Many of the folks at TCTSRN had a good scam going. The company had worked to implement a plan that let people work eighty hours in nine days and have every other Friday off. In theory, this meant that those in the plan would work something like eight nine-hour days and one eight-hour day, or some convoluted equivalent that added up to eighty hours in nine days.

In reality, you never knew when anybody was going to be around.

Now, keeping your ass in the office for nine-hours is not as easy as it sounds. Especially if you have to drive from South Pasadena, stop at the gym for an hour workout, and leave in time to catch your daughter’s Chinese Girls Youth Basketball League game, like Mr. Coffee would. BTW, I always wanted to start a Fat Guys Basketball League, with eight-foot baskets, small balls, and a jump-shots only rule, but I thought it might be a little bit exclusionary.

To actually work nine hours a day, one would need to get in at 9:00 AM, take an hour lunch, and leave at 6:00 PM, almost every day. But if you stroll in at say, 9:30 (Mr. Coffee), or 10:00 (the TAC), you have to stay until 7:00 PM. And if you take a two-hour lunch, like most everybody did, you would have to stay until 8:00 PM. The beauty of this plan was that nobody of any authority was around after 5:30 PM, so a guy could start shooting the shit in his buddies cube at around 5:45 PM while most of the staff eased out, and slip out the door shortly after 6 PM, and nobody would notice. After all, all his other buddies were drifting out around the same time.

I know, because I used to pull the same stunt when I was a permanent employee in my twenties. I rarely put in more than 35 hours a week. But that was back in the day when I would sleep off a hangover in my car at lunchtime. At least I didn’t spend company time beating off in a men’s room toilet stall, like my friend Evil proudly claimed to have frequently done when we worked together in the nineties.

With this schedule, the place was a ghost town every other Friday. I didn’t mind working the normal schedule, because I could get in later and leave earlier, plus get a lot done on those Fridays that no one was around. I myself made it a point to be actually be at the office forty hours a week, at least until my probationary period was over. It was not so much that I craved working so much, but I was still paranoid after getting fired from The Job I Had For One Week for supposedly not working eight-hours a day. And I wanted to set an example/keep an eye on the slugs that worked for me/make sure I was around at around 5:00 PM, (which is the only time Mr. Bill would walk around, acting like he wasn’t really just checking to see who was still in the office).

It was on one of those Fridays in my first month that I started to get paranoid.

I had finally started making some progress getting the Version Control system in place, and Charlie and I were working off the same archives for the Online Inquiry application. At least I was working on the same archives – Charlie wasn’t doing squat except bloviating about how much he knew about Atlas, Triple-DES encryption, etc. I had pretty resolved myself to doing all the bug fixes and getting that project out the door. Charlie could take a flying fuck as far as I was concerned. It just meant that I would have to work a little bit more OT.

When I opened up Source Safe that day, I found some personal files in the archives. Nothing too sensitive, just some Excel templates I was going to use to get a handle on all the different applications. But I had never checked them into Source Safe.

How the fuck did these files get from my hard drive into the archives, I asked myself? I checked the version dates – they were three weeks old. I hadn’t touched those files since my first week. I sure as hell didn’t check them into a folder called “Documentations.”

Charlie had put them there. I was back in the tunnel.

He had hacked my hard drive. I was sure of it. Now I had something to nail him on. I’d show Mr. Whiteboard the evidence and I could get rid of this nasty thorn in my side. No more busting my balls – this little shit was done.

I called my boss’ extension and got his voicemail. It was around 11:00 AM. Where the heck was this guy, I thought? I never saw Mr. Whiteboard before 10:00 AM. No wonder his staff was always UA (the Marine term for AWOL -- I hate the fucking Army and will only use USMC terminology here, unless I am referring to ‘Nam).

I was getting impatient. I called one of the network guys, the narcoleptic who would doze off in front of his monitor.

“I think I have a security issue. It looks like someone hacked into my system,” I told him.

He passed the buck and told me to call his boss. I didn’t really know that guy, but he seemed cool enough. I always made it a point to make nice with the guys that had their own I.T. fiefdoms. I relied on them to get my apps running. The DBAs, the Systems guys, Ops – I was a scheming, manipulative alliance maker when it came to those folks, like the the Naked Guy From Survivor. Most were good to go, except the ones like Fishboy at TSINAN (more on him later). And at least this network guy wasn’t Asian. I was starting to get the impression those folks stuck together at T.C.T.S.R.N.

We met in a conference room. I gave him the details and told him that I thought Charlie had hacked my system. He asked some configuration questions about how Source Safe was setup. He wanted to now if I had left my PC logged in while I wasn’t around, whether I had opened up any file shares on my hard drive, basic stuff. I shook my head.

“I’ll check the logs and let you know by the end of the day,” he said, getting up.

We walked out of the conference room and I saw my boss duck into his corner office. It was almost lunchtime.

I leaned into his doorway. “Do you have sec?”

“Uh, yeah, ah, sure. I guess.” He was always hesitant. I thought that if I would ask him an obvious question, like “Do you have a dick or a pussy?” he would ponder the inquiry. “Uhm, well, I guess, I suppose, I, um, have a dick.”

I sat in front of him. “I think Charlie hacked my computer. I found some of my personal files on his system, in the archives.”

“Oh my.” He looked like he was going to wet himself. “Ah, are you sure?”

“Yeah. It’s a problem we should take care of.”

“I need you to explain to me how this Version Control stuff works. How could your stuff get in his archives?” He was looking for some technical solution to a personnel problem.

“He would have to be at my PC, or get my files from my PC, and check them into SourceSafe,” I explained.

“Geeze. So what do you think we should do?”

I saw my opening. “Ask him to resign and give him two-weeks to wrap his stuff up.”

“Man, I don’t know about that. Let me talk to him.”

Talk to him? About what? Gee, uh, Charlie, I don’t think you should be getting into your supervisor’s system and playing with his personal files…

I left his office, confused. Mr. Whiteboard didn’t seem too eager to take this issue up. I got back to my desk and sent Charlie an email:

First thing Monday, I need you to explain to me how my files got into your archives. For one, I would never need to check in these files, and two, “Documentations” is not a word.
This shit would be all over by COB Monday, I thought to myself. Finally. I had fragged that bastard Charlie, deep in the bowels of the tunnel.

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