Money is exchanged as the Bastard engages in some very underhand practices...

Year 1996 - Episode 39


It's a calm afternoon in the office when my personal phone rings. I answer it, listen, then hang up.

"Stress Relief Session," I tell the PFY and we break to the local pub.

I notice that my caller's in place, so I have the PFY get the drinks in.

"Afternoon George," I open, as the PFY and I join him.

"Afternoon," George replies, with a distinctly furtive look.

"You haven't met my assistant have you?" I continue. "PFY, George; George, PFY."

The PFY is giving me a reassuring look that's usually reserved for the mentally unstable (which he'll pay for later if the slamming of his top drawer has anything to do with it).

"George is one of our janitors," I mention, waiting for the gears to turn in the PFY's head.

As his expression remains unchanged I realise I am going to have to remove the spanner from his mental works and kick-start his thought processes.

"George empties the bins of the rich and powerful..." I hint.

The flame of enlightenment splutters in the PFY's eyes as he realises an excellent source of potentially damaging information.

"Hello," he says, holding out his hand.

George doesn't move. I sigh.

"That's not the way you greet George," I explain. "THIS is the way you greet George."

We shake hands and George slips a crisp new 20 quid note into his pocket.

"The videoconferencing project is back," George mentions quietly.

"EXCELLENT!" I cry. "Should be good for a lot of new equipment."

"Not if the carbon of a certain hand-typed order is to be believed..." George mumbles.

"HANDSHAKING PRACTICE!" I say to the PFY.

He ferrets around in his pockets then shakes George's hand. Another 20 quid note disappears and a piece of litter flutters to the floor. Being a tidy type of person, I pocket the litter to dispose of later.

"Well, can't hang round all day I suppose," I quip. "Work to do, etc."

Scant minutes later the PFY and I are poring over an invoice carbon with a lot of zeros in the bottom right hand corner. A lot. An invoice that would've rung a lot of bells on the 'network monitor' had it been processed in an orthodox manner.

"Smell that?" I ask the PFY.

"What?"

"A rat." I reply. "A big rat, with a flat tail from being stomped on in the recent past."

The PFY looks out to the Boss's doorway.

"A rat with a penchant for mismatched clothing?" he surmises.

"Bingo!"

Further examination of the form identifies the kit being ordered as the latest version of the kit destroyed some months back in an incident which cost my boss's predecessor his job, sadly.

His successor obviously believes (correctly, as it happens) that the person who installs this equipment will have a life-long pal in the CEO.

Losing no time, I phone the supplier in a boss-like voice and ask to change the delivery address. As I ring off, I recall that the words 'as discussed' were on the top of the order.

I dive to the telephone exchange console and swap the boss's line with mine. And not a moment too soon. The supplier's voice again assails my ears.

"YES!" I growl, boss-mode on.

"Hello, I was just ringing to verify a change of delivery addre..."

"WHAT?! I JUST BLOODY RANG YOU!!"

"Yes, but you expressly said..."

"Yes, yes, you're right," I admit. "I'm just anxious to get this kit up and running."

"Well how about we send you our demo model, for a couple of days' head start," he offers graciously.

A day later the PFY and I take delivery of some state-of-the-art videoconferencing equipment then cruise the Internet to find the software we require. While we're at it, we download some useful images.

A day after that we observe the boss via the CCTV as he sneaks his 'newly delivered' equipment to an office near the CEO's.

Within a week the CEO performs his first live company-wide broadcast, timed to reach all our overseas offices at once.

The PFY and I discuss it afterwards.

"I feel that the impact of the address was perhaps heightened by the transposing of the CEO's head onto that naked, gyrating, female body," the PFY offers.

"True," I agree modestly. "However, your morphing of the CEO's head into that of a large pork-producing animal was truly a work of art."

The boss will not be drawn into conversation. Probably because he's so busy packing his desk before security can arrive to 'assist' him down the stairwell.

If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times - it's a funny old game.