The striped Irregular Bucket

The striped Irregular Bucket

I'm really bored. You know how bored you get when work's going on and on and on, and nothing interesting is happening, and you're listening to a radio that picks up ONE station on FM, and it's always the station with the least records in the city, about 5, and one of them is "You're so Vain" which wasn't too bad a song until you hear it about 3 times a day for a year, and EVERY time it plays, the announcer tells you it's about Warren Beaty and who he's currently poking, someone you'll never sniff the toe-jam of, let alone meet, leet alone get amourous with. And EVERY time someone mentions Warren Beaty, someone says that he used to go out with Madonna too, and have you seen "In Bed With.." AND THEN, someone ELSE will say "It wasn't really about Warren Beaty, it was James Taylor" and the first person will say "What, `In bed with Madonna'", and they laugh and everyone else laughs, and I pull out the Magnum from under the desk where I keep it in case someone laughs at a joke that's so dry it's got a built in water-fountain, and blow the lot of them away as a community Service. I figure that I'll get time off my sentence if I ever kill someone by accident who's got a life.

So visitors are getting pretty thin at the moment, and the Quick-Lime Pits are filling up rapidly, and all I've got to do is the full backups and maybe I can go home.

So, to relieve the boredom, I get some iron filings and pour them into the back of my Terminal until it fizzes out (Which doesn't take all that long, surprisingly enough), then call our maintenance contractors and log a fault on the device. Sometimes they'll send someone who knows what they're doing, but it's a lot more fun when they don't - which is about 98% of the time.

So they maintenance guy comes in, and I can tell he's NEW because the photo on his ID actually LOOKS like him, not like the head engineer, whose photo is a black and white tin-type (he's that old).

Maintenance Contractors always dress up nice, with a tie and everything because they believe that a customer will trust a nicely dressed guy.

Because he's NEW and ALONE, he's what you call an appeasement engineer, the new guy they send so they respond within the 4 hour guaranteed response period. (Things are getting better and better) Your average appeasement engineer is about as clued-up on computers as the average computer "hacker" is about B.O, and their main job is to make sure the power plug is in and switched on, then call back to the office for "PARTS". The really keen ones will sometimes even take a cover off the equipment and pretend that they see this stuff all the time. I wonder what sort today's is...

"You got a dud terminal?" he asks pleasantly

I tell him yeah, and bring him into the control room.

"Which one is it?" he asks, confused by the fact that only one of them is smoking. "It's the Model Three" I say, giving NOTHING away.

"Ah, the old model three!" he says knowingly, without a clue what a model three is, or which one of the three terminals it is, which isn't surprising, as I just made it up. "We get a lot of model three problems" he says nodding "So what actually happened?"

Sneaky, but not good enough. I'm not going to point it out to him.

"It just went dead" I say, in luser mode.

"I see. Could you just recreate what you were doing so I can check the unit out when it's ready for operation?"

Very Sneaky. I decide to let him off the hook.

"Look, I've got to go to the toilet, there it is over there" I say, pointing at our Waffle-Iron.

"But that's a Wa..." He says, then stops. He's a beginner, and it's just possible that the company has a line of terminals that look like waffle irons. He bites.

"Sorry" he says, smiling again "for a minute there I thought it was a model 2!"

A reasonably good save, but it won't save him.

I leave, which means he's got to take it to bits, otherwise he knows I won't believe he's worked on it. I give him a couple of minutes to get the element exposed then wander back in.

"So how does it look?" I ask, concerned-like.

"Well, I think we could have a processor problem.." he says concentrating on prying the element up.

..concentrating so much that he doesn't notice me plugging the iron in.

"Shouldn't you be wearing an earthing strap?" I ask innocently.

When he thinks I can't see, he creeps his hand over to the wiring frame and says "Well, It's just as easy to hold onto earth like this"

"But what about the risk of a cross-the-body shock with no resistor in series with you?" I ask ever-so-more-innocently

"Oh, it's ok" he says "the unit's unplug..."

>click< >BZZZZZZZEEERRT!< >clunk!<

I ring the maintenance help-desk again...

It's Rhonda

"Hey Ronda!, Ah, I'm going to need another engineer and a new Waffle Iron over here; for some reason your engineer opened up my Waffle Iron without switching it off." I say

Rhonda knows me. It's the third call and the third appeasement engineer. "You're a real prick" she says, annoyed

"Tell ya what Rhonda, why don't you come and fix it; it's a model three..."

