It was about 11:30 at night and Elsa was still up working on her computer, trying to get her book report done for school tomorrow. She was getting very tired and her eyes were beginning to get sore from staring at the computer screen for so many hours. She took a sip of her cold hot chocolate that had now cooled off. The once fluffy whipped cream topping now lay flat on top like a soggy bath mat.
Her room was mostly dark except for the computer screen and a dim little desk lamp in the corner. She heard a dog barking outside and an owl hoot a few times, as if to say, “Get to Bed. It is very late.” But she couldn’t as the book report was due tomorrow and if she didn’t get it done she would probably fail the assignment.
She slowly pecked away at the keys and on occasion her head nodded forward and almost landed on the keyboard. She was tired. Then she heard the old clock strike twelve, with twelve distinct gongs. She thought to herself, gee, its midnight and I am still up. Then she thought to herself, maybe if I just close my eyes for a few minutes I will feel rested and be able to continue and get this report done.
She closed her eyes and rested her hands gently on the keyboard, careful not to accidentally press down any keys. Suddenly the ring finger on her left hand started to move. But she was not moving it herself! What is happening?
She woke up and thought to herself, humm, I must have fallen asleep. But now what? I am awake and my finger is still moving up and down without me moving it. It seems like the “S” key on the keyboard is moving all by itself.
She glanced down at the “S” key and was shocked at what she saw! A miniature little person pushed up the key, swung it to one side and climbed out up onto the keyboard
He said, “Hi Elsa, I’m Sam, the “S” Key.” Elsa politely answered back with, “Oh Hi.” Then she said, “What were you doing inside my computer keyboard?”
Sam said, “That is where I work. I thought you were finished on the computer for the night and I was packing up to go home.” Then Elsa said, “I didn’t know anyone lived in my computer.”
Sam continued, “I am Sam the Supervisor, in fact there are twenty five more of us down there. I am responsible to make sure everyone does their job and your computer works properly.”
He further explained, “I am the “S” key and anything that starts with “S” I am responsible for. My friends down here have similar jobs. Like there is Freddy the “F” key, Hilda the “H” key, Charlie the “C” key, Mildred the “M” key, Owen the “O” key and so on. We are all specialists in our own letter. After the computer shuts down we all climb out and go home. We do have real homes and lives too.”
Sam rambled on, “You know that cable that comes into your house from the telephone poles outside? Well that is how we get home. Some of us live in different parts of the world. We travel at the speed of light through the optic highway. We climb out of the keyboard, into the cable box, punch in our user code and password and within seconds we are at home. We get back to work in your computer the same way. You probably never knew we come and go every day.”
He explained where some of the Key People lived, “I actually live in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan; six, six, seven, South Spruce Street. Freddy lives in Freeport, Florida; Owen is from Ottawa, Ontario; Mildred lives in Mazatlan, Mexico; Hilda is from Honolulu, Hawaii and Charlie lives in Carmel, California.”
Elsa, now wide awake and staring at her new found friend could only say, “Wow, I had no idea.”
Just then Elsa’s Dad opened her door and said, “Elsa Louise, are you still up? Who were you talking to?” Sam scurried back down into the keyboard and out of sight. “No one, Dad,” Elsa said, “Guess maybe just to myself, as I am getting tired.” “Well get to bed and you can finish you report in the morning. Good Night,” said Elsa’s Dad. He left and closed the door quietly.
Then Sam stuck his head up between the keys and said, “Is it all clear now?” “Yes,” said Elsa. Sam then said, “I am not sure if your Dad knows he has a whole crew of Key People in his computer downstairs too. They are not a happy bunch as your Dad works them pretty hard, late at night, early in the morning and all day, with very little time off.”
“Once us Key People get enough service and seniority we can apply for a job in a portable device like in an I-pad, I-phone or Android product. It’s better working conditions and they supply free room and board, so we don’t have to commute very often. We usually work twelve days on and twelve days off. Anyway, enough about me and my friends. So are you going to continue with your report tonight or can we go home?”
Elsa, thought for a minute and then said, “I would really like to get it done tonight so I could sleep in a bit in the morning.” Sam said, “Ok, but me and my co workers haven’t had a break for hours and we are getting hungry.” Elsa said,“ No problem, tell me what you guys eat and I will sneak out to the kitchen and bring you back a snack.” “Great,” said Sam. “Give me a minute and I will check with the crew and get back to you.”
