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Episode 36: What Can Go Wrong?

I just know that when the Boss rings me up and nonchalantly says 'Joe, have you got a minute,' that someone, somewhere has screwed up. Is it one of my team again? Has Colin crashed the corporate Mainframe again? Or has Rice told his uncle, who happens to be the CEO, some juicy bit of scandal? Or is it Alison and another restraining order to stop her sexually harassing some attractive young female in accounts?

I take a trip upstairs to find the Boss looking at his laptop as though it's been manufactured from fresh dog poop.

'Joe,' he tells, me, sitting behind his desk with the weight of the world on his shoulders, 'I need to ask you a favour…'

'Need to archive your porn collection again?' I ask innocently.

'You know those files weren't mine…' he splutters. 'Someone hacked into my machine and downloaded those vile images…'

'Which you then transferred onto a DVD…'

'But I didn't put in the post to that donkey sanctuary…'

'Of course not,' I agree.

'I didn't!' he snaps. Now he's even more wound-up.

'OK, if it's not your ? sorry anonymously downloaded ? porn collection, what is it?'

'Do you have any install disks for Vista?'

Things are serious, I realise suddenly. 'Why?'

'My machine's screwed,' he laments, about to burst into tears.

'Then get one of the PC support people in to fix it. Gerry's pretty good, and as long as he can have a copy of your 'special' files, he'll do it today, probably.'

'Why can't I do it?' he demands. 'We must have disks, you lot are always doing installs for virtual machines and whatnot.'

'But they're for dev use, and despite your grand job title, you're not actually a developer…'

'Look, Joe, as a favour…'

'OK. But why can't you let Gerry do it? You know you'll get confused and screw it up. I mean, how did the machine get screwed in the first place?'

'I was just trying to sort out a problem and, well, you know what happens…'

'What problem?'


'You want the install disk or not?'

He looks at me miserably. 'I has a file sharing problem. Sort of.'

'Limewire? Torrents?'

He nods guiltily. 'I know it's against company policy and all that, but you know, I just needed to get some files and…'

'What was it? Star Trek? Space 1999? The Benny Hill Show?'

'Tiswas,' he whispers.

'Sally James,' I guess. The poor sod. If he'd asked Colin he could have had the whole set on DVD within the hour.

'The Vista install?'

'OK,' I agree finally. 'But if PC support do an audit you're on your own.'

'I understand that.'

'You want me to do the install?'

He shakes his head. 'Look, Joe, I know you think I'm a bit of a technical incompetent because I can't write Java or C# or anything, but I'm not. I think I'm perfectly capable of installing an operating system.'

I get him the DVD and then leave him to it. 'What can go wrong?' he asks as I walk out of his office.

The fire alarm goes off ten minutes later.

'Don't worry,' I tell everyone, 'it's not a fire.'

The lights dim a minute later and then the sprinkler system kicks in. There's breaking glass and raised voices. The electricity goes completely and we're sitting in the dark, soaked through to the skin.

Alison looks out of the window as the sirens get closer. The lights are out across the street too. There's an explosion as a police car smashes head on into an ambulance arriving at the scene.

Just then the Boss staggers into the room. His face is blackened with carbon and there are bits of glass in his hair.

'Joe,' he gasps, 'I think I've messed up that install…'

Who Is Joe Bloggs? Read other episodes here

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