Episode 9 – The Architect

Flux Larson, Dave’s boss, hadn’t been seen for two days when he finally reappeared in the office, sitting at his desk with a large coffee as he surfed the internet.

“Bender?” asked Barry McGuigan, pointing at Flux.

“What?” replied Dave Starling, IT Manager.

“Has he been on a bender?” repeated Barry.

“You aren’t being any clearer.”

“Has he been off drinking for the past few days?”

“Oh, I see. Well, he hasn’t been seen for a while and people have been asking about him. I suspect he has some issues to deal with.”

Penelope Crank joined the conversation. “He’s been on a massive bender. I haven’t seen him sober in over a week. By the way, Dave, it’s your turn today.”

“My turn for what?”

“To take him to the pub. I did the early shift yesterday, handing over to Peter Ness about 2pm. The day before Timothy Useful had him all day and on Monday Lars and Justina had to do 11:30am through to 10pm, but he did pay for the curry.”

“Lars and Justina?” queried Barry.

Penelope turned to Barry with her usual look of disappointment. “We all have to do our bit, Barry, and today it is Dave’s turn.”

“Don’t I have to help?”

“No, Barry. You stay here and fuck things up, leave Flux to the adults.”

Dave wanted more information. “What issue is he dealing with?”

“Issue? Alcoholism, like everyone else who works in IT for a bank.”

“No, I get we are all alcoholics, but why is Flux in the pub every day at the moment? Does he have problems at home?”

Penelope paused for a moment. “There are lots of reasons for turning to drink. To celebrate success, to get over failure, because you are stressed, because you are bored, problems at work, problems at home. In Flux’s case he is just going on a bender because he can.”

“What is so special about this week?” asked Dave.

“Brenda is in the middle of a massive power struggle with Bruce Forceknife over some risk issue that neither of them have the slightest understanding of. She is obsessed with it and doesn’t have time to think about anything else.”

“How is it that you always know what is going on around here, but you never go to meetings or seem to care about anything?” Dave asked.

“It’s a sort of sixth sense. You pick it up after a few years. It’s like a third eye. That’s how Flux knew instinctively that he could spend the entire week hammered and nobody would care. Ask him about it at lunch.”

“Lunch?” Flux suddenly came back to Earth, “Did somebody say lunch? I’m ready. Where are we going? I think I left my card behind the bar at The Oaks, shall we start there?”


Unable to effect a handover of his drinking duties until just before 3pm, Dave came rushing back to the office chewing a handful of mints and went straight into the design meeting to find Chris Tackle already there with Paul Settings, the Enterprise Architect. Since they had never met before, Dave introduced himself, shaking Paul’s hand a little too vigorously and just stopping short of pulling him in for a hug.

“So, what do you do Paul? Architect is it? Are you an applications architect, a solutions architect, an infrastructure architect, a Cloud architect, or do you just design toilets for the council?”

Dave thought this was funnier than anyone in his small audience.

“I am an Enterprise Architect.” Paul replied, a little haughtily.

“Shit, you designed that? Wow. Did you get to meet Captain Kirk?” When that joke also fell on it’s face, Dave decided to try to be a bit more straight. “But seriuzly, Paul, mate, mate, Paul, I’ve always been confused by this. C’mere.”

Dave motioned for Paul to come closer for a more intimate chat, which wasn’t a good idea as his mints were wearing off, but eight schooners of Toohey’s New were not. “I’ve always wanted to know, what the fuck does an enter price archi-whatsit actually do?”

Paul Settings was asked this question several times a day, but still didn’t have a really good answer for it. His wife told him, when introducing him at barbecues, that he either needed to have a short answer that didn’t include the words ‘Enterprise’ and ‘Architect’ in it, or just start telling everyone he was a shoplifter.

“We take a holistic view of the IT landscape and look for the best place to use the right technologies.”

“Like a salesman.” proffered Chris Tackle grinning smugly.

“No. Not like a salesman. We champion products that we already have, and look to standardise their use.”

“Like a Product Owner.” Chris tried again.

“Sort of, but we don’t own anything and we aren’t tied to a single product.”

Dave was too full of beer to stay out of a conversation for long. “So you don’t design infrastructure, that is an infrastructure architect. Hic! Excuse me. And you don’t design software, that is an application architect. And you don’t sell anything, and you don’t own anything. Back to the beginning again. What exactly do you do?”

“I’ve got it!” shouted Chris excitedly, “That big project to replace our storage system and move data centres. You must be working on that one.”

“Err no. They brought in some consultants to do that.” Paul was looking a bit despondent by now, “Listen I have a very important job, its just incredibly hard to explain. I don’t work on the detail of things, we have other architects to do that, and I don’t work on the really big projects, because we don’t trust our own staff to do them. But everything in the middle, that is me.”

“Go on then, tell us a couple of your greatest hits that we might have heard of.” Dave offered Paul an opportunity.

“My most recent work was the Adobe Acrobat vulnerability, I ran that for the whole company. Do you remember that one?”

Chris did, “My mum had a message box pop up on her PC telling her she needed to upgrade. She clicked okay and it installed a new version. Was it that one?”


“Any others?”

“Nope. Not really. I did sit on the committee for the internet connection upgrade.”

“My mum just connected to the NBN. It’s pretty fast.” Chris was trying to help, but actually wasn’t.

“Listen.” Dave put his arm around his new friend Paul, “None of us do anything useful, we work in a bank for fuck’s sake. How about I take you to the pub to drown your sorrows?”

“No thanks. I have another meeting after this. Plus we haven’t even started the discussions we are supposed to be having here.”

Just then Dave’s phone rang. It was Flux. “Sure, be there in five minutes. Sorry, guys. The boss is calling about an emergency, I’ll need to leave you.”

As the door slammed shut, Paul looked across at Chris Tackle, who smiled back, but as the smile quickly faded from his face, Chris said, “Sorry folks.”