Books: An Abridged Existence (excerpt)

Carl clears off a table for use in the design and later the construction of Mark. He finds some paper and decides to start drawing a design, as he was taught. Always know what you’re going to build before you build it, his professors would always say. After several hours of trying to draw a conceptual design, the circuits, and other various components of Mark, Carl has become frustrated and gives up on the idea of drawing before building. He hops in his car and drives to a local electronic store and to buy the remaining components. He also decides to buy some battery holders. Carl thinks that this device shall be good to have in case of emergencies, so having a battery power source will be rather beneficial to those who try and use Mark during a power failure.

Several hours later, and many hundreds of dollars shorter, Carl finally arrives back at his lab. Since he is going to get copious amounts of cash from the airlines, he decides that Mark shall have a very large budget. He also figures that if he can get Mark to work properly, the very large budget will be swallowed by the even larger revenue that the sales from this promising device will generate.

Carl begins tinkering and throwing together the pieces. Strangely enough, he thinks that he actually knows what he is doing. He often is unsatisfied with a circuit, so he rips it out and tries a different one. He also feels that the case for Mark should be stylish, but that is secondary to functionality of the actual device itself. He decides to allow keyboard input as well as voice input to be acceptable question mediums by Mark. He only thinks it prudent that a display be used on Mark for the purposes of reporting answers to questions. He does not really like speakers all that much, and having a printout will require the user to periodically refill it with ink and paper.

He works late into the night, and accomplishes very little by morning. When the sun rises, Carl is still feverishly working on Mark. He nearly misses the phone ringing, but when he notices it, Carl immediately assumes that it was just another telemarketer calling, so he completely ignores it. He even ignores the message that is left on the answering machine until he takes a break for lunch.

Carl gets something to eat, and sits down for a moment to rest. He sees that the light on his answering machine is blinking, so he pushes the button to check the messages. There is only one message, and it is from Sid. He wants to know what is happening. Carl thinks of calling him back, when he suddenly has a brilliant idea for the construction of Mark. He puts down his sandwich and hurriedly goes back to working on his new invention.