I sat at the keyboard, my husband massaging my shoulders.  We had
quite a little bit of a problem in front of us.  He was reassuring me,
honey, it's not a problem.  No one is going to care.  If it's even
what's going on, it isn't our fault.  Eventually I snapped at him,
this isn't a joke.  He left the room sighing exasperatedly and I sat
alone in the den, continuing to work on it.  There had to be a way to
remove the defect.  I sat there working on it for another hour at
least until he came back into the room with two steaming cups of
coffee.  I looked at him and he snorted a laugh, saying maybe we
should just put a warning label on it and call it good.  I looked up
at him from the chair where I sat at the keyboard, incredulous.  This
product may turn you...  gay?


My husband Jules and I had started a small company together in the
years prior.  It had only been the two of us, and our mutual college
friend Monique.  I was the programmer, Jules was marketing, and
Monique in all fairness handled everything else.  Jules and I had come
up the concept, and like so many other brilliant young entrepreneurs
we had recognized its worth and dropped out of college to focus on our
dream.  I can't imagine what Monique had thought, throughout.  She was
a bit of a misfit, musically-inclined, strange; she often alluded at a
checkered past which I sometimes suspected she had completely made up.
She was quick to drop out of college as well, and she never
disappointed either of us with her complete dedication to the company.

One night we had all gone out after work to celebrate one success or
another.  We were up and coming.  The dynamic trio.  We all had a
little bit more than usual to drink that night, and as the night went
on it seemed clear that one or the other of Jules and I were going to
go home with Monique.  The night ended, at least as we were a party of
three, as I recall vividly, in an elevator.  Monique and I were
laughing hysterically.  It wasn't even something that funny, it was
some joke Jules had made, I don't even remember now.  It was only
funny if one had too much to drink.  I had felt something in myself
that evening, and I tried to squash it down.  Had Jules felt it too?
Monique was cackling in the back of the elevator, Jules and I were
closer to the front...  together.

We locked eyes.  I don't think any of the three of us saw it coming.
Jules was always quiet, reserved.  He was marketing, what can I say?
He always had some kind of agenda.  He would plan out a relaxing
evening like this to the last detail, if he could.  Wouldn't he?  That
seemed like Jules, I reminisced.  He would never admit a thing like
that, but he had known what was going to happen if any of us did.  I
looked into his eyes, Monique drunk at the back of elevator, laughing
hysterically with a twinkle in her eyes, watching us, she knew...
then I knew...  then Jules grabbed me and kissed me passionately,
right there in the elevator.


I sat in the den with my husband, each of us holding a cup of coffee,
talking it over.  I was near tears, and Jules saw it.  I could tell my
pain pained him equally.  He looked at me with such compassion...  we
had true love between us.  It still baffled me a little.  How could I
have ever found this perfect man?  To be confronted with this problem,
just a handful of lines of code in a program that sold millions of
copies in the past year alone...  I felt like reality as I had ever
known it was crumbling right before me.  How could I believe in
anything anymore, if a handful of lines of code could do a thing like
this?  For something this important in so many people's lives to be
decided by what amounted to nothing more than a bug in some software?

I was almost inconsolable.  Tears dotted my face like only an
afterthought, as I ranted like a madman to Jules.  How could we have
missed this?  I practically shouted.  Jules urged me to relax.  No one
could have known something like this could happen, could they?  We
would sort it out, things would be ok again, you'll figure it out, he
said to me.  I wanted to enjoy the moment, to focus, to feel
passionate about the project.  Instead, I felt like it ruled my entire
existence.  Software, our company's product, was it possible?  Could
it really have had this profound of an effect on us?

There's no way to remove it, I said to him.  It's too essential a
concept to the core of the system.  Even if it were redesigned a
million times, refactored, recoded from scratch, it's just too
ingrained in the thing.  There would be no way we could change a few
lines of code to somehow fix an inevitable design flaw like this...
as I spoke my voice raised almost to a shriek.  Jules urged me to
relax, calm down, people still love our product.  Even if anyone
noticed something like this it wouldn't stop us from...  he stopped
himself, seeing it was only making me more upset.  What if it is,
Jules?  I snapped at him, getting up abruptly and walking to the
window, looking out our fancy bay window at our nice manicured yard,
our rich man's life.  What if it's just plain wrong?  Not who we were
ever meant to be, I sobbed.  Is our success really worth something
like this?

Jules walked up beside me and put his arm around me.  It felt wrong,
in that moment.  Was this even who we were meant to be?  It all seemed
so impossible, but the facts lined up before me, unavoidable.  The
code couldn't lie.  It was nothing more than numbers in a machine for
doing math.  It was inescapably, inevitably true.  If anyone ever
noticed this we would be in serious trouble with millions of gay


Jules had once confided in me, after we were married, his deepest,
darkest secret.  As a teenager he had drugged and raped another young
man.  It had blown my mind when he told me that.  It had shattered my
liberal mental image of gay men everywhere.  I still loved Jules, as
much as anyone ever could.  I could tell he was more remorseful about
that mistake than most war criminals were about genocide.  It may have
been the only time I had ever seen Jules cry.  He was such a strong
man, like a greek God.  Tall, muscular, he was perfect.  Perfect to
me.  After the shock of what he told me wore off, I only loved him
more.  It seemed like a small imperfection only slightly marring the
perfect gay adonis.

