Dave Starling, IT Manager, was sitting at his desk nursing the worst hangover of his life. He had the odd flashback pop up which made him feel even sicker. Had he really lifted Barry McGuigan onto his shoulders and had a race around the dance floor against Chris Tackle and Justina Goose? He was pretty sure he had. How had Justina even managed to lift Chris and had he said ‘Sorry Folks’? And did Dave actually trip over and fall at the feet of the CIO, Rupert Onion? And did he really say “I meant to do that, we support failing fast at Amalgamated Bank” as he stood up?
Dave shivered and decided to concentrate on his code for the morning. Well, he had to anyway, the change freeze kicks in at 4pm and he was only half way through writing the code, definitely no time to test this stuff. Bosh!!! Straight into production before he leaves for the holidays.
“Pretty tame one, I heard.” The booming voice belonged to Penelope Crank, mainframe developer.
“Really?” Dave replied.
“Yup. I’ve checked the HR systems this morning and only two suspended accounts. Last year’s office party cost twelve people their jobs, possibly their lives.”
“What do you mean by ‘you heard’? Isn’t the party compulsory for everyone to attend and enjoy themselves? Didn’t you go?”
“Hmph!” announced Penelope, “I never go to things like that. No filter. If I meet management types, no offence, I mean real management types, I give it to them with both barrels. The last one I went to I had to use my admin account to unsuspend my own account twice.”
“Well it didn’t seem that tame to me.”
“You should have seen the old days. What with the queue at the chemist for the morning after pill, the judges refusing bail and the surgeons insisting on nil by mouth for twelve hours, this office was practically empty the day after a party.”
“So if you don’t go to the party any more, how don’t you get in trouble for it?”
“Don’t go? Of course I go. I’ve got direct access to the database. ‘UPDATE ATTENDEES; SET PRESENT=’YES’ WHERE NAME = ‘PENELOPE CRANK”. There are some big advantages in you lot being too shit at your job to migrate any systems off the mainframe.”
Just then Peter Ness, Head of Operations/Risk appeared.
“Well?” asked Penelope.
“Three.” replied Peter begrudgingly handing Penelope two hundred dollars.
“I knew it!”
“What are you betting on?” asked Dave.
“Number of ambulances.”
“There were three ambulances? I only saw one.”
“Yup, three. Would have been four if I hadn’t grabbed you by the jacket at the top of the stairs about 11:30pm.”
Peter paused in reflection, “If I had known the count at the time, I might have looked the other way.”
“Why do we always have these things on Thursday night anyway?” asked Dave.
“Would you want to feel this shit on your own time?” replied Peter, “Besides, there is great entertainment in seeing the state people rock up to the office in the next day. Everyone trying to pretend they feel fine but constantly checking where the closest rubbish bin is in case they suddenly need to spew.”
“What a party!” Dave’s boss Flux Larson announced as he approached the group. “Absolutely amazing!”
“But I didn’t even see you there?” replied Dave.
“Oh, not the office party. I mean the vendor party I went to on Tuesday. It’s still going, I’m heading back in a bit, just needed to grab a clean shirt. Penelope, pop me down as attending the office party please, and I’ll turn a blind eye to you not going.”
“Already did. You are on my automatic list.”
Brenda de la Rue was in some sort of work kitchen thing with a lot of people, but she wasn’t sure why. Nor was Timothy Useful, Head of Risk/Operations. He leaned over to Maddy Shovel, Brenda’s assistant and asked her what was going on.
“Nothing. It’s the Christmas Special, we all have to appear. It could be one of those ones with a death, or just a bunch of cake and people smiling. Christmas is so unpredictable.”
Bruce Forceknife and Paul Settings were in the corner, but they are fairly shit characters so they don’t get any lines. They looked up at the voiceover guy who said ‘Yeah, you heard me. Pick it up or you’re gone.’
Paul shed a tear or two, but Bruce is senior management and just thought about his hourly rate.
Just then Percy, the ex-con consultant from Price Ernst MG (and episode 13) appeared in the room and despite no other character having met him before, they all rushed over to embrace him. Unfortunately, given his time in prison, some of them (men and women, there is no sexism on this website) immediately wished that they hadn’t.
“How can I get these cunts to shut up if the microphone isn’t working?” asked Brenda.
“No, its working now.” replied Maddy.
Brenda seemed to have everyone’s attention all of a sudden.
The room filled quickly and everyone who had ever appeared before, now returned, smiling and embracing their former enemies. Christmas music played in the background (don’t you hate that?) and a large bunny rabbit hopped into the room.
Brenda looked morose and leant her head forward holding her hand up to ask the crowd to remain quiet.
“It is with great sadness, that I have to inform you…”
Brenda pretended to wipe a tear from her eye with the remains of her ham sandwich.
“It is with…”
“It’s okay Brenda you can do it!” someone shouted.
“That Rupert Onion is no longer with us.”
The crowd gasped. Then shrieked.
“I know.” said Brenda, “But don’t worry. We’ll get through this together.”
“Actually, I’m back now Brenda. Just popped to the disabled for a shit down to lay an egg.” Rupert added from the side.
“Praise be!” exclaimed Brenda, unsure of why she had even tried this line.
At this point Dave Starling joined Brenda on stage and took the microphone off her. “Hi everyone. I’d just like to thank you for following this crap for so long.”
Brenda snarled at Dave and tried to take a bite out of his arm but he was too quick for her.
“Merry Christmas!” said Dave, “Merry fucking Christmas.”
Just then, Barry McGuigan ran into the room.
“What about me? Did you forget me?”
“No, you prick. You’ve already been in it.” said Fiona Foil.
The IT Manager returns on 31st January 2019.