The boss is on the track of two mysterious contractors, C. Omputer and R. Amchip, but the BOFH is on the case...

Year 1998 - Episode 5


When the PFY and I are on top of things, running the network is simple. But then the boss attempts to do his job and it all goes pear-shaped...

"Who's this Charles Omputer?" He asks, eyeing a set of timesheets suspiciously.

"Never heard of him."

"You must have, you've signed his bloody timesheet."

"Charles Omputer?... Oh, you mean Chazzer. He's a part time cable monkey we got to replace the telephone cabling that got burnt out when some idiot had his PC jammed against the circuit breaker on his desk."

"You know very well the circuit breaker was faulty. Anyway, I don't know how my PC got pushed back that far."

The PFY couldn't look more innocent if he tried.

"And it shouldn't have affected the phone cabling," the boss continued.

"It wouldn't have if someone hadn't decided to 'cut costs' by running the extra office power through the data ducting..."

The boss shuffles his feet. "Anyway, Mr Omputer - he's been putting in the overtime, hasn't he?"

"Yes, although it's not really our fault because you made us let Frank Irmware go last week because he crashed the server."

"We can't allow mistakes," the boss says, taking the hard line. "We have to be vigilant. Can we get a replacement?"

"Well, we've got a CV for a Roger Amchip."

"What's he like?"

"He's been in computers for years," the PFY pipes up.

"We seem to be hiring a lot of foreigners," the boss comments, "and how come I never meet any of them?"

"Well, you know the sort, green and keen, can't wait to get into the thick of it."

"I see. Well, give this Amchip guy a call and organise a meeting with him tomorrow. Sort out any potential overtime disputes!"

Bugger.

"How's 'Omputer's cable replacement' going?" I ask the PFY.

"Should be done by tomorrow..."

"And we're still keeping up appearances?"

"Judging by the unhappiness in the tea-room, apparently so..."

If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times, it's the small things that count. You can't just unplug 50 telephone cables, super glue a circuit breaker shut then claim a cabling disaster has destroyed the telecommunications hub of the floor - requiring two weeks overtime to 'recable'. No, you have to give the appearance of work being done while you replug the cables back in at the comms room, five per night.

Which is why the PFY and I leave wire offcuts and insulation on office floors right next to a knocked-over plant, which is supposed to disguise a hammer hole in the wall. And there's nothing like the theft of small change from a user's desktop organiser and a cigarette butt in their coffee mug to allay any suspicion that there were was no cabling job and certainly no cabling professional.

With a little extra effort, all suspicions are avoided.

Which leaves us with the problem of Roger Amchip...

The boss trolls into work in time to find a set of legs sticking out from under his desk. Being a total wimp, he sends me in to take a look. I flip the boss's desktop circuit breaker to off and grope around a bit.

"No pulse," I cry.

The boss screams and then power-unloads last night's biriani.

"I'll get an ambulance."

"No point, he's stone cold - feel his leg."

The boss squeamishly touches the leg. "Oh God. Who?" he asks quietly.

"Amchip. He was keen to get to work last night. Must have been electrocuted from the mains in the phone and data ducting."

"We'll have to call the police."

"You're right, and if I may say so, it's very brave of you."

"What?"

"To face the music like this. A lot of people would just pay Amchip's widow off to pretend he'd run off, rather than face a manslaughter by professional negligence charge."

"Manslaughter!"

"Well, it wasn't premeditated was it? Although you are known to have a problem with anyone claiming overtime... Poor Mrs Amchip."

"Do you think she'd accept money?"

"Well, these are tough times. I think she'd probably come up with a reasonable excuse for ten grand. They weren't that close apparently."

The boss whips out his cheque book in record time...

"Who should I make it out to?"

"Charlotte Amchip. No. That would look suspicious... Make it out to her non-profit business - Charlotte Amchip's Schizophrenics Hospice."

"How do you spell Schizophrenics?"

"Oh, just put the initials."

An hour later the boss is having a drink to calm his nerves, the PFY and I are having a drink to celebrate our recent bonus, and the head of safety is having a lie down after finding the lost CPR mannequin.

Amazing how things work out for the best isn't it?