Subject: The Striped Irregular Bucket #2

So I'm in confession, and as usual, I can hear father Tim leafing through the good-sin-guide (Which is a bit like the Good Folk Guide, except the Royals are mentioned more often..) trying to work out this years punishment.

"Now" he says, "Was that with a: Camel, Carthorse, Household Appliace or Human?"

"Human Father.."

"Let's see. Human. >flick< >flick<... Hmm. Close-Relative, Distant Relative, Work-Mate, Acquaintance, Stranger?"


"Stranger >flick< >flick< >flick< >flick< Yes. Stunner, Passable, Ok, Ugly, One-Bag Two-Bag, Dingo?"


"How many times?"

"Just the once"

"After Alcohol?"

"Yes Father"

"You or her"



"3 Bottles of Cheap Red Wine"

"3 bottles, ah yes, under "LEG-OPENERS". Now, was she concious or unconcious?"

"Concious father"

"You're sure?"

"Yes Father"

"Positive? You didn't stick an awake face you cut out of a magazine on her did you?"

"NO father!"

"Just checking, can't be too careful you know. Now, Your Place, Her Place, Your Car, Her Car, Parents Bedroom, Flight of stairs, Other"



"A lift"

"Between floors, Moving, Stopped, With or Without Passengers"

"Can't Remember Father"

"You little Grub! Now. Upright or Horizontal?"

"Started as Upright Father"

"I see. Ok. Now, Sexual Intercourse Number 3. Was that with a: Camel, Carthorse, Household Appliace or Human?..."

He's very thorough is Father Tim. You can hardly hear him changing cassette tapes..."

From: Subject: The striped Irregular Bucket #? #3 - In the Confessional -

I wait humbly in the confessional for father to consider my cases. And he was a real prick about the whole thing too, he knows that there's about 3 aisles of people outside and they're all straining to hear what I did and to whom (just like I do when I'M outside) and so as I'm whispering he goes:

"Sorry Simon, I didn't quite catch that?"

and I have to say "masturbating father" in a quiet voice, but a bit louder than before, then he'll say (again)

"Still couldn't catch it Simon, what was that again?"

So I have to say (a bit louder still) "Masturbating Father"

"Ah, I see MASTURBATING! Tell me, did you MASTURBATE OFTEN?"

So by now I'm hiding in a far corner of the cubicle, dying a lonely death, because I've got to leave here sometime, and there's rows and rows of people outside who're going to be making wanking movements at me and smiling like they never do it... (Isn't it funny how I always use the technical words with Father Tim - never "Had a pull, father", always "Masturbate") Anyway, I'm stuck in the cubicle, never to exit, THEN I REALISE that if I hang in for ages, like those old women who go in to tell father how they had an impure thought while watching "Days of Our Lives" on Wednesday, and they had an impure thought while watching "Days of Our Lives" on Thursday, and they had..(see, I told you I listened) then everyone will leave at about 9pm, and I'll be able to sneak off with no-one knowing who I am (except those who saw me go in....)

I go for gold.

"And I had an impure th..."

"Cut the shit Simon, no stalling for time; either lead with the hard stuff or not at all"

So now I'm in a quagmire. I can get hours of sticky disgusting stuff from my imagination, or I can just take it on the jaw and get the confession over and done with and face the public outside as a honest member of community who is stable enough to admit their faults.

"Well, I once masturbated a giraffe at the zoo" I whisper


(There goes the point of no return)

"Took photos of my sister and her boyfriend"

"Hey Simon, I warned you about time wasting, do you want to do time in the sin bin?"

"No, No father, photos of them in the bedroom.."

"Yes, that's better. But still not all that exceptional"

"I did sell them to a Swedish Porn Merchant..."


I hear the sound of feet sprinting out of the church and realise that my sister won't be waiting for me when I get out...

The pressure's really on now...

"Um, I ah... exposed myself in a public place"

"Big deal Simon"

"To my mother..."

"Kinky; I like it!"

I'm dredging through my memory for anything that sounds pretty disgusting, but bad enough to keep Father Tim dangling on the string so I don't have to leave, although I think I overplayed my hand with the giraffe thing...

