"Slipped in front of a bus. Fell FROM a bus. Fell in front a Circle line train. Jumped or fell off the Hungerford Bridge. Fell in front of a black cab. Jumped in front of a minicab; stepped into an open manhole; fell down some stairs; and crossed against the lights at Oxford Circus and was hit by a cab," the Personnel bloke says. "And do you know what we learned from this?"
"That public transport is a very dangerous thing?" The PFY asks.
"No, we didn't learn that at all. What we learned was that all these accidents happened after the Christmas party last year."
"Christmas parties are a dangerous thing!" I cry.
"No, that wasn't what we learned either. Every person involved in these accidents was on a single committee!"
"Committees are stupid things?" the PFY offers.
"No! They were all on the committee investigating whether to move our entire IT operation into the cloud."
"Committees to move IT operations into a cloud are stupid things!!!!" the PFY says.
"No. In several of the incidents eyewitnesses claim that the victims may have been 'helped' into their situation."
"Well that's hardly 'helping' someone is it?" The PFY comments. "Unless of course they wanted to be run over by a car, fall from a taxi, eat an onion bhaji laced with dog turd."
"Eat an onion bhaji laced with dog turd?!"
"Oh. Nothing." the PFY says, ensuring that there will be spare onion bhajis at the cafeteria for the next few weeks, no matter how late we are for lunch. "But my point was if you 'pushed' someone in front of a bus you can hardly call it 'helping' them can you?"
"I mean if Simon and I were to unlock this bay window here >snick<, swing it open like this >screeeuurrr< and 'push' you out - claiming that just before you 'leapt' you mumbled something about 'not being able to live with a lie any longer', handed us that picture of yourself engaging a bit of farm-a-sutra with the family pet along with a hastily scrawled suicide note - if we 'pushed' you - it would hardly be called 'helping' you would it?"
"I suppose not. Uh, do you mind closing that? And WHAT picture?"
"Oh, we'd print the picture later, obviously. But you agree that if someone saw us doing that - like that woman in the window across the street there - she'd hardly say we were 'helping' you, would she?"
"Yes, I suppose you're right," Personnel Cop says, feeling braver now that there's a witness around.
"We could say you'd been under a lot of pressure lately. I'm sure your fellow workers would agree with that, wouldn't they?"
"Well I have been under a lot of pressure recently - but I doubt they'd think it was unusual amounts."
"Fair enough. So anyway - what has all this to do with us?"
"There have been suggestions that you might know something about these... 'help'ings..."
"So you're saying that we somehow stalked each and every person in the committee, 'helped' them in front of a train, tube, whatever - all over London - AFTER DRINKING ABOUT 10 PINTS AT THE XMAS DO OURSELVES??"
"Yes, well, it was just a though..."
"You know I had to pour the PFY in a cab to get him home - and pay the defacement fee in advance!!!"
"Yes, I see it was probably just.. idle gossip."
"I mean just to do that you'd need, what, eight people?"
"Eight people, all with photos of their targets. And their routes home."
"Yes, I'm sure you're right."
"And the PFY and myself - we'd have to actually drink ourselves so silly that we would be incapable of doing anything remotely like that. We'd probably have memorable incidents to give us ironclad alibis."
"Like being sick in a cab!" the PFY proffers.
"And we're simple operating system folk - all we care about is the job."
"And the company" the PFY adds
"Yes, the company. We all want what's best for the company." The Personnel bloke says.
"I mean let's be honest - the committee probably wanted what was best for the company too?"
"I'm sure they did?" he replies
"And so who are we to disagree? We just offer our input and let the chips fall where they may. After all it doesn't matter whether the machines live here or live elsewhere - we'll still manage them with the same efficiency."
"Oh, didn't you hear - the report recommended the complete solution - outsourced servers and
"Really - I thought they hadn't finished the report?"
"Yeah they had." The Personnel bloke blurts, holding up an envelope "The ambulance crew must have posted it - it arrived this morning."
... Ten Seconds Later...
"And you got the bit where he said he'd been under a lot of pressure recently?" I ask
"Uh-huh" the PFY says, dragging a photo of a surprised looking Alsatian into Photoshop... ®