Sam slithered back in amongst the keys and out of sight. Moments later Sam appeared again between the keys and said, “Ok, Elsa. I will have some sauerkraut, Freddy wants some Figs, Hilda asked for a hamburger, Charlie wants some cheese, Mildred says all she feels like is a muffin and Owen would be happy with oatmeal.”
Just then the “T” and “Y” key’s began to move and two more people appeared. “What the heck is going on here, Sam?” the “T” key yelled. “I thought we were all heading home for the night?”
Sam explained to them what was happening and they seem ok with the situation, but were getting hungry too. “Hey Elsa, Tom and Yana would like something to eat too.” “Tom asked for a tomato and Yana would like some Yogurt.”
Elsa, said, “Geeeee, ok I will be right back.” Elsa quietly opened her bedroom door and crept into the kitchen. The clock on the microwave said 1:26 am. Boy am I going to be tired in the morning she thought. She managed to find all the requested food and snuck back down to her room.
But when she got there, none of the Key People were around. Where did they go? Oh, oh, she thought. Hope they didn’t all go home for the night, then I will never get my report done. Where are they? She looked on the keyboard, behind the laptop computer, on the floor, up on the window sill and even behind the toy box. No where could they be found. Elsa then put all the food down on the dresser and tried to use the computer keyboard. Nothing worked. The keys would not even go down. It appeared that all the Key People had left and gone home for the night.
Oh, oh, what am I going to do now? thought Elsa. She took a bite of Charlie’s cheese and climbed into her bed. Well, maybe I should try and sleep a bit and finish the report in the morning like Dad said.
Elsa turned the light off and closed her eyes. Her eyes were sore and it felt good gently closing them. Suddenly she felt something tickling her toes! She jumped up, turned on the light and rolled back her covers. “Yikes,” she screamed. There were twenty six Key People in her bed. Just then Sam came out of the crowd and said, “Surprise!, the rest of the crew heard what was going on and decided that they all should have a break and eat something if they were to be working overtime.”
Elsa said, “Sure, no problem, I am glad you guys didn’t go home. Now at least I can finish my report. But I am not sure what everyone else would like to eat?”
Then Sam said, “ Why don’t you just let everyone go into the kitchen and help themselves and that way you don’t have to bring all the food back to your bedroom.” “Ok,” said Elsa, “But please be very quiet, I don’t want you waking anyone up.”
All the Key People then quietly opened the door and snuck into the kitchen to look for something to eat. After about half an hour they slowly trickled back into Elsa’s room. One by one they jumped up onto the keyboard and disappeared into the keys. Sam was the last one to go down and said, “Thanks for the snack, talk to you later.”
As a result of all this action, Elsa seemed to get inspired and motivated. Soon the keys were snapping and the book report was underway once again. Elsa worked for about another hour or so and finally it was done. It was 3:30 am!
She turned off the computer, shut off the light and jumped into bed. She was sound asleep within minutes. Then at 8:00 am her bedroom door opened and her Dad, said, “Elsa, time to get up and finish your report.” Elsa slowly opened her eyes and muttered, “I finished it last night Dad.” “Oh, great,” said her Dad. Elsa rolled over and fell back into a sound sleep.
Later that day at school the teacher was marking all the kids’ reports. The teacher called out to Elsa and said, “Very Good Report Elsa, but who is Sam, why did he sign your report, and what is this brown stain on the bottom of the page?”
Elsa replied, ” Well you see, Sam is the “S” Key and the Supervisor of all the keys on my computer and ensures they all do their job correctly when I touch the keyboard. There are actually twenty six little people who work in my computer. After work they all go back to their homes in various parts of the world”. Elsa explained further, “They travel at the speed of light back and forth along the optic highway. They were all working overtime last night to help me get my report finished so I had to let them go into my kitchen and make themselves a snack. I think Charlie, the “C” key may have spilt some coffee on the bottom of the page.”
The teacher then said, “Elsa, have you been eating healthy and getting enough sleep lately? You sure do have a fantastic imagination!” Elsa’s teacher then left the room with the reports but as she was leaving she was heard to say, “Hummm, maybe I better check my computer to see if I have Key People working under my keyboard too?”