“Fire Engine!”

“Well?’” chorused the office as Ian Chinnock replaced the receiver. “Heavens,” said Ian Chinnock, who looked momentarily baffled. “That was one of our clients. They want us to start looking into how we’d produce touchscreen software for them, so you can go up to an exhibition stand and start, erm, interacting with it and finding out whatever they want you to. Who wouldn’t want to learn all about how an oil rig works and the challenges that come with recovering oil at depth?”

The silence from the office was more eloquent than any hoots of derision, and made Ian Chinnock fall uncharacteristically silent. “But… but… oil exploration is both educational and interesting, and people who visit exhibition stands…” Dean coughed, swallowed the final mouthful of Wagon Wheel and finished Mr Chinnock’s sentence for him, “to speak to an actual live person rather than poking a screen and leaving with a strange and curious sense of emptiness and ennui?”

“Which is exactly what we’re not going to do,” Ian answered haughtily. “We have made it clear that touchscreen technology has to be teamed with actual staff who can answer questions and make a real human connection, with the touchscreen being reserved for finding out…” his explanation trailed off as a very high, piercing whine ricocheted around the office, “…why we appear to be on fire. This may be connected with the recent disappearance of Harvey and the sudden strange smell of meat that appears to be wafting from the kitchen.”

As if on cue, Harvey emerged from the kitchen red faced and wielding a spatula from which there was a small plume of smoke rising skywards. “Er,” said Neos’ self-appointed logistics supremo. “That may be my fault. I saw that we had a George Forman grill in the kitchen and decided to cook nine lamb chops that I’d bought yesterday. I turned on the extractor fan that we’ve got in the kitchen to stop situations just such as this before they start and the chops were coming along nicely when the alarm went off. What do you want me to do?”

“We’d probably better head outside and bearing in that mind that the alarm calls the fire brigade you had probably better explain to them why you’ve burned the building down for the sake of your lunch. And bearing in mind that yesterday the landlord told you off for bringing your dog into the office when there are strictly no pets allowed, I’m sure he’s going to be hugely pleased when you also explain to him that what used to be his office building is now a plume of smoke that smells faintly of burned meat.” With this, Ian Chinnock put on his coat and stalked out.

With the staff out in the car park waiting for something interesting to happen, Mr Chinnock took the time to talk with Dean and Jody, who had spearheaded the rebrand of the company. Even he had to grudgingly concede that they had done an effective job and also had to just as grudgingly concede that their work had come to the notice of a client who had flown him out to Dubai for what had become known as ‘a Dubai brunch’ in which they packed him full of food and cocktails, had a cheese course, a chocolate course and some champagne before pouring him onto a plane at two in the morning with the firm promise of new business.

They were halfway through talking about the rebrand when the fire brigade arrived as predicted, went into the building and emerged with a plate of chops. “These seem to have started the alarm going,” suggested the fireman and, before Ian Chinnock had time to denounce Harvey and suggest that he should be detained at the local police station, added “they look quite nice. I’d eat them if I was you” before departing. “Excellent idea,” added Harvey, just as Matt sidled over and asked if he wanted any help eating them. “You know,” said Harvey, “I think I might.”

Ian Chinnock watched them both head back into the office, feeling strangely annoyed. “And don’t smack your lips when you eat them, Matt, you disgusting individual,” he yelled, but there were no signs that Matt had heard him. He and Harvey both had their chops to look forward to, and at least there was the excitement of touchscreen technology and a possible return to the unending food fest of Dubai to look forward to. Life, Mr Chinnock thought, could be worse.

Will touchscreen technology prove to be the way forward into a bright, new technological tomorrow? Will the chops live up to their billing? And more importantly, will Matt manage to eat them without smacking his lips? There’s only one way to find out…

See you next Tuesday…




NeosCreative; Successfully exhibiting your vision, anywhere.

Write a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *