yes, Mr Hyde, do come in and take a seat. Thank you very
much for agreeing to help is with our enquiries.
Yes, well I didn’t have a lot of choice when George
and Andrew bundled me into the back of that van. Do you
know how long the journey to Scotland was? Twelve flaming
hours I was stuck in that....
Yes yes Mr Hyde, very uncomfortable I’m sure but
could we just get on? Now, we have asked you to come here
because it seems from our information that you have been
causing trouble in the support newsgroup. Seems you’ve
been upsetting the natives with foul and abusive language.
Er.....can I have a cup of tea?
Button it. This is going to be the long dark evening of
MATE? MATE? I am not your mate Mr Hyde, I am your worst
nightmare. If you carry on stirring up trouble in ‘support’
I’m gonna haul your rear outa there and kick it out
into cyberspace, you get me?
Well, I didn’t start it. It was that.....
Save it for someone who cares Mr Hyde. I’m not interested
in who started it, I’m only interested in maintaining
a certain standard in our newsgroups and I’m not
having some jumped up little newbie coming along stirring
So you’ve had complaints then, about my offensive
and abusive language?
Well no, not yet, BUT WE MIGHT and ...
So nobody’s complained about me then.
Had any complaints about the other feller?
A few but...
But you can’t do anything about it right?
LOOK Mr Hyde, I’m asking the questions here.
Look er ....sorry, I didn’t catch your name?
My friends call me Gazza but you can call me SIR.
Okay Sir, let’s cut to the chase. I’m sure you’re
very busy doing, well, whatever the hell it is you do
here. So I get a little miffed about someone’s post
which I consider to be horrid and nasty and just because
I call the guy a p.....
Watch it MR HYDE, I’ve got George outside and he’s
really not over his flu bug yet. He may look like a pussy
cat but those antibiotics have really got to him....
Okay, I’ll rephrase it then. Just because I objected,
I get a yard of grief from Andrew about how I’m breaking
all these charters and terms and conditions and stuff.
Yep, that’s it. Just because you pay a tenner a month
and the other bloke pays zip, does not give you the right
to say rude words and upset the regulars.
Oh come on Gazza, are your really gonna ban me from ‘support’
and take away me mouse? I did say sorry you know.
Yes, well sorry might not be enough to keep that lot happy.
Only takes one nutter to take offence and before you know
it, they’ve downloaded the Fisons seed catalogue
to your hard drive. Don’t say I haven’t warned
you Mr Hyde.
"WE’LL BE WATCHING YOU.
"Yes, well, this has all been very pleasant but I
really must be going now. Do I really have to wear the
blindfold on the way home?
‘Fraid so Mr Hyde, it’s security see. Wouldn’t
want anyone getting a look at the turbo charged hamsters
"Oh alright then, but could you ask George not to
sit in the back with me this time. Think he’s been
at the canteen beans again and it’s not very nice.
Be disastrous if someone lit a match. Three quarters of
your support team would be fried to a crisp."
"Yeah yeah, I know, stop whinging and just put the
piggin’ blindfold on.....
you deny these charges George?"
your honour, it's a frame-up, how did they know I like
"You honestly expect me to believe that you, a known
newsgroup support person have been set-up?"
"Yes your honour I wasn't even on the server at the
"George, George, George, in all my years as a newsgroup
judge I haven't heard anything so pitiful, just accept
your fate man and stop crying"
"I'm not crying,....... there....there's something
in my eye, yeah that's it something in my eye, a fly flew
straight in there."
"I believe you George, I understand, you're a victim
of circumstances, simply in the wrong place at the wrong
time, isn't that right?"
"Yes yes, that could be it."
"LIAR! you are going down George, there's more evidence
against you than fluff in a sumo wrestlers belly button!"
"But it wasn't me I tell you, I am innocent, check
the evidence, I'm not going down for this, you can't do
this to me, do you know who I am? "I'll have your
wig for this"
"Take him away"
"Mummy mummy help me mummy, yes mummy you were right
all along I should
have stayed at home, I'm sorry mummy."
shades looked pretty good with the Armani suit but still
a little OTT for a wet Friday in Thurso, especially when
someone left the hamster cage in the doorway..... It’s
hard to look cool when you’re wearing hamster poo
and sawdust, but if anyone could pull it off, Iain could.
guys.....’ Louise shot him a steely glance.
‘Er...right guys AND pretty little female type persons,
listen up. I want us all to have a brainstorming session
about how we can encourage subscribers to stay with us.
