In the aftermath of the trade show the PFY is forced to dip into the favour bank...

Year 1997 - Episode 26


"So what the hell happened?" the PFY asks, looking a little worse for wear.

"I take it you don't remember locking yourself in the comms room with your friend from DP Pool for two days with a carton of salt and vinegar crisps, a crate of lime cordial and two flagons of alcohol-based tape head cleaner, claiming you were going to 'clean some heads'?"

"Uhhhh no," the PFY answers confused.

"No, and neither do I," I reply. "I woke up nailed into sickbay with that woman from the router company. I had to look at the security tapes to see how we'd made it back."

"Did you e..." he blurts nervously.

"Sure did, every copy. Suffice to say you owe me one."

"Yes, I suppose I do," the PFY admits with a touch of embarrassment and guilt.

"Still," I say, "bloody good trade show."

"I'm not really sure," the PFY replies. "I'm a bit grey in places. I seem to remember a red strobe light."

"That wasn't actually a strobe light. That was a router that you bet me five quid didn't run on three phase."

"And it didn't?"

"No no, it did - just not for very long. You know what they say about 'the candle that burns twice as bright burns half as long'? Exactly the same principle, except a better wording would be the kit that works at thrice the voltage works for about 2.5 seconds. Oh, and you owe me five quid."

"That's hardly fair."

"A bet's a bet, we never said how long it would run continuously for. Hell, if that were the case half the world's software companies would be out of business."

The PFY hands over the dosh while we wait for the boss to storm in. And speak of the devil, Hurricane Halfwit rounds the corner at that precise moment.

"Uh-oh," says the PFY. "He looks worse than he did last time when you took his company car and stuff."

"That might be because you took his company car this time."

"I don't remember that at all."

"That could be because you passed out once you'd got the handbrake off and backed it full-tilt into the basement wall. Which is why you locked yourself in the comms room..."

"Ohhhh yes, I do remember the basement bit now you come to mention it. So I'm in it quite deeply, aren't I?"

"Well," I reply, "to use an analogy, you've ridden the lift of the Tower of Turd to its lowest floor and are still pressing the down arrow."

A crash interrupts our conversation as the boss, fuelled by pure, concentrated anger, bursts into the room.

"Get out!" he shouts, voice breaking slightly under the strain. "Pack up your stuff and bugger off. Now. I want you off the premises immediately, no ifs, buts or maybes."

My attempts at placating him fall on deaf ears, and his tirade is only interrupted by the ring of a phone. The phone, the red phone. I press the hands-free pickup.

"Hello, Gotham City."

As per usual the CEO eats this up with a chuckle. It's the small things that keep them amused.

"I've just been casting an eye over this disaster recovery evaluation you sent me," he says. "It's very interesting, especially the bits about simulating a comms room lockout, and a basement ram-raid as an evaluation of our vulnerability to disenfranchised groups in the community. In fact I've passed it on to the board members and it seems to have been well received all round at this stage."

The boss appears to be having some form of seizure related to dangerously high blood pressure so I rush to his aid.

"Away," he shouts, then calms down sufficiently to address the CEO. "And may I ask why using my company vehicle was part of this simulation?"

"Well I was told you'd volunteered it to make up for the mess you'd made with the fire in the disaster recovery room last week. Is that not the case?"

"Oh yes, that's right," the boss crawls. "But I think the board might be interested in seeing exactly what occurred, as captured by the security cameras."

The PFY's eyes indicate that he once more has that sinking feeling. Whereas I might get off with a reprimand for the unorthodox nature of my actions, the CCTV wiring the comms room has and the sick bay lacks might not reflect so well on him.

"I think my documentation covers everything," I respond. Sadly however, the CEO is unconvinced, so we all troop to his office for a viewing.

The boss savours the moment as he presses play on the executive video machine.

"What the bloody hell do security do all day?" the CEO snaps, as the opening titles of Emmerdale pop up on the screen.

"Did I say one?" I murmur to the PFY. "I think I meant you owe me two."

"As I was saying in my summation," I say, "with the slack security around here, disenfranchised groups are a very real threat."

"Smell that? That's a DR budget with my name on it."