The Bastard makes sure everyone else feels the heat...

Year 1996 - Episode 8


I'm sitting in my office listening to my personal stereo when a co-'worker' from a few offices along pops into my doorway.

"Mmm?" I say, looking up.

"Ah. Could you wind your stereo down a couple of decibels - I'm trying to get some work done and it's difficult to concentrate."

Without thinking, I reach for my soldering iron and flick it to 'paint-strip'. I pause mid-'scorched earth policy' and reconsider. He's new, he deserves a chance.

"Sorry", I say, seeing what it feels like, while turning the volume from 11 to 2.

He wanders off happily to the astonishment of the others in the department who have already rung personnel to advise them of the vacancy.

The Boss pops in to make sure that I'm really in the office and has a look around. As he exits I notice a hint of a smile on his face.

Five minutes later he's back asking me to help him install the back-up program on his laptop. For some reason, instead of copying the DELETE.EXE file to BACKUP.EXE I actually load the backup software ...

Something's wrong, I'm sure of it now. I call my fiend-like pimply-faced young assistant over and ask him how he is.

He tells me that today he's solved a couple of users' problems and helped repatch an accountant's machine after a move.

Now I'm worried. Something's definitely wrong! He used the 'a' word (rather than bean-counter).

The next day dawns and I start out with a couple of random telephone repatches, but my heart's not in it. By mid-afternoon I've patched them back and apologised for the inconvenience. The boss is still smiling.

I've been careful and not eaten anything, so it's something else. Something insidious. After a long battle with my conscience, I look into the recent purchases authorised by the boss, telling myself I'm doing it to check that all the orders total-up properly.

I find what I think I'm looking for in the form of 10 'ultra-positive' ionisers recently installed into the air conditioning system. I can't yet bring myself to do anything about it, so I stand in the printer room, air-conditioning off and laser printers full-on. Half an hour later I'm almost normal. I break for home to make my plans.

Next morning I rise early and slip into work unnoticed in half-scuba paraphernalia.

First stop, the air conditioning tower on the roof. I locate the offending units and reprogram them repeatedly with a claw hammer.

Next stop, the CEO's office with a similar ioniser of my own design. I hide it away then wander down to the telephone operator's room, divert her line directly to the CEO, then lock-out her console.

Down in the comms room I fashion a trip-wire out of the power cables to the main database applications and network servers. Back in my office, windows open, I await the start of work. Nothing happens till 9:45 when the CEO, after 15 minutes of phone calls and exposure to my positive ion generator, calls the boss. I watch and call him immediately the boss hangs up.

"THIS IS NOT THE OPERATOR!" he shouts.

"Yes sir, I know that", I say, all kindness and understanding. "I just noticed that your phone seems to be receiving all the calls for the telephone operator and her console appears to be locked. She's been acting a bit strangely the last couple of days - well, as a matter of fact we all have I suppose. Now I'll pop into the comms ..."

The boss, in panic mode, sweeps through my room and rams the comms door open, ripping the power cables from the servers.

I flip a quick cheesy grin at the boss as he looks in horror at what he's just done.

"Home Team ONE, Your Future Job Prospects, NIL", I call out with my finger on the mute button. "Oh dear", I utter into the unmuted phone. "The boss has just had a little accident ..."