As I'm wondering, I look up to the picture of the Vatican, and in the top window of the balcony, where the Pope should be, is a big lens - the sort of thing you see in candid camera.


From: Subject: Striped Irregular? #4

So I'm in the confessional, and that bastard Father Tim has got me on video confessing to all sorts of horrific sins. I figure killing a priest wouldn't do too much good for my afterlife bid, so I'll just have to play it cool.

"Now Simon, is that all you have to confess?" he asks, knowing that everyone outside is BEGGING for something a little more disgusting, molesting a chicken with a Rotary Hoe...

I don't care what they want, I'm going to get out of here and strip Father Tim's place until I find his closed circuit TV system, REGARDLESS of what happens when I leave the confessional.

"No father, that's all I have to confess..." I say

"What about the Turkey and the rotary hoe?"

"It was a chicken father, and it wasn't me"

"I see. Well, let's see Simon...."

I hear the adding machine clicking over for a grand total, and judging by what I've bullshitted him, I'll be lucky to get off with blowtorching my testicles during

"Well, Simon. Let's see. Congratulations, you're runner up for this week's High Score - you know that chicken and rotary hoe would've put you over the top - are you sure you don't want to reconsider - think of the publcity?"

I look towards the camera and think about it.

"No thanks father, that's fine."

"Suit Yourself, I take this weeks prize then. For your penance, rub liniment on your privates, enrol at a TM course - one run by relious freaks, no cheating, read Future Shock, twice, BACKWARDS to make it worthwhile and sit through Bertolucci's "The Sheltering Sky" again".

"No worries father, consider it done."

"You seem to take this punishment lightly, so I think you should watch "Unbearable Lightness of Being again too"

"You mean Unbearable Longness of Movie - AAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaagghhh!"

So I get out of the confessional, and everyone's making chicken noises, then I realise that the camera isn't a video after all, it's just CCTV to the waiting area. I pick up a chair and sit in front of the screen.

"Next Please!" I say, smiling.

Work Hard, Play Hard Stay Hard.

From: Subject: Repost: Striped #5 - Birth of BOFH

I'm still bored.

But at least now the radio's off, it was on it's 12 repeat of "Wildfire" THIS WEEK, and it's only Tuesday; shit I hate that.

So anyway, I quicklime the engineer to remove any fingerprints and then FedEx him back to headquarters and set about waiting for the engineer.

Now the second engineer only has to come out after another 4 hours, there's no death of engineer penalty clause, (but I'm thinking about asking for one) so I've got to fill in some time. This guy's going to be a technical engineer, the sort that comes in with a raggedy tie where he got it caught in the drum printer at 3000 rpm a couple of years ago, and he'll have the grazes on the face that indicate that he didn't get the gate open in time... I know these sorts...

So I fill in a couple of hours by killing users off and deleting their files, then waiting for them to call...

"Um, I can't find my files" the wimpering simp on the phone says

"Files? What files?"

"The files in my account. My thesis, my research - all gone!"

"Gone ay? What's your username?"




"OH Turgen, like TURD, but with a GEN instead of a D... Ok lets see" I make vague clicking noises my dragging the quicklimed man's fingers back and forth across the keypad. "Uh-huh" >drag drag< "Yeah.." >dragedy poke< "AH! - You haven't got any files"


"Well, what are you calling ME for? We don't make the files you know, we just look after them. And chopitty-chop too, your thesis looks like it's due in a couple of days.."

I hang up - he'll call back. Meantime I open up a copy of "VMS BASTARD OPERATORS MANUAL FROM HELL" I'm reading the article I sent in about getting rid of those trouble users...
"... Modify the user's password minimum from 6 to 32 letters, give the password a 1 day lifetime, set it so that they HAVE to use the password generate utility when they change their password (so their password will always be something that looks like vaguely pronouncable line-noise), add a secondary password with the same as the above, then redefine their CLI tables so that the only command that works is DELETE, and all other commands point to it."

Beautiful. Shit I'm good.

He calls back.

"MY FILES ARE GONE!" he screams, panicking.

"Did you have a backup?" I ask, as sweet as pie

"But that's what you people are supposed to do!" he sobs

"Yeah, well we did - but then we switched to those 8mm tapes, and they're the same size as the ones in my video camera, so I've been using them to tape the neighbour's sex romps..."

I hear the revolver go off, but what the hell, it's 5pm, and not my problem...