Flung Forth

Vending Machine Out Of Service

Work was being boring, and the coffee vending machine near my desk went down. The following updates were posted to my Facebook wall over the course of three days. It seems a shame to lose them in FB back-history. Thus:

Wednesday, May 4th, 15:19

Hour seven of the coffee machine not working in my sector: Roving packs of operations staff roam the halls. Developers are starting to go odd, having hours ago lost their ability to even. Packets of instant coffee are being traded like illicit substances. Some are siting in rough semicircles around brooms and full bins, chanting and hoping that these offerings bring the facilities staff to our island to fix that which is broken.

Rumours persist that the coffee machine in HR still works, but as heretics they are shouted down and – in extreme cases – eaten.

But here’s a thing: The rumours are true.

Thursday, May 5th, 11:37

28 hours since the vending machine went down.

At some point last night, there was an inadvisable experiment with a stove-top espresso machine. Against all expectations, the crater took out half of desktop support and a passing operations gang. The resulting war hasn’t been pretty. Cheery signs in comic sans have informed us that the issue with the vending machine is known, and an engineer will be sent to look at it. The cheery signs burn merrily alongside the remains of the desk wood.

Initially, the fires set off the sprinkler system, but whatever was in the pipes was water no longer, and did nothing but good for the fires below. Some confused the brown water raining from the ceiling for the life-giving liquid they so missed. Some survived that assumption, many did not. The office is dark now, lit by the orange fires of burning desks and cheery signs.

Two questions remain: Why did I come to work today if it’s like this, and did I not say there was a working machine in HR?

Thursday, May 5th, 15:13

31 hours.

Kidlington is burning.

A stray round from the Desktop Support/Operations nerf war hit a desk wall, and by a series of domino-rally style crashes and a sequence of flying objects and balance failures that would have confused and inspired Heath Robinson, the electricity was out. The generator span up, whirred, spluttered, coughed and fell over. Servers span and were silent. The lights overhead flickered and fell into darkness. Projectors, telephones, desktop computers, monitors all went dark for a final time.

All the vending machines died.

The terror of the development and operations teams subjected to a world without coffee was a slow decay into anarchy and rebellion. The editorial staff started to strain at the edges of their sanity within a couple of hours; but it was customer service who went first.

The rebellion, long confined to the walls of ground floor, east wing, spread like fire on dry grass, and that was less a simile than we would have liked. The publishing sections had far more fuel than the dry desks and printouts of the lower levels, and the flames spawned from the explosion spread through the building. Soon giant flames were reaching from the roof to the clear blue sky, and the fire engines turned up.

With the fire out, we went back to our desks to look at the damage. Smoke and fire had blackened and destroyed much of the fixtures and fittings, but the major structures were safe enough. Anyone who had got out returned to the ruins of their desks. Anyone who didn’t was retroactively fired for smoking inside.

Soon everything got back to normal, until I went to get a coffee – it had been a long day.

Friday, May 6th, 13:19

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