Books written by Ray Sullivan

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Project: Evil - The Christmas Party part 1

Brian fussed around the tables, carefully removing anything the Head of Catering had provided and replacing it with food provided by Dodgy and Flakey.  He looked up as Daw approached.
‘How are the arrangements?’ asked Daw, eying the food carefully.
‘Tribute band warming up, disco ready to roll, armour plated glass fitted to all the photo-copiers,’ replied Brian.  It was all pretty standard Christmas party preparations.  Daw looked at the photocopiers lined up against the wall.
‘The docket said the glass was one inch thick instead of the normal half inch?’ he said, questioning Brian.
‘Froshdu,’ answered Brian, not looking up.  Daw nodded; he’d forgotten about him.  Which reminded him to scoop some food up before the greedy bastard turned up.
‘How come they have handles on the upper surface?’ he asked, hoping his lack of engineering knowledge didn’t make him look more stupid than senior management usually did.  Brian looked at the row of photocopiers, their lids raised off one side by the gold effect plastic handles.
‘NoDangerStyleUK supplied the glass, a very good price but apparently they don’t know how to make glass panels without handles.  Our gain and some poor sod in Chippenham’s loss, apparently,’ he answered, returning to filtering out the food provided by the Head of Catering.
‘I saw an ambulance leaving as I arrived,’ Daw said, pushing sausages on a stick into his jacket pocket. Brian continued fussing over the table while he answered.
‘A henchman set off a party popper in a room full of other henchmen,’ he said.
‘And he’s still alive?’ asked Daw, shaking his head.  He really had to get a grip on the induction training if henchmen were still making that mistake.
‘Nah, but the Ambulance Service haven’t had a pay rise in over three years – as a Christmas gesture we let them take the body away to weigh it in for the lead content,’ answered Brian.
‘What’s the order of play then?’ asked Daw fiddling with his bow tie and pulling his bullet proof vest down neatly.  Brian looked up.
‘The Elimination Karaoke is underway right now, in fact the first two losers were added to the ambulance, and then we have the Christmas quiz and buffet, followed by the raffle…’
‘Raffle?’ asked Daw, searching his memory for a policy that allowed staff to receive rewards independent of ability, virtue or rank, not that there was any policy that allowed them to receive rewards based on ability, virtue or rank either.  Brian understood the look.
‘It’s fixed, of course.  You get the bottle of single malt and O’Feld gets first prize,’ Brian said, to Daw’s approval.
‘Make sure it isn’t primed, otherwise we’ll all be blown to smithereens before the end of the party,’ he cautioned.  Suddenly they both became aware that the door had opened and O’Feld had entered, stirring his arms in opposite directions.
‘Techno, techno techno prisoners,’ he sang as he approached the two men, a drink in both hands.  ‘Brian, great Christmas party’, he said, slurping from one drink, then the other.  Brian just assumed the second one was the antidote.  ‘I’ve only one negative observation; timing.  It’s late January,’ he pointed out.  Brian shrugged: projects, it’s just the way they go, he guessed.
‘It’s been run on PRINCE2 lines,’ he explained.
‘According to the Head of Finance you’re on budget,’ accused Daw.  Brian felt a little uncomfortable; he’d tried to overspend, but Dodgy and Flakey were so damned reasonable, plus they had some poison left over from a corporate gig.
‘OK, so I’ve missed one of the three critical points, but it is late and I’m sure it won’t deliver to specification,’ he blustered.  And I’ve included a project office in the main building, according to PRINCE2, lavishly furnished project offices are both unnecessary and divisive.  If that doesn’t screw the budget and alienate the workforce, nothing will,’ he said.  Brian had been looking forward to occupying his office, lording it up over the other managers in his air conditioned space while they sweltered in their pod world outside.  O’Feld seemed satisfied with the answer and turned to leave, halting briefly.
‘The Christmas quiz?’ he asked, holding his monocle up to the light.
‘Ready when you are,’ answered Brian, fumbling inside his bullet-proof tuxedo, pulling the sheet of questions and answers out.
‘Is that my copy?’ asked O’Feld, sweat beading on his brow, concern that he’d have to shoot his project manager on the eve of travelling to the South Seas.  Luckily for Brian, he didn’t try to mess O’Feld around.
‘Sure,’ he said, handing the sheets over. O’Feld scanned the pages quickly before slipping them inside his tux, ‘it has all the answers on and don’t forget your secret weapon.’  O’Feld looked up suddenly.
‘Secret weapon?  That sounds like my kind of quiz,’ he said, wondering how many bullets it would hold.
‘Doctor Froshdu,’ clarified Brian.  O’Feld’s eyes showed panic, causing Brian to explain the rest of his strategy.  ‘I’ve told him to arrive at eight, food’s being served at seven thirty,’ he said, watching O’Feld’s face relax.


The characters, companies and places referred to in Project: Evil are fictitious and any resemblance to people, companies, businesses or places is entirely coincidental

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