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2006-09-08 13:43

    I'm sitting at the desk, playing x-tank, when some thoughtless bastard rings me on the phone. I pick it up. "Hello?" I say.

    "Who is this?" they say

    "It's me I think" I say, having been through a telephone skills course

    "Me Who?"

    "Is this like a knock knock joke?" I say, trying anything to save myself having to end this game.

    Too LATE! I get killed.

    Now I'm pissed!

    "What can I do for you?" I ask pleasantly - (one of the key warning signs)

    "Um, I want to know if we have a particular software package……"

    "Which package is that?"

    "Uh, B-A-S-I-C it's called."

    "Um no, we don't have that. We used to though……"

    "oh. Oh well, the other thing I wanted to know was, could the contents of my account be copied to tape to I have a permanent copy of them to save at home in case the worst happens……"

    "The worst?"

    "Well, like they get deleted or something……"

    "DELETED! Oh, don't worry about that, we have backups" (I'm such a shit)

    "What was your username?"

    He gives me his lusername. (What an idiot)

    "But you haven't got any files in your account!" I say, mock surprise leaping from my vocal chords.

    "Yes I have, you must be looking in the wrong place!"

    So first he spoils my x-tank game, and now he's calling me a liar……

    "Oh no, I made a mistake" I say

    Did he mutter "typical" under his breath? Oh dear, oh dear……

    "I MEANT TO SAY: That username doesn't exist"

    "Huh? >whimper< It must do, I was only using it this morning!"

    "Ah well, that'll be the problem, there was a virus in our system this morning, the…… uh…… De Vinci Virus, wipes out users who are logged in when it goes off."

    "That can't be right, my girlfriend was logged in, and I'm in her account now!"

    "Which one was that?"

    He tells me the username. Some people NEVER learn……

    "Oh, yeah, her account was just after we discovered the virus."

    "……she only lost all her files"


    "But don't worry, we've got them all on tape"

    "Oh, thank goodness!!!"

    "Paper tape. Have you got a magnifying glass and a pencil. SEE YOU IN THE MACHINE ROOM!!!! NYAHAHAHAHAHA!"

    I'm such a prick!




    So I'm working so hard I barely have time to drive into town and watch a movie before I told people their printing will be ready. The queue's WAAAAY too long to have everything printed (and sorted) by the time I told them, so I kill all the small jobs so there's only 2 left and I can sort them in no time.

    Then, after the movie, (which was one of those slack Bertolucci ones that takes about 3 hours till the main character is killed off in a visionary experience) I get back and clear the printouts.

    There's about 50 people waiting outside and I've got two printouts. That's about average for me. I thought I'd killed more tho. Anyway, I put out the printouts and walk slooowly inside, fingering the clipboard with "ACCOUNTS TO REMOVE" in big letters on the back. No-one says anything. As usual.

    …… . .

    I'm sitting back in the Operations Armchair, watching the computer room closed circuit TV, which just happens to be connected to the frame-grabber's Video player (sent off for repair, due back sometime in '94) when the phone rings. That must be the 2nd time today, and it's really starting to get to me!

    "Yes?" I say, pausing the picture.

    "I've accidentally deleted my C.V!" the voice at the other end of the line says.

    "You have? What was your username?"

    He tells me. What the hell, I AM bored.

    "Ah no, you didn't delete it - I did."


    "I deleted it. It was full of shit! You didn't ever get more than a B- in any of your subjects!"


    "And that crap about being a foreign exchange student, that was your girlfriend and we both know it."


    "Your academic records. I checked them, you were lying……"

    "How did y……" He clicks. "It's you isn't it? THE BASTARD OPERATOR FROM HELL!"

    "In the flesh, on the phone and in your account…… You shouldn't have called you know. You especially shouldn't have given me your username……"

    "Neither should you have sent that mail to the System Manager telling him what you think of him in graphic terms……"

    "I didn't send any……"

    "No, you didn't did you? But who can tell these days. Not to worry though, It'll all be over VERY soon……"    "……change my username back, and……"

    "b-b-b……" he blubs, like a stood-up date

    "Goodbye now" I say pleasantly, "you've got bags to pack and a life to start over……"

    I hang up.

