Any references to the Twilight Zone, Rod Serling, The Three Stooges, and any other characters real or imagined, were only used in the interest of fiction, and not meant to infringe on anyone's copyrights.
You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension— a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You're moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You've just crossed over into the Twilight Zone.
It was a cold January morning in Norfolk, Virginia when the Information Technology Coordinator for Spencer & Morgan College pulled up in the parking lot. Most onlookers could tell she was in a less then happy frame of mind as she slams the door of her car shut with a bang. She gave the car a disgusted look. "I should rate a better car then this." She mutters as she walks into the lobby. The switchboard operator, Lisa Hills smiles as she walked into the foyer. "Good Ms. Freeman," she smiles to the fast walking young woman.
She turns round to Lisa with a sneer "And what's so good about it?" she snaps and continues on her way. Lisa looks at the fast walking young woman speeding down the corridor and gives her the finger. As the head of the Information Department, Maria Freeman was responsible for the perfect operation of the school's computers, as of late these systems have not worked well.
Maria storms into her office, throws her purse to her desk and logs into the network. "Well, maybe this will be a quiet day." She said to herself. That hope faded rapidly as the cheery paperclip from outlook informed her that there were 68 messages waiting for her, which was 65 more then when she left the night before. Maria stared at the screen for a microsecond before slamming her fist down on her desk.
"What do they think I am!" she snaps "The only one who works here!" In point of fact, she actually did very little of the work, but managed to take most, if not all the credit. At this point the network hologram appeared in front of her. "Good Morning, Ms. Freeman." He lisps "And how are we today?"
Maria gave the hologram an ice-cold stare that would terrify anyone with brains. "Are you GAY?" she asks the image for the 1,000th time since it had been installed. The hologram put its hand on his hips and responded "I don't understand the question, please rephrase, Sweetie." He lisped again.
"That does it!" Maria snaps. She stormed down the corridor to her assistant's office. She walks in to see Henry J. Tudball, The IT assistant busy taking a computer apart. Tossing her shoulder length hair about in an imperious manner. "Henry!" she thunders. "When do you think you can find the time to work on the main serer? What do you think you are here for?" He draws himself to his feet and says "Just as soon as I finish working on the computers in 109 and then the printer in 111," he said in his mild quiet voice.
"What!" Maria yells "The server has to be done today! Old Fat Guts," referring to the president of the school, William J. Klinger "Is giving a presentation to the Board of Directors from New York." She walks up to him, "And if it does not run perfect, the first time through, she says in low and menacing tone "I know an assistant that will be out the door." Turning to walk out the office "And while you are at it, Get rid of my office assistant and give me something that does not remind me of the Village People." She snaps.
"Yes Ms. Freeman," Henry says quietly "Today is my big day, Henry" she beams back to the man. "And I intend to see that I get everything that is coming to me." With that she paraded out of the office.
Henry stood in the office for a brief moment looking up to the camera hidden in the corner, and smiled to himself, "If you only knew." He chuckled and walked down the corridor to the main server room. As he goes into the server room, a man in a black suit and tie steps into the hallway. "What you have witnessed is a typical daily exchange between Maria Freeman and Henry J. Tudball of the Information Technology department. What Ms. Freeman does not know is this day will be unique, for she is about as she put it "get what's coming to her." For she has signed for class in Computer Maintenance in the Twilight Zone, and class starts now."
Henry walks to Maria's office and knocks on the door. Maria's back is to the door as she talks on her cell phone "Yes," she says to the person on the other end of the line. "I work so hard here, some days you would think that slavery was still around." She looks over her shoulder to see Tudball standing in the doorway, "Just a minute, my love." She purrs.
"What is it now!" she snaps "Can't you see that I am busy?"
Tudball keeps his inner thoughts to himself, "The new hologram assistants are installed, Ms. Freeman." He tells her "They should be an improvement over the old one." Maria looks at her assistant with an exasperated sigh says "I'll call you back after the presentation, my love. It seems no one can do anything without me." She clicks the phone off "Well, let's see it." She says. Tudball logs into the network and clicks on the hologram button on the control panel. Slowly the image appears and three very strange looking men are standing in the middle of the office.
