed.
That night, the senior monk was awoken from his sleep by a squeaking under his bed, of the sort a mouse might make. This sound continued throughout the night—sometimes in one place, sometimes another, presumably as the intruder wandered about in search of food. A sandal flung in the direction of the sound resulted in immediate quiet, but eventually the squeaking would begin again in a different part of the room.
“This is doubtless some lesson that the meddlesome Hwídah wishes to teach me,” he complained to his fellows the next day, dark circles under his eyes. “Yet I will not be bullied into chasing nonexistent bugs. If the nun is so annoyed by the squeaking of our users, let her deal with it!”
The monk set mousetraps in the corners and equipped himself with a pair of earplugs. Thus he passed the next night, and the night after, though his sleep was less restful than he would have liked.
On the seventh night, the exhausted monk turned off the light and fell hard upon his bed. There was a loud CRACK and the monk found himself tumbling through space. With a CRASH he bounced off his mattress and rolled onto a cold stone floor. His bed had, apparently, fallen through the floor into the basement.
Perched high on a ladder—just outside the gaping hole in the basement’s wooden ceiling—was the nun Hwídah, her face lit only by a single candle hanging nearby. She descended and dropped an old brace-and-bit hand drill into the monk’s lap. Then she crouched down next to his ear.
“If you don’t understand it, it’s dangerous,” whispered the nun.
Provided under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.
*Many thanks to Larry Niven, whose 'Flatlander' taught me these most valuable seven words.