It really hits the fan as the tables turn inside the walls of Computer Centrale...

Year 1997 - Episode 12


Things are getting worse and worse in Computer Centrale. It looks as if a career change could be in the wind. I get summoned into the boss's office to answer a complaint about my 'attitude'...

To make things 'fair' the Boss arranges for the head of personnel (his friend and my mortal opponent), to attend as a witness. Although I have, on occasion, had the odd difference of opinion with him, I depend on his professionalism. I'm sure he really just wants to bury the hatchet, which is why I'll make a point of not turning my back...

"Simon," the Boss begins, "we have a formal complaint about you from one of the new system programmers. He claims that you are being unnecessarily offensive to him."

"I'm afraid I haven't the faintest idea what you're talking about."

"He claims that you told him to do something with your faeces."

"I beg your pardon?" I reply, shocked. "There must be some mistake. The last time I spoke to him I told him that I had a system crash core that I'd like him to examine. I cannot possibly be held responsible for the strange way in which he interpreted that."

"You were leaving the toilet at the time."

"Purely coincidental. I simply mentioned it when the opportunity arose."

"Mentioned? It was more of a shout wasn't it? I believe I heard it myself from in here."

"I concede that it may have been slightly more than a whisper, but that was only because of the deference that I feel for his wealth of professional knowledge..." (Well, it was worth a shot).

"The words 'sniff my dump' do not engender in MY mind a feeling of professional respect."

"Well of course I'm completely apologetic if this has caused a major department disruption - I'll go and apologise immediately!"

"You know as well as I do that he's resigned."

"Not at all. How did this come about?"

"It appears that he is a little disconcerted with the frequency of explosions of his peripheral equipment."

"Really? Perhaps there's something wrong with his UPS system again. There's been a bit of that going around recently..."

"Yes, I noticed the IT divisional accountant has resigned, siting workplace stress as a reason."

"Well, I blame the makers of the equipment," I reply. "In the old days things were much more tolerant of slight faults."

"By slight faults you mean the odd 400-volt supply spike that the electricians can find no excuse for?"

"Really? I wouldn't know. Someone has stolen my multimeter."

"You mean the multimeter set to the 10-amp scale and plugged across a mains device in the boardroom so that the circuit breaker for the floor blew every time the overhead projector was switched on?"

"Really? Who would do a thing like that?"

"Any reason why security found your fingerprints all over the machine?"

"I have to check a lot of floppies in my job."

"I see. Well, it's out of my hands now anyway. The CEO wants to speak to you personally."

Personal interviews are rare in the company, and quite often precede a 'resignation'.

The Boss and I get the nod to go in...

"What's this about all these problems downstairs?" the CEO barks.

"Would you like the technical answer or just layman's terms?" I ask, respectfully.

"Layman's terms will do for a start."

"Myself and my trainee are the only people in the company who really do know what we're doing."

The Boss shakes his head, smiling humourlessly.

"Yes, I'd heard that was the case," the CEO replies, having been primed during extended family get-togethers by the PFY. Oh, the beauty of an insider...

"Ah excuse me!" The Boss blurts anxiously. "But I believe you're overlooking something here."

"Of course I am." The CEO smiles benevolently. "We are, of course, sorry to see you go."

"What? I'm not bloody resigning, and there's no way you'll get me to sign it."

"But you already have," the CEO replies, confused, holding up a piece of paper with the Boss's freshly scrawled signature on it. "But who could possibly replace me?" the Boss burbles.

"You're looking at him," the CEO smiles.

"You're going to take over Networks?!" the Boss cries.

"No..."

"Then wh..." Disbelief and horror fight a little war for supremacy on his twitching face. "You can't be serious!"

"Of course he is," I respond quickly. "Now, I hear you're looking for a job and it just so happens that there's a vacancy in our network operations section. You'll be reporting to me, of course..."

You know sometimes life can be a bastard, but when it's good, it's REALLY good.