Books written by Ray Sullivan

Monday, 23 July 2012

Project: Evil – The Mindless Bloody Finale Meeting part 3

Project: Evil – The Mindless Bloody Finale Meeting part 3

 ‘Why are we starting the self destruct sequence?’ Brian asked.  The project plan was really up the creek now.
‘Self destruction sequence commenced due to kebab stand being sold out,’ stated the calm voice.  Public sector man beamed.
‘Not many alarm specialists would have considered that eventuality,’ he crowed.
‘Bloody Froshdu,’ grumbled O’Feld, mild irritation showing on his face.
‘But we’re destroying the facility thirteen minutes before we launch,’ Brian shouted, frustration welling up in him.  He saw the looks on O’Feld’s and Daw’s faces.  Daw took him to one side, holding his application form in his hand.
‘According to this,’ he said, pointing at the bullshit sentence Brian had concocted months earlier while smashed out of his tree, ‘you are calm under pressure.  That’s why we employed you; every other project manager we’ve used previously has flipped just before the project melted down, usually before the meaningless destruction of the secret lair.  You promised a calm destruction of the planet, we don’t need you to lose your cool now,’ he said. ‘Anyway, you’ve got more pressing issues to resolve,’ he said.  Brian looked back at O’Feld and Bund, who were exchanging anecdotes on previous projects Bund had thwarted.
‘Like what?’ he asked, aware that he hadn’t initiated the pointlessly meaningless frenzy stage of the project where everyone was supposed to run around the artificial ramparts in shit coloured pyjamas in a random fashion carrying rifles and falling over stupidly low barriers.  By his reckoning, they should have started that phase minutes earlier.
‘Like that,’ answered Daw, pointing at the superfluous fourth stage of the rocket.  Brian saw immediately what the problem was.  To be fair, anyone seeing a hole big enough for an unneeded stainless steel table cut out of the side of the rocket would realise what the problem was.
‘Who did this?’ he asked.
‘Pikeys, apparently,’ answered Daw, looking at his watch. ‘Seems they snuck in during the night.’  Brian’s head spun; if O’Feld hadn’t  made him turn the electro magnet off then they wouldn’t have got it out of the compound.  He mentioned this to Daw.  ‘They took the electro magnet the night before, apparently,’ he said.  ‘Look, you’ve only got twenty-eight minutes to get it repaired,’ he added.
‘Twenty-seven minutes, actually,’ contradicted the calm voice, adding, ‘and please note total destruction will take place in fourteen minutes.
‘I can help,’ said Bill Watkins, scrubbing his oversized glasses on his comic tie showing the NoDangerStyle UK logo.
‘What the hell are you doing here?’ asked Daw.
‘He’s overseeing the fitting of the glassless windows in the mission control,’ explained Brian.  ‘So, how can you help?’ he asked Bill.
‘We could fit a new window in that gap,’ he offered.  Brian looked up at the gap, then back down at Bill.
‘Can you do it in the next twenty-seven minutes?’ he asked.
‘Twenty-six,’ corrected the calm voice.  Bill sucked air in through his teeth, creating a whistling sound.
‘I’m not sure I can manage that,’ he said, popping his glasses back in front of his eyes, at least approximately.  Brian had to think fast; Watkins was used to working under pressure: that was the way to deal with these sales tossers, he decided.  He pulled out his mobile phone and pretended to dial.
‘OK, let’s see what your competitors can offer,’ he said, piling the pressure on.  Bill lay his hand on the phone.
‘You can’t do that,’ Bill said.
‘You think not?’ asked Brian, feeling he’d got the edge on the negotiation.
‘You’re two hundred miles from a cell phone mast, of course you can’t,’ said Bill, adding, ‘and if you’ve managed to keep that charged over here I’d be amazed.’  Daw nodded agreement.  Bill continued, ‘OK Brian, you drive a hard bargain, but I can only manage single glazed,’ he offered.  Brian shook Bill’s hand vigorously.
‘Great, you’ve got twenty-six minutes,’ he said, letting the hand go.
‘Twenty-five minutes,’ said the calm voice, before adding, ‘and twelve-ish to total destruction.’  O’Feld stormed over to Brian.
‘It looks like you’ve screwed up the whole project plan, Brian,’ he accused, unfairly in Brian’s opinion.
‘How so?’ he asked, scanning the project documentation, noting that the launch date and time could be made to occur pretty much anytime with judicious folding of the project plan.  He also noted that such folding was likely to produce a tricorn hat he could wear for the launch, but felt that such an action was likely to be deemed inappropriate.
‘Well, you never told me the plan could fail, for one,’ said O’Feld prodding Brian in the chest with his finger, which was a relief as usually he used a bayonet.  Brian wasn’t standing for all of this.
‘Of course I told you it could happen, it’s entry three hundred and forty three on the risk register, above having to abort the launch because the Finance lead has washed his underwear in biological detergent, removing the accounts backup file; and below Daw finding a sense of humour,’ he said, flicking through the register to find the specific entry that O’Feld had signed off on.  O’Feld ripped the document out of Brian’s hand and riffled through the hundreds of pages.
‘Did you expect me to read all of this?’ he asked.
‘Of course not,’ replied Brian, ‘this is a PRINCE2 run project.  Assumption number two is that nobody reads the project documentation.
‘What’s assumption number one?’ asked Daw.
‘There’s never more than two assumptions in any project plan,’ explained Brian carefully.  Daw wasn’t getting it.
‘Yes, but what is the first assumption?’ he asked again.  Brian looked at his watch as the calm voice stated ‘Twenty-four minutes to launch, but bloody Armageddon first in eleven minutes,’ she said, adding, ‘please have passports ready for inspection.’  Brian looked back at O’Feld.
‘The first assumption is that nobody makes more than two assumptions, which only leaves one assumption left,’ he explained.
‘I didn’t know that,’ said Daw, ‘and I’ve been involved in dozens of PRINCE2 projects in my time.  Where are these rules about the assumptions written?’ he asked, curious.
‘In the documentation,’ said Brian. ‘God, doesn’t anybody read it? Look, I’ve got a project to lead, we’re running behind on some activities so I need some of the guys to multi-task,’ he said, picking up a megaphone.  ‘Attention all henchmen, it’s time to take your defensive positions, but it would be really helpful if some of you could just fall off the platforms spontaneously as you go.  Also, could the team responsible for running on top of the crocodiles stand-by please?’  Lurch tapped Brian on the shoulder.


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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