Author unknown, but dates back to the 1980s or earlier. Thanks to Sarah Hartwell Jshartwell@aol.com for this one.
There are bugs adrift on the late night shift That cannot be foretold, The audit trails have their secret tales That would make your blood run cold. Debugging nights have seen queer sights, But the queerest they ever did see, Was that time on the way to changeover day When I ran test three-oh-three. Now three-oh-three in its infancy Was simple and sublime, A bit set here or a patch put there All done in record time. "A trivial test is always best" The experts love to state; But a test gone sour at the midnight hour Is a test you come to hate. All through the day we slugged away At data errors in store, Talk about dumps! They lay in lumps On every foot of floor And the printer's stammer beat like a hammer, In sonic tyranny. It wasn't much fun and we hadn't yet run The infamous three-oh-three. That very night by the lonely light Of the empty Coke machine, The problems solved, we all resolved To embark on the next day clean. "Just one more test" did Fred suggest, "Before we end this session, You're doing well, I'm proud to tell, But humor this last obsession" We were really beat; we'd been on our feet For eighteen hours or more, Our eyes were glazed and through the haze We could tell not NEITHER from NOR. But he just smiled and said "Before the bed - Just one little test to run; And if you do - and I tell you true - Next payday you'll have fun" Now talk about pay was an eloquent way To make our adrenalin rise; And one little pest of a simple test Was trivial enterprise. We fell for his tact and swore to a pact That before the day would come, Our victory over three-oh-three Would be absolutely won. We said "What the heck" and loaded the deck, Then toggled he bootstrap switch; But the ROM was burned and a bit was turned - 'Twas the ever present hitch. We keyed in the code as in days of old, With nary an audible murmur; But beneath our breath, we were snarling death, Misery, mayhem, murder. I loaded the patch; the floppy was scratched, Its backup locked in a drawer, I cursed the slob who did that job, A damnable disk destroyer! We reversed ten yards, picked up the shards Of a version he'd discarded, It rankled like hell - it was sad to tell, Each bug was disregarded. I shouted "Nix! I refuse to fix A bug that's been glossed over!" I flung my pencil, listing, stencil In disgust and went for the door. But the boss called me back, gave me a pat, Said it's a night that he'd remember, He promised booze and great reviews And a bonus in December. Just one more hour, with tempers sour, 'Til we could try again, That code was mangled, tortured, tangled Unstructured, dumb, inane. But after a while we began to smile, We'd corrected every blunder, Just one little test and we could rest In sweet repose and slumber. I hit the key for three-oh-three, But the system wouldn't have it, I tried once more from the monitor, On the verge of throwing a fit. The more I tried, the more I cried As the output mocked by silence. It wasn't fair - I tore my hair; The time had come for violence! I kicked the frame and tried again; The printer bupred the beginning, Ignoring the risk, I stomped the disk, Sure now I was winning. I relished the hate as I beat the tape, Enjoying its rewinding, That proc knew fear! The fact was clear From its internal grinding. With every hit, I advanced one bit; Approaching the conclusion. My fists were sore, replete with gore, Abrasion and contusion. The tapes were rocking, no more mocking: I drove that system, beaming! And by morning's light, the end in sight; I knew I'd soon be dreaming. But then its bowel began to howl - My guts turned into jelly. The metal shrieked, disk platters streaked Across the room pell-melly. About the hall, from wall to wall, They dove at us; we cowered, One did a flip and in a nip, Bill was disembowelled. It didn't wait, but threw a tape Which bounded and entangled, The loops unwound, around and round; My partner died - enstrangled. The printer dumped, gallumped and thumped, The platen leapt and zoomed; As in a dream, there was a scream: The analyst was doomed. There wasn't much fuss for the rest of us - Just fractures and concussion, An eye gouged out, a busted snout, From which the red was gushin'. As for the fire, you shouldn't inquire; Nor the flood that followed, Those with skin called next of kin: The memory forever hallowed. There are bugs adrift on the late night shift That cannot be foretold, The audit trails have their secret tales That would make your blood run cold. Debugging nights have seen queer sights But the queerest they ever did see Was that time on the way to changeover day When I ran test three-oh-three.