‘Begoña, you have got to believe me,’ Patricia said, wearing a broken white velvet dress. She had just come from one of her book parties, Bego presumed. She decided to keep her mouth shut, even though some words were itching to be freed from her tongue. While she was in her study at the Passeig del Born, she noticed that a few books were not in alphabetical order.

Passeig del Born, Joan Carles I entrance

Entrance to Passeig del Born, from King Joan Carles I square

‘Are you listening to me?’ Patricia said, divulging all kinds of secrets afterwards. She told the psychologist that Adriana had gone missing. The programmer had not shown up on work for some time and ominously, she left her notebook behind. Patricia and Bego could not get further than a boot screen which asked for a master password. It would not be feasible to decrypt the machine without knowing the credentials.

Bego remembered that the dark side of the world stopped in Sant Joan, Palma de Mallorca airport, on their flight towards the East. She had read that several heinous organizations had their roots on the subtropical isle, but she never connected these with Eastern Europe. What harm was there in a republic as the one described by Dilbert, Elbonia? Eastern Europe was on the rise and Adriana came from a respectable country, Slovakia. No reason to worry, one would think. Maybe there was something else about her. Was it fishy that her mother received critical acclaim, so much so that it seemed like overnight success? One theory might be that Adriana knew a secret formula to influence one’s success in the art scene and that somebody had found out about this rare finding. This was all conjecture on Bego’s part, but she had to connect the dots and find out what was true about her programmer’s past and her mother, the artist.

Lofts Passeig del Born

Loft of Patricia Dendermonde, Passeig del Born, Mallorca

Patricia tried to get Bego’s attention, but was met with a stare. The psychologist continued thinking about the programmer, what was her motive to change the world through code? Was code an answer to a problem? Or was she herself encoded? Which one was the mystery, the code she was writing or the code she left behind with her disappearance? The notebook. She had to know its credentials or she had to look elsewhere.

Bego saw Patricia’s questioning look. She never really liked her friend, who always made being in her company an honorable affair. Why was she, as a psychologist, less worthy of Patricia’s attention, who – it cannot be denied – was a publisher. What was so different about publishing books and counseling individuals? Both affairs nurtured the soul or was a book better than a real conversation? Or was it that Bego, for all intents and purposes, could not provide someone with helpful advice? She shuddered at this thought.

Flipping through a book and ignoring Patricia’s stare, the psychologist saw the title ‘Debugging’. She vaguely knew about this term and now learned that debugging was used to find out about shortcomings in someone’s code. Perhaps shortcomings was too optimistic and she should speak about faults or errors instead. Why couldn’t a human being be tested like a program as well? It’d make her life as a therapist easier and less error-prone. If only she knew a way how to do this.

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