The story stands on its own merits, so I won't attempt any justification of it, but I will mention that it's still a work in progress and I might change it.
23 December 2007: I added the Preface and a number of revisions. The novel is more or less stable now. It's time for me to find another project. If you read this novel, please leave a comment so I know you were here.
3 January 2008: I smoothed out a couple of awkwardnesses in the plot, renamed the Preface to a Prologue, and added a couple more jokes. It's definitely time for me to find another project now, or failing that to get back to work for the New Year. If you read the novel, please leave a comment so that I know you were here.
20 January 2008: Unless I think of any improvements so drastic that Stephen Spielberg will offer me millions of dollars for the film rights to Hell and Highwater, this is the final version of it. If you like what I write so much that you want to read more by the same author, look at the Usenet newsgroup talk.bizarre to which I contribute both under my own name and pseudonymously. I could probably spend the next five years making small improvements to this story but it's better that I put it down now and do something else. Maybe later I'll write another story of the same main characters.
27 February 2008: Added two more jokes.
Please leave a comment so that I know you visited the page. Click on the link at the end of the story. This really matters to me.
Some other stuff
Copyright. Please respect my copyright on this piece of writing. Please ask me and get my permission before you copy it or redistribute it. If you make a profit out of anything you do with this work, I want a share.
Names taken from life. In this story, the company Bitco, whose name is similar to that of the company which at the time of writing employs me, is completely fictitious. The events described in this book did not happen there, or anywhere else as far as I know. I just thought "Bitco" was a nice name.
I have referred to several government departments, companies and individuals by name with satirical intent, without their permission. If you find your own name in this story, then firstly, thanks for reading it. If you are pompous enough to object to being satirised on a web page that has fewer readers than an editorial in Which Pencil? and has less influence over your public standing than a mashed turnip, then you should behave in a way that does not inspire public, and my own, hatred, distrust and ridicule. That way, you won't be satirised on web sites and those of us who write satires will have to find a different job to do. Is that too much to ask? Your reward will be in Heaven — to claim it, just cut out this coupon and bring it with proof of identity and 3d for postage to the jewellery counter in Watson & Crick, behind the plane trees on Darwin Square. Open Monday to Saturday, 9.00 until 5.30, early closing Thursday.
Now read on.