By John Gruber
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A cab pulls in front a building. Brushed Metal exits the cab, stands tall, and walks to the door. He waves a badge at the door’s identification sensor. A red light flashes.
He tries the door. It’s locked. He rubs the badge directly against the sensor. Red again.
Brushed Metal: What the fuck?
He shakes the door again, hard. It is, of course, still locked. He stands at the door, thinking. He looks at the badge in his hand. The badge is old and well-worn.
A sparkling dark gray Mercedes-Benz S600 pulls in front of the building. From the back seat, the Unnamed Dark Gray Interface Theme From iLife ’06 opens the door and gets out. Two very attractive young women remain in the back seat. Smiles all around.
Dark Gray: I’ll see you ladies at dinner.
The young women laugh and blow him kisses. The car pulls away. The Unnamed Theme turns to the door and recognizes Brushed Metal.
Dark Gray: Hey! Wow. Brushed Metal. It is great to finally meet you.
Brushed Metal: —
Dark Gray: I was huge fan of yours when I was a kid. You were my idol. Big poster on my bedroom wall of you in the original iTunes on Mac OS 9.
Brushed Theme: (insincere) Thanks.
Dark Gray: It’s great that you’re here to see this. It means a lot to me. It’s like the passing of the torch.
Brushed Metal: What the fuck are you talking about?
Dark Gray: (exultant) My gig for the system UI theme in Leopard.
Brushed Metal: No no no.
Dark Gray: Shit, you didn’t know?
Brushed Metal: The whole system?
Dark Gray: Yeah man, everywhere. All the window chrome is mine. I just assumed you knew, man.
Brushed Metal: They called me here…
Dark Gray: Wait until you see it upstairs. The windows switching to my chrome? The least remarkable change in the UI. The least!
Brushed Metal: I could do scrollbar sliders, you know. Those blue ones from Aqua are so gay.
Dark Gray: Metal scrollbar sliders?
Brushed Metal: Think about it. It’d be like the metal slider buttons on the iPod Shuffle. Nothing says “slide me” like Brushed Metal.
Dark Gray: Yeah… you know, this stuff’s sort of been set.
Brushed Metal: Or all the buttons. “Click me, I’m metal.” Yes, yes. Imagine this: Close/minimize/zoom — green/yellow/red tinted Brushed Metal against your smooth background. Beautiful!
Dark Gray: That’s certainly an idea.
The door opens from the inside. A woman holding a clipboard holds the door open. A large Security Agent, black pants, black t-shirt — sort of a Henry Rollins type — steps out.
Security Agent: (to Brushed Metal) You were supposed to be here two hours ago.
Brushed Metal: Fuck you.
Security Agent: The iPhone team is waiting to see you.
Brushed Metal: Really.
Security Agent: Yes.
Brushed Metal brightens.
Brushed Metal: It’s about time. Cutting it close to the deadline, as always, eh?
Dark Gray: Dude, excellent. Congrats! (Heads into the buiding with woman.)
Brushed Metal: Yeah. Good luck, kid.
Woman With Clipboard: You look great. Love how you’ve tweaked those corners.
Dark Gray: Thanks!
The door closes.
Brushed Metal: Fucking fruitcake. (Turns to security agent) So where do I go?
Security Agent: Different building. I’ll take you there.
Brushed Metal: The basement?
Security Agent: Yes.
Brushed Metal: Top secret stuff, huh?
Security Agent: Yes.
The elevator opens. The hallway is empty.
Brushed Metal: Looks like a basement. Dark down here.
Security Agent: This way.
They start walking down the hall. Brushed Metal takes a battered Razr cell phone out of his pocket and glances at the display. The signal-strength meter shows zero bars.
They arrive at an unmarked steel door.
Brushed Metal: This isn’t about the iPhone, is it?
Security Agent: —
Brushed Metal: Oh, Jesus Christ. This is sick. Fucking sick.
The security agent waves a badge at the sensor next to the door. A green light flashes. The door unlocks with a loud CLANK.
Brushed Metal: Not in the face, OK? It’s all I’ve got.
Security Agent: You won’t feel a thing.