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Episode 3 BOFH 2001: Episode 3

"Quick, we need some help up in the boardroom," The Boss gasps, winded, rolling into the office and interrupting an extended printing session, "The projector's out!!!"

"And the technician is?"

"Sick!"

"You're not wrong - I've seen his web traffic!" The PFY adds.

"Look, it's very important, they're in the middle of a presentation!!"

"Oh, of course!" I cry, remembering the last time someone was called to sort this problem out, "How far through The Matrix do you think they are, then?"

The Boss ignores my skillfully honed sarcasm and continues. "Look, these are very important people and their time is money, so the sooner we can fix it the better!"

Resigned to my fate as one of the few people in the company with a grasp on AV kit (and/or technology in general for that matter) I head to the door.

"Apparently it just went dead - they think it could be a blown bulb," he informs me as we catch the lift.

"A heavy-duty long-life Halogen that's probably only been used 10 times? No, I think we'll find someone's been playing remote control and is confused by the 30 second enforced delay between switching the unit OFF and back ON again."

5 minutes later I'm proved correct, have collected 3 brownie points for my fault-finding skills from all but ONE of the assembled Boardpersons and am heading back down to Mission Control.

"So how did you know it was that?" The Boss asks, sadly impressed.

"It's simple, all you need do is interpret the small signs - ie - boring meeting, late in the afternoon, Amateur Visual Aids, someone's bound to tinker with the remote.."

My little Holmes speech over, I leave The Boss and stride purposefully to the colour printer to retrieve my latest set of glossy prints..

Only to find, for the second time this week, the red cartridge on the inkjet is dead.

A lesser man would suspect that someone's coming in at night and printing out huge volumes of porn, but that can't be the case, or I'd have seen them whilst printing mine. There can only be one solution..

"Someone's printing porn during the day?!?!" The PFY gasps, grabbing the wrong end of the stick and assuming it's all due to someone over-browsing left-handed websites.

"No, no, it'd be seen immediately! No, someone's printing something with lots of RED in it. Something that any normal person would steer clear of..."

"Holiday Snaps?"

"Don't be silly, this is the computing department, the only holiday these people would take is to an Internet café for two weeks, with no need AT ALL for a red, what with the pasty white colour they'd be at the end of it all.."

"Work Printouts?"

"You've seen the 'work' printouts here - straight black and white, 'Wot I done this weak' report-type stuff! ... No - someone's printing out charts."

"Charts?!"

"Yes, Gantt charts, Pie Graphs, Bar graphs - that sort of thing. With overruns, outages, budget blowouts, etc, in large red areas.."

"Ah, I think there could be a million things with a lot of re.."

"Look at them!" I cry, directing The PFY to the one-way window that looks out on the cube farm "Mindless IT sheep. Half of them don't even know how to change their default printer!"

"I think you're being a little hars.."

"No I'm not. I've been here long enough to smell trouble. And the aroma is near and strong. You have to pay attention to the signs - you know, like when two workmates who aren't seeing each other but get along really well are suddenly extremely casual about their friendship all of a sudden."

"You mean when they're shagging?"

"Bingo!"

"And when someone becomes punctilious about recording any and all overtime they do."

"Hey, we both do that!"

"And it means?"

"THEY'RE FALSIFYING THEIR TIMESHEETS!!!"

"Of course."

"But more important than that, when someone works late. Later than needs be. Later than anyone else in the office.."

"They're shagging the cleaner?!?!?"

"No, they're either: A. Browsing porn.."

"Like when you stay late.." The PFY comments unkindly.

"A sad bastard playing games - like when you stay late..." I respond, in turn

"Or overworked.. OR indulging in office theft," The PFY adds helpfully.

"OR, they've got a secret project going. Particularly the case when a manager stays late."

"So it's a manager?"

"Of course it's a manager! And which manager would it be?"

"The head of IT?"

"Nah, he's been here too long - he's institutionalised. No, it's someone new. Someone who thinks he can change us. Someone who wants to distinguish himself with the type of people who like coloured graphs and words like 'target threshold' instead of hardnosed experience. Someone who'd like to engineer a coup d'etat."

"THE BOSS!!!!"

"In the Dining Room, with the Candlestick..."

"So what are you going to do? Tell the Head and get him fired?"

"Not exactly..."

Barely one day and one sneaky boardroom meeting later, The Boss is not in his office, having been called away for an urgent meeting at the employment agency...

"I particularly liked the slide entitled 'Levels of Incompentence' with the huge red area with a certain person's name on it," the Head of IT burbles happily. "But I heard the barchart on 'Systems and Network Managers peak wind emissions, sorted by oriface' stole the show.."

"Really? I was rather proud of 'Peak effluent output rate of Systems and Networks Managers when they realise that someone's been tampering with their Visual Aids' myself, but still, it takes all sorts. And the successful suppression of this uprising would be rewarded in WHAT manner precisely?"

"I'll think of something" he responds.

And they say the little things don't count.. ®

BOFH is copyright © 1995-2001, Simon Travaglia. Don't mess with his rights.

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