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Episode 21 "What the hell's he saying?!" I ask the PFY as he tries to interpret what my counterpart is saying.

"I'm not sure - East European languages aren't my speciality - but I think he's saying what you just did is illegal in his country," the PFY replies, raising a questioning eyebrow.

"Ah! In that case tell him not to worry - it's illegal in this country too," I say, handing my helper the 50 quid he'd been promised before he dashes out the pub door.

"What the hell did you do?"

"Oh Nothing. He just helped me dump a bit of rubbish."

"The new auditor guy!!" The PFY gasps. "I thought he was sniffing around the place a bit too much for his own good..."

"What?! No! No, it was just some old laser printers from the clutter in Mission Control. The environmentally-friendly disposal crowd have upped their prices again so that it's getting cheaper to buy a printer than dispose of one!"

"You didn't stuff them into the roadside bins again!" the PFY sighs. "It's a 50 quid fine!"

"They way things are going it'll soon be the cheaper option - but no. We just chucked them off Waterloo Bridge."

"What?! How'd you get them there?"

"'Borrowed the Boss' car. Admittedly I did feed him a few too many drinks in the afterwork celebrations."

"What celebrations?"

"Celebrating getting rid of 10 printers without paying for their disposal."

"How the hell did you get 10 printers into an MG?!?!"

"Obviously we had to make two trips..."

"Obviously," the PFY says dubiously. "And so it all went well?"

"Yeah, pretty much. Hitting the party barge was a bit of a low point and seemed to upset the punters, but by that stage we were in the car with the foot down."

"And there'll be no.... complications?"

"Nope!"

. . . The next day . . .

"Ah... Uhhh... Simon. Was wondering if you had time for a little chat?" the Boss asks.

"Sure gimme five minutes - I've almost got spider beat!"

"Ahhmmmm, it's a little more urgent than that," he mumbles, looking a little distressed.

. . . two minutes later in a quiet meeting room . . .

"Right. Well. It seems that Miss Watson here..." the Boss says, indicating a woman in the room with us.

"Ms," Ms Watson corrects.

"Ms?" the Boss confirms.

"Short for Misery?" I ask, lightening the situation a touch... Or not, as seems apparent. Ah well.

"Ms Watson is a legal representative of an ecological group - 'Friends of the Thames'."

"Ah yes, The Thames Freighter, a king among vans!"

"No," Ms Watson snips.

"Really? You're friends of the Television company then?"

"No."

"The Tunnel! A tribute to Brunel!"

"No, the Thames river!" she snaps.

"Oh, of course. And?"

"And Ms Watson believes that a number of our company's older computing assets found their way into the Thames last night."

"Really? By themselves?"

"I think we can dispense with the innocent act," Ms Watson says, placing a photograph on the table. "Amazing the clarity of these pictures, don't you think? I think the courts would have no problem at all in prosecuting you on this evidence alone."

"THIS 'evidence' alone?" I ask.

"One of the machines had a company inventory sticker on it," the Boss sighs.

"Which led me here.. to you" Ms Watson says.

"It's true", I admit grudgingly. "While taking the machines for... servicing.. the car .. broke down on the bridge, at which time a man appeared from nowhere and started tossing them into the Thames. Some form of Luddite, I shouldn't wonder!"

"You're suggesting you weren't a knowing party to this?"

"Of course not. Your photos clearly show me attempting to rescue the printer from him - and I defy you to prove otherwise."

"We have several similar photos from two separate occasions last night."

"He's obviously a serial offender," I suggest.

"And you're also suggesting that your car just HAPPENED to break down at the same place twice in the same night."

"Classic cars are notoriously unreliable."

"And so you're saying that you weren't intentionally dumping your old equipment into a public waterway."

"We're the VICTIM here!" I blurt, not altogether convincingly.

"And you don't mind telling me how you do dispose of your equipment?"

"We work on a 30-month life cycle."

"Don't you mean 36 month in line with the normal three year warranty?"

"No, 30 month. At that point we remove the theft prevention device and inventory stickers and redeploy them closer to the car park. Things seem to sort themselves out there because people can't resist the opportunity."

"So it's your contention that you have no inventory disposal problems?"

"None."

. . . twenty minutes later. . .

"Well thank you for coming to share your concerns," the Boss blurts, showing Ms Watson to the door.

. . .

"I thought we were for it then!" he gasps when he returns moments later. "I think you'd best let your offsider know that we'd rather pay the disposal fees than risk public exposure for dumping equipment - especially the stuff we've yet to dispose of."

"No, no, there's nothing left."

"What about the two machines on the floor of your room."

"Should be leaving the building in the boot of Ms Watson's car any time now."

"I..."

"Which reminds me - when she comes back to complain let me know as we've got a bootload of dud toner cartridges in the basement looking for a home...."

"I..."

"...think we're doing a splendid job and deserve an afternoon in the pub. FANTASTIC."

>click< >click< >Slam!< ®

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