The Bastard Operator From Hell
The Bastard Operator From Hell and the Paintball session ...

I love the smell of burning components in the morning. Smells like victory.

I skip victory and concentrate on the voices entering the radio mike in the desktop calculator on the Boss's desk. (First rule of bugs, pick something in plain sight that isn't going to get used)

I think it's a FANTASTIC idea!!" the CEO burbles excitedly.

"It's BRILLIANT!" the Boss sucks up, "A game of bloody paintball war! It's sheer genius!"

I tune out. The fruition of months of subtle hints, endless misdirected web pages, countless spammed email messages. The gauntlet has been taken up...


"PAINTBALL WAR!" the PFY cries queasily "They wouldn't dare!"

"Oh yes they would" I respond "Us versus the Beancounters! It would appear that the CEO, *YOUR* flesh and blood however indirectly, has been got at by some slimeball in accounts and decided that it would be a wise and proper thing to end the apparent inter-divisional war between us and accounts on the paintball field of honour - no hiding behind technology or purchase approval rubber stamps!"

"You sound like you're looking forward to it!" he cries, still not at all happy about the idea.

"Well, given that it is fairly much inevitable now, 'looking forward' is perhaps a little strong, but yes, I admit I do relish the opportunity of meeting our opposition fair and square on the field of honour, harbouring no grudges (like them docking my petrol allowance simply because I sold my car and hadn't been called out to work for the past three months) in a free-for-all"

"But they'll cream us!" he bleats "They've got weekend soldiers on their side!" he sniffles, coming to the point at long last.

"And we have subcontractors! I'm sure I can rustle up one or two who know how to point a gun! Besides, it's all booked from above. The best we can hope for is to do our best, take our medicine like men, and charge double time for weekend work... Oh, and take some of them with us."

The PFY is unconvinced..

"Oh, did I mention that in the interests of morale, the boss - you know, the one who gave out your cellphone number to the helpdesk - is going to find out on the day that he's a member of the team?"

"Really?" the PFY says, doubt now a thing of the past...

A week later the fateful day arrives and we exit the bus to the smug countenances of the opposition - they having had both extensive education and practice in the past few days...

My own education in the arts is sadly lacking, having only read a couple of posts to a usenet newsgroup on the topic. Sigh.

The paintball guy issues the rounds and weapons to the troops and the game commences. Our recently ordered library book tracking system is getting a bit of testing "in the field" with detectors sewn into the lining of the opposition's combat suits.. Looks like a worthwhile investment...

A buttock presents itself to my hiding place so I fire point blank with my reserve weapon - one that has just a tad more pressure than the standard issue and happens to be loaded with frozen pellets...

The resultant scream does two things to bring a smile to my face: (a) Confirms newsgroup accuracy, and (b) alerts the rest of the team to a sitting duck..


Half an hour later we've surrounded the beancounters in their makeshift fort.

"We surrender!" they cry, coming out with weapons raised.

"Now you see" I say to the PFY "In a real war-time situation, we would now be taking prisoners. Sadly, however, the Geneva convention does not extend itself to the paintball sports.."

The resulting massacre is needlessly quick.

"Quick!" the PFY cries "They're heading back to the bus!!!"

"You mean the one currently parked at a quiet country pub 4 miles away.."

The CEO pops in to see how things are going and if grievances have been solved.

In the absence of the enemy, the boss has taken on a definite hunted expression with the team seeming to be made up exclusively of people he's annoyed in the past few weeks.

"Friendly Fire" I comment to the CEO over his protests "A documented wartime phenomenon. Purely Accidental.."


The following Monday we're back at work and, true to the CEO's expectations, interdivisional bickering is at an all-time low.

True, with most of Accounts apparently suffering from some form of "Post Traumatic Stress Disorder" - the aftermath of the ambush in the snug of the 'quiet country pub' apparently - there isn't really anyone to bicker with.

Accounts isn't the only one to suffer from this. We're snowed under writing proposals for equipment purchases for the boss to sign - apparently he's heard there's a rematch on in a couple of weeks and wants to curry favour with the masses.

Looks like time to order that Stereo 29inch Video monitor for my telecommuting from home....

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