Maria frowns and cocks her eyebrows up, "Can they do what we tell them?" she asks
Tudball smiles and says "Yes ma'am, these three are the latest in holo technology, capable of all the operations that we require, and more." Maria looks very dubious as she walks toward the three holograms. "I hope so for your sake, Henry," she says as turns her glare to the holograms. "Are you three capable of working on the Northrop-Grumman 9800 Server?" The one holo standing in the middle with the black hair that looked as if it was cut with a bowl on his head spoke up. "Boss, got nothing to worry about," he said. "By the time we get through with it, you won't even recognize it," he said. Maria looked from the holograms to Tudball and back. "I hope so, Gentlemen." The holograms looked around. The fat bald-headed man said, "Who came in?" The middle on said "Speak for yourself," and slapped the fat one in the head. Maria spoke again "The last holograms that made me look foolish at a presentation, I took a screwdriver and drove it into their programming chips."
"All clears on things are we?" she said sweetly before anyone could answer, "Good, Now get to work!" she snapped "It's 10:00 now, past time for my lunch break, the presentation is at 2:00. I'll be back by then." With that, Maria strutted out of the room.
"Moe," the fat holo asked nervously, "What if she takes that screwdriver to our programming chips?" The holo called Moe glared over to him, "Shad up," he tells him. "You got nuthin to worry about, besides if she stabbed you in the head, she'll wreck her screwdriver." "Let's get to work," Tudball said "Right Boss" Moe says. Turning to the curly headed holo "Get the tools," he ordered The curly headed holo looks at Moe with a vacant expression "What tools?" he asked. Moe grabs him by the hair. "The tools we've been using for the last 10 years." The curly headed man nods wisely "Oh those tools." And starts to walk away, but not before receiving a kick in the backside to speed him on his way.
Henry walked to the front desk, where Lisa and Carol were talking.
"Her ladyship just left," Carol said with a smirk. Lisa chimed in, "Yes indeed, she swept past without as much as a nod to the peasants." Henry just nodded with a smile, and started down the hall. "The holos are working on the server." He said "I'll be in 109." With that he strolled down the hall.
Meanwhile, the three holos were starting to work on the server. "Now, the directions say we hook these cables in on the right," Moe says as he took the cables and started to right side of the room.
"Wait a minute," Curly said. "The cables are supposed to go on the right," pointing in the opposite direction. Moe started to get aggravated "Now look you, they are supposed to go to the right." And started pulling the cables to the right. Curly shook his head "No, they go to the right." And in the opposite direction.
"Now look, Pudding Head." Moe says "I'll explain it so even you can understand." Placing Curly in front of him. "Now when I say go we'll both point to the right. Understand?" Curly nods "Ok," Moe says, "Ok, Go," and of course they both point in the opposite directions. "See," Curly say. Getting very irritated Moe looks across the room.
"Hey Porcupine, come here," he says. Larry walks across the room, "This guy can't tell his left from his right show him which direction right is."
Larry smiles and says "Sure," and points in a third direction. Moe finally loses his patience and band both their heads together with a hollow clunk. "Get Busy!" he snarls.
For the next few hours, many strange sounds come from the server room. A crash, bangs, sounds of drills being use, the occasional slap, and a shout "No you imbeciles! We don't need the blasting powder this time!"
The appointed time of the meeting was fast approaching. As Maria Freeman returned from her 2 ½ lunch, she was all smile as she strolled into the conference room. Tudball and the three holograms were waiting. "Well gentlemen," she said with a false smile on her face. "I trust all went well with the work this morning?" Tudball smiled "Yes, Ms. Freeman, everything went according to plan." Looking over to the holos "Right, boys?" Moe nodded "That's right. If that server can't do everything we said it could do…" she cut him off with an imperious wave and walked out. "I wouldn't be a bit surprised."
The meeting started with the president of the school giving a welcoming speech, "And now with no further ado, I'll hand the meeting to my able assistant Maria Freeman," Maria steeped to the podium, but not before President Klinger gave her a swat on the backside as she stepped up. She winked down to him. "Fat slob," she thought, "I'll have your job before this is done." Maria put on her best smile as she started to speak.
"Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen" she said "As you know with the latest advances in technology, S&M College now has the lead with our server being able to link all 25 campuses to it." President Klinger then chimes up "Yes, indeed and our Maria has done all the work on this system."
Maria smile to the room, she is in her glory. "Well, Mr. President shall we give the a demonstration of the future?" she asked
"Surely" he hands Maria the controls. "And now without further ado, Northrop-Grumman 3400 server in action." Maria pushed the button.
