It's a quiet morning recording calls to the medical officer when I get a call from reception asking where I want some new equipment delivered. It takes me a couple of seconds to remember the meeting with the salesman in Luigi's and a few more seconds to contemplate the talking necessary to get the ATM guy out of Luigi's when he didn't have any money. Mind you, his two front teeth were gold-capped, so perhaps they worked something out. Or possibly pried something out ...
This probably means that my boss now owns some extremely dodgy hardware that's likely to destroy anything it's placed into.
As I have no idea what's been ordered, I ask them to send it all up to the boss.
"There's quite a lot of it ...", security informs me.
So it was both teeth then ...
"... would take up the whole of the lift, I'd guess".
And perhaps some jewellery ... retrieved post-amputation ...
I tell them to send, then prepare to meet my boss's doom.
Five minutes later the goods lift wheezes up with hundreds of shiny boxes of various sizes.
The boss looks confused. With a budget that would run to a couple of packets of networked crisps, he's a little concerned by the arrival of lots of shiny new kit. Especially as he's the only one with spending authority.
I wait till he gets the invoice with attached order. From his expression he has, as we in the trade say, rapidly downloaded some brownware.
"There must be some mistake!", he burbles, just as a particularly troublesome auditor enters, inventory register in hand.
"This the new stuff?", he asks.
"Apparently so,", I say. "But haven't we run out of money?"
"We have!" the boss bleats.
"Then why", I ask, pointing to 'his' signature, "did you order it?"
"I didn't!" he backpedals, at 28.8bps [backpedals per second].
A crowd has gathered, so I appeal for calm. "And after you turned down the request for better air conditioning too!"
Mumbles of dissent indicate the level of support the boss can expect at this stage. (A large number multiplied by nil.)
This hostile audience isn't going to be receptive to denials, especially after the past years' weather extremes.
His razor-sharp vision spots a saving straw: "hey! this order is six months old. I wasn't even here then!", he cries.
"Pre-dating orders to escape the Inventory System!", I cry.
Brown-nosing auditor's eyes light up like a Christmas tree as he contemplates the kudos from discovering this fraud.
"But ... I ...", the boss pleads.
I spot a box and wind the heat up a little.
"Hmmm. ATM cards for XT compatibles. How useful".
The dissent grows in volume. The boss gives up all pretence of innocence and tries for a plea bargain.
"We have a lot of legacy equipment!", he gasps.
"The card could run DOS faster!"
He's completely cornered with no escape. I know it, he knows it. The staff know it.
"What on earth is that?", I ask, pointing at the back of the goods lift.
The boss rushes in, hoping to disguise further implication.
"What?", he asks as I catch up.
"Oh nothing, just all this. The auditor, the staff, the useless kit.
Everything. It's not good for a career man you know".
"But I ..."
"I mean when your boss finds out about this ..."
With his vocabulary bucket empty, the boss just stands there.
"Unless, of course, it were to all just simply go away ..."
A gleam of hope registers.
"Like a bad dream".
"Well, you give me the invoice then sign this Course Approval Form". He examines the form:
"But it's a two week course in the States on basic networking. You know all that stuff!"
"Then I'll have lots of time to revise, won't I?"
"Oh. Isn't that a Commodore 64 ATM card?"
"All right, all right!"
He autographs my form and we exit. I put all the kit back into the lift, walk back to my room and give reception a ring.
"Something's wrong with the lift", I say, as I use its service console to wind the acceleration way past the red line.
Popping back to the lift, I see that the auditor is not letting go on this one.
"You think that's bad", I say. "You should see everything at reception!"
The emergency stop goes off with a click as he goes to investigate. Exactly 23 seconds later the building resounds with the impact of a fully laden goods lift striking the bottom of Basement Two at high speed.
As the ambulance siren approaches, I start looking through travel brochures for good places in the States to do my "revision" and ring corporate insurance about all that top-of-the-line equipment that just got destroyed ...