BOFH: the PFY goes AWOL

Wasn't he just in the tape safe?


Episode 33 It's a quiet afternoon in Mission Control when I'm woken from my slumber by a dull banging noise coming from the Tape Library room. The sound seems so familiar and yet still so elusive, and for some reason I just can't put my finger on it...

As the sounds seem to die away (die being an all too appropriate term in this case) the penny drops - someone's shut in the tape safe!! Ordinarily this wouldn't cause me the concern that it otherwise should, however another fistful of pennies drop when I realise that the PFY didn't okay any 'lockin' with me and... ... ...it's been a reasonably long time since I saw the PFY. In fact, I think the last time I saw him was when we were in the Tape Library room and he was unloading the safe and I was stacking some fresh tapes on the shelf behind the tape safe door...

>Click< >Grind< >FfffPah<

"!" the PFY says wordlessly falling to the floor.

"Hmmm. You're not looking so flash you know?" I say to the PFY as he starts gasping for lungfuls of breath. "You really should get out more."

"You..." the PFY wheezes, dragging himself into a sitting position "...BASTARD!"

"What?"

"Locking me in the safe!"

"When?"

"Before, when I was unloading the tapes out of the safe."

"I didn't shut you in!"

"Someone bloody did!"

"I..." I say, replaying the morning's activities in my head "...uh... may have closed the door to make room to put another shelf in the shelving unit - but surely you weren't actually IN the safe".

"I was repositioning the sliders!"

"Why didn't you bang on the door?"

"I thought you'd done it on purpose and thought I'd wait patiently until you got bored with the joke."

"I WAS GOING TO HAVE A PUB LUNCH!! I COULD HAVE BEEN HOURS!"

"So you do care?" the PFY sniffs.

"Of course I do. I'm expecting a package of DVDs from Amazon and I wouldn't trust any of the bastards out there to check the packaging is intact!"

And just like that the situation goes from being a simple workplace misunderstanding which could have lead to a slow lonesome death to being something the PFY is going to hold a grudge about. Anyone would think that I'd planned it - anyone in this case being the PFY.

"It was an accident - it could have happened to anyone!" I say.

"Accidents don't just happen, they're caused," the PFY says, repeating one of the primary tenets of Bastard Operatism.

"Yes, yes, but this was just a genuine misunderstanding," I say, realising that I'm going to have to watch my back for the next little while. Six months should do it.

"Where's my pen?" the PFY asks, scrabbling round amongst the rubbish on his desk in an annoyed manner.

"I dunno. Were you using it in the tape room?"

"No!"

"Here, use this" I say, throwing over the pen I'm using.

"THAT'S MY PEN!"

"That's a pen, I'll grant you, but it could be anyone's."

"No, it's mine, I file a little mark at the end so I can recognise them."

"Oh, right" I say, foregoing the opportunity of a long and impressive diatribe about the sadness of people who feel it necessary to take to a piece of disposable stationery with a file. After all it would only make things worse, and I'm really a people person. Or something.

"You stole my pen," the PFY snaps.

"I may have borrowed your pen."

"You stole my pen from my desk, where it lives," he replies.

"It's... just a pen."

"But it's not just a pen is it?" the PFY snaps. "It's a .5mm roller ball in off blue - a very unusual colour. I had to order it specially - which I'm sure you knew when you shut me in the safe!"

"Wait a minute - you're suggesting that I shut you into a safe to provide me with an opportunity to steal a pen that's worth about the price of an average cappuccino?"

"Uh-huh."

"Instead of just ordering a box load of them for the department at no cost to myself?"

"I know how your mind works. Locking me in the safe saves you the hassle of paperwork"

"So tell me, you didn't happen to knock over a bottle of madness serum when you were in the safe did you?

"Tell you what I'll do. RIGHT NOW, I'll ORDER you a whole box of those pens which you can use to your heart's content without worrying about being on someone's hit list. IN FACT, I'll even pay for them myself."

"Believe it when I see it," the PFY says.

"Chuck the pen over so I can get the part number."

"Oh you'd like that wouldn't you?" the PFY says from his position right up against the verge of insanity.

"Ok then, WRITE THE PART NUMBER DOWN and I'll order you a box," I sigh.

The PFY scribbles down a part number and I get an internal order form out. While writing out the form I take the PFY's point about the unusual nature of the blue in his pen. It's almost cerulean. And the width of stroke is that much more impressive than the .4, but not quite as chunky as the .8. Thinking back the ergonomic design of the pen was quite pleasing in a...

"So did you finish putting the sliders into the tape safe?"

"I could hardly do it in the dark!"

"So that's a no then?"

"It'll be done before you've finished ordering the bloody pens!" the PFY says, stomping off.

"Excellent!" I say, screwing up the order form, grabbing the PFY's pen and following him into the tape safe room... ®


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