For a long few seconds, nothing happened, then a slow drowning sound came from the speakers, then a burst of bright colors and static shrieked at the people in the room. Then it stopped, and the scene from earlier in the day when Maria was in Tudball's office "Old Fat guts, is giving a presentation to the brass from L.A." Maria looked stunned at the screen. Looking at Klinger, "Sir" she stammered "I have to idea what this…' then the image changed to the break room where she had been sitting days before boasting, "Well, I'll get the credit for the project anyways…It's not hard to wrap old fatty around my little finger."
At this stage, "Old fatty's" face was turning four shades of purple with anger. Then the 75 inch flat screen changed to a bright blue picture then burst into red and yellow sparks before it crashed to the floor. "WHAT THE DEVIL IS GOING ON HERE!" Klinger roared.
Maria fumbled for an explanation "I had nothing to do with this!" she pleaded.
"Oh really!" spoke Chancellor Jean-Lucy Ricardo from California. "Didn't you say you did all the work on the system yourself?"
Maria fumbled for her water glass "Well, yes" she said "But… Chancellor Ricardo stood up "Let's go check this server out." The whole crowd walked from the conference room to the server room to the sound of laughter from the whole school as the images from the conference was on every screen in the building.
Maria opened the door to find a computer tech's nightmare. T1-11 cables strung from one system to another, the server itself was putting out white foam from a line that ran to the sink. Ricardo looked from the disaster scene and back to President Klinger and a now mortified Maria Freeman.
"Well now, it looks like we need to make a few changes here." He says as he walked away. "But, Jean-Lucy, if I could only explain..." Klinger pleads as he trails down the hallway. "I never had sex with that woman!" as the voices trailed off.
Maria stood staring the nightmare, when Moe chimed up "Told you, that you wouldn't recognize the place, Boss" he beamed
Mari turned toward the holos with total madness in her eyes. Looking around she saw a large screwdriver and reached for it.
"I'LL GET YOU FOR THIS!" she bellowed as she lunged for them. "NAAAA!" the three holos said as they scattered "Come back here, you weasels!" Maria snarled as she chased Larry down the hall.
Maria reached the cross-hall chasing Larry, as Moe coming from the other way slammed into her. Moe went to pick her up and apologized. "Sorry lady, we have someone chasing us and." They both recognized each other "And you're the one!" before Maria could reach him. Moe poked her in the eyes and was gone.
Curly had found an open manhole cover and whistled to his cohorts and pointed to it.
By this time Maria was enraged, "NOW I GOT YOU! I AM GOING TO SEPARATE YOU FROM EVERY CHIP YOU HAVE!"
She did not Moe and Larry slipping up from behind her, and like a good gentleman, Moe kicks her in the backside, she whirled toward him the Larry did the same, this went on for half a dozen times then Curly gets up a head of steam and sends her flying into the sewer system with a running charge.
For the next half-hour until the ambulance came from Tidewater Psyche, the now former head of IT services embarked on a rambling conversation with the walls about the computers and holograms were alive and were out to get her.
AS she was wheeled away in the coat with the long sleeves that tie around in back. She glared at Tudball. "IT was you!" she bellowed, kicking at him "You did this; IT was a conspiracy against me!"
Chancellor Ricardo walked into the foyer. "Poor woman, loony as a bedbug." He said to Henry and Lisa who joined him
"Yes, Sir." Tudball said "What a pity, excuse me, Sir. I have to make a call." He turned to the phone, "Hello, Dr. Kimball?" he asked. As he listened for a few minutes "Yes Doctor, I know it's a real pity about poor Maria." Thinking for a moment. If I could suggest why don't you try the three Holo Doctors program with Maria, she does know them well."
He nods to the three holos standing in the doorway. Over the phone, Henry could hear the P.A. system in the background "Calling Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, Dr. Howard, report to admitting, Stat!" The holos charged down the hall shouting "For Duty and Humanity!" From the exam room "AHHHHHHHH! NOT AGAIN!"
The man in the black suit steps back into the foyer. "IS it getting even or is it justice that has prevailed here? Hard to tell, but one thing is sure. If three holograms come to work on your computer you should consider the events that have transpired here. This episode can be filed under Stooge Computer Ops, in the Twilight Zone.