    Two seconds later the red phone goes. I pick it up, it's the boss. He mumbles the username of the person I was just talking to, mentions something about a nasty mail message, and utters the words "You know what to do……", with the dots and everything.

    Later, inside the Municipal Energy Authority Computer, as I'm modifying the poor pleb's Energy Bill by several zeros, I can't help but think about what lapse of judgement - what act of heinous stupidity causes them to call. Then, even later, when I'm adding the poor pleb's photo image over the top of the FBI's online "MOST Wanted Armed and Dangerous, SHOOT ON SIGHT" offenders list, I realise, I'll probably never know; but life goes on.

    A couple of hours later, as I see the SWAT vehicle roll up outside the poor pleb's apartment I realise that for some, it just doesn't.

    But tomorrow is another day.




    It's a thursday, and I'm in a good mood. It's payday. I think I'll take some calls. I put the phone back on the hook. It rings.

    "I've been trying to get you for hours!" the voice at the other end screams

    "Not, it can't be hours" I say, putting Blade Runner back into it's cover and looking at the back, "it was more like 114 minutes. I was on a long phone call with the big boss, trying to get you users some better facilities"

    Hook; Line; and Sinker……

    "Oh. I'm sorry."

    "That's ok, I'm a tolerant person" I make a mental note to change his password to something nasty in the next couple of days.

    "Um, I need to know how to rename a file" he says.

    Oh dear…… Hang on, it's payday isn't it?! I'm in a good mood.

    "Sure. You just go 'rm' and the filename"


    "No worries" (Now I'm in a REALLY good mood. I think I just might write that script to make saving impossible on rogue at random times like I've been think- ing about)

    The phone rings again.


    "Hi there" I say

    "Is this the Operators?"

    "Yes it is" I say, nice as pie

    "Could you get my printouts out please. I need them urgently, and I printed them over 5 minutes ago"

    "Your username?" I ask

    He gives it to me, and I write it down for later. "No worries at all!" I say, and head to the printers.

    There's a HUGE pile of printouts there, and sure enough, his is at the top of the pile. I pick it up, split it out of the rest and pour our ink- stained cleaning alcohol all over it, run it over a couple of times with the loaded tape trolley then slam it in the tape safe door some times as well.


    "Here's your printout" I say "Sorry about the delay, we've got a few printer problems."

    He takes a look and shits himself.

    "Well, can I print it again?" he asks, worried

    "Sure you can" I say "But no promises, the printer's a bit stuffed today"

    "Well can I print it on laser - is that working?"

    "Yeah of course, but that'll cost you" I say, oozing compassion for the geek

    "It doesn't matter about the cost, THIS IS URGENT!"

    I slide-on back into the printer room and put in the toner cartridge we save for special occasions - the one that prints thick black lines down the middle of the page and is all faint on one side. It took me quite a while to make it like that too. The printout shoots through and I bring it out immediately - I don't want to miss this!

    "W-w-what's happened to my printout?" he geek-squeals at me. Lucky I wrote that username down - I'm really starting to develop a taste for torture.

    "Well nothing. I mean sure, it's a little soiled, but that cartridge has already done 47 thousand pages and been refilled 17 times. It's quite good compared to some we get"

    Geek pays up and starts blubbing.

    "Hey now. There's no reason to cry! Have you got a disk with your work on it?"

    He gives me a box of diskettes and I step inside and run them across the bulk eraser. I come back out again.

    "Sorry, I just remembered, our machine is on the fritz, you'll have to take these to the other side of campus to the machine there, it'll print them ok, and it had a brand-new toner yesterday."


    "No worries. Oh, and hold the disks above your head the whole way there, the earth's magnetic field is particularly strong today."


    "No arguments, just do it."

    He wanders off, hand held high. Shit I hate myself sometimes.

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