Er, George? GEORGE!! If you wouldn’t mind at least
pretending to be awake, there’s a good chap’
‘Sorry Iain, it’s these antibiotics see. I’m
still not very well you know, after that flu bug. Do you
think perhaps I need some vitamin....’
‘No George, I really don’t want to hear about
your piggin’ virus anymore. I only want to hear from
you when you’ve got a bright, snappy idea, OKAY?’
‘Yes Iain, sorry Iain.’
‘Now, as I was saying, we need to get some ideas
together - and pronto. The Boss is coming in tomorrow
and he is NOT happy. Says he spent a horrible few hours
with a punter called Hyde, Dominic Hyde. It seems that
this oik and someone called Ceejay have been making unreasonable
demands for some sort of customer satisfaction survey....’
‘Sorry Andrew? Has one of the rodents crawled up
your trouser leg or have you just told yourself a joke
you don’t know?’
‘Sorry Iain, it’s just the idea of a survey.
I mean, what do we want one of those for? It’s not
as if we don’t already know what they think of BTI
is it? I mean George has to have 3 Prozac before he’ll
even go into Whinge...
‘Yes, well we all know that a survey is out of the
question but we’ve got to think of something...’
‘Er, how about another competition like we did at
‘Oh yeah George, stunning idea - NOT! Don’t
you remember all the whinging from the punters when someone
trashed the results? No George, go back to sleep and we’ll
wake you up in 2003.’
‘Actually Iain, I think the survey is an extremely
always, Louise had caught Iain off guard. Sliding between
the desks, she stood in front of him, hands planted firmly
on her hips. He tried to look somewhere other than at
the midnight blue silk shirt than draped over the curves
and to ignore the heady scent of Dior and Tipex, but it
was useless. Knowing she had his full and undivided attention
‘There have been over eighty requests for the survey
in just two weeks. We might not like the results, but
at least we will have a basis for developing the service
based on what customers want.’ By now she was close
to him. Very close indeed. Andrew started to giggle as
Louise placed a hand on Iain’s shoulder and moved
her face close to his. ‘Let’s just give them
what they want shall we? I mean, we all enjoy getting
what we want, don’t you think?’
It was a full minute before Iain had regained the power
‘Ummm, yes well, I think it’s a brilliant idea
Louise. Thank you for sharing that with us.’ Moving
swiftly towards the exit (well, as swiftly as was possible
given his condition) he reached the door. Louise followed
and stopped him to whisper in his ear.
‘Oh and Iain, if you call me a pretty little female
person again, I’m gonna take your naff shades and
stick ‘em in a place where you wont be able to lose
them. Got it?’
‘Yes. Right. CARRY ON EVERYONE......’
contemplated what to do. The meeting had been a disaster
for him. The excuse about the flu was wearing thin. Surely
it wouldn't be long before his antibiotic addiction got
out? Let's face it he hadn't coughed in weeks. His hands
began to tremble, beads of sweat forming on his forehead,
the penicillin only seeming to mock him as it lay there
on the desk.
"What to do, what to do" he muttered.
Suddenly it hit him... a small rolled up piece of A4 that
had been flung across the desk.
"Wake up George!" Ed shouted, "you're miles
"What, what, where am I?" he said, confusion
filling his mind.
The realisation sunk in. Slowly he focused on the empty
tins of Sprite; surely he hadn't drank that much? Then
something moved to his right, startled he jumped round
but it was only his Spiderplant blowing restlessly in
the breeze coming from the open window. He studied it
intently wondering if it was a threat but dismissed the
notion quickly, a decision that would come back to haunt
sat motionless. He had never seen Louise act like that;
so purposeful, masterful, so in control. He liked it.
It only added to his feelings for her. He knew it was
useless though, she could never know how he felt. The
things he knew, it was just too risky, too dangerous to
let anyone get close. Lesser men would have crumbled but
not him, not with shoulders like that to support the weight
he bore; the dark secret that haunted his every waking
had been a hard meeting Andrew knew that. It hadn't been
that bad since the time...no he couldn't even contemplate
it, it was just too painful. He buried the thought in
the deepest recesses of his mind. Not as deep as some,
but deep nonetheless. He wondered where it was leading.
He remembered what Iain had said at the meeting, "Rodent
indeed" he thought to himself "I'll show him."
Iain and Andrew had never seen eye to eye, mainly because
Andrew was slightly taller. It was more eye to chin but
it didn't matter, they didn't get on. The blood pumped
in Andrews’s veins as his anger increased. "I'll
get you back for that Iain!" he said aloud. The other
bus passengers looked at him strangely then continued
reading their papers.
home Louise felt good. It was the first time she had really
let herself be heard. Yeah she had spoken at team meetings
before but only to tell everyone the Vending machine was
out of Yorkies. This had been different and she had enjoyed
it. The power she had held in her hands, brushing aside
the others like that; she wanted more. And yet for a moment
she had hesitated but only when she had stared straight
into Iain's eyes. There was something there but what?
