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Episode 17 BOFH 2003: Episode 17

A wise man once wrote: "All power corrupts, absolute power should be left in the hands of professionals."

I was that soldier.

So the Boss' PA has become a liability - more so than the boss himself, which in itself is quite a feat. Since 'catching' the Boss and I (allegedly) browsing some disgusting porn together she's embarked on a voyage of blackmail and extortion which deserves a special mention in the annals of history...

Not only has she secured the Boss' office, forcing him to work out in her cubicle (the Boss telling everyone that it was his idea, to allow him to bond with his workers) but she's also getting me (well, the PFY, as part of an extortion contra deal whereby I pass on some guilty secrets of the PFY that he believes no one knows) to run errands for her. Like penning the performance appraisal she'll be getting the Boss to sign off on at the end of her three-month trial period... Not to mention some despicably menial tasks designed to slowly but surely wipe away remaining vestiges of your self-respect.

Well, the PFY's self-respect.

You have to admire the professionalism of that. Some people would just make their point and be done with it, but she wants to snuff the smoking wick of our dignity.

Well, the PFY's dignity.

"You know what she wants me to do now?" he snaps, holding up a large carry bag.

"What?"

"Clean her shoes!"

"So take them down to the shoe shine man at Vi--"

"No, she wants me to shine them. She says she'll know if I get someone else to do it."

"And you told her to get stuffed?"

"I... Well, I s'pose I could shine them this once..."

"If you give in to a blackmailer, you'll always be giving in!" I caution.

The PFY wanders off dejectedly without further comment, which is always bad sign. He might be beginning to crack...

Something has to be done. The PFY is (mostly) a human being, and I can't just stand by and let his dignity be drained out of him like this.

Though I do wish I had a digital camera...

Some sort of peace offering is in order. I catch the Boss' PA outside his (her) office and hand over the brown envelope I'd prepared earlier.

"I take it this is some sort of trap where I open this and someone leaps out and catches me with company secrets?" she asks derisively, shoving the envelope straight into the shredder.

"Uhhhh, no, that was the 200 quid you told me to steal out of the Boss' petty cash. Which you just shoved into the shredder."

"Ah well, get us another lot then will you?" she asks, nonchalantly.

"Ooooooooh, cruel and ruthless!" the PFY says, wandering up. "I like that in a major home appliance!"

No matter what some authors say, silence is not deafening - it's just silence. I swear the entire office is so quite I can hear a laser printer in the next building jamming...

"You can't trick me into hurting you on camera," she informs the PFY, nodding at his buttonhole.

The PFY again wanders off dejectedly, and there's only one thing for it - a head to head.

"Can I have a quiet word in your... office?"

"Sure," she responds.

[SLAM!]

"I think we both know this can't go on," I start. "It's no good for the workplace to have people demoralised and stressed like this."

"Why not? You do it!"

"Yes, but I do it in a structured way."

"What's structured about trapping someone in a lift and sending them up and down between floors until they're sick - like you did three weeks ago?"

"I waited until after they'd had a biriyani for lunch! An amateur would have done it before the meal!"

"And when you extort money out of someone after a chance encounter in a lift with a co-worker in a moment of weakness at the Friday night social drinks in their first week?" she gabbles.

"Beg pardon?"

"Don't play the innocent with me - I know it was you!"

"Pretend for a moment it wasn't - what are you talking about again?"

"This!" she snaps, handing over a black and white frame from the CCTV lift.

"It's you and... GEORGE FROM STORES!"

"Yes, well, I'd been drinking..."

"DRINKING WHAT, PAINT THINNER? HE'S 48 AND LIVES WITH HIS MUM!"

"Like I said, I..."

"HE DRIVES A 1978 LADA!"

"It was a moment of weakness!"

"A MOMENT OF WEAKNESS? A moment of weakness is when you flip a pack of condoms into a teenager's shopping basket at the supermarket!"

"I..."

"A moment of weakness is when you divert someone's attention and throw ground habanero into their soup!"

"So it wasn't you then?"

"Nah, I'd have printed T-shirts by now. Still, punishing the Boss for all this is a little harsh."

"He did call me 'Love' at my interview..."

"Justifiable homicide. But seriously, you have a mean streak in you. Want to do dinner?"

"I... I... Well, OK."

"But can I ask you one favour?"

"What?"

"Can you get the PFY to do my shoes beforehand? With dubbin, because the leather is getting a little shabby."

What the hell, he was doing it anyway! ®

BOFH is copyright © 1995-2003, Simon Travaglia. Don't mess with his rights.

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