Vampire Mega-Byte

© 1988 Stephen Savitzky. CC-by-nc-sa.

An old Silicon Valley folktale from the days when men were men and transistors were germanium.

Lyrics [pdf]

  One night a month since last October all our  data had been trashed
C F G7
Some  called it software pirates, others  said the disk had  crashed
The boss called  me and Joe vanHelsing, and he  said ``you two are bright,
C Em Am
don't care how you do it, but I  want it fixed tonight.'' 

Am Dm
  Well, we came in after dinner and the  place was like a tomb,
Am Em
and the  pale florescents' flicker cast cold  shadows in the room,
Am Dm
we ran  all the diagnostics; the res ults were looking great,
Am Em Am
So we  loaded the debugger and we  settled down to wait. 

Then the minutes passed like hours, and the hours felt like days,
and the console seemed to shimmer in a caffeine-loaded haze,
Till a little after midnight as the full moon reached its height
And it shone in through the skylight with a pale and sickly light.

Then the moonlight touched the console, and it crawled along the floor
Till it reached the old six-fifty in the corner by the door,
It must be thirty years since that machine was last plugged in,
But when the moonlight touched it, that old drum began to spin!

As the drum spun up we heard it--a sad, unearthly wail
And the vacuum tubes were glowing with a lustre grim and pale
The console typer rattled with a sound like shaken bone,
And we watched in growing horror as a cord snaked toward the phone.

The mainframe's modem answered the 650's ghostly call:
``You vill send to me your data, and then erase it all!''
And the modem beeped and twittered as the mainframe lost its mind;
``My God!'' cried Joe van Helsing, ``That's a vampire on the line!''

I slammed the mainframe's reset switch so fast I broke my hand,
Joe dove at the six-fifty; I didn't see him land;
He ripped its cover open, and I heard him give a shout,
Then there came a harsh metallic scream, and all the lights went out.

I pulled Joe from the wreckage by the pale moon's waning light;
He was out cold but still breathing; I hoped he'd be all right.
And by the moon's last glimmer, I could make out what he'd done--
He had wedged his silver tieclip in the thing's magnetic drum.

When the grey dawn lit the windows, Joe finally came to,
He looked like death warmed over, but he knew just what to do,
So we got some silver solder, tied its input pins to ground,
And jabbed a wood stake through the drum--I still can hear that sound.

(back to first melody via G and C)
Our boss came in that morning and he asked, ``How was your night?''
Joe answered, ``Well, we found it--just a vampire MegaByte'',
And then we saw the console; the boss said, ``Now what's this hack?''
On the screen in firy letters was the message--``I'll be back!''

An old Silicon Valley folktale from the days when men were men and transisters were germanium.

This song was nominated for a Pegasus (in the ``best computer song'' category) in 2001, and won Kazoo awards in 2001 (``user unfriendly'') and 2007 (``devils and other malevolent spirits'').