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Witnesses, what witnesses?

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Episode 15 It's late at night and I'm in the CEO's office rifling through his correspondence for evidence of the much-rumoured budget cuts in IT. Apparently, the powers that be have decided that the IT spend isn't reducing as fast as the board would like, so they're just going to hack out a major part of the annual budget and see how we cope with the pain. Or so the document says...

I'm midway through the re-edit of the document on the CEO's laptop (recommending increased investment for future growth, blah, blah) when the man himself walks in. And when I say walk I mean a drunken stagger, assisted by a couple of young women with the aura of professional services delivery about them.

"What the hell are you doing here?" he fumes alcoholically.

"Just doing some, uh, out of hours maintenance work," I say, touch typing the remainder of the sentence about one-off bonus payments for key technical staff and closing the document."

"How'd you get in?"

"With the key?"

"What key?"

"This one," I say, selecting the appropriate key from a large ring on the CEO's desktop.

"Where'd you get them from?" he asks, going for the belligerency heavyweight title.

"Security?"

"How?"

Sigh.

"We have keys to all areas of the building - to fix faults, particularly out of hours."

"My laptop doesn't have a fault!"

"No," I adlib. "I was just using it to DETECT a fault - in the...uh... network connectivity"

"It's not connected to the network!" he slurs.

"I'm using the built-in wireless network," I say, pulling another one out of the adlib bag.

"I disabled that," he counters.

"Yes, but I re-enabled it - to test for coverage patterns, structure penetration, solar flare interference and suchlike."

"Solar flares? At night?"

"When we least expect them," I nod, knowingly.

"You're just nosing through my office aren't you? Trying to find something worth stealing?"

"No no, I took all that weeks ago. Nice brandy by the way"

"So you admit you're stealing?"

"Only the good stuff. You'll note that I left the corked wine and the aftershave-quality gin behind. And as for the 'home movies' in your office safe. >shudder< "

"You're for the high jump!" he snarls.

In situations like this, harsh experience has taught me that the best course is usually to admit fault in the first instance and attempt to diffuse the situation in the second.

"You're probably right." I admit, "It does look pretty damning. You caught me red handed in your office, using your laptop, stealing your drinks and about to take a dump in your top drawer - which reminds me can you hand me some paper - the company newsletter will do - there's a photo of you on the front this month isn't there?"

Never could get the hang of that second part...

"I...most certainly will not, you..."

"Oh, well perhaps you could get one of your nieces to do it then?"

"They're not my...ah."

CAN ANYONE ELSE SMELL A PERFORMANCE BONUS IN THE NEAR FUTURE?!!

"Yes, I see the similarity between them and your wife," I say, tapping the desktop photo.

"Yes well..." the CEO burbles, going for the suave save.

"...in that all three are women. At least I think she's a woman. A bit on the mannish side, but I'm sure she's all original - no major structural alterations, plumbing refits, etc?"

"Leave my wife out of this - you broke into my office!"

"No, no, I'm here in pursuit of a fault."

"Oh yes, and what fault would that be - I think we'll find there's no wireless network up here at all!"

"Which in itself would be a fault, but no, I was here because...your desktop machine was damaged"

"It's not dama.. >SHOVE< >CRASH!<"

"Looks like it was dropped," I say, "which is a simple replacement job - hardly worth me tackling after hours. Still, better safe than sorry!"

"You just did that!" he gasps,

"No I didn't!"

"You did, and I have witnesses!"

"Witnesses? What witnesses? Ladies, did you see anything?"

"It depends," one of them says astutely.

"On?" the CEO asks.

"The number I'm thinking of," she responds, even more astutely.

"Is it a large number?" I ask. "A large number with something that looks like an L in front of it?"

"That's the one!"

"I'll just have to check my bank balance," I say, grabbing the CEO's phone.

"Whatever you're wanting I'll double it," the Boss says, catching on.

"So let me get this straight," I say, moments later, "you're offering these two ladies of your acquaintance double the amount of money they're thinking of PLUS whatever you were offering them before, to continue your night of debauchery and claim that they saw me push your desktop machine off the desk?"

"Indeed."

"Well, I can't compete with that. I can only offer the amount of money I'm thinking of, which is 200 quid."

"I was already going to pay more than that."

"Well I guess you win. But wait, silly me, did I accidentally press the quick dial number for your home instead of the number to your bank? And is that your wife on the other end of the phone instead of the automated attendant. And is she probably thinking of ringing the bank, reporting your cards as being stolen and locking you out of the house before freezing your communal assets?? Oh...she's rung off!"

>SLAM!< >clatter<

"So ladies, who fancies a rather nasty gin?" ®

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