BOFH: The case of the Boss's hidden USB inkjet printer

A little life support from Simon and the PFY


BOFH logo telephone with devil's hornsEpisode 14 >beep!< … "There he is!" the PFY says cheerfully.

>beep!<

"?"

"How are you doing?" I ask, ooooooooozing concern.

>beep!<

"?"

"I'm Simon, this is Stephen, remember?"

>beep!<

"?"

"You had an accident," the PFY explains loudly and slowly. "A fall. Don't you remember?"

>beep!<

"!?" he murmurs.

>beep!<

"You're in the hospital," I add.

>beep!<

"?!"

"They say you'll be fine in no time," the PFY says. "Do you remember the accident?"

>beep!<

"?" he sighs, shaking his head weakly.

"You were talking to us. In the stairwell?"

>beep!<

"?"

"You had a contract that our manager had signed," I hint. "We wanted to look at it. But then you fell."

>beep!<

"?"

"Only we looked through your briefcase and clothes – while we were giving you first aid – but we couldn't find it," the PFY suggests.

>beep!<

"?"

"The contract. We couldn't find it? You had a contract for whole-of-business IT support. Do you remember?"

>beep!<

"?"

"You went to our Boss's office, he printed a contract on his USB inkjet printer – bypassing the network printer – and then he signed it and gave it you."

>beep!<

"You don't remember?" I ask.

"Christmas Tree!" he murmurs.

>beep!<

"No, it's not a Christmas tree, that's just life support lights – but not yours. That's from the next bed," the PFY explains. "But the contract – do you remember where you put it? We'd like to get it."

"For safe keeping," I add quickly.

>beep!<

"Christmas."

"Yes, it's almost Christmas. And you know what we'd like? We'd like to wrap that contract up in some beautiful paper that is definitely not doused in accelerant."

>beep!<

"Neil..." he gasps, mentioning the Boss.

"Yes. He had an accident too," the PFY says kindly. "He's in the next bed over – but it looks like his Christmas tree lights unfortunately went out."

>beep!<

"When we leave in about five minutes," I add.

"Neil. Christmas!"

>beep!<

"He was looking forward to Christmas," I say. "He said he had a surprise for us. He was very pleased with it too. Do you know maybe where he was keeping that surprise?"

"Christmas."

>beep!<

"Yes, it is Christmas," the PFY says patiently. "And we'd really like to open our present. The pieces of paper. Do you remember where you might have put them?"

"Neil."

"Did Neil put them somewhere?" I ask.

"Christmas."

This doesn't appear to be getting us very far and we're running out of time. The Boss could have conceivably dropped the contract into any one of the snail mail boxes in the building or handed it off to someone's PA to send – which means we only have a couple of hours...

"We're just going to pop away for a moment..." I say.

>beep!<

"There he is!" the PFY says cheerfully.

>beep!<

"?" the Boss says.

"How are you doing?" I ask, ooooooooozing concern once more.

>beep!<

"I'm Simon, this is Stephen, do you remember?"

>beep!<

The wary look in the Boss's bleary eyes tells me he's up with the play.

"You had an accident," the PFY explains loudly. "A fall."

>beep!<

"ngggggggrrrgh!" the Boss responds, but that's probably because they had to wire his jaw.

"You fell," I say, repeating the PFY's comment. "Probably because you were maybe concentrating on a contract that you misplaced."

>beep!<

"ollllltaiss," the Boss gurgles, which might cause some people to think of the words "oiled stairs" – but not me.

"You want some chilli eye wash?" I ask and the Boss clenches his eyes shut. "No?"

"This machine is reading some very funny numbers. Is that the ones you'd expect from someone with... a fractured mandible, lacerations, some nasty haematomas, and a collapsed lung?"

"I don't know. Have you tried switching the machine off and back on again?"

>beep!< >beep!< >beep!<

The Boss's eyes shoot open rather quickly after my suggestion.

>beep!< >beep!< >beep!<

"I wouldn't want to upset the electronics," says the PFY.

>beep!< >beep!<

"Good point," I say.

>beep!<

"Though," I add. "If you didn't switch it on and off too quickly it would probably be OK. Maybe 10 to 15..."

"Minutes?" the PFY suggests.

>beep!< >beep!< >beep!< >beep!< >beep!<

"You know now I'm pretty sure there's something wrong with the thing," the PFY says, reaching for the Off button. "Look at those numbers spiking!"

>beep!< >beep!< >beep!< >BUZZ< >beep!< >beep!<

"Oh, the power switch is locked out," the PFY says.

>beep!< >beep!< >beep!<

"Hmm."

>beep!< >beep!<

"Maybe just unplug it at the wall. But be careful not to bend one of the pins when you put it back in or it might never get it plugged back in again."

>beep!< >beep!< >beep!< >beep!< >beep!<

"See," I whisper quietly to the Boss while PFY tinkers with something at the back of the Boss's monitoring system, "We could just go around the building with the Geiger counter because we've been refilling your inkjet cartridges with a mildly radioactive substance to make it easier to find the documents you hide from us – taped to the underside of your desktop inside your top drawer for instance."

>beep!< >beep!< >beep!< >beep!< >beep!< >beep!< >beep!< >beep!< >beep!< >beep!<

"But wouldn't it be easier just to tell us?"

>beep!< >beep!< >beep!<

"RISSSSMSSSS"

"Christmas?"

"REEEEE"

"Christmas Tree?" I ask. "Did you wrap it and put it under the Christmas tree for us to give us something to read on the last day?"

>beep!<

"SSS"

Inasmuch as a man who's fallen down a flight of stairs and broken his jaw can look smug, the Boss does – but that could just be because a nurse has walked in to check on him which has put a spanner in the way of any further interrogation.

"Well, I guess we should be going now," I say, "Maybe we'll pop in later tod..."

">beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!<"

"Quick nurse! This man's having a heart attack!" the PFY gasps as the Boss's eyes widen and look to his recently 'adjusted' monitoring machine. "GET THE PADDLES AND SET THE KNOB TO 11"

>KZEEERT!<

"MMMMMMMEMEEEEEEEEEEEEE"

"No, nothing!" the PFY shouts "AGAIN!"

It's great to see the Boss's eyes light up at Christmas...


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