The Tragedy of Macbill

Act I: A deserted place

[Enter three Hackers]

FIRST HACKER: When shall we three meet again,
At Comdex, NetWorld, or dress’d plain?

SECOND HACKER: When the object’s lost its OOP,
When the code’s in inf’nite loop.

THIRD HACKER: That shall be when day doth droop.

FIRST HACKER: Where is the place?

SECOND HACKER: Upon the hill.

THIRD HACKER: There to meet with Macbill.

FIRST HACKER: He comes, Badsector.

ALL: Macbill comes–take care!
From the valley of silicon
To Redmond of Washington.

[A3[Enter Macbill and Phillipo]

MACBILL: So profita’l’ a day I have not seen.

FIRST HACKER: All hail, Macbill! hail to thee, lord of DOS!

SECOND HACKER: All hail, Macbill! hail to thee, duke of Word!

THIRD HACKER: All hail, Macbill! hail to thee, GUI king!

[Exuent Hackers, magically]

PHILLIPO: Like data on a bad disk they do go,
First here they are, and then be seen no more.

MACBILL: What meanest this? Can prophesies come true?

[Enter Messenger]

MESSENGER: Good, my Lord, Macbill, I bring thee tidings
From our lord and master, Great Duncan Bleu.
He bids you come, and hark to what he says.
Great power he dost promise for your work
If ride ye fast, in labor never shirk.

MACBILL: A six-bit byte is smallish, so they say.
And to my fate, Phillipo, I away.

[Exuent Macbill with Messenger]

PHILLIPO: From BASIC birth is born a great rascal.
But I shall bet my fate upon Pascal.


Act II: Macbill’s castle

[Enter Macbill and Great Duncan Bleu]

DUNCAN: Tis so, Macbill; with DOS we’ve made great strides.
And greater shall we make with DOS Advanc’d.
The name, I fear, confuses far too few,
Instead, let christen’d be it OS/2.

MACBILL: Go now to other programmers and tell
For OS/2 they shall create, and well.

[Exit Duncan Bleu]

MACBILL: Is this an hour glass I see before me?
I touch it not, but move it with mine hand.
Behold, I hold a mouse that moves this shape
That cries “Must wait” as Window light doth change.
While Duncan and the others do attend
Their work with OS/2, I shall bring forth
Another kind of Window that, most true,
Will change their world, and leave them to catch up.
Yet in my heart, I know there is a loss;
A voice cries out “Macbill hath murder’d DOS!”

[Exit Macbill]

Act III: A convention

[Enter Phillipo]

PHILLIPO: Thou hast it now: DOS, Word, GUI, and all
As the weird hackers promis’d, and I fear
That thou doest mean to use it ‘gainst us all.
For first you said “Create in OS/2,”
And now proclaim that Windows is the way.
Now, for each kind of application known,
You must create a product of your own.
But what? Macbill? He cometh to this spot.
I’ll speak no more, but leave here will I not.

[He steps into shadow. Enter Macbill and attendants.]

MACBILL: Sirrahs, I fear my worst nightmare be true.
Now Duncan Bleu, with Apple he hath join’d,
To smite me down. The two together plan
A system that shall come out blushing pink
To smash my Windows, and my empire sink.

FIRST ATTENDANT: My liege, for Pink, the people shall not wait.
They like your Windows, and will love NT.

MACBILL: Perchance you speak the truth, but this I know:
That products sell that are not Microsoft.
We process words, and numbers, graphics, too,
But so, alas, do others, and they sell.
We must now plan to be the only one.
The knowledge, it dost bring my heart to ache,
That other folk, from software, profits make.

[Exuent Macbill and attendants]

PHILLIPO: And so his plan, revealed now to me,
To leave no other company alive.
I must go forth, and speak to others, so
This man, Macbill, cannot us overthrow.
For I, Phillipo, must control my fate.
But first, I think, I’ll buy out Ashton-Tate.


Act IV: A Cavern

[Thunder. Enter the three hackers]

FIRST HACKER: Thrice the harden’d disk hath cried.

SECOND HACKER: Thrice and once the spreadsheet lied.

THIRD HACKER: Program screams “By naught, divide!”

FIRST HACKER: Round about the keyboard go;
In the poison’d virus throw.
User trusting as a pup,
One who’s data’s not back’d up,
Fool who o’erpric’d system bought,
And who keeps a password, not.

ALL: Boil, boil, toil and trouble,
Zip the files and disk space double.

SECOND HACKER: By the pricking in my thumbs,
Something wealthy this way comes.

[Enter Macbill]

MACBILL:How now, you secret, black, and midnight hacks!
What is ‘t you do?

ALL HACKERS: A file without a name.

MACBILL: Whoe’er thou art, there’s one thing I must know;
Who should I fear? May others profit so?

FIRST HACKER: Be brave and bold. To others laugh with scorn.
Programs there’s not, of any that’s DOS born
Shall harm Macbill.

MACBILL: And what of Macintosh?


MACBILL: Tis fine. With these words I stand tall.
No DOS, no Mac, no nothing makes me fall.


Act V: Macbill’s castle

[Enter Macbill and attendants]

MACBILL: Set out our icons high upon the walls,
That our approaching enemies may fear
To know that great Macbill is station’d here.

[The attendants are frightened by something off stage, and exuent running. Enter the attacking army, with swords, led by Phillipo and D.R.]

PHILLIPO: Now, D.R., we have him in our grip.

[Macbill grabs a portable computer and holds it up as a shield]

MACBILL: I fear not thy sword, nor code that thou may write.
I bear a charmed life, that can’t be hurt
By programs be DOS born.

D.R.: Despair thy charm,
Hast thou perchance forgot that I, D.R.,
Was from old CP/M untimely writ?

[D.R. swings his sword, which smashes Macbill’s computer.]

MACBILL: Alas, I see the greatest of all terror.
An uncover’d application error.

[He faints]

PHILLIPO: He faints; our story endth not in death,
But with a better rhyme than ends Macbeth.

[All exuent, bearing body.]


1 Response to “The Tragedy of Macbill”

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