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BOFH: Taking a spin in a decommissioned racer? On your own grill cam be it

The rise and fall of the Luton-based Lotus Eaters

Episode 18 "You know what Google has that we don't have?" the new Boss asks, wandering around Mission Control like the lord of all he surveys.

"No conscience?" the PFY asks.

"A sh*tload of cash?" I respond.

"Much better PR?" the PFY adds.

"A global presence?" I suggest.

"A tax-avoidance philosophy which is second to few?"

"NO!" the Boss snaps, obviously expecting us to treat the question as rhetorical. "No, what it has is workplace smarts!"

"You mean computers?" the PFY asks.

"NO, I DON'T MEAN COMPUTERS!" the Boss snaps back angrily. "People ENJOY working there! But people don't enjoy working here! And do you know why?"

"Because you're an arsehole?" the PFY suggests.

The room falls silent for a minute while we contemplate the PFY's last statement. I'm not sure if this is going to be one of those kicking-Bishop-Brennan-up-the-arse moments, or whether the PFY is going to think up some word that rhymes with arsehole and pretend he said that. Whatever happens, it's probably best that I defuse the outcome somewhat.

"Yes, that's probably it," I say.

Defuse, pour petrol on; it's so confusing at times.

The Boss stalks out without a word. He's back moments later with the Director.

"Is this true?" the Director asks.

"About using advanced technology in the workspace to enhance the workplace environment?" I ask. "You bet!"

"It would be great!" the PFY gasps, oozing enthusiasm.

One thing about reading your workplace managers' emails is that you get a two-day window of opportunity before an idea is sufficiently gelatinous for them to present to us, by which stage you've had an opportunity to work out a back story.

"That's not what he said!" the Boss simpers.

"Oh you mean the thing about autonomous company cars?" the PFY says, recounting one of the bullet-pointed items emailed between the Boss and Director a few days back. "I just said that the last time we tried it they got tired of the exercise and mothballed the whole thing."

"We have an autonomous company car?" the Boss gasps.

"HAD," I say. "As my assistant said, it was mothballed. Mind you, it was a bit of a money soak. I mean, who in their right mind would spend the money converting a British Racing Green Lotus to autonomous?"

"WE HAVE AN AUTONOMOUS LOTUS?" the Director gasps.

"Yes, yes, but it's mothballed," I counter.

"Where is it?"

"Uhmm, probably under a tarp in the sub-basement somewhere," the PFY says. "I think one of the security guards starts it up every month or so to keep the engine lubricated ... but like we say, it's mothballed."

"How mothballed?" the Director asks, with the Boss looking on eagerly.

"Well it's just decommissioned. No one uses it."

"We should at least give it a test to see if it's worth restarting the exercise!" the Director says, almost visibly salivating at the thought of taking a company Lotus for a blat.

"Well I ..," the PFY says, feigning indecision.

"Security will never give you the key to a mothballed project."

"Surely they would – for a, erm ... feasibility study? After all, it IS our project," the Boss bullshits.

"Not a chance – it's a company-wide project."

"I think we'll look at it anyway," the Director decides. "Where is the key?"

"It's at security – they won't let you have it," the PFY repeats.

"Yes, some sort of diversion is in order," the Director mumbles thoughtfully. "Perhaps a small fire?"

This situation seems to be escalating far better than I'd expected!

"That'll only get one of them out of their office – EVENTUALLY," the PFY says.

"What do you suggest?" the Boss asks.

"I normally call down and tell them that I've found an unaccompanied meat lover's pizza that's still warm. They'll be here in no time!"

"Perhaps you could just ask to meet them all in reception to introduce yourself?" the Director says to the Boss. "Now, how does the vehicle work?"

"Uhh, you have to drive it manually out of the basement and onto the street as there's no GPS signal, then you just tell it where you want to go. It's limited to 25 miles per hour though."

In no time the plan is in action. The Boss has diverted security, the Director has snaffled the key and they've both headed down to the basement.

I give security a ring.

"Uh, not sure if you guys have noticed yet," I burble, "but it looks like someone's tampering with the CEO's sports car."

"Hell!" one of the droids shouts. "He loves that thing more than life itself!"

"Actually, I think it would be more accurate to say he loves it more than YOUR life itself."

"We'll be RIGHT there."

"Excellent!" I snap. "And when you're done there, apparently someone's abandoned a meat lover's pizza on the sixth floor."

So there's no chance that security is going to make it to the basement before the Boss and Director have made their getaway.

Twenty minutes later a couple of disappointed-looking security guards turn up at Mission Control, wanting me to fire up the locater beacon and grill cam of the CEO's pride and joy.

"Here we go," I say. "Looks like they're on the M1, south of Luton. I'll just turn on the grill cam; lucky we thought to install that."

"What the hell are they doing?" one of the guards asks, gazing at the screen.

"Who knows," I say, watching the car change lanes at breakneck speed, weaving amongst the traffic. "They must have cracked under the pressure and are living out some sort of Ferris Bueller fantasy at the CEO's expense!"

"Well they're certainly ... oh! Watch out, no..."

The last moments on the screen prior to the Signal Lost banner was the rapidly approaching rear end of a Volvo V70 (if I'm not mistaken) in full Road Policing Unit livery.

It's unlikely in those last few moments of terror that the Boss and Director heard remote control hardware disconnecting and ejecting itself across the hard shoulder, as the PFY closed his driving simulator connection – and it's even less likely that the law officer they rear-ended will believe they weren't in control of the vehicle at the time – especially when the theft of the key is discovered and the camera footage of them driving the vehicle out of the building is seen.

"Bloody criminals," the PFY says, reappearing after his recent real-life-motorway-rally in the comms room.

Some people will do anything to avoid getting a foosball table in the office!

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