The Bastard gets his retaliation first...

Year 1995 - Episode 13


It's a hot morning and I've forced the security windows open for air conditioning. This has the unfortunate side effect of illuminating a warning lamp on the security desk, but due to a CAD wiring design flaw that was never quite explained, there's only one lamp for the 204 windows on six floors, so it will take about an hour for security to find me.

In the meantime, the Boss has charged into my soon-to-be-ex-office because he noticed me chatting to the CEO this morning and wants to know what it was about ... After last-week's e-mail/print debacle, he's keeping a low profile until his master reshuffle produces the sweet fruit of victory. The Boss's command of small-talk doesn't even extend as far as weather, so it only takes him 10 seconds to get to the point.

"So what did the CEO want this morning?"

"The CEO?" I ask, playing dumb to the limit.

"OUR CEO!" he repeats a little harshly. "You were talking to him outside the building."

"Oh, that CEO," I say. "Well, he was worried that we didn't have sufficient higher-level redundancy."

"Really?" the boss exclaims, eyebrows in flight. "I didn't think he knew anything at all about networks".

"He doesn't," I reply smugly. "You're fired!"

"What are you talking about?" he demands

"Fired. You know, dismissed. Let Go. Terminated. Made redundant!"

"I don't believe you!" He sneers.

"Of course you don't. The CEO DID want to tell you himself, but he owed me a favour ..."

"He owed YOU a FAVOUR?"

"Yes, for bringing that Invoice to his attention".

"Invoice?"

"Yes, from you for those two big-screen TVs you had delivered to your home this morning, filed under 'enhanced communications equipment'."

"I didn't order any TVs!"

I carefully shuffle out some papers.

"So this isn't your signature?" I ask, pointing.

"N ... Well, I admit, it does bear a resemblance, bu ..."

"It should do, it took me a week and two of your souvenir airline pens to perfect!

The paper's even got your fingerprints on it!"

"It can't have! I've never seen it before in my life."

"So you didn't fill your laser printer with paper when it ran out yesterday?"

"I ..."

"That was silly wasn't it?"

"I can't bel ..."

"Believe it. But it's not that bad. If you'd trusted the digitised signature service, we would've had this conversation a week and two pens ago, so at least you bought yourself some time. That's one more week before your mortgage foreclosure notice arrives ..."

"You bastard!"

"In the flesh, the very same, on the job and tampering with your outstanding holiday leave! Oooh look! Isn't that security, looking for you?"

He backs away, straight through the open security windows and down two floors below.

Nothing like a couple of fractures to slow you down at work. Security is, of course, on the scene in less time than it takes to fully reconfigure a 10-slot WAN router over a 150 baud modem. (Not quick, in case you're wondering). The CEO is also present.

"What happened?" the CEO asks.

"Well," I say, "it's hard to say. He was babbling about some order and televisions and things. I don't like to say it, but I think the stress was getting to him. The suicide attempt was just a cry for help ..."

"Not a cry that's going to be answered by this company!" the CEO growls. "He's out of here!"

Good old CEO, loyal to the bitter end! And to think, only this morning he was as cheery as pie when we had that nice chat about his excellent choice of tailors.

They say I play a mean game of poker too.