The BOFH and PFY are hurt when they're left out of the game days - but it's nothing that a mallet and a spot of violence can't take care of...

Year 1998 - Episode 13


So the PFY and I are deeply hurt when the CEO decides to ease the proles' building move disappointment by holding an IT and clients 'games' weekend - complete with Murder Mystery Saturday party - without the PFY and I.

Rumour has it our 'tame' lawyer spilt the beans about the whole tenancy contract loophole deal before departing to the relative safety of a rival company...

What hurts is that the head of IT used one of our very own excuses on us - that the network always needs someone on call because of the overseas offices, particularly now that IT will be absent for the whole weekend.

Which is bollocks, as half the offices couldn't call the International 24-hour helpdesk if it wasn't the top right-hand button on their phones.

It's almost as if they don't want the PFY and I socialising with people on a fun outing. As if they don't trust us. Apparently the interest dropped off exponentially when the Murder Party was announced.

Still, it's an ill wind - it'll give us a chance to perform some disk- warranty checks (a couple of whacks with a rubber panel-beating mallet that leaves no marks just before the end of the warranty period.) You'd be surprised how many disks fail the tests requiring a free replacement.

I'm checking we have all the kit on hand on Friday afternoon when the boss breezes in.

"Evening all," he cries cheerily, obviously gagging to break some news to us.

"Guess what I've managed to wangle?"

"Yes?" I respond, without enthusiasm.

"You've been okayed to come to the Sunday games - after you do some software installations in Personnel of course," he says, handing me a list longer than the 'known bugs' of Windows 95.

Saturday dawns and, never ones to turn down a challenge, the PFY and I pull out all stops to ensure that the upgrades get done on time. In fact, we even have a little spare, which we put to good use.

Monday comes, and I go to work knowing full well I'm going to be burdened by a conversation with the boss. Sure enough, he calls out to me before I can get to mission control and gestures to his office which, from my angle, appears to have more than its usual allocation of Personnel management in situ. The PFY is also on the scene, so it's very cramped in the boss's office.

"Simon," the boss starts, "I've just been going over a number of complaints that Justin here has raised about your conduct yesterday."

"Yesterday?" I ask, innocence my new middle name.

"At the games? At Balesworth Castle Grounds?" Justin snaps.

"Oh yes! And you say there were complaints?"

"Yes! You realise that this was supposed to be a 'fun' occasion, where members of the various departments could meet in a spirit of sportsmanship."

"Yes, I did realise that. In fact, I did my best to try every game even though some of them were quite new to me."

"So it would appear. Justin seems to believe that you may have been a little over-enthusiastic."

"Really? I can't think why. Can you?" I ask the PFY.

"Not really."

"What about the petanque game?"

"The petanque game?"

"Yes, where you played your ball from the rooftop?"

"Oh yes! Well I had to - I got a helpdesk call on the cellphone and the reception on the playing field was lousy. So, in the 'spirit of sportspersonship', I didn't want everyone waiting for me to have my turn. Anyway, I don't believe there's anything in the rules about what height you have to play the ball from."

"Perhaps not, but pretending to light a fuse on the castle's cannon before playing your ball didn't add to your competitors' sense of well-being..."

"It was only a bit of fun."

"Like the petanque ball that dented the bonnet of Justin's coup?"

"Oh, I just needed a little fine-tuning on my aim," I cry, still going for the innocent look.

"And that would be the same excuse you'll be using for the 'Hacky Sack' game?" he continued.

"I admit I did get a little enthusiastic," I reply, "which, combined with the angle of the sun, may have led to some confusion."

"Confusion...yes," Justin hissed.

"Well at least I managed to kick the sack."

"You managed to kick a sack. Unfortunately for Justin, the sack concerned is more commonly known as a scrotum."

"As I said, the sun, me not being used to steel toe-capped shoes..."

"I might be able to accept these excuses except it appears that neither of you performed the software installs I asked..."

"Yes we did," the PFY cried.

"None of the machines are booting!" Justin shouted, unable to restrain himself any longer. "They're just sitting there."

"I told you," I said to the PFY "Those bloody hard disks were faulty."

"Which brings me to this," the Boss sighed, holding up a piece of disk-testing equipment. "Anyone care to tell me how this got into Justin's office?"

"He's fixed the coup himself to save on insurance?" I offer helpfully.

The PFY and I settle ourselves comfortably for the wailing and gnashing of teeth to follow...