There's nothing like a leisurely cup of coffee, feet up on the table, enjoying the morning news. Well - reading people's email - but same difference.
"Brown in accounts is sniffing around the new mail room girl again," The PFY comments.
"Yes, I saw that yesterday - the odd 'what you doing?' message during the day. Where's he at now?"
"Nonchalantly suggesting that he and a 'few work mates' are meeting up for a 'quick drink' and maybe she'd like to come along 'for a laugh'?"
"Don't tell me, a pub miles from work - and he's not sent any other email out to his 'mates'?"
"I thought he was chatting up Jenny in Payroll?"
"Yes, he's doing that too."
"Oooh, wouldn't it be a bloody tragedy..."
"...If >clickety< their mail got mixed up due to some horrible MTA error and they found >clickety< out about each other? Oh look at that!"
"The course of true love is never smooth" I sigh. "What about The Boss, what's he up to and when's he back?"
"Back today, was at a >click< SAN presentation in Kent. Oh, you're not going to believe this!"
"What?" I ask, not wanting to miss out on the morning funny.
"He booked travel insurance."
"To KENT? He may as well book travel insurance on the Tube!"
"No, it would probably cost more for the tube - more risk,.."
"True. What was he insured for?"
"Uhhhmmm - mainly medical?"
"Medical? He's got company health insurance, hasn't he?"
"Must be - We'll have to find that out when he gets in. It's essential for worker-boss bonding to keep up to date with people! But first some calls!!" I cry, phoning the company doctor…
"Yes," I burble in a worried manner. "I'm a BIT concerned about The Boss. He's been a bit... uh… stressed... lately, and, well, irrational. I think He might have that cleanness thing like what Howard Hughes had?"
"It's not very likely. People with germ phobia shun the contact of others. He'd be unlikely to turn up to work if that were the case."
"OK, OK, I might stop by to see, but no promises."
…Later that morning when the boss trundles in…
"…and I bought this CD in for you people to look at. It's an actual model of a working SAN, which you can run up on your desktop."
"Oh, I'd like a look at that!" The PFY gasps joyfully, "I've been wanting to get a lo.. lo.. loo.. AAAAAACCCCHHHHHHHEEEWW!"
What The PFY's sneezes lack in authenticity, they more than make up for in spray, and I make a mental note to hose my desk down before I use it again...
"Sorry about that," The PFY blurts "Touch of the Flu. Must have picked it up when I took the new girl in the mailroom to see the Chinese Ballet Company."
"You went to the Chinese Ballet?" the Boss whimpers, edging back slightly.
"Yeah, she loves the stuff, and a mate of a mate knew the stagehands, so we got in free and got to meet all the players!"
"I don't remember any Chinese Ballet being on?" the Boss says. Obviously a closet culture vulture.
"Well you wouldn't - they only played for a couple of days then the whole thing was cancelled and they shifted off back home to Beijing like a flash!"
"What did your friend say?"
"Dunno, haven't been able to get hold of him. The phone rings and rings, but no answer - which is strange because he normally puts the answerphone on when he's out."
I personally think The PFY's laying it on so thick he may as well be driving a manure spreader, but The Boss is lapping it up.
"Really?" he muffles, through the hanky that's suddenly over his face. "Sorry, runny nose."
"Yes, that's how this started!" The PFY adds, looking around for a tissue.
"SARS," The Boss mouths silently,
"Sorry?" I respond, while The PFY has the decency to make a real show of not turning back around.
"SARS VIRUS!" he again mouths.
"VIRUS?!" I ask out loud, to which The Boss nods so furiously it's a wonder he doesn't get concussion.
"WELL, I'll run the CD through the scanner then - just to be on the safe side."
The Boss's head movements change axis from a nod to a shake, whilst simultaneously nodding at The PFY.
"Oh, you want HIM to do it?" I ask, turning and tossing the CD to The PFY "Boss wants you to run this thro.."
"That's funny," The PFY comments. "I didn't hear a sonic boom, but I'm sure I should of."
"Should HAVE. And no - it must be the low wind resistance of polyester that saved us."
"So should I take the CD back."
"Not just yet, have to make a call or two!"
"..and bring the tranquiliser gun"