The BOFH and PFY attend a 'bored' meeting, everyone gets bladdered and the boss gets to 'chair' an assembly of overheated shareholders...

Year 1998 - Episode 28


So the PFY and I have been roped into going to a shareholders' meeting as technical standby in case someone asks the boss a difficult question that he can't manage (like, "where's the space bar?").

There's a stuffy half-time wine and nibbles event to ensure a cheery mood and that the shareholders' views match those of current management.

"Mmm, an '89 Cab. Sav. if I'm not much mistaken," a distinguished gent to my left burbles to a fellow member of the Old School Tie classes.

"I think you'll find it's actually a '90 Cab. Sav.," his counterpart chuckles knowingly.

"Really?" the Pimply-faced Youth blurts. "I thought it was an '88 Ford Grenada - the Ghia version with the leather seats and the wood panelling!"

You have to forgive him - he always gets a little boisterous after being locked in a meeting for over an hour. I'm a little fidgety myself...

I drag him away from civilised company while simultaneously tampering with the airconditioning (courtesy of an RF transmitter hanging out of the back of my personnel disorganiser). Within 10 minutes the place is heating up and dehumidifying nicely and all attempts at resetting the airconditioning meet with failure. (Which is the price you pay for leaving the unit's remote PIN number at the factory default.) After some whispered conversation with the catering staff, the CEO okays anything that'll stop the parched shareholders getting nasty.

And wouldn't you know it - there's 12 cases of lager packed in the boardroom's catering chiller, awaiting the company yacht club's victory celebration...

Twelve cases of ice-cold beer later, the meeting is coming along nicely. Feeling magnanimous, the shareholders have demanded that management approve an across-the-board pay rise for all salary, wage and contract workers - effective immediately. Striking while the iron is hot, I get them to get management sign-off on 100 "urgent desktop upgrades" of machines with "all the fruit". The boss, who would normally head this off at the pass - also known for his lack of tolerance to even mild amounts of alcohol, is circulating hot-off-the-press photocopies of his backside - still thankfully encased in boxer shorts.

Security moves in gently about halfway through the "long jump" event (an occupied wheelie chair pushed full tilt up a ramp made by breaking the legs off one end of the boardroom table).

Apparently a participant 'abandoned chair' before lift-off resulting in two broken windows - one in the boardroom, and one in a black cab parked below.

The next day rumours are rife - the word has got around the building about who's to thank for a projected pay increase.

Feeling like the modern equivalents of Robin Hood, the PFY and I accept thanks humbly. Lao Tsu would be proud of us.

Our fame is to be shortlived, however, as there's an emergency shareholder meeting to put right the excesses of the previous night.

It's bad. The annulments are coming in fast, and we arrive just in time to hear our upgrade plan sink beneath the waters of a corporate cover-up.

"Ah," I interject, as the motion is put, "would this be a bad time to mention that I've already ordered the approved equipment last night?"

"Well un-order it then!" a voice advises.

"Then we'd have to pay a restocking penalty of 10 per cent..."

Ten per cent being a better loss than 100 per cent, the motion is passed and the PFY and I take off to cancel the order.

"But you didn't put in an order!" the PFY blurts, knowing that the only real work I did last night was negotiate the revolving door to get to a cab.

"No, no, but when I order 10 machines, to be charged to us as 'Restocking Fee', delivered to the Welsh office..."

"Oh!" The PFY cries. "The Virtual Bastard Global Network is one step nearer!"

"What Virtual Bastard Global Network?" the boss asks, stepping into the office.

"Virtual Bastard Global Network?" I ask innocently.

"Yes...what you were talking about just then."

"Oh, you mean the Virtual Bartercard Global Network?" I ask, clutching at the first straw "For...electronic transactions?"

"No, I think I got it right the first time. You engineered all this for new machines for some Global Network of your own design. I think the shareholders might like to hear this."

I'm shocked. The boss, who normally couldn't put two and two together and get a number less than 22, has hit the nail on the head. He knows too much.

While I'm twiddling with my personnel disorganiser, the boss tells the PFY to extract himself from the security console and join him and me in the boardroom.

Pleading claustrophobia in lifts, I take the stairs.

Ten minutes and three floors later, the boss wheezes to a halt outside the boardroom, having lost his asthma inhaler down the stairwell when the PFY accidentally bumped into him. We open the door and enter.

"Thank God you got the door open!" someone gasps as the wave of heat hits us. "The door's locked from the inside and the aircon's on the blink again. Don't close it!"

Twelve replacement cases of beer later, we're still locked in, surveying the hole in the window that the boss left when winning the "long jump" event. True, it might have looked as if he didn't want to be strapped into the chair, but I can assure you that he was excited enough to be whispering "Wheeeee" the whole time...

And he got a cab ride home out of it too...