"There he goes ..." the Pimply-Faced-Youth mutters as the department's latest programmer sneaks out of his room and goes off home. The poor guy's got a persecution complex which has absolutely nothing to do with his office being constructed from an area stolen from the comms room by the bosses.
Sadly, I didn't get to the plans before they left the drafting machine, but the PFY did manage to 'recalibrate' the builders levels and cable detectors. Funny how the walls seem to lean inwards and every time the air conditioner comes on the door handle heats up.
In the spirit of re-use, the boss had trolled all the offices for unused furniture prior to the programmer's arrival. From us he scored the drawers of death. Previously used to hold the bean-counter back-ups, the drawers of death look like an ordinary set of drawers, and even behave like an ordinary set of drawers. Until they're closed.
That triggers a five second hummm. Moments later, the programmer finds all his work for the day has been mysteriously wiped out; amazing how small you can make a bulk eraser ...
The remote control on his gas-operated chair was the PFY's idea. The chair plummets to the bottom of its movement at irregular intervals, and the poor guy has since developed a bit of a limp. Probably a lumbar problem.
The boss realises something's happening - as he should, considering he masterminded the room seizure. I'm sure he thinks of that every time he changes the bandage on that nasty doorknob shaped burn on the palm of his hand ...
After a heart to heart session the programmer had with the boss, that the PFY and I accidentally overheard because of the microphone pickup inadvertently cabled onto the redundant UTP connection, the programmer asks us to stop by, obviously believing the scandalous mistruths passed to him by a soon-to-be ex-boss ...
"I hear you're responsible for all this", he says.
"For?" I ask innocently.
"These annoyances! And I want them stopped. I'm working on an important project and I will not tolerate interference".
I'm not a hardline fan, and by the looks of it neither is the PFY.
"Do you know how much I get paid?" he continues.
"Not a clue", I lie, so that I don't have to pretend not to be annoyed that he's earning more than the PFY and I put together.
"But I'll tell you what - you share your good fortune with us and we'll see what we can do. A couple of hundred quid a week, each. Call it Comms Room Rental",
Meeting at a close, the PFY and I wander off. Two days later, following a minor first caused by some faulty wiring on his desk lamp (I blame cheap imports), we're invited back.
A generous donation to the Operators' Christmas fund later, we return to our office.
Sometime later, the programmer again asks me and the PFY to stop by his office. He has that smug look that can only mean some form of trouble is brewing.
"I'd, ah, like my money back please", he says, striving to appear nonchalant.
"Sorry", I counter, just as calmly. "It's been invested in operational expenses."
"Well, perhaps you can uninvest it. Unless of course you wish this to appear on the CEO's desk".
He clicks on an icon on his screen and a recording, obviously made by his laptop's vidcam attachment, pops up on the screen. A recording of our last encounter, sound and all.
I smile back. And nod to the PFY.
One standard issue, trip-on-the-floor-mat later, the programmer's machine lays in ruins on the floor, with a large heel mark decorating the hard drive.
"Woopsy", the PFY gasps. "Must have low blood sugar or something".
"A good attempt", he sneers. "But not good enough. I have back-up tapes".
"I see. Aren't you a little concerned that I'll get to the tapes somehow?" I inquire, trying to sniff out their location.
"Not in the slightest. Not when they're safely locked away".
A five-second hum and chuckle later the PFY and I are heading back to our office to resume normal life.
"Shall I crank up the voltage on the doorknob?" the PFY asks.
"All the way! Oh, and that desk lamp looks a little dim while you're at it ..."
With initiative like that, he's bound to go places ...