"Check it out!" the PFY gasps, pointing at a large basket of goodies sitting on the secretary's desk.
"Bonus!" I cry, looking for a card. "Is it for us?"
"No, it's for the Boss," Cathy the secretary sighs before putting the basket into a large cardboard box beside her desk. "The third present he's got today."
"But he's only been in the job a month!" the PFY blurts.
"I know, but that's the tip of the iceberg if you compare it to the head of IT's goodies," Cathy replies, "He got an iPod, a digital camera, some tickets to..."
"An iPod!" the PFY interrupts. "He won't know how to use it!"
"His PA said he thought it was a remote control," Cathy sniggers.
"He can't keep it!" the PFY snaps. "I predict...an emergency disciplinary action."
"Pardon?" Cathy says.
"Disciplinary action," I say. "You know, when we find unspeakable amounts of porn on his machine. Or when he emails the CEO and explains just how much he hates him."
"I was thinking more along the lines of photoshopping him and the CEO's wife in some form of athletic encounter," the PFY says.
"You're...going to get him...fired...at Christmas...for an iPod?"
"The PFY would have him bounced on his birthday for a bread roll," I say.
"Because it's Christmas!" the PFY adds, in so much of a hurry to get his creative work done that he crashes into me on the way to Mission Control.
"No!" Cathy gasps, horrified.
"Sure. He once shut a group of beancounters in the lift for three hours just to make sure he'd get two helpings of Onion Bhajis at the cafeteria. He knows no shame. Who knows what he'd do for an iPod!"
"So I shouldn't tell him about the portable DVD players which were delivered for both the Boss and the head of IT this morning?" Cathy asks, pointing at a couple of Christmas wrapped boxes.
"No, best I take a look at them and check them for...electrical safety," I say, pulling the cards off the boxes and leaving them on the counter.
"But won't they miss them?"
"No, customers rarely know what vendors are going to send them so I'm sure the cards will suffice."
"But won't you miss one?" Cathy asks pointedly.
"No, I wasn't expecting them so I...Oh, I see," I say, handing a player back to Cathy. "Did I...I mean we get anything else?
"Uhmmmm," Cathy says, browsing through a large cardboard box beside my desk. "Some bottles of port, a couple of posh corkscrews, and some tickets to a riverboat cruise, some calendars and a couple of...remote controlled cars?"
"Did you say remote controlled cars?" I gasp, suppressing what might otherwise have been an expression of excitement.
"They're here then?"
"They're your cars?"
"Technically they're mine and the PFY's because between us we made the company the largest purchaser of Serial ATA disks in November."
"But in reality...?"
"I told him we missed out by five drives and what he doesn't know can't hurt me."
"I...So are you're just going to take them?"
"Oh yes. And in my position I'm sure he'd do the same thing - after all It's CHRISTMAS!!!"
"I see," Cathy says, watching the descent of man with disgust. "And you're going to get them now?"
"Uh-huh, while my assistant's otherwise occupied..."
"Can you pick up my chocolate?" she asks sweetly, handing over a large bucket.
"What's the bucket for?"
"To carry 73 bars of chocolate."
"73 bars of chocolate?"
"The packaging burst," she says. "I think security took some, there was supposed to be 100."
"And the bottled water?" I ask, pointing to the flagon of bottled water in the bucket.
"A bribe for security."
"Fair enough," I say, making for the lifts as soon as the coast is clear and the PFY's busy with Photoshop.
I can't help sparing a thought for Cathy's naiveté. I mean who'd entrust 73 chocolate bars to me? In fact, who'd entrust them to security!? Especially at Christmas!
I'm still thinking these thoughts when the lift panel goes dead.
...and the lift stops.
...and the emergency light goes out.
It's only then that I realise that there are no chocolate bars - and by the time I get out of here, no remote controlled cars either.
And then I realise what the bucket and water are for...
And >rustle< that the PFY lifted my cellphone when he bumped into me...
And that someone's removed the lift call button...
And then I start wondering if the lift camera is an infra red one or not - and if so whether the ensuing hours and what the entail will be all streamed live to the web...
...because that's what I'd do.
...because it's Christmas.