The Code (Story by Risa Peris)

I kept having deja vu. I woke up, smoked a cigarette, made coffee, drank one cup, took a shower, and got dressed in my chosen uniform – black slacks, a white button down, and a leather bow that threaded through the collar. My only luxury was a pair of black low heeled shoes from Salvatore Ferragamo. I went down the elevator, exited my building with a nod to the doorman, and waved a taxi down. I shouted the address for my downtown office. MicroWorks United. We made video games. I was a programmer. As I entered the building, a woman in a fur coat bumped into me and spilled coffee on me.

“Bitch,” I yelled. The coffee was hot and I pulled the fabric of my shirt away from my skin.

“So sorry. I just didn’t see you.” She had an English accent. “Let me pay for the dry cleaning.” She handed me twenty dollars and then left. My shirt was stained and damp. I buttoned my red coat. It obscured the dark brown coffee stain.

In the office, Harry yelled for me. “Bianca, there’s a problem.” I rolled my eyes and went into the conference room.


“There’s a programming bug. The video game character isn’t walking right and it keeps bumping into a wall. Our testers have tried to get it away from the wall but no one can move it.” The character was a zombie, I might add.
Don was sitting next to me and smirking. He had his laptop in front of him. I grabbed it and started working on the code.

“You don’t have to do it now,” said Harry with an annoyed look.

“Why not now?” I asked. “Oh, by the way, I have to go back home. Some British bitch spilled coffee on me.”


I typed like a mad woman, saw the bug in the code, fixed it and then played the game. The zombie was no longer running into the wall.

“It’s done.” I stood up.

“When will the second level project be done?”

“End of the week.” I left the conference room and got another taxi. When I got home, I changed into another white shirt. Back to the office. I saw the British woman again and the coffee went right onto my clean shirt.

“Bitch,” I yelled. How could this happen twice? I went upstairs and fixed the code. Then back home. Maybe it wasn’t deja vu. Maybe it was a bug in my mental code. Anyhow, needless to say, the whole sequence of events kept happening. And each time I had this overwhelming feeling of deja vu.

When I went home after the tenth time, I stood in bra staring at my bathroom mirror. What was going on? I hit my head against the bathroom wall. Over and over. Snap out of it, I was yelling. I felt blood dribble down my face. No one could fix my code. I was stuck. I needed help but who do you call in a loop? A life loop?

I collapsed on the floor. I closed my eyes. Worse thing to do. I died. An angel wearing white leather shook me awake.

“What the hell happened?” I asked.

“There was a problem with the programming. A glitch. I think God fixed it. You weren’t the only one. Sorry, you had to die like that.”

“I’m dead?”

“Absolutely. Don’t worry. God will make it up to you somehow.”

“Wait, humans run on a code?”

The angel laughed. “The whole universe is a code. We are currently outside the universe. Time doesn’t exist here and you aren’t quite human here either. Nothing changes. Wouldn’t you like coca cola?”

“I want to go back to Earth.”

“Sorry. Doesn’t happen that way. Feel free to roam heaven.”

I did and I felt deja vu again. I went back to the angel. “Oh,” he said. “Heaven’s a loop too. Should have mentioned that. You will relive this day every day for infinity.”

I looked around for sharp objects or a wall. I wanted to kill myself in heaven.