Contact lenses maybe? And suddenly total clarity. In that
instance she saw what it was that Iain had been hiding.
it seemed so obvious to her now; the presents he constantly
sent, the endless dinner invitations, the way he said
"I love you," it all made sense to her now.
She chomped on her Yorkie wondering what to do next.
work the next day things seemed awkward, uneasy. Andrew
and Iain glared menacingly at each other, George knocked
back another penicillin with half a can of Sprite and
Louise stole a glance at Iain. The mail arrived. The posty
looked impatient as Iain and Andrew signed for the rather
ominous looking letters. They ripped them open in unison
and staggered back as they read the contents. Iain wept,
Andrew laughed maniacally and the posty left. They looked
at each other, threw the letters in the bin, muttered
"Oh no" and got on with their work. George reached
for the bin in a way only an antibiotic addict could.
It was a dead give-away he thought but nobody seemed to
care, the letters filled everyone’s thoughts: What
did they say? George opened the letter and trembled as
he read the contents. In disbelief he declared, "Iain
and Andrew are twins, separated at birth!" The silence
seemed to last for a second or two before Ed piped up
from the back of the office, "So that's why they
look the same!" Andrew and Iain got up, walked to
the canteen and talked about what lay ahead. As they walked
out of the office a voice whispered, "So that's probably
why they always dressed the same too."
returned as if different people, an excitement filled
their voices, Andrew even laughing at Iain's jokes. Louise
was the first to meet them and looking into Iain's eyes
he knew she knew and he knew that if she knew what he
knew and he knew that she knew what he knew then things
could be different, but what about the secret he bore
could she accept it or would she drop him like a potato
so hot it really burned your hands? "Louise, there's
something you should know...I...I don't know how to tell
you...I am a closet iMac user!" The words hung in
the air like only words can. There were shocked gasps
from everyone...everyone that is except Louise. "Oh
Iain, I knew you were different from the rest all along,
it doesn't matter to me, I use it all the time, that's
why my legs are so smooth." He didn't know what to
say, should he tell her or leave it at that, consigning
himself to a lifetime of body hair remover? Of course
he would, Louise was worth it!
sensing his newfound twin's shame put his arm around Iain's
shoulder. "Don't worry Iain we're here for you, we'll
get you back on to PC's if that's what you want."
George though was having none of it.
"You are all crazy!" he shouted. He needs locked
up I tell you!" "Iain, it can't be, how could
you, I thought we would be PC users for life? George's
mind was a blur. It was ages since his last penicillin/Sprite
cocktail and it was telling. He moved towards the open
window his mind torn with images of Iain and his iMac,
a life of no invalid page faults or fatal exceptions.
The cool air seemed comforting and in a single bound he
jumped. He fell for what seemed an eternity but in reality
it was about 4 feet, before hitting the ground. The others
laughed at his stupidity as he lay there below the
window of the single floor building. Their laughter soon
stopped though as they looked on in horror as the Spiderplant
that set innocently on the window ledge moved in the breeze
rocking slightly back and forth. Everything seemed to
be in slow motion. Andrew tried desperately to reach the
rogue plant but it was too late. Slowly it tipped over
the edge and was gone and they knew what was to come.
"OUCH!" They had never heard George use such
strong language before so they knew it must have really
hurt. George sat eyeing the Spiderplant as it lay there.
"What would be its next move" he wondered but
it just lay there...waiting.
All in all it had been a usual day at the office. Iain
and Andrew had become best friends in a way that country
singers sing about. Iain and Louise...well that's another
story and George?
fancied a snack. The Canteen seemed empty...empty that
is apart from a dark sinister shape in the corner. It
set hunched over what appeared to be a large pot from
which it seemed to be eating. Strange sounds issued from
the figure. "George is that you?" Ed asked.
The figure remained quiet but moving closer he could see
that it was George and that he was hunched over a huge
pot of beans. He discovered what the strange sounds were
too and opened a nearby window. "George, George what
are you doing?" but there was no answer. "GEORGE
SNAP OUT OF IT MAN, YOU'RE LOSING IT." but it was
no use. Ed turned to walk away but then he heard a sound.
It was very faint but George was definitely saying something.
He nervously bent down to listen to what George was saying..."I'll
get that Spiderplant."
Ed ran, not even turning to look when he heard the maniacal
laughter filling the canteen...