Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/10/24/bofh_2008_episode_34/

BOFH: Fine detective work

The Boss applies his sleuth skills

By Simon Travaglia

Posted in BOFH, 24th October 2008 10:57 GMT

Episode 34

"What's this?" the Boss demands, tossing a tattered faux leather-covered book at me.

"This?" I say. "It looks like someone's diary."

"Your assistant's - but what's inside it?"

"I don't know. I'm not in the habit of reading personal stuff," I respond, choking down a chuckle.

"I suggest you do!" he snaps.

"Why, what am I looking for?"

"Just look."

>flip< >flip<

"Angela, kebab house at 7:30," I read.

"Not that, move on to nearer today."

"Boss's missus, pub, 8:30.”

"WHAT?"

"Just jokes," I say, holding up the book. "The page is blank."

"Keep turning - this month!"

"Uh-huh," I say, flipping over a couple more pages. "What am I looking for?"

"What's that?" the Boss asks, jabbing his pudgy pinky at a page.

"This? What it says at the top of the page: Schedule of Concrete Pours at poorly guarded building sites."

"And the next page?"

"Woodland parks with no night time security and easily accessible backhoes."

"And the next page?"

"Lime storage facilities."

"And the next?"

"Crematoriums with dodgy door locks."

"And the next?"

"Pet food manufacturing plants."

"And the next page?"

"Glue Factories with no alarms," I say. "Look, what's your point?"

"What do you mean what's my point? Do you think I'm stupid?"

"Have you not heard the expression 'Never test for an error condition you don't know how to handle?'" I respond.

"I, uh... what's that got to do with anything? Anyway, that's not the point - look at those lists again."

"What am I looking for?" I ask, oozing innocence.

"What do you mean? You can't tell me you're not a little concerned - worried even?"

"About what?"

"About why someone should be collecting that sort information - what they might be planning to do with it!"

"You mean..." I say.

"Yes! I think your assistant is moonlighting as a security guard!"

What?

"I... Of course!" I gasp "It all makes sense now! The late-night drinking, the reality TV shows - the monosyllabic speech!"

"Aren't you concerned at all?"

"Not with detective work like that I'm not," I admit.

"We should find out what he's up to! It might be a conflict of interest!"

"A conflict of interest if he's going around guarding places at night?"

"It might be," the Boss says, less convincingly.

"Doubtful."

"But still, we should look. Where is he?"

"Off at lunch with the new woman from the pub."

"When do you expect him back?" the Boss asks furtively.

"Back? Oh, right! Um, in an hour?”

"Well maybe we should look through his cupboard, just in case there's more to it," the Boss suggests. "Where does he keep his stuff?"

"He keeps all his things in the storeroom, but I really don't think..."

. . . 30 seconds later . . .

"Oh no!" the Boss gasps as he pushes the door to the store open. "A spade and an old roll of carpet."

"Yeah," I say. "Right where those brand new, easily stolen and virtually untraceable 22 inch LCD monitors were stacked."

"But why's this stuff here?"

"No idea. From memory they've been here since around the time that auditor bloke went on holiday without telling anyone about it beforehand. Though perhaps it was all just in the boot of the PFY's car and he needed to make space for several boxes..." I hint.

"You don't think..." the Boss says, with just a hint of horror.

"What?" I ask equally mysteriously.

"...that he's a builder's labourer?"

"What?"

"Add it up," he says. "Old carpet, spade, building sites, places that need locks fixed..."

"Well now you put it that way, I suppose you could be onto something," I say.

"So it is a conflict of interest!"

"What is?"

"Him, he's working for other sites."

"I'm pretty sure there's no conflict."

"It is - I happened to notice that one of the building sites in that concrete pouring schedule is one of our competitors."

"Yes, insider trading and corporate espionage is rife amongst workers in the cement industry," I nod meaningfully.

"You can't be too careful. Give him a call - let's get to the bottom of this."

"You can't be serious - you want to interrupt a romantic lunch/evening to accuse the next Fred West of being a corporate spy?"

"What? Just call him!"

. . . Ten minutes later . . .

"And you're sure you don't know where those LCDs are?" I ask. "Fair enough"

"Well, is he coming in?" the Boss gasps.

"He's a bit tied up at the moment. But he did say he was happy to meet you here later on this afternoon to prove that your suspicions are totally unfounded."

"Well I suppose that will do."

"Fine. Oh, and he asked if you'd take the roll of carpet to your office so it'll save him a trip back here..."

"Oh. I suppose I could."