Episode 20 Bright white light surrounds me and ahead I see a lift with the UP button greyed out. Entering the lift, I press the only option available, 'B', and go down.
The air gets appreciably warmer.
Exiting the lift, I see nine rooms. The one immediately in front of me has an endless pile of service packs which have to be applied to an endless line of Windows desktop machines.
The room next to it has a sign which says: "Discussion: Linux v Windows v MacOsX".
Far off in the distance in the last room I see a figure encased in ice.
Things become clearer.
I rush back to the lift, press the 'G' button noting the '1' button is still greyed out. And after all my selfless works, too.
The lift doors open and I head immediately for the light...
"We've got a pulse!" a paramedic yells as I regain a bit of my former consciousness. I notice the PFY halfway across the room in a similar state of recovery and the Boss in a corner with a couple of meds working on him. I catch a brief murmur of brain damage and manage to spit out something about it being his normal operating mode...
"What happened?" the PFY gasps once the pushing and shoving has stopped.
"I..." the Boss blubs, before lapsing into shocked silence.
"I..." I say, coming to a halt when I realise I have no recollection of what's transpired.
or... It might be a dream but I seem to remember...
. . .
"IT'S NOT THE BLOODY SAME!" I shout, annoyed. "I ordered a PARTICULAR machine in a PARTICULAR configuration so that it can perform a PARTICULAR task!"
"But this machine is the same," the Boss responds, calmly. "See, everything in the same amounts. It's a perfectly good substitute."
"You can't substitute a machine with a fast processor for a crap machine with two much slower processors! When I order a machine with two hard drives I don't want a machine with one LARGE hard drive!!!"
"If I may," the PFY says, interjecting. "I think I see the root of the problem."
"Mmm?" the Boss and I say almost simultaneously.
"You think the systems are basically the same."
"They are," the Boss says.
"Only you're not paid to think. If you were you'd be getting paid a lot less."
FIGHTING TALK FROM THE PFY!!!!
"I beg your pardon?!!"
"As well you should - this isn't the first time. Last week I ordered a couple of replacement mice for the console system and instead of the five button optical jobbies I ordered I got a FOUR button trackball - one with a ball which isn't even bloody spherical."
"But the ones you specified were 30 quid each. The alternatives cost us a tenth of that!!!"
"THEY DON'T BLOODY WORK PROPERLY!"
"But they've saved money!" the Boss bleats.
"YOU DON'T SAVE MONEY IF IT'S DODGY!" the PFY snaps. "And then this morning I receive this..."
"It's a keyboard."
"Yes it is. A PC keyboard with a Dec-VT220 configuration. NO-ONE USES THEM ANY MORE!"
"But it was only five quid!"
"BECAUSE IT'S CRAP!"
"Has this been happening with all our orders?" I ask, looking suspiciously at the recently delivered, yet still unopened package on my desktop.
"Uh... We have an agreement with stores that if we can find an equivalent for less or a better item for the same price we should do that. And the stuff they get is perfectly reputable and not at all... dodgy."
"And the person who's deciding what an equivalent product is the same person who picks his nose and eats it to save on lunch money?"
"He's saved us thousands already!"
"So it HAS been happening with all our orders?"
"Yes. Didn't we... uh.. tell you about that?" the Boss asks, faking innocence.
"So when I open up this package I'm not going to find the Taser.... uh... Insulation Testing Device I ordered?"
"You might. Or it might be a perfectly workable substitute."
. . .
"THIS ISN'T WHAT I ORDERED!!!" I snap angrily as I open the package and find a box with strange lettering on the side.
"No, it's a 'better' model" the PFY says, looking at the box. "East European. Higher voltage - unlimited battery life - at least that's what I think it says."
"East European?" the Boss asks confusedly.
"Would you care to revise your story about dodginess?" I ask the Boss...
"No, I'm sure it's an excellent substitute."
"Well" the PFY says, scanning the pictures. "It looks like you turn it on here >click<, put the safety link in here >HUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM< and you control the withdrawal of the carbon rods here..."
"Carbon rods?" I ask, stepping back slightly as the ready LED goes from dull to bright red, then to white, then off with a puff of smoke.
"Does uh... anyone else smell burning?" the Boss asks, backing away slightly.
"Still think it's not a bit dodgy?" I ask the Boss.
"...and it looks like," the PFY continues engrossed in picture translation, "it's activated by pushing this button over h..." ®