Spark and Flink by Ben Slotky

Spark and Flink

In Galactica, Mike is talking about Spark and Flink. All of the rooms are named on this floor. They are named after science, after space. Things from shows and movies you have not seen. They change the names sometimes. This used to be El Dorado, you think, but could be wrong. Changing the names of rooms is good. Morale and camaraderie. This is in a book, in a presentation, this has been written. Demonstrated and proven. Taught and accepted, long ago, by somebody somewhere, you are thinking, but not now.

Now, Mike is wondering if we have a mobile developer on our team. He is wondering if Duane can do this. Tim asks if we can’t just throw some screens together.

How much do you want to flow in, he asks. Duane says they took his phone away, but that he can do it with an emulator.

I’m the phoneless phone developer, he says. Everybody laughs. You laugh, too. There are lots of windows in Galactica. It is in the corner of K. There is a huge collab table, a huge screen. You are sitting in front of a window. You are either at the head or foot of the table. It depends on where you look, you think. Mike is projecting. He is sharing his One Note. There are tabs, there are appendices. He is talking complex event processing. He has a wooden thermos. He is soft spoken and often sips out of his thermos during meetings. Tiny, quiet sips. You wonder what he is drinking. It is a bright day and very cold. You can feel the cold from the window. The bright is shining off of the cold. There are cars in parking lots, cars in the K lot, cars in the L lot. You park in the front row of the K lot every morning. You did today and will tomorrow.

It would be good to have a competing technology, he says. He doesn’t know if Object Store makes sense for these kind of events or not. You don’t either. You think about it. Does Object Store make sense for these kinds of events or not? You don’t know and don’t know how you could. How anyone could.

He is saying machine learning, he is saying artificial intelligence. Tim says he doesn’t know enough about Object Store. He wants to know if Swift is the name of the Object Store. Mike says something that sounds like containerized. Everybody agrees. Everybody nods. Somebody says something about an industry scan, about how these are the technologies we want to assemble. You are looking out the window. The glare, the shimmer. The cold and the light. The campus is vast and expansive, you think. Thousands and thousands are here, talking about the cold, the Swift, the Flink, and the Spark. The warp and the weft, the wave and the wash.

Somebody says parallel exercise. Mike takes a quick and quiet sip. His understanding is that Object Store scales very massively. You know this because this is what he says. That is one advantage of it, he says. Duane says a containerized way of storage. As opposed to going to a specific IP address to get your storage, you just go off to the container and the container builds itself. A container building itself, you think. A thing and another thing. You think Duane’s mother just died. This may have happened not too long ago, you can’t remember. There was an email. There was a card to sign. You signed it I’m sorry for your loss. You looked at your handwriting in the middle of all the other handwriting. In the middle of all the other I’m sorry for your losses. This was another thing, you thought. A rote, a motion. Block letters in black ink. It was building something but not the right something, you thought. You wanted to say nothing will make this get better. You wanted to say grief and loss. You wanted to say lack and ache. A sad hollowness.

Duane says he doesn’t know how close it is to working that way right now, but that’s ideally what you want to do. Later on, somebody asks if H-Base is containerized or not. It is ‪9:58. You make a sound that sounds like gathering things up as you gather up your things. Your laptop, your water, your phone. Shuffling and arranging. You say you have to cut out early and head to another meeting. Somebody says stay warm as you leave but you don’t know who.


Spark and flink


Ben Slotky studied with David Foster Wallace and Curtis White. DFW described his writing as ‘Kafka on whip-its’ and Curtis White called him ‘the funniest writer I know’. They’re both right. Slotky’s first novel, Red Hot Dogs, White Gravy was published by Chiasmus in 2010 and will be re-released by Widow & Orphan in 2016. He recently completed his second novel, An Evening of Romantic Lovemaking, a semi-fictional autobiography told in the form of a stand-up comedy routine. His work has appeared in The Santa Monica Review, Numero Cinq, Hobart, Golden Handcuffs Review, Great Jones Street, McSweeney’s, Juked, and many other publications. He lives in Bloomington, IL with his wife and six sons.


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