I had never brought it up again, until this morning by our bay window
in the den.  There were some things one just didn't say to a man.  We
had a mutually uplifting relationship, synergy, love, we always had.
I would never have brought it up to him, and of course in a way I
still didn't.  I only asked him now, as we stood there looking out at
our perfectly manicured lawn, Jules...  what's your deepest, darkest
secret?  My voice trembled.  He looked at me with such pain in his
beautiful face.  He knew what I meant.  Now we were in this to the
hilt.  We shared this secret now, our joint deepest, darkest secret...

He looked away and down, unable to face the matter.  It broke us both,
clearly.  He shrugged, a vestigal tittering uttering up from his
deepest subconscious, stopped halfway through.  He looked back at me,
crows feet of stress practically blossoming on his face as the
severity of the matter weighed heavily on both my own and his broad,
capable, strong, beautiful, and inexplicably...  so gay...  his marble
statue physique slumping ever so slightly under the weight on his

It was like we had raped the whole industry, the minds, hearts and
souls, millions of young, hapless, otherwise innocent consumers of a
software product we had taken such pride in for so long.  We had built
our lives around this, and it seemed now like we looked down from
clouds like mythical giants, on nothing more than the tip of a fragile
beanstalk.  It leaned precariously, ready to snap.


I went back to the keyboard, sitting there doggedly as ever, unwilling
to throw in any towel.  Jules sat beside me, his marketing genius no
doubt churning through one contingency after another.  We were playing
damage control alone to a situation that could grow at any moment into
an epidemic, a rash of bad decisisions one after another, spreading
like wildfire across a world we had helped shape in our own, though
very homosexual, strong, capable hands.  Had we driven ourselves to
the brink, to the point of a gay insanity, en masse?  I never could
have believed in such a thing as a mass gay psychosis.  I looked at
the cursor blinking on the screen.  The code couldn't lie.  A number
cannot lie, it is a fact, isn't it?  In college shortly before I
dropped out...  like I had known better, I thought now, ruefully.  In
a college class we had started the term for weeks proving the number
one alone, not taking anything for granted, assuming no axioms in any
formal system of logic.

I slammed my fist on the desk next to the keyboard, lifting it
ever-so-slightly into the air.  I was so frustrated I could snap like
a metaphorical beanstalk and fall seemingly forever, to a bottomless,
horrible pit, gnawing at me.  Jules tried to reassure me, but I was
too upset.  He stroked my long blonde hair, which I had preened like a
talking, vain bird, like I felt like I always had, never questioning.
Never thinking about anything...  like I was some diminutive of Alan
Turing, I felt near tears.  Had I ever been thinking about anything,
throughout my entire life?  I felt on par with the software that sat
before us, giving us fits now.  Like I was some machine for the
purpose of homosexuality, and why?  Nothing more.  I looked at Jules
feeling utterly sick.  He looked back at me, nodding thoughtfully,
slowly.  He said to me, you know what I suggest.  You know what I've
always done.  Think about it.


We practiced the whole solution on Monique first.  She was so close to
this, if we could conceal the problem from her it would be possible
with countless millions of others.  We skirted, danced around it.
Like male ballerinas of a new age, like a new informational sport, we
danced around her, and she never knew.  She knew we were getting at
something, we let it hang out for a minute then pulled back, forward
and back.  She was our guinea pig, a beta tester for a new golden age
of information, homosexuality, and what was still such a quality
product we knew we would sell millions of copies a year for decades to

It worked like a charm.  Monique never guessed what we never told her,
as much as she strained to figure it out.  We gave her so many hints
we practically handed it to her, and she never figured it out.  No one
ever would, the source was closed.  No one would ever know, it would
continue on like this.  Maybe our product would outlive humanity even.
It was a chilling thought which Jules and I would discuss in private
for the rest of our natural lives.  It was the perfect product, wasn't
it?  So what if it was extremely gay, to the point of informational
infection.  Jules had convinced me, everything was marketing.  In a
world like this, everything, anything, it all came down simply to the

I yearned to tell people, but I knew I never could.  The years passed,
our company growing only in profits, the three of us becoming richer
every day, never sharing the truth of the matter.  We sat back, it was
a cash cow.  Why should I feel bad about a thing?  I loved Jules
passionately, I loved our product, our work.  However it had ended up
happening, we were set for life in so many ways.  I sometimes yearned,
my soul screamed to tell everyone, but I knew I never could.  We sat
back and raked in the cash in an ever-changing, ever more homosexual
world we had practically created with our own beautiful, manly hands.