The PFY and I are having a quick chuckle when the Boss is passing, so he stops in - probably to see who he should send the condolence card to.
"Is there something funny?"
"No, no, not really. It's this memo. For a minute there I thought it was a real one where you were asking for the root passwords of our machines."
"I did" he says straight-faced.
"Stop, you're killing me", I chuckle. "Why would YOU want the root password?"
"Why is irrelevant. Just do it", he snaps.
"You realise it's insecure?"
"I'll lock it in my personal document safe".
"You mean three turns clockwise to 37 ...", I say.
"... two turns back to 18 ...", the PFY chips in.
"... then back to 43", the cleaner finishes.
"Then scream in frustration and get your secretary to open it for you".
The boss does his impersonation of a stunned mullet then continues.
"Alright, I'll put a new safe in - and I WILL have those passwords", he says as he storms off.
That night we do some sneaky miniature CCTV installation in his office ...
The next day the floors groan as a huge grey monster is delivered to his offices. The boss himself supervises its placement.
"We can't see a thing", the PFY moans as the hidden camera gives us a view of the top of the boss's head.
"Not from that camera", I reply, "but from this one ..." >click< "... a full frontal!"
Sure enough, the boss's lamp-cam reveals all.
"So why did we put the camera in?", the PFY asks, perplexed.
"A decoy. The boss was bound to check the room after last time, so I wanted him to find that particular camera".
"Well, if you look carefully at his room, there's only one plausible place he could put the safe out of the camera's eye whilst maintaining the illusion that he knows nothing".
"Doubly sneaky", I add with a hint of mystery.
Pretending to fold, we give the boss the passwords, then the next day when he's checked they're legit, change them to something else. Raising the stakes, we deal ourselves into the CEO's pet video-conferencing project downstairs so the boss can't "call us urgently away" when he finds out ...
"How are things going?", the CEO asks benevolently.
"Great sir", the PFY gushes.
"We should be ready to go tomorrow", I add as I cable up the cameras to the video multiplexing unit - the device that cost a quarter of MY budget for the year - that the boss recommended after the salesman took him on a two day bender ending up in his arrest at a pub in Brighton for showing some women his rendition of Trafalgar Square's tallest monument ...
Bad thoughts aside, I run some diagnostic images through the machine and show the CEO how the pictures will look to our overseas offices.
"The images will be displayed across the screen like this," I say, "one for each person present. Sitting on a chair activates the camera".
"And this will all work straight off?" the CEO asks, barely suppressing his excitement at being on corporate TV.
"There might be a few teething problems, but I'm sure that my trainee and I will be able to go to there and sort them out. Most should go smoothly except perhaps for the Rome and Florida offices, which may have solar interference during the summer".
The CEO might smell a junket, but he's not going to risk delaying his baby. "Of course, I'll see to it that your Divisional Head is aware".
An hour later we're in the boss's office as he seethes with impotent fury.
"Oh! Did we forget to tell you about the password change? And the Video Conferencing? Take a note of that for the future", I mention to the PFY.
The boss seethes some more.
Three hours later we're knocking back a few lagers as we draw straws for vacations. I mean assignments.
Two hours after that, we're in the off-license purchasing two cases of gin which we slip into the grey monster later under the cover of darkness.
"What did we do that for?", the PFY asks.
I say nothing but jump in the air, landing heavily on the floor. A creak from the floorboards enlightens the PFY, and he joins me. Seconds later a sound not unlike a heavy safe falling through a floor greets our ears.
The next morning as we watch the boss pack up his things the PFY muses about the fickleness of life. "You know, he might've got away with it if the safe hadn't landed on the video multiplexer ..."
"Yeah," I reply, "what a terrible coincidence. It was probably the password book that broke the camel's back ..."