"New Laptop?" The PFY asks looking up as he detects a stirring in the force.
"Yes, it's rather good isn't it?" I respond, pulling it out of its patent leather carry bag and flashing it at him.
"An ultra thin! How the hell did you talk The Boss into getting you one of those - AND the fancy carry bag?"
"Not just the machine and carry bag, but two spare batteries, an 802.11 card, USB camera and microphone, PLUS the thing's got a DVD writer!!!"
"But how did you get him to buy you one!?"
"As it happens, I didn't! He decided that this wasn't really what he wanted..."
"It's The Boss's machine?!"
"-Yes-...AND, as I was saying, that he preferred his old one..."
"His old one!" The PFY gasps sarcastically. "It was at LEAST a year old - surely any self-respecting manager couldn't show his face at a meeting with old-tech kit like that!!"
"Apparently so. He said he didn't think his position really warranted a new machine. In reality, however, I think it's just because he found the thing too heavy and ungainly to carry around"
"Too bloody heavy!!" the PFY snaps jealously. "It weighs about as much as a box of cereal and is so thin you could slip it into a bible without ruffling the pages!!"
"True, but he found it heavy. In fact, he confided to me that he'd left it at work a couple of nights but even found the bag a bit of a problem!"
"He even fou..." the PFY starts, suspiciously.
"YES," I interrupt. "Have a feel of it, it IS bloody heavy!"
The PFY is caught off guard by the weight and almost drops the thing on the floor.
"Careful!" I cry, grabbing it back. "Don't want to damage it!"
"Alright, I'll bite, what did you do?" he snaps, giving up.
"BLOODY INGENIOUS," I cry, gloating like a Third World dictator. "I got some self adhesive 1mm lead sheets and stuck them to the top and bottom of the laptop, then faked some manufacturer, FCC, etc labels, and slapped them on the lid!"
"Didn't he notice?"
"Well he DID wonder why it wouldn't fit into the docking bay..."
"What'd you tell him?"
"A design flaw which they'd fix later with a firmware revision..."
"?" The PFY wonders, wordlessly contemplating The Boss's stupidity. "What about the bag then?"
"Stuffed the lining with lead shot. Lucky he didn't try flying with it though - I'm sure that would've rung alarm bells with the current state of airline sec..."
"Isn't he required for a junket in the States??" The PFY snaps in a flash.
"No, that's just too mean!"
. . . Two weeks later . . .
"That really was too mean," The PFY reminisces, scanning the latest newspaper article on The Boss's state of detention. "You can go too far at times!"
"I can go too far! You're the one who put those envelopes of rice powder in his jacket pocket!"
"True, that was a little nasty," the PFY admits grudgingly. "But in my defence, I did at least think he'd make it out of the country and get a BIT of a holiday."
"Then perhaps you shouldn't have made that anonymous phone call quite so soon?"
"Yeah, well, there was blood in the water and we all smelt it - I just did something about it!"
"I think there's a subtle difference between 'doing something about it' and the feeding frenzy that you kicked off at Heathrow."
"OK, well maybe I shouldn't have said his laptop battery was crammed with C4."
"After rubbing his luggage with the insides of a firework for the benefit of the sniffer dogs I don't think it made a hell of a lot of difference..."
"And as for slapping the tinfoil cutout of a gun into his in-flight reading..."
"No, very old hat. A better plan would have been to have stuck some curly wires and an alarm clock into his carry-on."
"...Stuck to a couple of tubes of wine gums?"
"Oh no, that's not quite nasty enough. The THEORY is that they'd then have to LOOK for the rest of the suspected appliance..."
"Ah right, trousers, gloves, etc. Nasty. Perhaps next time..."
Later that evening I'm at after-work-drinks with The PFY when I notice a surreptitious nod from him to a couple of suited gents drinking lemonade for the past hour. Quicker than you can say 'usurping bastard' I make some noises about needing to download some brownware, grab my bag and casually duck into the gents. I manage to get the clock and wire down the toilet before Special Branch kick the door in, but it's a close run thing.
The steps The PFY will go through just to get a new portable...
"Now what's our Iraqi exchange worker been telling you about me?" I ask.
Fair's fair. ®